The Harry Potter Theory of Climate

by Judith Curry

I just spotted spotted an article on Reuters entitled “The Harry Potter Theory of Climate,” and I couldn’t resist doing a post on it.

The article is an interview with Mark Serreze, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

“Climate doesn’t change all by itself,” Serreze said. “It’s not like the Harry Potter theory of climate, where he flicks his magic wand and the climate suddenly changes. Climate only changes for a reason.”

He crossed off other possible drivers for climate change one by one.

“Could it be that the Sun is shining more brightly than it was? No, that doesn’t work. We’ve been monitoring energy coming from the Sun and apart from the 11-year sunspot cycle, there’s not much happening.

“Is it that the warming is coming from the oceans — the oceans are releasing heat into the atmosphere? … Well, if that were the case, we’d have to observe that the oceans are cooling … but oceans are not cooling, the oceans are warming like the atmosphere.

“We might be able to argue that it’s something we don’t understand, something like a cosmic ray flux modulated by the Sun … That’s pretty much of a cop-out, OK? Because you’re not really making an explanation, you’re making a supposition.”

The only factor that can explain the observed rise in global average temperature — 1.4 degrees F or .8 degrees C over the last century — is climate forcing due to heightened levels of greenhouse gases, Serreze said.

Ouch.  On previous Climate Etc. threads on attribution of 20th century climate change, we have pretty much debunked each of these arguments.  Serreze’s weak arguments do not necessarily mean that anthropogenic CO2 has not warmed the planet during the 20th century, it just means that he has made weak arguments. Now that I think about it, the Harry Potter theory might be good nomenclature for natural unforced variability; climate scientists seem to reject as magic warming that isn’t forced.

Serreze did make one statement that I find interesting:

“When we have autumns with low sea ice, these tend to be followed by negative Arctic Oscillation,” Serreze said. If this theory holds up, it could improve prospects for seasonal prediction of climate.

Makes sense, I will definitely take a look at that one, given my interest in seasonal predictability of weather regimes.

The Harry Potter article follows an article yesterday “Extreme winter weather linked to climate change,” which is mostly an interview with Jeff Masters and Mark Serreze.   I much preferred the interpretation NOAA’s Climate Scene Investigation Team, which finds the heavy snows to result from the combination of La Nina and the negative Arctic Oscillation.

And while we are on the subject of the Arctic, I would like to point out a new paper in GRL entitled “Recovery Mechanisms of Arctic Sea Ice”  Abstract:

We examine the recovery of Arctic sea ice from prescribed ice-free summer conditions in simulations of 21st century climate in an atmosphere–ocean general circulation model. We find that ice extent recovers typically within two years. The excess oceanic heat that had built up during the ice-free summer is rapidly returned to the atmosphere during the following autumn and winter, and then leaves the Arctic partly through increased longwave emission at the top of the atmosphere and partly through reduced atmospheric heat advection from lower latitudes. Oceanic heat transport does not contribute significantly to the loss of the excess heat. Our results suggest that anomalous loss of Arctic sea ice during a single summer is reversible, as the ice–albedo feedback is alleviated by large-scale recovery mechanisms. Hence, hysteretic threshold behavior (or a “tipping point”) is unlikely to occur during the decline of Arctic summer sea-ice cover in the 21st century.

This is consistent with sea ice simulations I did in the 1990′s with a stand alone sea ice model.  It is pretty difficult to get the wintertime sea ice not to return, would need much more warming than say tripling CO2.

Upon reflection, the Harry Potter theory of climate science seems preferable to these recent statements by Serreze and Masters.

489 responses to “The Harry Potter Theory of Climate

  1. Perhaps it would be better to realize that magic is an explanation invoked by those who do not understand or accept natural processes.
    Skeptics understand that the natural processes of the climate are vast and not that well understood.
    AGW believers must invoke CO2 as the culprit for whatever they are unable to explain. Every storm becomes not just another weather event, but proof of the insidious influence of CO2.
    Every drought is not merely a dry spell, but is a direct assault by CO2.
    A quiet period in the Atlantic hurricane basin is due to CO2′s malevolent influence.
    A busy hurricane year proves that CO2′s curse is upon us.
    Once again, the believer community projects what they themselves believe.

    • Hunter – recently I see climate scientists invoking GW to explain the above average severe weather, but only recently. I don’t know about AGW believers and politicians – I tend to discount anyone who isn’t actively researching in the field.

      The case for CO2 being a greenhouse gas was “settled science” over 150 years ago. True – there maybe be other natural processes going on that are not well understood – I just wish someone could raise a natural explanation to the level of plausibility.

    • The End is FAR

      Steve – Can you describe how CO2 or any other gas for that matter prevents Convection? Can you describe a scenario where the rate of convection does not increase as surface temperatures increase?

      As for Natural causes, a good scientist always looks to nature first. Familiar with Interglacials? Suppose for a moment that they average about 20 to 25 thousand years. This interglacial started about 10 – 12 thousand years ago. Interesting, but not evidence beyond doubt.

      Oddly, the Precession Cycle lasting about 26,000 begins a new cycle in 2013 (12/21/2012) when the Winter Solstice will be on the same day as the perihelion. This is interesting in that the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter is about 6 days shorter than it summer. It is also interesting that this event would be the Mid point in this Interglacial if this one is similar to the last. Shorter Winters Closer to the Sun and Longer Summers a bit farther from the Sun. Sounds Warmer to me. Certainly doesn’t sound colder. Solid evidence for a Natural Cause? Again, interesting, plausible perhaps, but not conclusive.

      Depending upon which record you look at it appears that the Temperature goes up and down about a degree every 400 – 500 years, at least since around 0 AD. The last cool period aka Little Ice Age ended in the early to mid 1800′s so one would expect an increase in temps to follow a drop. Yes the LIA also affected the SH, can’t recall the name of the Ice Shelf that broke off sometime int he last decade or so, but it was estimated to have formed about 400 years ago during the height of the LIA.

      There is more, but nothing anymore convincing off the top of my head. While you await a rock solid natural cause, I’d be interested in hearing the answers to my questions above. I have more questions, and more to add regarding the efficiency of Radiation and Convection, but the above two questions are primers. This is actually open to any who claims to understand this subject, but rather not hear from cut & pasters.

    • “Oddly, the Precession Cycle lasting about 26,000 begins a new cycle in 2013 (12/21/2012) when the Winter Solstice will be on the same day as the perihelion”

      Incorrect. Did you make this up, or did you get the information from an unreliable source?

    • The End is FAR

      Unreliable source as I can’t seem to find it at the moment. But to my point http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega Vega was the Pole Star (North) around 12,000 BC and will be again in about 13,500.

      The point is that the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter is closer to the Sun than its Summer (Winter Shorter, Summer Longer), and we’re halfway or nearly completing a Precession cycle, depending upon how you look at it.

      If you look at the last interglacial, it lasted about 20 – 25 thousand years and occurred about 130 thousand years, or 5 Precession cycles ago. Correlation? Coincidence? Let’s find out.

      Can you describe how CO2 or any other gas for that matter prevents Convection? Can you describe a scenario where the rate of convection does not increase as surface temperatures increase?

    • The relevance of what you are saying is not clear. Orbital changes certainly do affect the climate, but only over periods of thousands of years. Over a century or two, the effect is negligible.

      What exactly are you trying to say about convection?

    • The End is FAR

      Sorry, two subjects in the same post.

      The Orbital Changes I am referring are the best possible explanation for the interglacial period we are now in, and the previous ones as well. If it is indeed as it appears that we are at the mid point of the current interglacial, then we should expect temperatures to be at or near the highest point they will get. Variability of a degree or two at the peak of a temperature cycle should not be viewed as alarming, just as a degree or two at the bottom of a temp cycle would not be out of the ordinary. Especially when the difference is 10-12 C.

      In any event, that was referring to Steve’s request for a Natural Cause of the warming we are experiencing. Half way through this Interglacial should be at or near the warmest and variability should be expected.

      **

      With regards to Convection, my point is that it is a more efficient means to transfer energy, within the Troposphere, than radiation. Next that if an increase in so-called GHGs (I’d describe them as Emissitivity reducing gases) does indeed raise the surface temp, then as that temp increases, the Convection Rate (Cooling Rate) will also increase in kind. AGW Advocates have no difficulty describing the ‘increased’ weather (aka increased convection rate) that accompanies higher surface temps, yet seem to fail to understand the amount of energy it takes to get 4,000 Trillion metric tons of Air and Water Vapor moving around.

      The so-called GHE does not prevent Convection, it encourages it. It is not a GHE, it is an Anti-GHE.

      Our atmosphere is also elastic, so when it heats up it expands, thus reducing the pressure. It helps greatly if you can view Temperature as ‘energy pressure’. Increase the volume, and you decrease the pressure/temperature and visa versa. If it looks like the Ideal Gas Laws in play here, it is because the gas laws are dependent on the Thermo Laws.

      Lastly, if you view Convection as a combination of the force of Gravity and varying densities of fluids and or gases, you see that the energy put into creating convection is two fold. One it takes energy to heat a volume of gas, typically at the surface, and entropy demands that gas expand. Now gravity (energy) drags cooler more dense air beneath the now expanded warmer air and pushes skyward. Lots of energy goes into Convection.

      Now if you look at how little energy is transfered from the surface to the Tropopause via Radiation versus Convection, and how minute 2W/m^2 is, it is not difficult to see that Convection is like the Amazon vs. Radiation being a fire hose. Fire hose is faster velocity, but Amazon is far more in volume.

      Is my understanding flawed?

    • Steve,
      What above average severe weather is there to explain?
      Anyone making the claim that severe weather is doing anything other than what it has done historically is simply like the great scientists who looked at Mars too long with poor telescopes and a strong desire and then saw canals.

    • John Carpenter

      I guess weather becoming more severe due to GW would be news for Gilbert Compo and the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project. From what I understand, the initial report did not find any increase in extreme weather during the twentieth century. How come nature never plays nice with the computer simulations?

    • No but the chance to take advantage of this springs out break of tornadoes will mot be missed as a chance to say it was all CO2 whut done it, my opinion is different.

      Richard Holle says:
      March 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Tornado production is a result of Lunar declinational tides pulling air masses from more equatorial areas into the mid-latitudes, so the peak production times when they form can be predicted as the periods from Maximum North culmination to three days after, a couple of days when the moon crosses the equator headed North, and as the moon reaches maximum South declination and several days after.

      These effects are due to the production of the primary and secondary tidal bulges in the atmosphere, that arrive at the same time as the ion content of the air masses reaches a local maximum. Between the induced charge differential between the +ion concentrations riding on the more equatorial sourced air mass, established ahead of the dry line front of -ion concentrated more polar air mass, that sweeps in from the West, forcing the precipitation into the rapidly moving narrow band of severe weather from which the tornadoes form on the trailing edges.

      The periods when these effects will be most likely to occur this spring,
      2-25/28 for three days, which we just had, around max South.
      3-5/7 slight chance of small outbreak
      3-12/17 starting in Arkansas through Kentucky and the Ohio river valley
      3-25/30 Starting Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas through Ohio river valley the beginning of a long period of very wet activity most of April.
      4-5/8 start up of activity
      with the re-enactment of the 1974 outbreak most possible in the period
      4-8/13 Maps of the expected precipitation can be found on my site, bearing in mind that the tornado and severe activity usually forms in the fast moving part of the frontal and not usually in the areas of heaviest total daily precipitation.

      On the maps show on my site you can expect to see the tornado development in the areas with the “netted” looking precipitation patterns due to the usual nature of the part of the front where they occur.

      1974 is one of the analog years for my forecast method, which is why I mention we may see a replay of that out break. It is also why I am in Mesa Az., instead of Kansas this spring.

    • Richard, why does your map show strong precip in the Texas Gulf Coast region? We are suffering a strong drought with no likelihood of relief anytime soon. Additionally, it seems that tornadoes are going to shift north and east this year.

    • The analog forecast that I am using is based on the 6558 day repeating pattern of the lunar declination and inner planet Saros cycle of repeating patterns. The problem with this method is it DOES NOT account for the movements of the outer gas planets, whose influence shows up as an increase in precipitation above the inner planet cyclic patterns.

      In one of the past cycles there was a synod conjunction with Jupiter, that creates an out of sync temperature rise and increased precipitation pulse, that is seen as the Precipitation in Texas and the gulf, in today’s maps.

      When the April 3rd 2011 synod conjunction with Saturn comes up there will be a corresponding increase in Precipitation due to its influence that was not in the past other cycles used in the forecast. The drought will break and flash flooding will be seen above what the maps show for the period from March 15th through April 15th.

      Starting in your Texas coast area, and ending up as very heavy snowfall in the North East, adding energy into the tornado out breaks, and shifting their position North and East as the shift do to increased volume of moist warm air influx from the Saturn conjunction peaks, but still on the same schedule.

      I am working on setting up appointments this week, with the developers of my site that helped me put together the custom software, for the sorting and mapping of the raw data, into the maps presented, four years ago, for a rewrite to remove these outer planet influences that don’t repeat. Also to correct some problems with the reporting station changes in the data base that end up not being “the best standard practices available” in light of changes that have occurred in the way I see all of these effects combining to drive the weather, as a result of the slow solar activity.

      Learning some things from watching the maps for the past three years and from what problems I have found, that will allow me to fix the original miss-assumptions I had, and errors discovered in the data handling processes to better fine tune the effects of the inner planet/outer planet separate set of repeating cycles.

      With the advent of the understanding of how the outer planets drive the solar activity, and then their resultant interactions with the inner planet cycles, that I have gleaned from observations of the differences between the cycles like the one you mentioned.

      There are some modifications to the software that I want to bring into the process. After all knowledge has been gained, and my awareness of it has increased much, over what was available 4 to 6 years ago when I started developing the original process method.

    • Sorry I asked.

    • The large dry air mass between you the Yucatan peninsula, stretching East has been an unusual feature for about a year and a half compared to the past cycles, I would attribute it to decreased Geo-magnetic field strength, as a result of the slow solar cycle.

      It shows up mostly around Maximum Southern lunar declination which was 2-25-2011 last occurrence. Last summer it was IMHO instrumental in producing the wind shear, and dry air prevention of large hurricane formations, I would expect that to be the case as long as the sun stays quiet.

    • the severe weather argument to support AGW(trotted out again and again, no matter how often refuted, like a zombie) is odd considering how often the AGW community relies on weather-is-not-climate defenses. The argument is as credible as the idea of Area 51 housing alien bodies and UFO’s since every time it is trotted out, even a cursory look at historical records shows it to be a false claim. But like UFO believer arguments, it does not matter how many times it is disproved. It only matters ow passionately it is presented to those who chant “I want to believe”.

    • I don’t believe it’s been refuted so much as challenged for a lack of direct evidence. How could it be refuted?? Only an decrease well below average would server to refute it for the time being – and that has not come to pass. Comparing the extreme weather claims to Roswell is a bit extreme in itself. While you may not appreciate Nature magazine articles as a reliable source, I believe this article is quite plausible rather than zombie like: Nature Article Sure, it all comes down to our own biases and what we will accept as legitimate assumptions – but my point is simply that to say extreme weather and the sheer number of extreme flooding events we saw the last few years have absolutely nothing to do with tropospheric warming is simply having too much faith – stay agnostic. I ask you, who is it that want’s to believe and who is willing to weigh the evidence as it comes in?

    • Steve,
      What hotspot?
      For refutation, simply look at the historical records. Not one event in Pakistan, Australia, Europe, US, S. America, etc. etc. etc. is historically unprecedented.
      What is unprecedented is the attempt to draw a pattern out of these historically unremarkable events.
      Sort of like looking Mars too long at night and seeing canals.

    • from 2006

      http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2006/2006-09-07-01.asp Melting Russian Permafrost Could Accelerate Global Warming
      WASHINGTON, DC, September 7, 2006
      “They predicted that more than half the area covered by this topmost layer of permafrost could thaw by 2050 and as much as 90 percent by 2100.”

      How much did the new NSIDC study cost the taxpayer?? How many other repeat-studies has the taxpayer purchased?? How many future studies will we need to purchase using the IPCC “models?”

    • also – the computer model argument and the UN IPCC science. Sigh………….

      from NSIDC website:
      Thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming in decades to come, says new study
      “Schaefer and coauthors modeled the thaw and decay of organic matter currently frozen in permafrost under potential future warming conditions as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    “We’ve been monitoring energy coming from the Sun and apart from the 11-year sunspot cycle, there’s not much happening.”

    Graph solar cycle length vs long term temperature and you get a pretty beefy correlation, particularly when you control for volcanos. I think it is up to Dr Serreze to explain this correlation before he dismisses it as unimportant.

    • solar length/temperature correlation breaks down in recent decades. For example solar cycle 23 was quite long. Temperature is quite high. Opposite of the claimed correlation.

    • Peter Smith

      Not exactly.

      A pot taken off the heat will continue to bubble for a bit.

      Or another example, a pendulum does not switch directions immediately, it slows gradually to a point of no movement, and then equally gradually, starts movement in the opposite.

      Same with the postulation about sunspot cycles. There is a time lag between a solar minimum and temperature decrease (likewise there is a lag on warming effects of a solar maximum).

      Then the elnino/la nina cycles have an effect that may be in or out of phase with the solar cycle, and the PDO and ADO cycles in turn have an effect.

      If the solar minimum theory is correct, then, with some other cycles also having turned negative, you should see temperatures negatively affected in the next 5 or so years.

      If there is no negative trend then either the link with sunspot cycles does not exist, or there is some other factor (e.g. C02) that is preventing the cooling you would expect.

      Certainly, having passed the solar minimum, you would expect to have had the warming cycle at least interrupted or noticeably slowed down by now.

      Many would argue that, post 2000 that has occurred, and that global temperatures have ceased to rise in the way that they did pre 2000.

    • Jim Cripwell

      The correlation between solar magnetic effects and world climate seems to be there, but unfortunately we do not have too much in the way of good data. Which particular solar magnetic effect you use seems to be quite arbitrary, particularly since the physics of how the solar magnetic effects control climate is just not knowm.

      Another measure which correlates with global climate is Rz – the maximum smoothed sunspot number for each cycle. We will not know Rz for SC24 for a few years, but the latest forecasts show it will likely be below average.

  3. Hermione: You have to relax. If you don’t, it’ll only kill you faster!
    Ron: Kill us faster? Oh, now I can relax!

    Why this comes to mind when I imagine the discussions to follow, I cannot say.

  4. Now the shark is jumping over Fonzie.

  5. The oceans could be providing heat to the atmosphere without cooling because there is another source of heat to the oceans: sub-sea volcanism. There is a hypothesis floating around linking El Niño to seismic activity (aka volcanic heat source) on the East Pacific rise.

    Additionally, are we sure the oceans ARE warming?

    I’m really frustrated with “settled science” proclamations.

    • There is a hypothesis floating around linking El Niño to seismic activity (aka volcanic heat source) on the East Pacific rise.

      There’s also a hypothesis linking global warming to unicorn farts. We’ll never know.

    • Harry Potter has a paper in review on the negative forcing potential of unicorn farts. They promote scattering instead of absorption due to 0.039% pixie dust composition. Who knew!

    • PDA,
      Perhaps you can show us this hypothesis? Or is it, like so much else associated with AGW belief, pulled out of the nether regions of the believer?

    • Seriously? You’re asking me for the source of an obvious joke, while not asking anything about the “hypothesis floating around” that oceans are being warmed like a teakettle by secret undersea volcanoes?

      You’re one of those people who buys every “miracle product” advertised on late-night TV, aren’t you?

    • PDA,
      It is like you are form a bizarre-o world where everything you say is opposite.
      It is your guys who predicted that the world would turn into Venus and have a CO2 runaway.
      Tell me more about these miracle products you seem to follow so closely on late night TV. Are they sold by Gore and guaranteed by Hansen?
      One poster mentioned something about volcanoes- which I pointed out cannot be responsible for driving ocean heating- and you decide that skeptics are claiming this as a valid hypothesis?
      PDA, check your PDR for drug interaction and call your MD stat.

    • One poster mentioned something about volcanoes- which I pointed out cannot be responsible for driving ocean heating

      Yes, on March 3, 2011 at 11:06 am, half an hour after I made this comment. Dufus.

    • gcapologist

      Here’s a link to a summary article in the NYT:
      http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE4D81330F936A15757C0A963958260&pagewanted=all

      I never said the idea was proven, but only a hypothesis. I made no reference to a teakettle.

      For all I know, thermal expansion of the crust (at plate boundaries) might also cause an ever-so-light change in sea level height that teleconnects to the atmosphere……

      The points are: Heat does enter the oceans from below, AND we don’t know what causes El Niño.

    • Thank you. That link proves 2 points – first that climatology has been a “closed union” for a long time and second that I’m 16 years late in seeing the connection and, right or wrong, at least “someone” has looked at it.

      http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/02/the-harry-potter-theory-of-climate/#comment-51875

    • “The oceans could be providing heat to the atmosphere without cooling because there is another source of heat to the oceans: sub-sea volcanism.”

      Not nearly enough energy and the warming in that case should be bottom up not top down anyway.

    • Not nearly enough energy

      How do you know?

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Apparently some people aren’t well-versed in the scientific process.

    • Becasue the energy required to heat water is very high. We have a good idea of the number of volcanoes erupting. We have a better idea of how much water is in the oceans.
      We have good evidence the deep oceans are very cold. Since undersea volcanoes are at the bottom of the ocean, they are not going to do what you seem to think.
      Frankly goofy ideas like your give true believers like PDA more rationalizations to pretend their apocalyptic junk is real.

    • OK – let’s do some rearranging here –

      gcapologist | March 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm | wrote -
      “The oceans could be providing heat to the atmosphere without cooling because there is another source of heat to the oceans: sub-sea volcanism.”

      Cthulhu | March 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm | answered –
      Not nearly enough energy and the warming in that case should be bottom up not top down anyway.

      And Jim Owen | March 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm | asked –
      How do you know?

      To which hunter | March 3, 2011 at 11:06 am | replied (except that I’ll rearrange the order) –
      Becasue the energy required to heat water is very high.
      We have a better idea of how much water is in the oceans.
      We have good evidence the deep oceans are very cold.

      All true, but based on the wrong assumptions for “my” thought process – you’re assuming heating the entire volume. I’m not.

      We have a good idea of the number of volcanoes erupting.

      Again, true – for volcanoes. But not for underwater vents. Volcanoes provide seismic signatures. Vents don’t – they’re background noise. Therefore we don’t know – how many vents; where they are all located; how much heat output; is there a cycle or do they provide constant output; and a lot of other questions.

      To return to Cthulhu’s comment –
      the warming in that case should be bottom up not top down anyway.

      Yeah – Now ask the questions – Where are the vents located? Where is the origin of El Nino? What is the characteristic El Nino signature? If the vent heat output is bottom up (obviously) then where does the heat go (Don’t you know that?)? How much heat? And if you apply a point source of heat of sufficient magnitude for sufficient time what would be the effect on ENSO? Or on any other oscillation?

      Now go here:
      http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/clim/sst_olr/el_nino_anim.shtml

      Watch the El Nino Animations. Do you see a pattern? If not – then watch it until you do.

      Then ask the questions – where is the heat source(s) that generates that pattern? Why is it not constant? (that’s almost a no-brainer) Do you really believe that El Nino is generated by solar energy? Really???? Think again – how would that happen? Where’s the giant magnifying glass in the sky that provides a line/point source of solar heat great enough to generate an El Nino (what you saw in those animations)?

      And then – what’s the effect of El Nino on weather/climate? Is it important?

      So – back to hunter –
      Since undersea volcanoes are at the bottom of the ocean, they are not going to do what you seem to think.

      Maybe not – but none of us know that.

      Frankly goofy ideas like your give true believers like PDA more rationalizations to pretend their apocalyptic junk is real.

      Somehow you missed the part where I spent 40+ years generating “goofy ideas” (read: unanswerable questions ) and thereby found the answers to a lot of insoluble problems. Some people seem to think I’m stupid – they’re wrong. Others think I’m crazy – they’re right. But my insanity is not without purpose.

      One more point – I don’t give a damn what the true believers think. I’m an engineer with more than a touch of “scientist” – I care about solving problems, about truth and reality – and a lot about beauty. And I take “truth” where I find it – regardless of which tribe manages to stumble across it. :-)

      If I’m wrong here then it won’t be the first time – or the last. But if you think I am, then show me why/how.

    • I was under the impression that the oceans were in fact cooling… dramatically in places? Or am i way off here?

    • I doubt anyone knows if the oceans are cooling or warming. We don’t have adequate 3 dimensional coverage to determine one way or the other.

      I also would have thought the greater thermal capacity of the oceans means the oceans can heat the atmosphere without us being able to determine a change in the oceans temperature. What is it, a ratio of 1000/1?
      In ant case, to dissmiss the oceans with a wave of the hand is naive.

    • They are both cooling and warming, depending on time scale.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Per Gavin on May 21, 2010; the graph (and presumably the data) stops somewhere in 2009. The dotted line beyond that appears to be the linear extrapolation.
      The Real Climate includes multidecadal oscillations. :-)

    • “Ocean heat content is rising.”

      ???

      No. That graph clearly shows that ocean heat content has fallen since ~2003. Data trumps computer simulations.

    • The most recent data shows no warming from 2003:

      NOAA Global Ocean Heat Content

      So, flat ocean heat from 2003, flat atmospheric temperatures for the last 10+ years. Where is all the greenhouse heat going? CO2 is at its highest in human history, and heat increase has stalled.

      This ‘Harry Potter’ theory has the shoe on the wrong foot. As Trenberth might say, it is a “travesty” that warmists cannot explain where this heat has gone. If this goes on for another couple/few years, all the pretty models will be proven to be in error. As it is, this merely raises doubts (to a greater or lesser extent depending on your views).

      Serreze is whistling past the graveyard here.

    • Preposterous! Six years doesn’t constitute a trend! It takes at least 14.7 years to determine if a statistically significant trend has occurred! For such a trend to exists there would have to be unforced variation of climate, possibly linked to unicorn farts, which have been shown to have neutral to insignificantly small positive forcing. Leprechauns are a more accepted hypothesis :)

    • 14.7?
      Not 14. 5 or 13.8, bit 14.7.
      Got it.
      And I will bet you have been feeding your unicorn beans, too.
      ;^)

    • Mark Serreze, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, claims:

      “Is it that the warming is coming from the oceans — the oceans are releasing heat into the atmosphere? … Well, if that were the case, we’d have to observe that the oceans are cooling … but oceans are not cooling, the oceans are warming like the atmosphere.”

      This is a fairly broad statement. Starting when? For what period? At best, I would have to regard it as unsupported. At worst, contradicted.

      Check the following reference page, all based on sources external to Anthony Watts. Despite the title (ENSO), it appears oceans are cooling at the surface and at depth. Recall the Tisdale animations, that exhibit the lagged propagation of ENSO to other basins.

      Watts, Anthony. 2011. ENSO (El Nino/La Nina Southern Oscillation) ResourcePage. Scientific Blog. Watts Up With That? February 22. http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/enso/

      Includes a world map of sea surface temperature anomalies, including this one:
      http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif

      And a world map of sea temperature anomalies at depth, including this one:
      Ocean Subsurface Temperature: BoM Subsurface Pacific Ocean Equatorial Average Temperature and Anomolies at 150 Meters:
      http://www.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDYOC001.gif?1297119137

    • No, far too little heat is available from volcanic activity to heat the oceans in any significant fashion.
      AGW falls apart without appeal to special features. Let the AGW promoters rely as they do on magical thinking and hand waving.

  6. Wow. Apparently Harry Potter has been at work throughout the planet’s history. Who knew?

    But the more one thinks about this, I’d have to say that Serreze et al are promoting Harry Potter-based theories themselves. Or is it Harry CO2 waving his magic wand to cause everything, and anything. But since its all bad and worse than we thought, make that Bad Harry CO2.

  7. So if you don’t understand it, it doesn’t exist. His, not much is happening in solar is contrary to “solar and aerosols caused the 1910 to 1945 warming.” Not much was happening to solar before we started shooting satellites up (pick any post 2007 TSI reconstruction.). Tsonis et al imply natural climate shifts have significant impact on climate. Without citing any loony tune paper, natural unforced variation is not completely ruled out or understood.

    The lack of a better understanding of TOA emissivity change with CO2 concentration seems to be due to lack of imagination or over confidence. There is enough seasonal CO2 variation to do a fair study TOA, if the Harry Potter semi-pro statisticians aren’t involved.

    • Holly Stick

      I don’t understand. Does Goddard not know that part of Quebec is in the Arctic?
      http://www.nunavik-tourism.com/default.aspx
      http://www.nunavik-tourism.com/Regional-maps.aspx

    • Well, not exactly Holly as the Arctic circle still lies about 8 deg. north at 66 degrees 33 minutes N latitude.

      Arctic-
      –noun
      ( often initial capital letter ) the region lying north of the Arctic Circle or of the northernmost limit of tree growth; the polar area north of the timber line.

    • Holly Stick

      Depends how it is defined:
      “…The Arctic, when defined as everything north of the tree line, covers most of Nunavut and the northernmost parts of Northwest Territories, Yukon, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador…”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Canada#Canadian_Arctic

    • There’s lots of tree growth north of the Arctic Circle.

    • Holly Stick

      “…The area can be defined as north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33′N), the approximate limit of the midnight sun and the polar night. Alternatively, it can be defined as the region where the average temperature for the warmest month (July) is below 10 °C (50 °F); the northernmost tree line roughly follows the isotherm at the boundary of this region.[1][2]

      Socially and politically, the Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states, although by natural science definitions much of this territory is considered subarctic…”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic

    • Have you been there? All I said was – there ARE trees. But I’ll add that it’s beautiful – in its own way. Gotta go back.

    • Holly Stick

      No, I haven’t, but would like to go.

    • Yes, in some regions there indeed is, but naturally, the trees grow very slowly. Some studies made in Scandinavia indicate that e.g. pine only grows during the June, and it may take 100-150 years before it reaches sufficient size for logging.

    • Holly –
      I hope you get there. And I hope you find it as beautiful as I do.

  8. Fine post, JC. Your judgment seems to be spot on.

  9. Wednesday, March 02, 2011
    “Scientists” Pull a Snow Job on Reporters in Teleconference
    By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow

    As we reported, the eco-pressure group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, as part of a continuing misinformation campaign sponsored a teleconference yesterday with a very confused Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, opportunist Mark Serreze of NSIDC and a UCS environmentalist. Their performance was a scientific disappointment to say the least as one scientist wrote me “Masters lost all my respect. Serreze never had it”. He didn’t mention the UCS. It is the crazy uncle no one talks about.”

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/scientists_pull_a_snow_job_on_reporters_in_teleconference/

    • How did they miss the whole Arctic/North Atlantic oscillation connection back in the day if they thought the NE US was going to be too warm for snow? I’m guessing their models didn’t predict that and have been modified to fit reality. Now we are hearing that we’ll probably have more colder than average winters (off and on) for the next 10 – 20 years…not too thrilled to hear that.

      Be cautious with what iceap is saying… The U.S. was colder than normal, but part of the Arctic was far warmer than average. Ice cap shows a map of the U.S. and “forgets” that this is regional and explained by the dumping of Arctic air into the mid-latitudes due to weak winds in the Arctic.

      Also – the sea ice coverage itself is only a partial predictor of Arctic Ocean temps, the thickness of the ice is extremely important, but doesn’t get mentioned.

    • Eric (Skeptic)

      Their models underpredicted Arctic ice loss so perhaps they also underpredicted negative AO for the same reasons.

    • Agreed – and that’s why I love science…it’s self-correcting…even if it takes a while.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Fantastic stuff. I didn’t know you could use disparaging adjectives for evidence against ideas we disagree with.

      Wait … an idea is coming to me … yes … I got it! why don’t we use approving adjectives the other way: as positive evidence for ideas we approve of?!

  10. PDA, I have a number of very intuitive guesses which I can’t back up, because I’m terrible at details, but very good at the generalities. That is to say I’m extremely good at absorbing details and come out with possibilities that have no cogency. So:

    I. We will continue a gradual warming of ‘average land temperature’ of 0.6-75 c per century.
    2. This will continue the same gradual affects that it had before.
    3. This may be possibly quite beneficial, on average; but
    4. If not, we will have the ingenuity to deal with it.

    • Um… thanks for the shout-out?

    • Lewis Deane

      But am I wrong? And I only shout you out because I sort of trust you.

    • Well, that’s sort of nice! And I don’t know if you’re wrong… nobody does. I’d only say boundless optimism, while a competitive advantage in one’s own life, might not be as smart a strategy for a global industrial society.

      But I guess we’ll see.

    • Lewis Deane

      Beauty, like the silver sheen of a flooded street
      Seen from windows that do not care
      And before the flood subsides and the cars
      Find their place to park and the detritus
      Of tin cans and supermarket trolleys says,
      Hey, I’ve got you, staring down on that garbage,
      Being garbage yourself. O I want to look down
      But I’m staring up, beneath the waters.

    • Huh, anyone else feel awkward now?? :-)

    • That bit from Lewis sounds like some dialog from the sf movie ‘Paul’. which I can strongly recommend for a great comedy sci-fi romp, by the way.

  11. Harry Potter may now sit in an uneasy relationship with another hero of English fiction, Sherlock Holmes:

    “Watson, as I have said, whenever all other possibilities have been ruled out, the improbable, however unlikely, must be the truth.”

    This is the approach Serreze above and so many others have pretended to take to the ‘problem’ of a rise of 0.8 deg C (Professor Muller and the BEST team confirming) over the last century. But we’re not trying to solve a murder here, we’re taking temperature readings in time and space and trying to grasp a spatio-temporal nettle of immense complexity. Meaning we don’t have a clue. If the magic of Harry Potter is the best way to communicate that more widely, great. But let’s at least jettison our fantasies of being Holmes.

    • Richard – I tend to disagree, it’s not just the elimination of all other possibilities, it’s a known physical property of CO2 that it allows shorter wavelengths of light in, but bounces the longer, Infra-Red wavelengths of light. So it’s not just the elimination of other possibilities, but the existence of a plausible explanation for a rise in temperature. True – there can still be the old unknown unknowns, but Judith and others do have a clue and properly conducted scientific investigations are the best tool we have for understanding what’s happening, ala Holmes.

      Unfortunately – things are very complex out here in the real world, and it’s only with study after study that we can confirm what’s “right/true/most likely” and what’s almost certainly false. Holmes had it easy in his made up world where everything had a right and wrong answer….black or white. Our world is full of all shades of color .

    • But it is only a plausable explanation for the rise in temperature if we assume a perfect, sealed, simple system. The earths climate is anything but.

      It’s always bugged me this- whenever i’m testing the affects of something i have to first show that the ‘thing’ i’m measuring cannot possibly be down to any ‘natural’ or equipment variation.

      You can’t just say, this works in a lab in a tightly controlled environment, so i’ll jsut extrapolate that up to a massive unbound and complex system, completely ignoring any natural factors.

      Inciedentally- i asked this question before and no one seemed to know- how much money is being put into researching NATURAL drivers of climate?? I’d wager not much- perhaps that has more to do with the ‘lack’ of evidence re: a natrual drivers than the cAGW proponents would suggest.

    • Most of the people I know of that are doing the research into the natural drivers of climate, are not government nor grant funded.
      I have done what I have done out of part of my daily earnings, for the past 20 years.

    • andrew adams

      But it is only a plausable explanation for the rise in temperature if we assume a perfect, sealed, simple system. The earths climate is anything but.

      But despite that we know that GHGs already warm the atmosphere by around 33C so how is it not plausible that an increase in GHGs should be expected to warm the atmosphere even more?

    • how is it not plausible that an increase in GHGs should be expected to warm the atmosphere even more?

      It is plausible that an increase in CO2 will warm the planet some.

      Of the warming we have had, some of it probably is CO2. AGW says the rest of the increase in temp that has been measured is from positive feedbacks on that increase of CO2. Why? Because they cannot come up with any other natural reason for the increase.

      Do scientists even know all the natural mechanisms that cause the climate to change? Nope.

      Seems to me that pinning everything on humans because of a lack of knowledge of natural causes of climate would be a reason to look further into natural causes. It appears such thinking is wrong because no one is doing or funding that kind of research. Odd don’t you think?

    • Just as CO2 anthropogenic emissions more than explain the CO2 increase in the atmosphere, CO2 amounts more than explain the warming we have seen. So just as with the question of why look for more CO2 emissions sources, the question is why look for more warming sources when we have enough already with just CO2.

    • “But we’re not trying to solve a murder here”

      We don’t even know if a “crime” has been committed.

  12. Summing up, it is just a case of bad science. It happens in all fields of research and, on occasion, temporarily takes over. Examples abound.

  13. I agree that Serreze’s informal remarks are not logically airtight. However, for multidecadal intervals, observational data are consistent with his statement:

    “Is it that the warming is coming from the oceans — the oceans are releasing heat into the atmosphere? … Well, if that were the case, we’d have to observe that the oceans are cooling … but oceans are not cooling, the oceans are warming like the atmosphere.”

    I think the salient point is that in the absence of external forcings (i.e., during unforced climates), heat redistribution within the climate system induces counteracting tendencies to restore the earlier state, so that after a suitable interval, internal fluctuations tend to average out. This reflection of the laws of thermodynamics is impervious to the magic wand of chaos theory, although chaotic behavior along the way is permissible.

    The critical question is what constitutes a “suitable interval”. If it is far shorter than a long term trend of interest (ENSO is an example), the averaging does not interfere greatly with interpretation. If it is much longer (orbital forcing), the effect on the trend is likely to be minor. The most problematic intervals are those close to the interval of interest, and particularly those of slightly greater length. For example, a 200 year fluctuation observed over 100 years can easily give rise to the principle that “one person’s trend is another person’s cycle”.

    I’m not aware of strong fluctuations of these lengths. The PDO and AMO oscillations are long enough to introduce significant variation into observed trends, but they have tended to average out over the course of a century. Still, it is always prudent to be aware of the possible existence of long term fluctuations that can be confused with forced trends.

    It is also true that completely “unforced climates” exist rarely if ever, because even forcings that emerged centuries ago will still operate via the deep ocean, albeit it at very minimal levels when stretched out so long. Nevertheless, I would submit that the principle that relatively stable climates tend to damp out internal fluctuations in the absence of significant external forcing remains a valid one.

    • Alexander Harvey

      Fred,

      “I agree that Serreze’s informal remarks …”

      Informal?

      As in:

      “On a conference call with other scientists and reporters, …”

      Well it is not as though he was likely to be speaking off the record. Do you seek to imply that if it was somehow more formal he would have expressed a different opinion.

    • I only meant that if he had been addressing a scientific meeting or submitting a paper to a journal, he would have (I hope) tried to document his statements with evidence.

      Also, from what I’ve heard, he wasn’t even wearing a tie.

    • Alexander Harvey

      So the statements were sound but the justification for them was missing. You are happy about that? Fully behind his statements? Not just a bit tempted to say you disagree?

      Perhaps you have also heard who the other scientists, he was addressing were.

    • Alex – You may have read too much into my description. However, I don’t think scientists addressing reporters need always cite the evidence for their conclusions during a time-limited session each scientist shares with other participants.

      Was he addressing other scientists as you imply, or were a group of scientists addressing reporters?

      I wasn’t defending Serreze, or attacking him, but merely discussing one aspect of his comments. If others want to criticize him, that’s fine with me.

    • Alexander Harvey

      Fred,

      Do you support his statements?

    • To avoid digressions into the multiple topics he touched on, I’ll simply say that I understand the reasons for most of his comments, but I also think his sweeping claim that greenhouse gases are the “only factor” that can explain the observed warming is open to misinterpretation. It may be true that other factors can’t easily account for all the warming, but I prefer to assess the importance of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in terms of what we know they do rather than simply by default because there is no other explanation.

    • Alexander Harvey

      Fred,

      “but I also think his sweeping claim that greenhouse gases are the “only factor” that can explain the observed warming is open to misinterpretation.”

      Misinterpretation?

      What are the alternative interpretations?

      Do you mean regarding his statement as true is a misinterpretation, or regarding it as false is a misinterpretation?

      Is an alternative interpretation of “only factor” that it be understood to mean “one of many necessary factors”?

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      And he also wasn’t wrong.

    • Obviously you have not been to a whole lot of meetings these days:)

  14. history has some lessons on wizards and witches:

    The crops are failing!
    We don’t know why!
    It must be witches!
    Burn the Witches!!!

    Followed by;
    the crops are still failing!
    find more witches
    Torture them first, then burn them!

    Hunter’s 1st response, i concur with

    • “The Age of Witch-Hunting thus seems pretty congruent with the era of the
      Little Ice Age. The peaks of the persecution coincide with the critical
      points of climatic deterioration. Witches traditionally had been held
      responsible for bad weather which was so dangerous for the precarious
      agriculture of the pre-industrial period. But it was only in the 15th
      century that ecclesiastical and secular authorities accepted the reality of
      that crime. The 1420ies, the 1450ies, and the last two decades of the
      fifteenth century, well known in the history of climate, were decisive years
      in which secular and ecclesiastical authorities increasingly accepted the
      existence of weather-making witches. During the “cumulative sequences of
      coldness” in the years 1560-1574, 1583-1589 and 1623-1630, again 1678-1698 (Pfister 1988, 150) people demanded the eradication of the witches whom they held responsible for climatic aberrations. Obviously it was the impact of the Little Ice Age which increased the pressure from below and made parts of the intellectual elites believe in the existence of witchcraft. So it is possible to say: witchcraft was the unique crime of the Little Ice Age.”

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/32396573/Witch-Hunting-Maunder

    • Sorry about that wierd formatting. Probably climate related, or done directly by witches.

    • I think they just burned a few witches to keep warm!

  15. Alexander Harvey

    I would be interested to see if believers in AGW theory will:

    a) Rally in support of these claims,

    b) Distance themselves from these claims.

    For me, as a believer the answer has to be (b), but I don’t count as I am not a player (opinion former). If those that do count rally in support they will I suspect be throwing another tranch of believers overboard.

  16. I thought that I had read that the ARGO System had indicated cooling oceans not, as Serreze said, heating oceans. (?)

  17. I have to confess, I’ve never read any Harry Potter.
    Does he ever have to deal with an imaginary Death Spiral?

    • No, only Death Eaters. And AFAIK, neither he nor any of his friends or enemies ever changed either climate or weather as Serreze stated.

    • Jim Owen

      Rain indoors at the Ministry, though we don’t know it was magic, in Deathly Hallows.

      The Dark Mark is sort of a cloud, which I’m sure Girma will be glad to know looks just like a skeleton with a viper for a tongue, seen through the last four books.

      And that wasn’t a hurricane, those were giants.

      Artificial sky in the Hogwarts dining hall malfunctioned to produce storm-like effects. But we don’t know that was magic, either. Could’ve been a leak, in the Goblet of Fire.

      Though.. why are we talking about this again?

      Etc.

    • Ah, but the Dark Mark wasn’t a “cloud’ cause it neither formed nor dissipated except via magic.

      Rain in the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC. Not magic.

      Artificial sky – a very large projector screen?

      How did we get here, anyway? :-)

    • Ron makes it snow at the dinner table in Halfblood Prince. (Have two kids who were Potter fanatics).

      By the way, is Gavin Schmidt Voldemort in thjs movie?

    • Not a fanatic, but I’ve read it twice. But then I’ve read Lord of the Rings 3 times.

      I’ve always thought of Hansen as Voldemort. But I could be wrong.

    • If Hansen’s Voldermort, Gore is Snape.

    • Or maybe the other way around.

    • Had that thought, but then who is Schmidt? Gotta find a juicy role for him. Any ideas Bart?

    • Gore can’t be Snape, Snape is smart and talented. Maybe Schmidt for Snape if Hansen is Voldemort.

      Gore would be the clumsy guy who turns into a rat….Peter Pettigrew. Remember, he started out as conservative Democrat until the Clintons turned him to the dark side. Oops, wrong movie.

    • OK – now you got me — so how are we gonna fill this out? Who fits as the Malfoys – both father and son?

    • Michael Mann as Draco Malfoy.

    • Erm

      Not to be a spoiler for those who don’t have children, but it turns out that Snape is one of the heroes.

      Do we have to stoop to ad hom fantasies by citing a source that as a major moral lesson repudiates the practice?

      To preach as Sirius Black does,“I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You’re not a bad person. You’re a very good person, who bad things have happened to. Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

      What do you choose to act to do?

    • Anakin Skywalker?

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Actually, it’s leprechauns, not Harry Potter.

    • All I know is I read the post and all I could think of was Mr Bean saying “it’s magic”.

  18. “the Harry Potter theory might be good nomenclature for natural unforced variability; climate scientists seem to reject as magic warming that isn’t forced.”
    =================================================

    Well, natural variability has forcings, only ones we haven’t identified, yet. There really wasn’t a compelling need to quantify “stuff happens”. And, there may very well be latent mechanisms that haven’t even engaged, yet. Let’s measure those!

    The science is settled……later,…… we can find no other explanation……

    Does the fact that we’re not looking for any other explanation come into play there?

    CO2 causes everything. Its hot? CO2. Its cold. CO2. Its wet. CO2 Its dry. CO2. Biosphere growing, CO2. Biosphere collapsing, CO2. and on and on. It never was important before, but now, because there is an additional 1/10,000th atmospheric CO2 nature’s laws and man’s past observations suddenly are void.
    yehokfine. Maybe the Harry Potter theory may be good nomenclature for something else.

    • Holly Stick

      How about: CO2 causes warming, that is, it adds more energy to the system. More energy in the system = weather changes.

    • Ok, I’ll play. Changes from what?

    • The End is FAR

      Adding CO2 to a system does not add energy. It is NOT and energy source. CO2 does NOT produce heat. The SUN adds energy to the system.

      Oddly enough your last sentence is describing Convection which you failed to recognize as relating to AGW. This is precisely what my argument has been. If CO2 does ‘trap’ radiation then the surface temperature will begin to rise(i.e. more energy in system), however Mother Nature has trick up her sleeve. Convection (aka Weather). As soon as the ‘trapped’ radiation begins to heat the surface, Convection Immediately serves as another means to transfer that same energy.

      Convection (aka Weather) is very efficient at removing heat (Wind Chill, thunder storms, etc ) so CO2 would have to ‘trap’ tremendous amounts of radiation to overwhelm the cooling effects of Convection. Far more than is being observed.

    • Convection is thoroughly incorporated into calculations of the effects of CO2 and other forcings. Without convection, the predicted warming would be far greater than the values that are cited in the literature. We see this in the calculations that involve convective adjustments to maintain adiabatic lapse rates, as well as the values used to compute the negative lapse rate feedback due to latent heat transfer. These quantitations are available in basic text books and in the literature for those who are interested in pursuing the matter further.

    • Fred, I’m looking at the lines for the thread, and it appears you replied to me. I typically engage when replied to, but I’m not sure about where you’re going with this in relation to my comment. Perhaps some elucidation? I too, believe convection has been addressed.

    • lol, nvm….I see……I’m still trying to get used to Dr. Curry’s threading.

    • The End is FAR

      Please provide a source, or even better describe/address it (convection) yourself.

      Why cannot one person describe how a reduction in emissitivity, caused by CO2 or anything else for that matter, prevents Convection from IMMEDIATELY fulfilling the role of energy transfer up to the Tropopause where it is a very cold -56C.

      Are you all suggesting that Radiation is responsible for a -71 C drop in temp from the surface to the Tropopause?

      Do you need book or to search the WWW?

      Seriously.

    • CO2 does not reduce atmospheric emissivity but increases it. It has no effect on surface emissivity.

    • The End is FAR

      :) Thanks Fred. You have no clue what you are talking about.

      If the Earth at 15C Radiates at an average 385 W/m^2, and CO2 Traps 2W/m^2, then the Earth now Radiates at 383 W/m^2. The Emissions are Reduced by 2.

      Radiation travels at the Speed of Light, 300 Million meters per second. If say a CO2 molecule ‘traps’ some energy at 10,000 meters, then the time it took for the energy to leave the Earth and return is 6.6×10-5 sec. Nearly instantaneous, in practical terms, modern instruments would have a hard time differentiating the change in temp. Now look at something more meaningful like 10 meters, that energy returns in millionths of a sec. It is as if the energy never left.

      A Reduction in Emissitivity, The Emissitivity Effect. Not a Greenhouse Effect.

      Unless your level of understanding grows past Googling what other people understand, there is no need for you to attempt to correct me. I did not gain my understanding by parroting what others say. I got my understanding by attempting to disagree with them. If I am not successful at disagreeing, then I must agree.

      If I can place one fault in AGW science is that there is very little attempt to disagree with it.

    • The End is FAR

      The lapse rate does not include the creation of Convective Currents due to uneven heating and cooling and is simply a characteristic of temperature/pressure decreasing with altitude.

      A mirage is formed by a temperature gradient of NO LESS than 2 degress C over 1 meter. They are common up to 5C/m and get up to 10C/m. That is CONVECTION at work, not a lapse rate. Sure it is at above average temps, but it shows the efficiency. Does the adiabatic Lapse rate describe rates of temperature changes? NO. It only describes a reduction in temp with altitude. Thanks we all know that.

      Are you stating that the lapse rate can be used in real world prediction when the variables are so many? (i.e. Surface temp, humidity, amount of direct sunlight, land sea breeze, specific heat of surface [water, veg, soil], and other convective currents due to uneven cooling? That’s one hell of a model.

      Are you suggesting that Radiation is More efficient than Convection?

      “negative lapse rate feedback due to latent heat transfer.” What is that? Is that some kind of reversed lapse rate due to evaporation and/or condensation? If you can’t describe it yourself, don’t point me to a ‘text’ book, name one.

      Name one text book. Sorry if you thought you could blow smoke up my pant leg. Adiabatic lapse rate my @#$^

    • One good text among many is “Principles Of Planetary Climate” (Raymond Pierrehumbert, University of Chicago, 2011).

    • End is FAR is quite correct. Many people (including fred and scienceofdoom) seem to think that knowing about the lapse rate means that you are ‘taking convection into account’. This is nonsense. In order to take convection into account you need to quantify the heat flux due to convection, which is a very difficult thing to do accurately. I have been going on about this for some time (see for example sciencofdoom convection threads) so I’m glad to see someone else taking up this point.

    • The End is FAR

      The Lapse Rate is just a fancy way of saying PV=nRT.

      PaulM, Glad to see another person with an understanding of Convection as well. Convection is why the GHE cannot be explained. If you actually put into words what is going on one quickly recognizes that a reduction in Emissitivity does nothing to replace the overwhelming efficiency seen in Convection.

      I wonder who is actually claiming the lapse rate accounts for Convection.

      Fred, is “Principles Of Planetary Climate” (Raymond Pierrehumbert, University of Chicago, 2011) your source of Info regarding this subject?

    • Paul – You may misunderstand the relationship between convection and lapse rate. It’s hard for me to tell, because you are simply generalizing about what “people” do or do not think. The basic principle is that radiative transfer alone will typically generate a “super-lapse rate” beyond the adiabat, due to differentially greater heating at lower than at higher altitudes. A convective adjustment refers to the principles that convective transfer of heat reduces the disparity and therefore tends to restore the adiabat (i.e., a more stable state). The result is to move to a radiative/convective equilibrium rather than a radiative equilibrium alone. The calculations are incorporated into climate models, and also monitored by satellite observational data. This is well described in various sources, including the text I cited for End Is Far. You might want to take a look at it for further description and quantitative details.

    • Yes I know about the lapse rate. But the lapse rate tells you nothing about the heat flux due to convection. And you need to know this heat flux to calculate temperatures, in the same way you need to know about the radiative heat flux. This a widespread blind spot.

    • The End is FAR

      Tell you what Paul, arguing the Lapse Rate when you’ve dismissed it as just a function of PV=nRT is difficult. :)

      It never seemed that important to me. I have a strong feeling that it does not, and that this Lapse Rate is more of the Playground of Convection. Not saying it has no influence, but that Convection shapes the Lapse Rate, not vice versa as areas of high and low pressure are determined by convective cells.

      In any event, I feel your pain. So much nonsense mixed with some truth. My own misunderstanding of the low emissitivity of N2 notwithstanding. But that low emissitivity raises some interesting questions about how it is heated.

    • Below, I’ve suggested one text source among many from which you can begin to acquire an understanding of climate dynamics. In your above comment, you appear to have confused emissivity with emissions. It’s a common error, but leads to serious misinterpretation of climate data and principles.

    • The threading now places my suggested source in the “above” location rather than “below”. There many other good sources as well on radiative/convective equilibrium.

    • The confusion between emissivity and emissions is what I was applying to End Is Far’s comments, although the thread lines make this unclear.

    • The End is FAR

      An Adiabatic system one where no heat is transferred, but one will see an increase or decrease in Temp do to varying pressures and vice versa. Adiabatic systems are Stratified due to relatively equal pressures at the same altitude. This does not describe Convection which by definition is a transfer of heat and it is not stratified. Once you introduce Convection into an Adiabatic System, it is not longer adiabatic.

      With regards to emissions and emissitivity, emissions are the Act of radiating, and emissitivity is ability to radiate thus adjusting the rate of emissions. If you reduce the Rate by ‘Trapping’ radiation, then you have lowered its emissitivity.

      The Lapse Rate is only a decrease or increase in temp/pressure over distance, not time. It does not describe the transfer of heat, only what one would expect in a Static system. It is more of a scale than a rate. Convection by definition is the rate of temperature change (heat transfer) over both distance and time.

      Is that understanding in error? If so please don’t refer to a text, if you can’t explain it yourself, then don’t.

    • End Is Far – Your understanding is not completely correct.

      First, emissivity and emissions are very different concepts. CO2 increases rather than reduces atmospheric emissivity (via Kirchoff’s Law), since it both absorbs and emits in proportion to its concentration. During radiative forcing, it reduces emissions to space, although these rise again toward the original value in response to temperature increases in the atmosphere and on the surface. This is the basis for the greenhouse effect. It is not a question of how fast radiation escapes to space, but rather of how many times it changes direction, including downward, before it escapes.

      An adiabatic profile is not stratified but rather continuous, as a function of the gas laws. Changes in the profile due to CO2 or other radiative forcings cause the temperature profile to depart from the adiabat, because the lower atmosphere becomes warmer compared with the upper atmosphere than the degree derived from the gas laws. This excess warmth triggers upward heat convection, with a tendency to restore the adiabat. It is measurable and can be calculated. It facilitates heat escape to space and reduces the level of warming that will result from a forcing due to greenhouse gases, but it does not eliminate it.

      In contrast with an adiabatic profile defined by the gas laws, and is not stratified, the stratosphere is stratified – hence its name. This is the result of the absorption of solar UV radiation by ozone at higher levels, leading to a temperature inversion. Under these conditions, upward convection of heat from below is inhibited because the upper altitudes are already excessively warm

    • To elaborate a bit on stratification – in an adiabatic profile, the “potential temperature” is equal at all altitudes, meaning that it is the temperature that would be acquired without heat transfer by any parcel of air that was moved from a different altitude to the reference altitude. That was my meaning of the word “continuous” above.

      The stratosphere, however, while showing gradual temperature changes (increasing rather than declining with altitude), is stratified in the sense that potential temperature increases with altitude due UV absorption by ozone. As a result, if one moved a parcel of air from the lower stratosphere upward, it would only acquire the temperature of the higher layer by absorbing more heat. This is a non-adiabatic process. It is this higher potential temperature that inhibits upward convective heat transfer and stabilizes the stratospheric temperature inversion.

    • The End is FAR,

      It seems that Fred has not got the message trough. I make my attempt hoping that I could help in clearing some points (although I am not very confident on that).

      The adiabatic lapse rate is the end result of convective heat transfer, which occurs when radiative heat transfer tries to induce a stronger temperature gradient than is stable. The convection continues until the stable gradient is reached and this maximal stable gradient is called adiabatic lapse rate. The convection that forces the gradient down to adiabatic lapse rate may be local and essentially adiabatic, because the non-adiabatic processes are very weak: Little turbulence is involved, conduction is much weaker form of heat transfer than convection, and the convection occurs between nearby layers as soon as the temperature gradient exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate by a very small amount.

      This type of convection occurs only when the adiabatic lapse rate is exceeded. There are also other, usually larger scale convective processes, but that is a separate issue.

      With increased CO2 the temperature of the surfaces rises. In areas, where the adiabatic lapse rate is true, the temperature of the whole air column must also rise, because the adiabatic lapse rate would otherwise be exceeded. This increase in the temperature stops in the tropopause, where the gradient falls below the adiabatic lapse rate.

    • The End is FAR

      Continued at the bottom . . .

    • That is not even a bad oversimplification.

      It is akin to not knowing the difference between a hot water bottle and a thermal blanket.

    • “CO2 causes everything. Its hot? CO2. Its cold. CO2. Its wet. CO2 Its dry. CO2. Biosphere growing, CO2. Biosphere collapsing, CO2. and on and on.”

      The we’d expect the variability in future data sets to be greater, thus making it impossible to establish anything with more certainty than already established. (sarcasm off)

  19. It would have been more honest if Serreze had simply said “I don’t know enough to say what the climate is going to do” than to have said all that. What is dishonest is to suggest by his ditty that he does know what the climate is going to do.

    I wonder how many climatologists there would be if the government had a “failure to perform” clause written into the grants we tax payers cough up each year. While the government won’t, I expect the tax payers are going to begin to expect more certainty and more transparency regards uncertainty.

    • “What is dishonest is to suggest by his ditty that he does know what the climate is going to do.”
      =================================================

      Just like all of the other junior alarmists.

  20. I have to admit that Serreze has been on my s**t list for a number of years. I’ll give some respect here because at least he gives a bit more depth as to why he thinks what he does. So, y’know, he’s still on the “list”, but perhaps he’s moved down a notch or two, at least temporarily.

  21. I used to be a big believer in government sponsored Big Science. Mariner, Voyager, Woods Hole’s explorations of the Galapagos Rift — none of them would have been possible without Big Government Science and I thrilled to learn of sulfur-based life forms and each new discovery made by the Voyager twins.

    Sadly, “climate scientists” like Serrenze just provide fodder for the argument that the best favor we can do for Science right now is a starvation diet until the rats leave for better feeding grounds. I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater but if this is an example of the “science” coming out of NSIDC and Hansen represents a new norm for NASA then we may have lost the baby a long time ago.

    • The End is FAR

      Science will recover, but it must be purged to get back to a healthy state. ‘Big Science’ has created spoiled brats out of much of the Scientific Community and ‘climate scientists’ in particular. They have little difficulty at chomping at the actual hand that feeds them because, Big Government has the 16th Amendment, to force that money from otherwise unwilling hands.

  22. What would the weather be like if there was no AGW?

  23. There’s no magic ingredient called Natural Variation. There has to be some actual source that’s putting energy into the climate.

    So, where does this energy come from?

    There are calculations and observations about how much a given amount of CO2 will produce. To pin the tail on some other donkey, you’ve got to calculate how much energy the other source can produce AND then vamoose the observed/calculated energy from CO2.

    Skeptical words have to have some connection to reality. Skepticism that’s rote isn’t really skepticism: it’s posturing. And in the case of AGW, it’s posturing for a transparent political reason.

    • John Carpenter

      “There are calculations and observations about how much a given amount of CO2 will produce.”

      Please enlighten me on how CO2 “produces” energy?

    • “Please enlighten me on how CO2 “produces” energy?”

      That’s the Harry Potter part. Its magic!

    • John Carpenter

      Well thanks. Since Jeffery won’t explain it and because I had this silly notion the sun provided all the energy, your explanation says it all!

    • Actually, no–a substantial portion of the Earth’s heat comes from the collapse of mass that formed the planet in the first place. And a small but significant portion comes from the decay of radioactive elements.

    • In terms of climate that amount is zip influence.

    • Yes…. if by “substantial,” you mean 0.075 watts per square meter… about 0.02% of the total.

    • I gather that you want to argue with me, but I’m not sure why. From your cite, I infer that you meant to comment on my use of “small but significant,” rather than “substantial.” Part of the reason the contribution of radioactive decay is “significant” today is that the energy released has historically been greater than it is today (obviously). But even at present rates of decay, the average contribution to heat flow (i.e., heat coming to the surface from below) is about one half. (See, e.g., Fundamentals of Geophysics, William Lowrie, p. 187). And, yes, geothermal heat is a significant contribution to the Earth’s present temperature–a fact I’d think all of the AGWers around here would eagerly agree with.

    • And in the case of AGW, it’s posturing for a transparent political reason.

      Uh – and just what is my transparent political reason?

      Bet you don’t believe in unicorns, either.

    • Uh – and just what is my transparent political reason?

      Just guessing, but you don’t want to live in a Malthusian version of totalitarian communism?

    • You can bet the farm on that. But I don’t think Jeffrey would have phrased it that way. :-)

    • See, pure political…..lol…….

      I can’t help but remembering what was stated yesterday……. “Eleventh, we will need to embrace again the role of the state as a direct provider of public goods.”

      Then, of course, here’s this gem from Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC wg III “……. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

      Forget transparent, these are overtly stated political reasons.

    • Uhhmmm, the sun? I suppose we could also throw in geo-thermal, but that’s really minute, comparably.

      “Skeptical words have to have some connection to reality. Skepticism that’s rote isn’t really skepticism: it’s posturing. And in the case of AGW, it’s posturing for a transparent political reason.”

      That’s a beautiful way to invert the null hypothesis. I’m giving you your props on that one! But, just so we’re clear. Alarmists come up with some unprovable conjecture about CO2 being the cause of some recent warming (well not so recent..it hasn’t warmed in over a decade). Skeptics say no it probably isn’t. Alarmists say prove it?

      I’m suing all of my old science teachers! They obviously taught me incorrectly. Heck, if I knew science was that easy, I’d stuck with labs and academia instead of venturing out into the real world. Now I’m doubly gonna sue them!!

    • Alexander Harvey

      Jeffrey,

      The AOGCM control runs (runs with no forcings) do exhibit unforced variation. One could argue as to whether they get the scale right but they do support the existence of such variations. Unforced periods of warming and cooling on scales from months to decades are produced by the models. One could argue that this is forced behaviour but I think that must lead to the forcings being considered natural.

      The amplitute of these variations varies from model to model but decadal differences would be measured in tenths of a degree not hundreds of a degree. Variation for at longer timescales is smaller than for shorter timescales. At century timescales these variations have a low probability of matching the 20th century warmng but they are in the same order of magnitude, e.g. 0.1 – 0.2ºC as opposed to 0.6 – 0.8 ºC, so they are minor but not insignificant, in my opinion. Of course they go down as well us up on century timescales.

      Model control run outputs are available at “Climate Explorer”, look for “picntrl” runs.

    • In addition: GCMs don’t accurately reflect natural variability of periods between 2 and 50 years. See the ocean heat content changes over the past 50 years by two models, compared to observations, Fig S1 of Barnett e.a.:
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2005/07/07/1112418.DC1/Barnett.SOM.pdf

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      Interesting. I guess from looking at it, they were using a fairly old version of the sub-surface ocean data. The variability in the 70s is now thought to be exaggerated by biases in the XBT data. The way the depth was calculated for different types of probes was wrong.

      Compare Figure 3.8 (old estimates) with Figure 3.9 (new estimates) in this presentation:
      http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/bams-sotc/2009/bams-sotc-2009-chapter3-global-oceans-figures.ppt

    • Quite a difference, but I have the uneasy feeling that there is some bias in this type of corrections, why are there so many corrections if the data don’t fit the theory and so few to the opposite side?

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      Dunno. The XBT fall rate problems are quite well-documented, but I don’t think they’ve ironed out all the problems with the adjustments. For the sub-surface ocean data, they have very high-quality data from CTD against which they can compare the XBT data, which helps.

    • Jeff buddy, for fun save this comment, continue to read and learn for a year or so then read your comment again. Your gonna blush.

    • YOU’RE gonna blush…. :-)

      Sorry couldn’t resist! *hastily hides from the abject grammar/spelling in own posts*….

    • Jeffrey, the source that puts energy into the climate system is a thing called the sun.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Pedant.

    • I hate to break the news to you but CO2 isn’t a source of heat, never was and never will be. It always was the sun, and the argument is over to what degree CO2 adds to the internal bouncing of the heat from the sun, resulting in a higher surface temperature.

      Didn’t we settle that a few threads back?

    • Jeffrey,
      That is an assertion that does real damage to the AGW calamity consensus..
      The weather is always fluctuating, the seasons progress, and the cliamte varies.
      It has done so forever.
      And in the age of CO2 obsession we are watching the manifestations of climate do……nothing unusual.

  24. Is it that the warming is coming from the oceans — the oceans are releasing heat into the atmosphere? … Well, if that were the case, we’d have to observe that the oceans are cooling … but oceans are not cooling, the oceans are warming like the atmosphere.

    Wrong!

    According to the satellite data, the oceans are cooling

    http://bit.ly/fzV5Gd

  25. Alexander Harvey

    Fred,

    with reference to your:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/02/the-harry-potter-theory-of-climate/#comment-51597

    “but I also think his sweeping claim that greenhouse gases are the “only factor” that can explain the observed warming is open to misinterpretation.”

    Misinterpretation?

    What are the alternative interpretations?

    Do you mean regarding his statement as true is a misinterpretation, or regarding it as false is a misinterpretation?

    Is an alternative interpretation of “only factor” that it be understood to mean “one of many necessary factors”?

    • Alex – You should probably ask Serreze what he meant, although I suspect it was the last item on your list. We don’t know what question he was responding to. If he was asked, “Does CO2 account for the 0.8 C warming?”, he should have answered differently. If he was asked, “Isn’t the observed amount of warming, 0.8 C, small enough to be explained without greenhouse gases?”, his answer was probably reasonable, even if poorly phrased.

      I have no stake in the matter.

    • Alexander Harvey

      Fred,

      I don’t care about what he meant, I care about the report of what he said.

      “only factor” is not ambiquous, I do not see how it can be misinterpreted.

      I can see that it could have been mis-reported but that is a different issue.

      Do you think the statement as reported is true, or not?

    • In my view, the century long warming can be explained best by attributing most early 2oth century warming to solar forcing with a minor CO2 component, most warming since 1976 to CO2 and black carbon aerosols with little solar contribution, a substantial amount of the fluctuations above and below the trend to internal climate dynamics plus a rise and fall of anthropogenic aerosols during mid- to late century, and an unknown but probably small contribution of internal climate dynamics to the trend slope itself.

      Serreze’s statement appears on the surface to claim that greenhouse gases have been the sole determinant. That is incorrect, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to make that claim, but rather to claim that greenhouse gas forcing was necessary to account for the full extent of the observed warming. Not being a mind reader, I can’t be absolutely sure. If that was his point, he phrased it poorly, and left himself open to criticism for appearing to have claimed that greenhouse forcing could explain it all.

      To use one of the terms you mentioned earlier, I’m happy to “distance” myself from a specific claim that greenhouse forcing explains the entire trend since 1910. Otherwise, I’ll stick to my own views rather than trying to extricate meaning from the quoted remarks that others have made during a conference with reporters.

  26. Jeffrey Davis probably wishes he hadn’t said

    There’s no magic ingredient called Natural Variation. There has to be some actual source that’s putting energy into the climate.

    So, where does this energy come from?

    All energy that does not come from the earth itself comes from outside the earth. That includes the sun, the stars of our galaxy, and radiant objects beyond that.

    CO2 does not product energy. Climate variability is caused by the sequestering and release of energy over time into a chaotic local environment. Some days we get more, some days we get less energy; some is stored, some is released immediately. In some cases the storage mechanism is fluid such as the ocean, lakes, streams, and the atmosphere. It is transported from place to place and released sometimes far from where it arrived. Ultimately every bit of it goes out into the places between the stars, but on average, owing to myriad variable of nature, it lingers long enough to provide warmth to our little orb. That is the energy balance – the difference between what arrives and what leaves as measured over a period of time. The role of the “period of time” is probably the least understood component of climate science. Getting that energy to the places between the stars is what this thing called climate is all about. Ignoring the role of the “period of time” is what climate alarmism is all about.

    And on average, over billions of years, the incoming heat and the out going heat have been in balance. I say on average because the surface of this little orb has at alternate times been frozen or largely ice free, all because of natural variation, there being nothing unnatural in nature to vary things.

    Now along come people with short life spans who noted that according to stories from previous generations, it was [warmer/colder] in the time of the elders than now. Suffering climate envy, these people decided to pretend tree rings and mollusk shells are thermometers that transcend time and claim it is settled science that it is [warming/cooling] even as we speak and something must be done and it will cost trillions not that that matters because its for the children. They admit that nothing those trillions will buy will change the climate, but dammit, it’s for the children. Really!

    Then they invented maths so they could prove to themselves mathematically that the sky is fa… er, that the climate is [warming/cooling]. And for decades the mathematical results have been wrong, but way kewl, never the less, and easily explained by CNN news readers. We don’t question the maths as a matter of politeness, so don’t break the circle by questioning the maths.

    For more of this story I suggest the writings of Mother Goose with special emphasis on “The Sky is Falling” and Chicken Little, the archetypal climatologist. Also, read all the Harry Potter books because England needs the revenue.

    • CO2 does not product energy

      Thank you Captain Obvious. I’m sure neither Jeffrey nor anyone else here was unclear on that point. However, adding CO2 to the atmosphere does “product” energy in the form of additional solar radiation absorbed by CO2 and reradiated as heat.

      What keeps being missed in this dogpile is that Serreze used the term “Harry Potter Theory” to describe the magical thinking of skeptics who blithely assume the additional warmth in the ocean-atmosphere system got there through unspecified means… the oft-repeated “natural cycles” being the “Wingardium Leviosa” spell that holds their magic theories together.

    • The End is FAR

      However, adding CO2 to the atmosphere does “product” energy in the form of additional solar radiation absorbed by CO2 and reradiated as heat.

      The 2W/m^2? That additional energy? Has it grown in the last couple years or stayed the same? What is the Top guestimate or ‘known’ value?

      Just curious because I’ve got some questions about that forcing, feedback, whatever it’s called these days. You seem to hold a great deal of value in your understanding, so you should at least understand what/if you cut & paste.

      I prefer your Own words if you can manage, with Random caps, but I can get by without the caps :)

    • The 2W/m^2? That additional energy? Has it grown in the last couple years or stayed the same? What is the Top guestimate or ‘known’ value?

      As far as I know, for CO2 alone it is somewhat less than 2 watts per square meter, for all GHGs something like two and a half. If you would like more exact numbers, we have this thing called the Internet.

      I’m happy to entertain your questions, but I am by no means an expert. I am trying to educate myself.

  27. Monthly global mean temperature anomaly for Jan-2011 has dropped by 0.57 deg C to 0.19 deg C since its maximum of 0.76 deg C for Feb-1998.

    http://bit.ly/f2Ujfn

    Global Cooling?

    • I’d call it short-term natural variability imposed on top of a warming trend. But since you seem to trust the CRU data, care to explain why global temperature anomalies are negative at the start of observations, and consistently above normal post 1980?

    • Because we used an arbitrary value to base our mean upon? Or because observations were started when it was unusually cool? The same reason arctic ice is always going to be below the mean. We started tracking at its largest extent.

    • Joe, have you been reading the conversation? Natural variability is soooo Harry Potterish.

    • joe

      Is it just coincidence that the following two independent observations match?

      Global Mean Temperature Pattern:
      http://bit.ly/ePQnJj

      Ocean Cyclic Pattern:

      Several independent studies find evidence for just two full PDO cycles in the past century: “cool” PDO regimes prevailed from 1890-1924 and again from 1947-1976, while “warm” PDO regimes dominated from 1925-1946 and from 1977 through (at least) the mid-1990′s

      http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/

    • Great, so now you’ve got short-term magic (ENSO) and longer-term magic (PDO) under your command, but there is still this magical warming trend that you haven’t yet mastered.

      Also, why are you sending me links to a graph of global mean temperature anomalies that have had their linear trend removed?

    • I accept a global warming rate of 0.5 deg C per century

      http://bit.ly/e3GhVM

      To compare global mean temperature oscillation with ocean oscillation (PDO), you need to remove the long-term warming trend from the global mean temperature.

      I accept an additional global warming of 0.5 deg C by 2100.

  28. I have another story that demonstrates the climate varies naturally and it is a fantastic story. But it is a story every one of you can also write if given just a few details which, for the sake of the story, can be assumed to be true.

    It is the story of a special rock. I will provide a link to it but first we can, for the sake of the story, assume these things are true:
    * It is 600 million years old (this is important in a Pangea kind of way)
    * It is argillite of a type found in Canada (two very important clues)
    * It is older than multi-cellular life
    * It is not now in Canada

    I like to think of it as a wanderer, or an ice child. A vagabond that has found home at last. Put your hands together, people, for…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erratic_Rock_State_Natural_Site

    Now using your deductive powers, draw a line on a globe that describes the travels of the molecules that became this ice child. Hint: These molecules crossed the equator at least once.

    When you understand the travels of this monolith you will know more about climate change. And it is worth asking yourself – is this where it sits for eternity – atop a 250′ hill in Oregon? My answer is, I think not. It has miles to go before it sleeps.

    • dp,
      Thank you for the link and the well-told story. I had not heard of this rock before. It provides interesting insight into natural climate variation. The only bit I didn’t get was your statement that it has crossed the equator at least once. I don’t know how you know that and hope you will explain.

    • Hmm, you’re right, the link doesn’t state that, but, as I recall,………. there is particulate on the rock that is only found south of the equator. But, I’ve drank a few beers since I first read about it so…….

    • To be sure, the travels of that rock are full of uncertainty, but pulling together the parts of the story as built by the best scientific guesses is what have to work with. It is one of the assumptions of truth that best guesses such as this are true. Any alternative truth is equally fascinating, regardless. It is a well-traveled rock.

      Story built on story. Uncertainty grows as we look further back in time. This video shows the watery birth of Canada well south of the equator about the time that rock was formed.

    • And Western Africa (Sahara, etc.) will merge with Canada north of Hudson Bay in only 250 m.y.! That’ll be fun to watch.

  29. I agree with the Serreze premise that climate doesn’t change by itself. Natural variation is not climate change, it is climate. To change climate you need a cause. The question then becomes: is what we are going through now climate change or just climate, the latter implying a return sooner or later to a previous state by natural variation. How many still believe that this is a reversible natural variation? It is, of course climate change, and therefore has a cause in the forcing.

    • Hmm, Jim, I’m not sure about your choice of words, “reversible”…..in the context of will it revert? Yes. Will we have anything to do with it? No. Not that it is clear that we should want to reverse what ever you think has happened.

    • It depends how long you want to wait for the CO2 to go away, but in the meantime the climate is changed, because it is a forcing change, and it will last for a while (unlike volcanoes for example that are forcing changes too, but more temporary).

    • If and only if you assume the recent warming is caused by a. CO2. I don’t think we know enough to make that assumption. And again, other than a 1/2 tick on a mercury thermometer within the confines of a short time period, what has changed?

    • I am just saying, to consider this as “climate change”, something is changing long-term to cause it, otherwise it is not climate change, but just climate.

    • No, climate does change by itself, you don’t need a ’cause’. The climate is a complicated nonlinear system that can naturally vary in an irregular way all by itself even if the forcing is constant. Like the weather or a turbulent plume of smoke. How many times does this have to be said? See the chaos thread. Another widespread blind spot.

    • climate does change by itself, you don’t need a ’cause’.

      Wow, in “Climatology II,” we’ve even overthrown causality. What’s next, temporality? Will people be born before their grandparents now?

      Nothing “changes by itself.” That’s magical thinking, Ron.

    • PaulM is correct. Technically, the “cause” is imprinted on the trajectory of the solution to the (unknown) system of equations that define climate. However, a combination of exponential growth from initial conditions and the shadowing lemma prevent causality being meaningfully ascribed, and limit the horizon to which meaningful prediction can be made – even if the complete system of equations were to be known.

      Although I have used the term before myself (partly because of common usage), I don’t like the phrase “natural variability”. “Unpredictable deterministic system response” may be more accurate, but it doesn’t really roll of the tongue. Need to work on that one.

    • Bruce Friesen

      I’d go for “sloshing around” myself, as most of the energy is wandering about the oceans at any point in time, and ocean currents bouncing around within complex-shaped basins responding to all sorts of lunar and solar gravity stuff are an “unpredictable deterministic system”.

    • All the previous changes can be attributed to causes. None are just random internal variations. Can you name a global-scale climate shift that occurred without evidence of any cause?

  30. The artic sea ice recovery statement makes perfect sense. Anybody who realizes how fast ice forms when it is -30C or -50C, which is the case during the practically sunless (in terms of heating) months from October to February could say that without any models.

    We just had an interesting debate about the same topic elsewhere, and one writer brough up an interesting hypothesis: as most of us probably know, the deep sea water is very cold, very near to zero degrees C even in warm latitudes despite the geothermal heat. Intuitively only place where such a vast amount of cold water may be formed is the Artic and Antarctica. This reasoning suggests that lesser sea extent (especially during fall and early winter) would translate into additional loss of heat in the oceans as we have much larger area for dissipating it and act like a huge thermostat reaching further north with lower air temperature.

    I’m sure this can be estimated using the models, and I am just handwaving here, and interesting question would be anyway, that how much more Joules would be dissipated as a function of sea ice extent.

  31. Jim D, agreeing with Mr. Davis and Mr. Serreze, suggests unnatural cause drives climate change with this:

    I agree with the Serreze premise that climate doesn’t change by itself. Natural variation is not climate change, it is climate. To change climate you need a cause.

    Jim – what unnatural thing can you think of that may have caused this?

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100304-snowball-earth-ice-global-warming/

    What unnatural things are even possible? This is a rather profound question because yours is an amazingly profound suggestion. Something unnatural is tinkering with our climate! That is quite a claim, particularly knowing that even nearby supernova are as natural as rain.

    • Strange question, because pumping deeply buried fossil CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate high enough to double its amount in a century is surely unnatural.

    • It is very natural, actually, and happens continuously.
      http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_printview.php?BiotID=301

      http://mhalb.pagesperso-orange.fr/kivu/eg/eg_4d_explo-nyos.htm

      And believe it or not, people and the things we do are also natural.

    • It is a stretch to say anything anthropogenic is natural. How about nuclear war, or geoengineering? Do those count as natural too?

    • You are mixing natural activity with activity you find undesirable. How can the creation of nuclear weapons be anything but natural? Or anything else humans do? I’m not happy with the outcome either, but there is nothing unnatural about it. No part of such a machine is unnatural, and none of the processes that go into the creation of it are unnatural. It is what humans do, naturally, and humans are a product of nature. If all this were not completely natural then none of this would have happened.

      We are not, by nature, mountain gorillas with thin hair. We are very different, very natural, of course, and we think and imagine and invent. And we learn and retain and teach. Most importantly we speak and write and we know that words mean things. Unlike some species – perhaps even all other species, we as individuals do not have to think of everything and we don’t have to know everything. It is enough to know someone who knows what we do not but which we require. No other creature, not bees, ants nor termites, not wolves nor hyena, form relationships to the degree humans do.

      And at some point we thought we needed nukes, we talked it over, shared what we knew and speculated about that which we didn’t know, vetted the crap, and so be it, we have them. So far they’ve been a pretty good invention, including the offshoot technologies that have come along with them. Automobiles, on the other hand, have been a disaster – a very natural one.

      Like every other living mammal we have, need, and use a hypothalamus, we have a marvelous neocortex, and perhaps the most highly evolved limbic system in the history of life. We also have, as baggage, our primitive brain too, and it is probably that which caused us to invent nukes.

      So your angst is most likely driven by your revulsion of our least developed, most primitive brain cells – the archipallium. Oddly that is the principle driver in creatures you probably consider “natural”. That part of our brain still makes us fear, fight, or flee just as it does for Bambi and Thumper. If you didn’t have yours you probably wouldn’t feel the way you do about nature, and that would be very unnatural.

    • I see this is just an argument about terminology. I see it as natural versus anthropogenic, and you see it as natural versus unnatural in the sense of ‘magic’ or not obeying the laws of Nature. This goes back the the “Harry Potter” theory that GHGs have no effect, for example, or that its effects are cancelled by some magical anti-GHG effect that will kick in like the Gaia hypothesis. People are free to believe in these things, but so far natural science isn’t supporting them.

    • Perhaps you can explain what is unnatural about anthropogenics. Perhaps not. I’d bet not.

      Would ruminogenics (from ruminant – grazing animals that phart) be considered unnatural, or aveogenics (the impact on the environment caused by bird migrations – such as avian influenza)? Yes I’m making up words. Somebody, after all, coined anthropogenic. It comes naturally and its a fine word. But how it comes to be considered a study of the unnatural requires a leap of logic.

    • In the climate context, natural variation has a specific meaning that excludes anthropogenic effects. Maybe it should be non-anthropogenic rather than natural, but that is the way it is. Solar variations and asteroids are natural too. Natural variation loses any meaning when you add those too.

  32. The main point of Serreze’s presentation seems to be the standard argument, which is also behind the expression “climate is a boundary value problem”. Third way of expressing the same thing is stating that the externally determined forcings lead to a well specified average temperature and to some other average climate properties. The alternative for this is that the earth system has something, which can loosely be described as multiple attractors (loosely for reasons discussed by Tomas Milanovic and others in earlier threads).

    Here we have really two fundamentally different dynamical hypotheses, but both allow also for intermediary possibilities, which mean that the explanation, which is correct over very long time spans does not necessarily dominate over shorter ones. If this is the case we are left the question about time scales.

    We know that on the scale up that influenced strongly by El Nino/SO the averages do not dominate. We have also strong suspicions that multidecadal oscillations are important and comparable to AGW of the present making attribution very difficult. Beyond that we have little evidence on significant oscillations on the scales of centuries, but also little evidence against. All these influence the conclusions.

    Based on Bayesian inference, explanations that are only possible with ability of predicting timing or other details should be given less weight in reasoning than explanations, with predict some details correctly, if they are true. AGW gets a lot of support of its prediction concerning timing of the warming. Years after 2000 have perhaps taken a little off from this support, but only very little (warming has “stopped”, but on the other hand it has been confirmed that the peak was not of short duration).

    Serreze’s presentation may be considered simplistic and skipping important reservations and uncertainties, but it is logical within certain limits.

    • “climate is a boundary value problem”.

      Please will people stop writing this. It is not true. We know the climate now and we would like to know what it is in the future. This is an INITIAL VALUE PROBLEM, not a boundary value problem.

    • Paul – Using current data to predict the future does not automatically convert a boundary value problem into an initial value problem, although that seems to be a common misconception. What is more important is the relative contributions of initial values vs boundary values to the manner in which the future actually evolves. With weather prediction from the models now widely used, initial values are critical, because different initial states lead to very different predictions for the weather in the following days or weeks. Conversely, with long term global climate change, different initial conditions eventually make less and less difference as the time interval rises from a few years to several decades, at which point different initial conditions converge to very similar final predictions – very different from weather.

      On the other hand, boundary conditions that include both time-invariant values (e.g., land/ocean ratios) or time-varying parameters of interest (e.g., rising CO2 concentrations) profoundly affect the results. That is the basis for the emphasis on boundary values in assessing long term climate trends.

    • Being boundary value problem means that the long term averages and the PDF’s depend on boundary values and are the same for all reasonable initial values. Saying that climate is a boundary value problem means that these PDF’s tells as much about future climate at time scales of interest for climate considerations as any calculation based on precisely correct initial values and that they tell also significant information.

      This may well be the case for climate, but theory can hardly prove that. For each climate model it can be checked doing sufficient calculations with different initial values, but even if all model allow interpreting climate as a boundary value problem, it doesn’t prove that the real climate is, because the result might be a common limitation of modeling methods used.

  33. Mark Serreze is quoted as having said, “Is it that the warming is coming from the oceans — the oceans are releasing heat into the atmosphere? … Well, if that were the case, we’d have to observe that the oceans are cooling … but oceans are not cooling, the oceans are warming like the atmosphere.”

    Apparently Mark Serreze does not understand ENSO.

  34. Judith,

    The way todays science has learned climate is like Harry Potter with his magic wand.
    In order to even contemplate climate, you have to know the planet and the players.

    Using a car manufacturing analogy, one manufacturer with many models and styles of planets and suns, and just as complex mechanically.
    One planet came off the the suns molten debris, like the moon came off of our planets molten debris. Can you pick which one?

    Trying to recreate the sun and planets from just a picture and figure out the mechanics of how they work was a very tricky process of many experimentations on how the engine of planets and suns run.

    Unfortunately science is too interested in trying to test the engine and take it’s temperature to understand the mechanical end of the planet and sun.
    I figure another five years of failure when the weather still is not cooperating with the models will it start to look else where.
    The same processes in weather are at work with the same processes of the creation of planets, just complex processes of interaction are also involved.

  35. Curry: “This is consistent with sea ice simulations I did in the 1990′s with a stand alone sea ice model. It is pretty difficult to get the wintertime sea ice not to return, would need much more warming than say tripling CO2.”

    No it is not consistent with what you did back in the 90’s; and your statement is not consistent with the researcher’s.

    Tietsche: “If we don’t slow down global warming extensively, we will lose the summer sea-ice cover in the Arctic within a few decades”.
    Tietsche: “Our research shows that the speed of sea-ice loss is closely coupled to the speed of global warming. We think that it’s important to know that we can still do something about slowing down or possibly even stopping the loss of the sea-ice cover.”
    http://mpimet.mpg.de/en/news/single-news/article/still-hope-for-arctic-sea-ice.html

    • Yeah, the model is based on the A1B scenario which has significant reductions in CO2 and a growing economy. And I’m unsure as to how a disappearing/reappearing Arctic is a situation to point out arguing from a skeptic position. How about producing a model that predicts how that effects the rest of the atmospheric system?

      Judith says:

      Ouch.  On previous Climate Etc. threads on attribution of 20th century climate change, we have pretty much debunked each of these arguments.

      No you haven’t. Please publish in peer review to debunk statements based on decades of peer-reviewed literature.

    • I have a paper that is submitted, just got the first round reviews back, under revision, makes the same arguments as I’ve made on the blog. An argument is an argument, whether or not it is blessed with peer review. Further, others have published papers on these topics.

      As an example, the IPCC AR4 says its confidence in solar forcing is “low”, which is up from “very low” in the TAR. Further the AR4 says that current models do not account for possible indirect solar effects. So square that one with Serreze’s statement. I don’t need a peer reviewed paper to point out this inconsistency.

    • Could you expand a bit, to give us some more insight regarding the forthcoming paper? Sounds interesting.

    • Glad to hear about the paper.

      As an example, the IPCC AR4 says its confidence in solar forcing is “low”, which is up from “very low” in the TAR.

      This is pretty much what I mean. A peer-reviewed paper would be more specific into what you are talking about. For Solar irradiance, the uncertainties are:

      Relationship between proxy data and total solar irradiance; indirect ozone effects

      but the certainties are:

      Measurements over last 25 years; proxy indicators of solar activity

      https://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-9-1.html#table-2-11

      On a blog, what you said sounds like we know nothing about solar forcing. This is just very misleading.

      So square that one with Serreze’s statement.

      he said:

      We’ve been monitoring energy coming from the Sun and apart from the 11-year sunspot cycle, there’s not much happening.

      The IPCC has high confidence in it’s measurements since the start of the escalation of temperature. There isn’t much happening from the sun. He’s right.

    • gryp,
      You still have to deal with contrary evidence in the peer-reviewed literature of a solar signal, found by Scafetta and others. One possible explanation is solar amplification, meaning that the climate system is particularly sensitive to small changes in solar output.

    • Martha, you seem to be missing the main point: if the summertime sea ice melts one year, it will likely return the following year. There is no tipping point here. My point is that the summertime sea ice will disappear completely (and not return at least in occasional years) only if the wintertime sea ice goes, and that requires a lot of warming. The disappearance of summertime sea ice for a single summer is not a tipping point, the summer sea ice is likely to return in subsequent years, as a function of natural interannual variability. Further, it is very difficult to completely melt all of the Arctic sea ice in a single season since there is very thick ice near the Canadian Archipelago/west coast of Greenland that should hang around for much longer. This was the topic of a paper I wrote in the 1990′s (Arbetter et al.)

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Ice free in the summer the oceans would absorb more heat than the summer before. Those effects can compound quickly. In the graphs, there aren’t reassuring “sine curves” of return to normal everywhere. Sometimes the climate changes state dramatically.

    • During summer, much of the arctic ocean is already ice free, absorbing solar radiation. Even where there is ice cover, there are breaks in the sea ice (leads) and also melt ponds, which let sunlight into the ocean. So there is already a lot of sunlight that makes it into the Arctic Ocean during summer (more obviously if the ice completely disappears). when the sun goes down in the autumn, there is substantial cooling for ~6 months. to maintain above freezing Arctic Ocean temperatures during the polar night would require very substantial warming, much more than anyone is talking about for the 21st century.

    • Judith,

      We have been a small discussion in the topic of the polar feedbacks on a small finnish forum. Some have been questioning the Arctic albedo feedback, with an argument regarding on increased OLR and also considering the fact that the sun doesn’t shine from the zenith. I know this sounds very trivial, but do you know how good this is taken in account in the calculations? I have almost ever seen anybody talking about this. Is there any reason to be skeptical about this?

    • Yuk, some typos and bad grammar slipped in. Apologies.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Sure. The “magic” of compound interest helps. Every little bit carried over to the next year makes a different starting point.

      As for winter refreeze, oh, c’mon. Few people consider runaway warming anything other than a vanishingly distant possibility and several people think it a physical impossibility.

      As always, the question is what is this going to do to us? Much of the weird winter weather we experienced this year has been tied to the late refreeze in places like Hudson Bay. That’s some of the “compound interest” referred to above. If we’re getting this with .9 what of 1.5, 2, or 2.5? Etc.

    • There is some evidence that the models have underestimated the sensitivity of Arctic sea ice to warming conditions –

      Sea Ice Sensitivity

      Does this make a tipping point more likely? Probably not in the very near future, but it alerts us to be cautious about our confidence in the stability of future Arctic ice recovery capacity.

    • Who is saying or suggesting that the loss of summertime sea ice is a tipping point? Who is saying or suggesting that wintertime sea ice will not return? What or whom are you arguing against here?

    • Julienne Stroeve

      Judy, I’m surprised you say that much of the Arctic Ocean is already ice free. What do you define as the Arctic Ocean? It certainly has not been the case that during much of the summer the Arctic Ocean is already ice free. The most pronounced retreats in the summer ice cover are occurring in the Beaufort, Chukchi and E. Siberian seas in recent years (where the ice typically existed when you were studying it in the 1990s). In 2007 the ice retreat did penetrate more into the central Arctic Ocean than we had seen before, but your statement is very misleading.

      While there is no magic tipping point in terms of ice thickness or ice concentration that would cause the Arctic to lose its summer ice cover in entirety, that does not mean the Arctic will not transition towards an ice free summer state (and by ice-free I’m talking about less than 1 million sq-km of sea ice). I do not agree that this cannot happen unless you lose the winter ice cover as well.

      What you are seeing the Arctic today is a transition towards an ice pack dominated by first year ice instead of multiyear ice. This transition does not mean there won’t be any winter FYI. You probably also realize that as the ice cover thins (i.e. transitions towards FYI), it becomes more variable (sensitive to atmospheric variability). So expect to see large fluctuations as the downward trend continues.

    • For those who are unaware, Ms. Stroeve works on this stuff professionally, unlike Judith who apparently hasn’t done research in the area for over a decade …

    • For dhogaza, who seems unaware, Julienne Stroeve’s expertise and publications are in the satellite observations of sea ice. My expertise is on physical processes and modelling of sea ice. My relevant publications are appended below, if anyone wants to download any of these papers, see my web site: http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/onlinepapers.html

      Liu, J. , J.A. Curry, W.B. Rossow, J.R. Key, X. Wang, 2005: Comparison of surface radiative flux data sets over the Arctic Ocean. J. Geophys. Res., 110, Art No. C02015.

      Khvorostyanov, V.I. and J.A. Curry, 2004: On the Thermodynamic Theory of Freezing and Melting of Water and its Solutions: J. Phys. Chem. A, 108, 11073-11085.

      Liu, J.P., J.A. Curry and Y.Y. Hu, 2004: Recent Arctic sea ice variability: connections to the Arctic Oscillation and the ENSO. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L09211. (pdf)

      Liu, J.P., J.A. Curry, and D.G. Martinson, 2004: Interpretation of recent Antarctic sea ice variability. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, Art. No. L02205.

      Liu, J.P., J.A. Curry, and D.G. Martinson, 2004: Interpretation of recent Antarctic sea ice variability. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, Art. No. L02205.

      Pinto, J.O., A. Alam., J.A. Maslanik, and J.A. Curry, 2003: Characteristics and atmospheric footprint of springtime leads at SHEBA. J. Geophys. Res., 108, art no 8051.

      Curry, J.A., J.L. Schramm, A. Alam, R. Reeder, T.E. Arbetter, P. Guest, 2002: Evaluation of data sets used to force sea ice models in the Arctic Ocean. J. Geophys Res., 107, art. no 3102.

      Tschudi, M., J.A. Curry, and J. Maslanik, 2002: Characterization of springtime leads in the Arctic Ocean from airborne observations during FIRE/SHEBA. J. Geophys. Res-Oceans., 107 (C10): Art No. 8034.

      Uttal, T., Curry, J.A., and 26 others, 2002: Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 255-275.

      Curry, J.A., J.L. Schramm, D. Perovich, and J.O. Pinto, 2001: Application of SHEBA/FIRE data to evaluation of sea ice surface albedo parameterizations. J. Geophys. Res., 106, 15345-15356.

      Tschudi, M., J.A. Curry, and J.M. Maslanik, 2001: Airborne observations of summertime surface sea ice features and their effect on surface albedo during SHEBA. J. Geophys. Res., 106, 15335-15344.

      Arbetter, T.E., J.A. Curry, and J.A. Maslanik, 1999: On the effects of rheology and ice thickness distribution in a dynamic-thermodynamic sea ice model. J. Phys. Oceanog., 29, 2656-2670

      Holland, M.M. and J.A. Curry, 1999: The role of different physical process in determining the interdecadal variability of Arctic sea ice. J. Climate, 12, 3319-3330.

      Alam, A. and J.A. Curry, 1998: Evolution of new ice and turbulent fluxes from freezing Arctic leads. J. Geophys. Res., 103, 15,783-15,802.

      Randall, D., J. A. Curry, et al., 1998: Outlook for Large-Scale Modelling of Atmosphere Ice-Ocean Interactions in the Arctic. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 70, 197-219.

      Alam, A. and J.A. Curry, 1997: Determination of surface turbulent fluxes over leads in arctic sea ice. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 3331-3344.

      Arbetter, T., J.A. Curry, M.M. Holland, and J. M. Maslanik, 1997: Response of sea ice models to perturbations in surface heat flux. Ann. Glaciol., 25, 193-197.

      Holland, M., J.A. Curry, and J.L. Schramm, 1997: Modeling the thermodynamics of a distribution of sea ice thicknesses. Part II: Ice/ocean interactions. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 23093-23108.

      Holland, M.M., J.L. Schramm, and J.A. Curry, 1997: Thermodynamic feedback processes in a single-column sea ice/ocean model. Ann. Glaciol., 25, 327-332.

      Schramm, J.L., M.M. Holland, and J.A. Curry, 1997: Applications of a single-column ice/ocean model understanding the mass balance of sea ice and snow in the Central Arctic. Ann. Glaciol., 25, 287-291.

      Schramm, J.L., M. Holland, J.A. Curry, and E.E. Ebert, 1997: Modeling the thermodynamics of a distribution of sea ice thicknesses. Part I: Sensitivity to ice thickness resolution. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 23079-23092.

      Tschudi, M., J.A. Curry, and J.M. Maslanik, 1997: Determination of areal surface feature coverage in the Beaufort Sea using aircraft video data. Ann. Glaciol., 25, 434-438.

      Ebert, E.E., J.L. Schramm, and J.A. Curry, 1995: Disposition of solar radiation in sea ice and the upper ocean. J. Geophys. Res., 100, 15,965-15,976.

      Ebert, E. and J.A. Curry, 1993: An intermediate one-dimensional thermodynamic sea ice model for investigating ice-atmosphere interactions. J. Geophys. Res., 98, 10085-10109.

      Curry, J.A., J. Schramm and E.E. Ebert, 1993: Impact of clouds on the surface radiation budget of the Arctic Ocean. Meteor. and Atmos. Phys, 57, 197-217.

      Curry, J.A. and E.E. Ebert, 1992: Annual cycle of radiative fluxes over the Arctic ocean: Sensitivity to cloud optical properties. J. Climate, 5, 1267-1280.

      Good luck trying to convince people I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to sea ice. Do I know what will happen in the future? No, but my ideas on this are more solidly grounded in understanding than most people’s ideas on this.

    • LOL – Dhogaza, you look a little foolish now, don’t you? You should check your facts before allowing your prejudices to get the better of you.

    • steven mosher

      Judith can I suggest that you establish a weekly column or department for people who shoot themselves in the foot with uncanny accuracy. Dhog wins a 5 toe award for this one.
      best pedicure by pistol I have ever seen this week

      l

    • a few weeks ago over at RC, raypierre stated that I didn’t know what I was talking about when it comes to Arctic clouds. that one was 10 toes.

    • Oh, six years, not ten, since her last paper. I do stand corrected.

      Things appear to be different in the arctic today than pre-2007 …

    • dhogaza…….is it that you have a masochistic tendency and have a compelling need to take an intellectual beating on a daily basis? I’m truly awed at times by some people.

    • steven mosher

      your not standing corrected dude, your listing to port.

      5 more toes and you’ll fall flat on your face

    • Dehog
      About time for you to limp back to the safety of RC.
      The other RC groupies are going to take advantage of your absence. I’m guessing right now, Hank is making some innane comment praising the team. What if Gavin treats him to an “in line comment” and not you?!?!? Hurry before it’s too late.

    • dhogaza, I was JOKING when I said that Big Oil Inc. sends cash to people who publicly undermine the credibility of the alarmist cause. Pfft.

    • Julienne, during summer, we have seen big melt backs during the past 5 years; hence much of the Arctic Ocean has been melt free during September (much is a qualitative word). My point is that if the summer ice completely disappears some summer (say in Sept), then it will re-form in winter, and whether you get partial or full ice melt during the next summer is largely controlled by interannual variability. And COMPLETELY also implies the thick ice near the Canadian Archipelago which is not easily melted. As long as there is first year ice, there will be ridged ice; again this is a function of dynamics, not just thermodynamics. The big decrease in multiyear ice was triggered by a big flushing through the Fram Strait (natural variability). If you have ice in the winter, even entirely first year with no ridging, you will invariably have ice in June and into July (the thickness of the first year ice and how fast it melts is largely a function of how much and when the winter snow fell). How much ridging is a function of dynamics and interannual variability, so whether or not the ice completely melts in September is largely a function of interannual variability. So what you say about large fluctuations as a downward trend continues, I agree; that is the point of my statement and the point of the new paper i referenced. Further, the downward trend is some combination of natural variability and global warming. Decadal scale and interannual variability have large controls on sea ice extent on thickness. Losing summer sea ice during one summer is not some sort of “tipping” point. So there are some complex processes going on here, and summer time sea ice melt is not a tipping point, and I think it is this “death spiral” stuff that is misleading.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      ” is largely controlled by interannual variability”

      http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20110302_Figure2.png

      We’re currently well below the record year (furthest extent) of 2005. I can’t eyeball it and tell, but it looks to me more than 3 stddev below the mean. Statistically significant ice melt is under way.

    • Julienne Stroeve

      Judy, we are in agreement that natural variability remains important in determining how much ice there will be in the summer. We are also in agreement that the downward trend is from a combination of natural variability and a background warming signal. We also agree that the ice will come back in winter.
      But I don’t believe that we need to have no ice coming back in winter in order to have continuous near ice-free summer conditions (again, I agree it’s likely we’ll have some thick ice remaining in the Canadian Archipelago and north of Greenland, but by ice-free I’m talking about less than 1 million sq-km).
      I suppose it’s a matter of definitions, we don’t see evidence of tipping point behavior, but if the planet continues to warm as projected, then it’s likely that you get to a point where the ice is too thin to survive summer melt (despite some areas of heavily ridged/rafted thick ice that may remain north of CA and Greenland).
      We also find in modeling studies that in terms of predictability of September ice cover, that as the ice cover thins, the thickness of the spring ice cover becomes a better predictor variable than the atmospheric variability (i.e. weather patterns become less important in shaping the end of summer ice extent). You may be interested in a recent paper we published in GRL: doi:10.1029/2010GL045662, 2011 that discusses how the negative AO of last winter did not bring about a recovery of the summer ice cover (as many in the blogosphere were suggesting last spring). In fact the Arctic lost even more of its store of old thick ice. We are observing that weather patterns that should favor ice retention have become less successful at doing so as the ice cover has thinned.
      Also note that while there was a big flushing during the positive AO phase of the late 1980s, early 1990s, this flushing is continuing, and the Beaufort Gyre seems to have actually become an area of ice export. Jim Maslanik and I are working on another paper that will discuss this in more detail. At the end of summer 2010, we had the least amount of ice at least 5 years or older (going from 2 million sq-km in the 1980s to less than 60,000 sq-km).

      Finally, some comments about predictability.
      Consider two sea ice regimes, one in a cool pre-industrial age and another in a warmer climate regime. Compared to the cool regime, the spring ice cover in the warm regime will consist of less old, thick ice and more thin, first-year ice, as well as a lower winter ice extent. It follows that there will be less ice in the warm regime in September – the thin ice melts out easily, the summer ice-albedo feedback is stronger, and it is simply warmer. We can broadly view what is being observed in the real world since about 2002 in the context of a warmer regime. Compared to thirty years ago, when the ice was still in the cooler regime, today there is more thin ice in spring, enhanced shortwave radiation absorption and a warmer climate. We can predict with confidence that there will be less ice in September than there used to be (September ice extent averaged for 2007-2010 is typically 40% less than it was 20 to 30 years ago). The analogy is of course far from perfect, for, as is evident in the steeper downward trend in September ice extent over the past decade and anomalous summer ice losses for the last four years, the sea ice system is far from an equilibrium state.

    • ok, ice free means something different to different people, you are qualifying it to mean less than 1 M sq km. with this qualifier, we probably don’t disagree on much. Regarding your last paragraph. The 1930′s were quite warm in the Arctic, with diminished sea ice extent (how diminished is uncertain since there were no satellites.) But arguably less than there was in the 1980′s. Sea ice is never in an equilibrium state, there is substantial natural variability on interannual, decadal, and multidecadal time scales. We have not had satellite data for a complete cycle of the AMO.

    • The 1930′s were quite warm in the Arctic, with diminished sea ice extent (how diminished is uncertain since there were no satellites.) But arguably less than there was in the 1980′s.

      And arguably not. Can’t help but notice how Curry plays the typical game of insisting that uncertainty is poorly accounted for by mainstream science, the findings of which after all are only supported by “weak arguments”, yet … is quite willing to use very uncertain estimates to argue that sea ice extent was arguably less in the 1930s than in the 1980s.

      A far weaker argument than the argument that measured TSI shows that the sun’s not responsible for warming over recent decades (one of Serreze’s), which is 1) based on good observational data and 2) physics.

    • dhogaza, there goes your other 5 toes.

    • I have no idea what that retort means, but it’s hilarious.

    • steven mosher

      Sorry Dhog, arctic temps in the 30′s.

      Perhaps you missed this paper. Referenced in Ar4.

      http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%282003%29016%3C2067%3AVATOAT%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    • I think a lot of people have picked up on the ice moving through the Fram strait causing the low ice extent for 2007, but I think something diffent happened last year.

      It looked to me like the Beaufort Gyre was pretty strong last year and moved a lot of the multi-year ice from area between the north pole and the northern coast of Greenland and moved it towards the ice-free waters of the Beaufort sea where it melted.

      I think one or two more years of that happening could lead to the end of the multi-year ice.

      I think the effects of arctic ocean currents unrestricted by large chunks of ice would be a worthy research area.

    • steven mosher

      “You probably also realize that as the ice cover thins (i.e. transitions towards FYI), it becomes more variable (sensitive to atmospheric variability). So expect to see large fluctuations as the downward trend continues.”

      In fact since 2007 a definite annual cycle has appeared in daily ice measurements.

    • Julienne Stroeve

      Steve, can you clarify what you mean by a definite annual cycle has appeared in daily ice measurements since 2007? There is always an annual cycle (ice grows in winter, melts in summer). Perhaps you are trying to say something else?

    • steven mosher

      Julienne:

      A hint at the phenomena is here.
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/01/the-ice-who-came-in-from-the-cold/

      Willis, finds an annual cycle. He and I argued about it. He thought it must be due to some change in the observing algorithms. I found that explanation to be silly and unfounded.

      Later a commenter on Tamino brought it up. it seemed to me that with less multiyear ice a stronger annual signal would show up. See the comment below from Tamino’s site.

      I havent seen anything else on the matter. But it made perfect sense to me. Perhaps follow up with Tamino.

      joe | July 29, 2010 at 5:08 am | Reply

      One thing I’ve been curious about is the long time-series of sea ice area anomaly shown at Cryosphere Today (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg).

      Is there any significance to the annual cycle in anomalies that seems to have developed after the minimum sea ice area observed in 2007? Any ideas or references to this?

      [Response: Anomaly is the difference between observation and the *average* annual cycle. The annual cycle is quite different since the great melt of 2007, and that net change in the annual cycle persists in the anomaly signal.]

    • Julienne Stroeve

      Hi Steven, if you are going to show each month on the time-series, it is better to show the standardized anomalies (normalized by the climatological standard deviation for that month). This we do here: http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_ice.html

      Since there are strong seasonal variations in the data, it is better to express the data in terms of standardized anomalies. They generally provide more information about the magnitude of the anomalies because influences of dispersion have been removed. When you do that, you don’t see this abrupt shift since 2007. It actually happens earlier than 2007. And you’ll also notice time-periods in the 1950s with similarly strong variations (but the accuracy of that data is less certain than the modern satellite record beginning in October 1978).

    • steven mosher

      Thanks, that makes a lot more sense than what willis was arguing.

    • Judy, I’m surprised you say that much of the Arctic Ocean is already ice free. What do you define as the Arctic Ocean?

      Note on this page regarding Arctic ice that much of the ice is not truly arctic and how much of it is not even Arctic.

      http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

      I think we’ve all accepted for the purpose of conversation that when we say arctic and not Arctic, we are talking about the ice sheet at the top of the world. But the claim, assuming intended to describe the ice cover on the Arctic ocean, is subjective and unquantified. I agree with Dr. Curry that a large area of the Arctic Ocean is ice-free each summer but lack at this instant the hard data to quantify that. We may disagree on what “large area” means and I am already so over that disagreement. The Arctic Ocean has also been entirely ice-free at times and I think we can all agree that would be a large area, but we still don’t have a number in square miles/kilos. Is that really important in a blog?

      This blog is not being submitted for peer review – accept conversational constructs found here for what they are and if needed, ask for specifics. Either can be done without insulting the hostess. At least by anyone who has been exposed to good parenting.

    • Jeff, I think you’re putting much too much weight in the albedo of summer ice. First of all, we’re talking about a very small part of the earth’s surface. (summer ice extent). Secondly, it isn’t as if there’s a lot of direct sunlight as compared to lower latitudes. Thirdly, you’re assuming polar ice as 100% reflective. It isn’t. And you’re assuming the ocean as 100% absorptive. It isn’t. Lastly, a recent thought has been posited, that an ice free arctic allows more heat to escape from the ocean. (think Kelvins) This is true. Less ice would allow more energy to be emitted from the ocean(everything emits something). How that balances with the absorption, I don’t know. But my point is, considering the secondary nature of albedo in terms of energy, and the area considered, and the mentioned mitigating effects, I really don’t think it is very important to the energy budget of the earth. Others will probably disagree, but, I’m too close to Missouri to buy into an ice cube melt calamity. Show me.

    • here is my most recent paper on sea ice albedo:

      Curry, J.A., J.L. Schramm, D. Perovich, and J.O. Pinto, 2001: Application of SHEBA/FIRE data to evaluation of sea ice surface albedo parameterizations. J. Geophys. Res., 106, 15345-15356.
      http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Curry_JGR106b.pdf

      provides much insight into what goes on with summertime sea ice when it is melting

    • Dr. Curry,

      Thanks!

    • Dr. Curry,

      Has this work been continued or expanded? It seems like an interesting line to follow.

    • I am no longer working on these topics. The people that are continuing to work on sea ice thermodynamics and optics in the context of improving sea ice for climate models include Cecilia Bitz, Marika Holland, Bonnie Light.

      My list of needed improvements for sea ice models is in this presentation that is posted on NASA’s Modeling and Analysis Program
      http://map.nasa.gov/documents/3_07_Meeting_presentations/curry.pdf
      (note, before this presentation, I had been pushing these things for 5-10 years previously)

      Spectral radiative transfer: surface albedo, transmission through snow, sea ice, upper ocean.
      Explicit melt ponds: albedo, latent heat, salinity effects 
      Snow:nonlinear conduction, metamorphism, redistribution 
      Ice age: optics, thermal conductivity, specific heat, etc. 
      Formation of snow/ice
      Frazil ice formation
      Ice deformation: brine rejection;enhanced decay of ridged ice
      Lead width distribution: lateral melting, turbulent fluxes 
      Ice/ocean turbulent flux for ice thickness distribution 
      Fast ice: detailed ocean bathymetry,granular rheology

      Of these, only the first (spectral radiative transfer) has been incorporated into climate models. So is my sea ice research outdated? Well, IMO the climate models have not yet caught up to me yet.

      Why am I no longer working on this? Too slow to get things into climate models. Plus I got fed up fighting the SHEBA wars with the sea ice community (which was ultimately about who got funding).

    • I’m sorry to hear that. It seemed like you were on to a very interesting line of study. I would like to have seen the same study done in successive years.

      “Well, IMO the climate models have not yet caught up to me yet.”

      I agree. The variants are a great many and not nearly as simple or linear, if you will, as many purport it to be. The talk of death spirals and global catastrophe, because of summer ice melt, seems to me to be hyperbole and no where nearly sufficiently quantified to be able to make such sweeping statements.

    • Julienne Stroeve

      Judy, I’m afraid that your knowledge of global climate models might be out of date. The CICE model that is incorporated into CCSM4 (as well as other modeling groups), accounts for many of the parameters on your list. I recently spent some time at NCAR at their Polar Working Group meeting, and I have also downloaded the Arctic sea ice data from the model. The model includes variables such as ice age, fractional snow cover, snow depth and volume, internal ice heat content, internal snow heat content, congelation ice growth, frazil ice growth, snow-ice formation, top ice melt, basal ice melt, snow melt, melt pond fraction as a function of ice age, albedos for snow, ice, melt ponds, etc, SW fluxes through ice to ocean, heat flux from ice to ocean, ocean/ice stress, internal ice stress, compressive ice strength, strain rate, lead area opening rates, ice area ridging rate, ridge area formation rate, ice volume ridging rate, black carbon deposition rates on snow/ice, freshwater flux ice to ocean, salt flux ice to ocean, latent and sensible heat fluxes, the list goes on and on.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Albedo is just one of the land use changes which warming influences.

      http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2010/01/11/arctic_warming/

    • Interesting line of thought, but again, I think way to much emphasis is placed upon the arctic region as to the totality of the earth’s energy balance. Also, as I pointed out earlier, often derivative influences aren’t taken into proper account. And, many of them, we can’t at this time, but it should at least be acknowledged that they exist. The Berkeley article referenced is such an example.

      While continuing with this line of discussion, I am much chagrin to interject sarcasm, however, the article you referenced leaves me little else to say.

      “Broad-leaved deciduous trees are not as dark as evergreen trees and so are generally assumed to be less important. But broad-leaved trees transpire a lot more water through their leaves and are actually able to change the water vapor content and increase the greenhouse effect. As the air warms, it can hold more water vapor, and the greenhouse effect increases further,” Swann said. “So, broad-leaved trees end up warming the entire Arctic.”

      I wonder, is there another GHG that “Broad-leaved deciduous trees” interact with and have an effect upon? The reason why I ask is because the article makes no mention of any other GHG. Which seems to be the blame for the warming to begin with.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      “I wonder, is there another GHG that “Broad-leaved deciduous trees” interact with and have an effect upon? ”

      I assume you mean CO2 and are wondering if the trees can hold enough CO2 to compensate for the change in albedo and transpiration. That’s an interesting question. (Reforestation is 1 of the tools James Hansen wants us to employ. )

      My guess about trees in the arctic and rooted in tundra is that the soil quality isn’t good enough to sustain large trees. But that’s just a guess. The size issue would limit transpiration as well. Maybe they’ve already factored the issue in and the press release just didn’t mention it.

    • Yes, that is what I was referring towards.

      That is possible, press releases often miss what many of us would consider important, and for the most part, the only value I see from them is an impetus to read the actual study.

      I agree, currently, the tundra probably isn’t sufficient to support large trees. But were it to suddenly warm in the area, it wouldn’t take long before it was.

    • Holly Stick

      suyts, a warmer temperature would not suffice for trees to grow above the current tree line. As Jeff pointed out, the soil may be too poor for trees. Also, the earth’s tilt has not changed, so lack of sunlight would hamper tree growth. Also, who knows whether there would be appropriate amounts of moisture at appropriate times?

    • Yes Holly, I left many things unstated. I’m sorry for the lack of clarity. The conversation had deviated from the origin so much I didn’t feel the need to continue down this path. However, I’ll clear up what I meant…… If it became warm enough to have small trees grow in the area and it continued to warm……the neighboring flora and fauna would soon enter the area. Once various species of flora and fauna are established, soil nutrients would be expected to increase, given the proximity of both in many areas (I’m mostly referring to places where I have personal experience), Alaska and Canada, I would think this would be likely……again….if it were to warm like the article suggested. You are correct sunlight would inhibit some growth, as to the moisture content of the ground, I believe it to be fairly plentiful were the permafrost were to melt. Of course this is all conjecture and the caveat of the improbable happening.

    • Judith, you are the one missing the point.
      Are you being deliberately obtuse?

      They modeled a random ice free summer in existing conditions and found that in the context of the relatively current gradual decline of summer sea ice, one ice-free summer would not result in sudden and irreversible loss of the summer sea ice.

      And?

      And what follows from this, is not necessarily what you flippantly stuck onto it in your self-congratulatory rush to identify with this current research.

      On the contrary, as stated by Tietsche, the import is that if no measures are taken to slow down ongoing climate change, the transition to a seasonal ice-free Arctic ocean will occur within a few decades. There are possibly far-reaching and consequence for not only the Arctic but the climate system as a whole.

    • Martha, I’m curious. Which of my papers did you actually read? The most relevant one is this:
      Arbetter, T., J.A. Curry, M.M. Holland, and J. M. Maslanik, 1997: Response of sea ice models to perturbations in surface heat flux. Ann. Glaciol., 25, 193-197.

    • Martha,
      You are channeling move scripts. It is an odd thing you do. Now you are on Shawshank Redemption. Do you think Dr. Curry is taking bribes in pie boxes to disagree with your world view?
      Try pretending that you are a guest in a large cocktail party, and that Dr. Curry is the hostess. Treat her as if you were not a drunken booress, for starters.

    • Wow…..just wow. Now you’re telling Dr. Curry what her work represented? Really?

      That’s beautiful. A particular view that consistently argues with an appeal to authority………unless the authority runs afoul of the view of the persons appealing to authority. You know, many skeptics have a rather large ego. We believe we can argue, using our own skill sets. And use a bit of different interpretive analysis with the data. But we can’t top telling a climatologist that the climatologist is misapplying/referencing here own work.

      Well, it’s happened before, but never with just 2 1/2 paragraphs.

    • “her”…..not “here”…..

  36. I spotted this spoof on Shewonk’s site, entitled “Mysterious source of global warming identified”,
    http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s5i68914

    combines the Harry Potter theme with Mikes Nature trick

    • It is quite funny.

    • It’s astonishing that Serreze felt those comments were tenable in light of the attribution science published here on Climate, Etc. Just another peer reviewed science meme impervious to the contributions of the broader post-science blogosphere. When will they learn? Not to mention apologize!

    • There you go bringing up the Sky Dragon again…

  37. The music of the sphere;
    Oceanic catenate.
    Go, Baby Ice, Go.
    ===========

  38. Dr Moolten, what is really the (or your) definition of a tipping point?

    How I see this – from viewpoint of somebody with some regional ‘real life’ experience of Artic condinitions – the stability of Artic sea ice and or it’s recovering capacity – is rather good but the annual and seasonal variations are very large. Frankly there is no real need for models to determine this; just plain common sense will do.

    Basically no matter what we (the mankind) do, there will always be a winter in the artic region, with average temps so far below zero C that sea will definitely freeze. A few degrees more doesn’t transform the region iceless – of course if we get +30C winter anomaly things might be different, but such projections would rather reside in the SciFi-realm, not scientific.

    Curiously, there are no real hints of Artic regions warming that much faster than rest of the globe that I am aware of. Or at least if we dismiss the 1200 km northbound linear interpolations employed by the GISS dataset as most obviously false and/or misleading, especially so when compared to other sets. some of which, e.g. the DMI are based on much better regional coverage & background information that that of GISS’s.

    • I don’t think that “tipping points” are generally defined as necessarily implying a “runaway” phenomenon or a complete disappearance of some climate fixture such as Arctic sea ice. Rather, they simply refer to a phenomenon whereby a gradually changing perturbation (e.g., rising temperatures) leads at some point to an abrupt jump in the results. A complete disappearance of Arctic summer sea ice might fit the definition if it happened within a decade or so despite the fact that preceding conditions were nowhere near that point.

      I don’t know enough about Arctic sea ice dynamics or the models to pass judgment on this, but I’m inclined to see that kind of tipping point as conceivable but not imminent.

    • Fred.

      Regarding “tipping points”, I think the following example will help most bloggers here visualize the concept.

      Let’s imagine a dump truck, full of horse manure.

      As the truck bed gets tilted, nothing happens at first.

      Then the critical angle is reached at which the “tipping point” occurs, and the whole load of manure suddenly comes rushing out of the truck onto the ground.

      We are at risk of being inundated not by the rushing rise of sea level caused by the postulated imminent collapse of ice sheets, but by the load of manure coming out of the truck.

      Max

      Max

    • What would really help visualization, Max, is a video of you standing immediately behind the back of the truck loaded with manure as the angle is gradually raised to a level that is still just a bit too small to reach the tipping point where the whole load is dumped.

    • Fred

      I’d be glad to oblige, but only if James E. Hansen the “father of the tipping point” joins me (after all, it’s his horse manure).

      Max

    • Rob Starkey

      LOL…you have to admit, Max does make a good point regarding some of claims of impending disaster

    • Are you saying that as AGW promoters pile on the bs, they will reach a point where they collapse the truck bed they are loading it onto?

    • Kent Draper

      Fred Moolten,
      As a process control person (can’t use engineer as I’m self educated) the term “tipping point” in a control loop literally IS a runaway situation. It’s the point where no amount of feedback, positive or negative, depending on the loop, will stop the system from oscillating out of control. When you reach that point in your system you have to shut it down and find out what happened. It will NEVER come back on it’s own. An example is holding a microphone next to a speaker and getting that awful noise, feedback from the amplifier. The awful noise won’t stop until you move either the speaker or microphone away. This is one of the main reason’s I got interested in global warming. When I found out that CO2 had been much higher than it is now in the past I knew that CO2 wasn’t the boogy man. If excess CO2 causes a tipping point in the earths temps, we haven’t reached it yet and won’t until we go higher than the CO2 level has ever been. Once you hit a tipping point, the system doesn’t come back all by itself. I’m not a scientist and don’t want to give that impression, just a workerbee out here making a living automating the controls in industrial plants.

    • Kent – Tipping points and runaways are very different. The possibility of tipping points in the climate system is real, but the prospect of a runaway is very small. Please see my earlier definition for the meaning of tipping points. They simply refer to an abrupt change, but not to one that necessarily continues out of control.

      For example it is likely that in the Earth’s history, the Younger Dryas sudden cooling that interrupted deglaciation was the result of a tipping point, but eventually it reversed and the deglaciation continued.

    • Here are some examples of what James Hansen means when talking about tipping points. It seems that he is exactly referring to “out of control” situations: “Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity’s control.”
      and
      “The tipping point for life on the planet will occur when so many interdependent species are lost that ecosystems collapse.”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-james-hansen/twenty-years-later-tippin_b_108766.html

    • Hansen is the only notable scientist in climatology who asserts a reasonable probability of a runaway climate. The vast majority, most of whom are concerned about tipping points (some tipping points being more likely than others), see a runaway as very unlikely. Even without tipping points, however, most have concluded that continued warming poses a risk of serious adverse events, a conclusion that is the subject of much of the controversy in the blogosphere, and is not about to be settled in this thread.

      Tipping Elements in the Earth’s Climate System

    • Perhaps it would be better to say that Hansen is just another kook dressed up as a scientist who gets to say bat sh*t crazy lies about climate apocalypse and gets away with it?

    • I remember I was reading a lot about tipping points several years ago when a biologist friend of mine directed me to a Nature article “rebutting” Lomborg. The Nature article was written by an economist and if my memory serves me right, pretty much the only thing he had to say was that Loborg does not understand tipping points. Looking into that then, I understood that most people writing aboutdid mean it to be some kind of “point of no return”.

    • Kent Draper

      Dr. Moolten
      My misunderstanding. Working in process control there aren’t any conditional tipping points so I was thinking of a runaway. I’ll have to get my definitions down and read some more. I’m convinced there will never be an end to “reading some more” :)…..

  39. It’s really amazing to me how strongly the AGW syllogism resembles the classic proof of the existance of God. “Well, something had to create the world. You have any better theories?” And, of course, the precautionary principle: “Well, if I’m wrong, it’s no big deal…but if you’re wrong, you’re in for an eternity of torment–so if you were rational, you’d agree with me.”

  40. Maybe we should start a Climate Anonymous twelve step program. Get rid of the resentment and inspire a little humility. Cast off selfishness and embrace our fellows? Nah, never happen.

  41. Maybe we should start a Climate Anonymous twelve step program. Get rid of the resentment and inspire a little humility. Cast off selfishness and embrace our fellows? Nah, never happen, too many people know they are right..

    • The End is FAR

      Animosity has always gone along with science. The Darwinists and Creationists are good examples, but let’s not forget the Piltdown Man, Relativity, and a Inflationary vs. Static Universe debates. They were just as ugly, but it ended up being Critical Review that resolved them, not a bunch of Peer Review and humility.

      You are absolutely correct as to why the debate will always tend towards at least a little resentment. Nobody likes to be wrong and I think the AGWers, at this point, are far more concerned with being wrong, than finding the truth.

      They have called Skeptics ; flat earthers, deniers, contrarians, creationists, and the list goes on. All ad hominem seeking to insult and deny an open and scientific debate.

      It will continue, but we must remind ourselves often to be objective rather than subjective. People who know they are right, need thick skin.

  42. Mark Serreze, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center claims:

    “Could it be that the Sun is shining more brightly than it was? No, that doesn’t work. We’ve been monitoring energy coming from the Sun and apart from the 11-year sunspot cycle, there’s not much happening.”

    Indeed, we have. The sun has been comparatively quiet lately:
    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif

    Background information (dated)
    Lean, Judith, Jerald Harder, and Greg Kopp. 2008. Comparison of Solar Irradiance Variability Models with SORCE Observations. Powerpoint (PDF) presented at the 2008 SORCE Science Meeting, February 5, Santa Fe, New Mexico. http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2008ScienceMeeting/

    Some time ago, TSI measurement did not cover the entire electromagnetic spectrum
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=468
    http://mysite.verizon.net/cache.22/SET_EM_TSI_Coverage.jpg

    However, Some interesting observations were presented by Dr. Svalgaard, in a presentation which he co-authored and presented in December 2009.
    Hudson, H., L. Svalgaard, K. Shibasaki, and K. Tapping. �Microwave fluxes in the recent solar minimum.� Scientific, presented at the Hinode Science Meeting, Tokyo, 2009. http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Microwaves-at-23-24-Minimum.pdf
    And:
    Svalgaard, Leif. 2007. “Floors” in IMF, EUV, and therefore in TSI (Climate And Weather of the Sun-Earth System). CAWSES News 4, no. 2 (September): 8 – 9. http://www.bu.edu/cawses/documents/cawses-news-v4-n2.pdf

    Recent work [1] suggests that the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) strength, B, at each sunspot minimum varies but little (less than a nT). This is clearly seen in Figure 1. The variation of B within a solar cycle seems to be due to extra (and likely closed [2]) magnetic flux added by Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) riding on top of a “floor” of somewhere between 4 and 5 nT, leading to the conclusion that the open magnetic flux is nearly constant with time, and that, in particular, there is no secular variation of the open flux.(Page 8)

    Recent satellites may have extended the range of direct measurements. I have not found a reference for that.

  43. QBeamus,
    Thanks for the smile your post left me with! In my last post on the previous topic, I ended with quoting Puck in Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, “What fools these mortals are.’ Our foolishness, various disquises of arrogance, result in comedy when the play ends well, and tragedy when the play ends badly. “All the world’s a stage,” and Puck could be referring to so many things in climate science! Most posts, and I agreed, found the Yale authors of Long Death of Environmentalism, on balance, making some helpful and realistic points, but like so much in climate science, they state the foolish, too. Foolish, isn’t it, when they declare that evidence for anthropogenic change will become stronger. Many posts criticized that arrogant over-reaching. I think Marks Twain’s famous statement about his death also applies to environmentalism., to anthropomorphize- the reports of my death are greatly exagerated.
    The weak aguments that Serreze makes concluding with, “the only factor that can explain the observed rise in global average temperature — 1.4 degrees F or .8 degrees C over the last century — is climate forcing due to heightened levels of greenhouse gases” is just another example of that foolishness in the classic sense, one of the varieties of arrogance and over-reaching. I perhaps go further than most in opposing that argument. I start with the 20 year period from 1978-1999 and its 0.4 C rise in temperature which extrapolates to 2.0 C rise per century, enough to scare lots of people and get the CAGW bowl rolling. Now we add the last 12+ years with no additional warming so we have about 0.4 C rise in 32+ years or about 1.2 C per century. Next, we add the previous 38 years from 1940 until 1978 when we had slight cooling. Those 70+ years from the WWII era until now are the years when we had the greated increase in CO2 levels. They are the years of AGW according to the IPCC. How much warming occurred- about 0.4 C which extrapolates to a rate of less than 0.6 C per century. Amazingly, that 0.6 C rate of warming is about the same or even less than the previous 100 year rate (or the 100 years before that if we can trust the proxy record). My conclusion is that there is NO evidence of AGW, none, in the empical data. I agree that, based on the science, some AGGW is likely and CAGW is plausible, but there’s no indication it’s happening! Sure, I agree that you can pick slightly different dates and come up with different warming and extrapolate to different amounts of 100 year warming. Serreze conviently did that with his 100 year period starting during a very cold period around 1910. If he had picked 1880, a warm period, instead of 1910, he would have had less than 0.7 C warming in 131 years or less than o.6 C per century. As far as I can tell, our globe, with all the cycles of up and down, has warmed around 0.6 C or 0.7 C per century and is doing so now. If we tack on some more 1978-1999 type warmings, I’ll be concerned. Not now. Here’s where you can check out the warming for any time period from 1880 until now- http://www.woodfortrees.org/
    For earlier times, you have to dig a little deeper.

  44. Climaholics Anonymous Twelve Steps to Recovery

    1. We admitted we were powerless over the climate change debate—that our lives had become unmanageable.

    2. Came to believe that a Statistical Method greater than own could restore us to sanity.

    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Statistics as we understood Them.

    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our hypotheses.

    5. Admitted to Statistics, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our misunderstandings.

    6. Were entirely ready to have Statistics remove all these defects of character.

    7. Humbly asked Statistics to remove our shortcomings.

    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed with abuse of Statistics, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure their or other’s scientific credibility.

    10. Continued to take personal Statistical inventory and when we were spurious promptly admitted it.

    11. Sought through blogs and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Statistics as we understood Them, blogging only for knowledge of Their will for us and the power to carry that out.

    12. Having had a Statistical awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Climaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

  45. Judith

    Agree with you that one of Serreze’s weakest point is:

    The only factor that can explain the observed rise in global average temperature — 1.4 degrees F or .8 degrees C over the last century — is climate forcing due to heightened levels of greenhouse gases.

    This is a classical “argument from ignorance”.

    It is based on the fully unsubstantiated, arrogant, and totally unscientific assumption that we know all there is to know about what makes our climate do what it does.

    You said it right with, “Ouch!”

    Max

  46. If you want to see natural climagte variation in action, let’s go through a few steps.

    First the straight linear trend of the Hadcrut3 temperature series.

    http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/8678/hadcrut3trend.png

    Now let’s detrend it and, viola, a really nice up and down natural climate cycle appears in Hadcrut3 Detrended.

    http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/2091/hadcrut3detrended.png

    Now let’s examine close that natural cycle comes to matching the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).

    http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/9449/hacrut3detrendedandthea.png

    But I can get an even better match using all the significant ocean currents on the planet (sans the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which is a little too big to include in such a comparison).

    http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/5443/hadcrut3detrallcycles.png

    The correlation is much too close to be ignored. Yes, the climate can vary significantly all on its own.

  47. The End is FAR

    @ Fred Moolten

    - “CO2 increases rather than reduces atmospheric emissivity”

    Certainly, if its concentration increases and vice versa. But do not exclude N2 and O2. Both emit vast amounts of energy since the comprise 99% of the mass of the atmosphere. While N2 and O2 do not absorb the 3 narrow bands of IR that CO2 does, they instead absorb energy from the Earth’s surface and form each other. A molecule that emits at a given wavelength, emits at that same wavelength.

    So while increases in CO2 concentrations reduce the atmosphere’s emissitivity in those spectra, that does nothing to reduce the emissitivity of the rest of the 99% of the atmosphere. You just can’t talk about the emissitivity of the ‘atmosphere’ unless you include 99% of it.

    - “First, emissivity and emissions are very different concepts.” How so, you did not describe ‘emissions’.

    If emissions are the result of emitting, and emissitivity is the ability to emit, the a reduction in emissitivity is a reduction in emissions.

    - “During radiative forcing, it reduces emissions to space, although these rise again toward the original value in response to temperature increases in the atmosphere and on the surface.”

    You are leaving out Convection again. It only reduces Radiation, not Convection. Are you suggesting that an increase in temperature in the surface or atmosphere will not result in an increased Convection Rate?

    - “This is the basis for the greenhouse effect. It is not a question of how fast radiation escapes to space, but rather of how many times it changes direction, including downward, before it escapes.”

    The speed at which radiation travels is most certainly relevant. It moves so fast within short a short distance that it changes direction 150 million times per sec at 1 meter and 15,000 times at 10,000 meters. If you average the amount of energy ‘trapped’ over altitude you will see that much more of the energy is trapped per meter the closer you are to the surface. But again, convection is not impeded, but increased as it provides another more efficient medium for heat transfer .

    - “An adiabatic profile is not stratified but rather continuous, as a function of the gas laws.”

    PV=nRT. If you select an altitude in a strict adiabatic system you will find that the temperature is equal across that altitude. Stratified.

    - “Changes in the profile due to CO2 or other radiative forcings cause the temperature profile to depart from the adiabat, because the lower atmosphere becomes warmer compared with the upper atmosphere than the degree derived from the gas laws.”

    What profile due to CO2? The Gas Laws do not by themselves determine the temperature of the atmosphere when Convective Currents are at play. A thermal draft is a perfect example, a mirage is an extreme example.

    - “This excess warmth triggers upward heat convection, with a tendency to restore the adiabat.”

    This is nonsensical. An adiabat does not describe movement of heat, only a static temp due to given pressures.

    - “It is measurable and can be calculated.”

    I’m curious as to how useful it is to measure the ‘restoration’ of a ‘variable’ adiabatic by introducing Convection to it. Again, if you are transferring energy to a new region, then you have automatically altered the adiabat. It would be much simpler to ignore the adiabatic state given that Convection overlooks it.

    - “It facilitates heat escape to space and reduces the level of warming that will result from a forcing due to greenhouse gases, but it does not eliminate it.”

    The atmosphere below the Tropopause has a mass of 4,000 Trillion metric tons. It is 15 C at the Surface and -56C at the top and it has the capacity to absorb trillions of trillions of joules and spread them out amongst that great mass. While this ‘forcing’ may slow the rate of Radiation, it does not hinder in any degree the ability for the atmosphere to ‘scrub’ the Earth’s surface of heat and distribute it outwards and upwards.

    - “In contrast with an adiabatic profile defined by the gas laws, and is not stratified, the stratosphere is stratified – hence its name.”

    Incorrect. The gas laws dictate that in a static environment, no heat transfer, then Temperatures follow Pressure. Without Convection, a dynamic flow of energy, there is no choice for that system to be anything other than stratified.

    The Stratosphere is only relatively Stratified. If you keep the same altitude going from a Pole to the Equator, you cross into the Troposphere at about 65 degrees, N or S. The reason that it is so uniform though is that it heats and cools very evenly with regards to Latitude.

    • I’m afraid your understanding has not improved from these exchanges of comments.. If you can’t accept the principle that CO2 increases the emissivity of the atmosphere, then you surely don’t understand emissivity. Your notion that O2 and N2 emit vast amounts of energy is also totally wrong. They emit very little – far less than CO2, which is why CO2 is a greenhouse gas and these other constituents are not.

      I won’t go into the other errors, End Is Far, but ask you to start with those, and to try to ascertain the correct descriptions. Then, if you are willing to ask questions rather than make statements, I’ll try to help you. At some point, I think you will have to accept the fact that your understanding is poor before you can hope to improve it.

    • The End is FAR

      If you can’t accept the principle that CO2 increases the emissivity of the atmosphere, then you surely don’t understand emissivity.

      I’m saying that the increased atmospheric emissitivity due to increased CO2 concentrations create a Reduced Emissitivity for the Earth’s Surface. So are you if you understand that it is ‘trapping’ 2W/m^2. Is it still 2W?

      If the Earth Radiates at 385 W, and you trap 2 W from leaving, then the Earth is now Emitting at 383 W. Is that or is that not a Reduction in both Emissions and Emissitivity?

      Note: A black body has an emissitivity of 1, whereas all ‘real’ objects are less than 1. So by trapping radiation, you get Farther away from one and it is not in a positive direction.

      They emit very little – far less than CO2, which is why CO2 is a greenhouse gas and these other constituents are not.

      Nice, there is more than one person here who believes N2 and O2 are without temperature. :) I can’t think of any kind words to say about that.

      If you were to remove all the so-called GHGs, would N2 and O2 have temperature? If they have a temperature, do they not emit radiation at a rate depending upon that temperature?

      At some point, I think you will have to accept the fact that your understanding is poor before you can hope to improve it.

      Fascinating. I was thinking the same of you. No offense mind you. My questions above.

    • End is FAR – My response is this. There are individuals here who understand this stuff well, and others who don’t and don’t care that they don’t. You seem to fit into neither category – you want to discuss it but are hopelessly confused.

      I suspect that few readers here care about your confusion. Therefore, if you don’t, why should Pekka, I, or others want to take the time to clarify things for you? It makes little difference to me whether you remain confused unless you want to learn.

      You clearly haven’t the foggiest notion of the difference between emissivity and emissions, or why substances with very low emissivity, such as N2 or O2, will emit almost no radiation at atmospheric temperatures, due to their very low emissivity. That’s only one of your many misunderstandings, but it’s symptomatic of the rest.

      If you want to learn, we can help you with specific points, but you would really need to spend a few hundred hours with basic source material on geophysics to gain a comprehensive understanding. I don’t know if you would find that worthwhile, but that’s the most useful suggestion I can make.

    • The End is FAR

      I stand corrected, on N2 though O2 is known to absorb much of the UV spectrum, I’ll consider it equal. For N2, this means its absorption is very low, this leads me to a question.

      How do N2 and O2 acquire temperature within the Troposphere? Is it primarily through conduction with the surface, or interaction with GHG’s?

      you want to discuss it but are hopelessly confused.

      Not hopelessly :) But certainly took N2′s emissitivity lightly. I can’t think of any kind words now either. :) Clear now. Apologies for being such a stubborn student. I’ll listen/read more closely in the future.

      That being said, I believe the below questions are valid.

      I’m saying that the increased atmospheric emissitivity due to increased CO2 concentrations create a Reduced Emissitivity for the Earth’s Surface. So are you if you understand that it is ‘trapping’ 2W/m^2.

      If the Earth Radiates at 385 W, and you trap 2 W from leaving, then the Earth is now Emitting at 383 W. Is that or is that not a Reduction in both Emissions and Emissitivity?

      It must be if GHG’s cause the surface temp to rise.

    • N2 and O2 acquire their temperature (average kinetic energy of their molecules) via collisions. At most levels, this involves collisions with GHG molecules (CO2, water) that are energized via photon absorption – the collision causes the energy in the CO2 molecule to be transferred to the surrounding N2 or O2 via a quantum transition in the CO2 molecule from a higher to lower energy state. N2 or O2 molecules that gain kinetic energy this way transmit it to other molecules by further collisions.

      Since this takes place within infinitessimally small distances due to the concentration of all the molecules (even the rare ones), it can’t be thought of as conduction in the usual sense, although it is in fact a heat transfer mechanism involving collisional transfer from one molecule to another.

      Increase in greenhouse gases lead at first to a reduction in the net quantity of infrared (IR) radiation leaving the surface, because more of it is intercepted in the atmosphere, with some of that energy directed back to the surface. The GHG increases don’t lead to a reduction in the upward flux, which actually increases due to the warming effect from an increased downward flux – in other words, GHGs redirect more IR in all directions including downwards, the surface warms, and so the surface emits more IR upwards. The increased upward flux is insufficient to restore the amount of IR leaving the planet at the top of the atmosphere until eventually the surface warms sufficiently so that the upward flux is now sufficient for the amount that escapes to space to equal the amount of incoming solar energy absorbed by the Earth and atmosphere. At this point, the net flux will actually exceed the value before the CO2 rise because it must avoid more interceptions in order for enough to escape.

      An example (I’m making up the figures but they are approximately what one would expect if one did the calculations) – suppose at a given CO2 concentration, upward surface flux averaged 380 W/m^2, back radiation from GHGs averaged 325 W/m^2, and so net upward flux was 55 W/m^2. CO2 then rises and the immediate effect is that back radiation increases to 330 W/m^2, reducing the net upward flux to 50 W/m^2. The surface is now shedding less heat, but absorbing the same amount from the sun as before, so it warms. Eventually, its temperature rises to the point where it emits 396 W/m^2. Some of this is back radiated, so the back radiation rises to 333 W/m^2, but the net flux is still larger than before (it’s now 63 W/m^2), sufficient to restore radiative balance at the top of the atmosphere.

      Notice that at no time did the upward flux diminish – it always increased – there is no reduction in upward emissions, but only a temporary reduction in net upward flux.

      Emissivity refers to the ability of an object (including gas molecules) to emit radiation relative to a “black body”, which is a theoretical object that absorbs and emits all radiation it encounters at all wavelengths. At equilibrium, an object’s emissivity(ability to emit) equals its absorptivity (ability to absorb. An object that can emit at the same level of a black body has an emissivity of 1.0, whereas an object capable of emitting much less at the same temperature has an emissivity closer to zero. Emissivities vary according to wavelengths, so that an object that emits like black body at one wavelength (emissivity 1.0 at that wavelength) may have a much lower emissivity at a different wavelength. Most emissions from the Earth’s surface are in IR wavelengths, where the Earth’s emissivity is close to 1.0. CO2 has high emissivity at certain IR wavelengths, and it is in those wavelengths where it exert its greenhouse effects.

      Changing the temperature of the surface slightly has virtually no effect on emissivity, because the wavelengths that dominate will still be the same. It does, however, change the emission rate according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law that tells us that the emitted flux is equal to emissivity times a constant times the fourth power of temperture. In essence, based on the above, GHGs cause temperature and hence emissions to rise, but do not change the intrinsic emissivities of the relevant moieties – Earth and atmosphere.

    • Fred;
      As you detail, there is a kind of “lag” which explains the added warmth. As I posted once somewhere, it’s as though when the GHGs “first” take effect, they build up a store of heat, which is then held in the system until they “vanish”. Then that heat radiates away, and we’re back to square one.

      In effect, GHGs create a new baseline. But “in-system” processes can fiddle with that; vigorous heat-pumping to the tropopause, etc. And this is what happens, so that the “lagged store” of heat is never going to amount to a major dynamic or “tipping” influence on climate; it’s too well contained and constrained.

    • The End is FAR

      Fred,

      While it is difficult to eat crow, I’ve gotten it down. I’ll certainly be more careful to avoid another serving. While I am still unconvinced that the increased CO2 is the cause of the warming, I can no longer claim to be convinced that it is not. You and Pekka have convinced me that I’ve got some work to do.

      That being said, the fact that N2 and O2 absorb their energy primarily from the GHG’s that they surround raises more questions that I will try to answer myself before sticking my foot in my mouth again. While I have some work to do, I’m confident the understanding that I currently posses will make it a fairly quick journey. My apologies for presuming you a myrmidon.

      Dr. Curry, I appreciate this site and the knowledgeable contributors that it attracts, it encourages one to raise the bar. Keep up the good work. http://wp.me/sB8xR-schooled

      The End is FAR

    • TEIF
      I don’t want to sound patronizing but I think your attitude does you great credit. In fact, you are the first person I have seen on a climate blog who has publicly put their hand up and changed their mind on an issue. Nice one.

    • Correction – A rise in GHGs does increase atmospheric emissivity due to the higher concentration. It doesn’t change the emissivity on a per molecule basis.

    • The threading is misbehaving. My comment on my own comment should have appeared immediately below it, with Brian’s to follow.

    • let me know if the threading problem persists, i can start a new thread on this topic.

    • Another small correction to my hypothetical example. Net upward flux will decline at the start of a GHG increase, as I stated, and then rebound as the surface warms, as stated, but it will not exceed the original net flux. For example, if the original figures were 380 upward, 325 back radiation (net flux 55), and a change to 330 back radiation (net flux down to 50), the upward flux would increase back toward a value of 55 (e.g., downward 333, upward 388), but not to a higher value.

      This is because restoration of equilibrium requires that incoming solar absorbed energy (which is constant) plus back radiation must be no more than equalled by upward radiative flux, which therefore should not rise more than back radiation. In actuality, it will rise a bit less due to non-radiative heat release due slightly to conduction, and more to latent heat transfer from evaporation.

    • TeiF – I sometimes obsess about getting things right, and so even if no-one is paying attention, I’ll stick in one further small correction that makes little quantitative difference, but satisfies my need to tidy up the points I make. I stated above that at equilibrium, upward energy flux must balance back radiation plus absorbed solar radiation, with the latter having remained constant. Even that is not quite true. Warming due to rising CO2 will evaporate more water into the atmosphere, which will absorb additional solar radiation, and so the solar radiation absorbed by the surface will decline. The change would be small, but it illustrates the point that there are enough nuances involved so that one needs actual calculations rather than back of the envelope estimates to best approach an accurate accounting of energy balances.

    • The End if Far,
      You should read very carefully and accept what Fred is selling very cautiously.
      N2 absorption spectra:
      http://www.cxro.lbl.gov/als6.3.2/metrology/images/nitro.gif
      Sunlight spectra:
      http://reefkeepingfever.com/images/sunlight-spectrum.jpg
      O2 and O3 absorption:
      http://sanjeev.sabhlokcity.com/co2/index_files/image013.gif

      I am not certain crow is really the menu item you should have to select…. unless you have acquired a taste for it.

    • Hunter – I’m not sure what point you are making. The absorption of solar radiation by N2 and O2 is very small, but more importantly, the emissivity of N2 and O2 at atmospheric temperatures is very close to zero. You don’t disagree, do you?

      Ozone is different of course. It absorbs solar radiation (mainly in the UV) as well as IR radiation, and emits in the IR.

    • I was referring to the minimal solar absorption by N2 and O2 in the troposphere and stratosphere, relevant to climate. At far higher atmospheric levels, there is greater absorption, particularly by O2. As stated above, the emissivity of tropospheric N2 and O2 is so close to zero as to be insignificant in assessing atmospheric radiative transfer.

    • The End is FAR

      I made some statements that I was not 100% sure of, so feel it’s better to admit as much, do some homework and possibly serve up a bit of my own.

      It makes very little sense to me that a body of gas at ~290 K would emit nearly zero radiation, that it seems defies all logic. If N2 does have this property I believe someone could give Thermos a run for their money selling beverage containers surrounded by N2 rather than a vacuum. But again, convection would be a problem. Damn that convection, anywhere you introduce it, it tremendously speeds up the cooling process.

      In any event, no one has described how convection is impeded by trapped radiation or increased atmospheric emissitivity. Fred described above how ‘trapped’ radiation warms the surface. What I’ve got to do is make sure I have a sound understanding of when and how convection is not a more efficient medium of transfer when this occurs. My current understanding is that it is nearly always more efficient, but a little homework on the lapse rate should give me better footing with regards to when it does not allow convection.

      As for the crow, if it wasn’t crow, I’ll definitely know next time.

    • TeiF – Thermos vacuums impede conduction and convection.

      Convection is an important ingredient of atmospheric heat transfer. Rather than being “impeded” by the effects of radiative transfer, it is actually triggered, so that the “super-warming” that would result in the absence of convection is reduced to the levels actually observed. Convection of warm air is important, but even more important is convection of moist warm air, so that condensation of water vapor at high altitudes releases latent heat that escapes to space more easily than from the surface. This is a negative “lapse rate feedback” that also reduces warming to the levels observed.

      Regarding N2 and emissivity, the ability of a gas to emit radiation at a given temperature depends on the quantum energy transitions it can undergo. CO2 and water can undergo transitions in the infrared resulting from the dipole moments they exhibit (i.e., the separation of negative and positive charges), but individual N2 molecules lack a dipole moment and therefore can’t release energy quanta to any significant extent at the energy levels they possess at atmospheric temperature (rare interactions involving two or more molecules are an exception). At very high temperatures, N2 could emit due to transitions involving its orbital electrons, but these require much more energy than is available to the vast majority of atmospheric N2 molecules. I also believe that N2 is probably capable of emitting very low energy microwave radiation under certain conditions of excitation, but as far as I know, this would not significantly affect the atmospheric energy budget.

      Spectroscopists could probably supply more details on this than I can.

    • The End is FAR,

      But do not exclude N2 and O2. Both emit vast amounts of energy since the comprise 99% of the mass of the atmosphere.

      No they do not emit practically at all, because their emissivity is so close to zero.

      - “During radiative forcing, it reduces emissions to space, although these rise again toward the original value in response to temperature increases in the atmosphere and on the surface.”

      You are leaving out Convection again. It only reduces Radiation, not Convection. Are you suggesting that an increase in temperature in the surface or atmosphere will not result in an increased Convection Rate?

      There is no convection to space and almost none to stratosphere.

      The speed at which radiation travels is most certainly relevant.

      No. The speed is totally irrelevant.

      But again, convection is not impeded, but increased as it provides another more efficient medium for heat transfer .

      Convection is important, but obviously you have in mind something, which I don’t understand.

      PV=nRT. If you select an altitude in a strict adiabatic system you will find that the temperature is equal across that altitude. Stratified.

      When the lapse rate is adiabatic, the situation is not stratified, because vertical mixing is not inhibited.

      What profile due to CO2? The Gas Laws do not by themselves determine the temperature of the atmosphere when Convective Currents are at play. A thermal draft is a perfect example, a mirage is an extreme example.

      The troposphere is heated uniformly, when adiabatic lapse rate is in force and CO2 concentration is increased.

      - “This excess warmth triggers upward heat convection, with a tendency to restore the adiabat.”

      This is nonsensical. An adiabat does not describe movement of heat, only a static temp due to given pressures.

      Restoring the adiabat is the process I described in the other reply below.

      The atmosphere below the Tropopause has a mass of 4,000 Trillion metric tons. It is 15 C at the Surface and -56C at the top and it has the capacity to absorb trillions of trillions of joules and spread them out amongst that great mass. While this ‘forcing’ may slow the rate of Radiation, it does not hinder in any degree the ability for the atmosphere to ‘scrub’ the Earth’s surface of heat and distribute it outwards and upwards.

      The atmosphere hinders enough to create the temperature difference you give. With more CO2 it hinders a bit more.

      - “In contrast with an adiabatic profile defined by the gas laws, and is not stratified, the stratosphere is stratified – hence its name.”

      Incorrect. The gas laws dictate that in a static environment, no heat transfer, then Temperatures follow Pressure. Without Convection, a dynamic flow of energy, there is no choice for that system to be anything other than stratified.

      The Stratosphere is only relatively Stratified. If you keep the same altitude going from a Pole to the Equator, you cross into the Troposphere at about 65 degrees, N or S. The reason that it is so uniform though is that it heats and cools very evenly with regards to Latitude.

      Stratified means that the temperature profile inhibits vertical mixing. That happens, when the temperature increases with altitude or decreases with altitude more slowly that at adiabatic lapse rate.

    • The End is FAR

      No they do not emit practically at all, because their emissivity is so close to zero.

      You’re suggesting they are without Temperature? ALL objects above 0Kelvin radiate. Am I mistaken?

      There is no convection to space and almost none to stratosphere.

      No need to, the temp drops by at least 71 C between the surface and Tropopause.

      Question: Will an increase in Surface temp Cause an increase in the Temp Gradient just above the surface? Will the Convection Rate increase if the surface causing it increases in Temp? Again I bring up mirages, they show that convection is extremely efficient at cooling the surface.

      I seem to gather that you feel convection plays little if no role in cooling the surface. Is that accurate?

      Fred This is the basis for the greenhouse effect. It is not a question of how fast radiation escapes to space, but rather of how many times it changes direction, including downward, before it escapes.

      TEiF The speed at which radiation travels is most certainly relevant. It moves so fast within short a short distance that it changes direction 150 million times per sec at 1 meter and 15,000 times at 10,000 meters. If you average the amount of energy ‘trapped’ over altitude you will see that much more of the energy is trapped per meter the closer you are to the surface. But again, convection is not impeded, but increased as it provides another more efficient medium for heat transfer.

      PekkaNo. The speed is totally irrelevant.

      It most certainly does in the context Fred used. If it changes directions 150 Million times at 1 meter, then much more energy resides per meter the closer you get to the surface. Does this not make sense, I can attempt to reword it.

      Convection is important, but obviously you have in mind something, which I don’t understand.

      Is Convection more or less efficient than Radiation assuming Convection is in play? If you allowed an object to only cool via radiation, measured the rate of cooling, and then added an atmosphere, would the rate be at least more than double Radiation Rate alone?

      When the lapse rate is adiabatic, the situation is not stratified, because vertical mixing is not inhibited.

      Does an adiabatic system involve heat transfer or not. Forgive me as I mentioned before I understood the adiabatic rate as a function of PV=nRT. Pressure goes up, Temp goes up and vice versa. Quickly I checked some literature and it agrees that it does not. I’m not saying that it doesn’t, but it makes perfect sense that it does not to me.

      The troposphere is heated uniformly, when adiabatic lapse rate is in force and CO2 concentration is increased.

      Observations prove otherwise. A uniformly heated atmosphere would not produce storms, land sea breezes, breezes next to forests, Mirages, and the list goes on and on. Perhaps you means something different?

      The atmosphere hinders enough to create the temperature difference you give. With more CO2 it hinders a bit more.

      Radiation hinders Convection or the Atmosphere hinders Convection?

      Stratified means that the temperature profile inhibits vertical mixing.

      Precisely, so why is the Troposphere not stratified? Uneven heating and cooling, and Convective Currents are a result causing massive amounts of energy being ‘pushed’ skyward due to cooler more dense air being dragged beneath it where that cooler air is then warmed by the surface and the process continues as long as there is gravity and hat air expands.

      *

      Oddly enough one would expect Venus to be very turbulent from the surface to the cloud layer given the extreme temps there, but this is not the case, it is very stratified. Why? My hypothesis is that if the surface heats and cools very evenly, then the atmosphere above it will heat very evenly preventing convective currents from being created, that increase the rate of cooling.

      Given that the Venusian surface is very uniform with regards to composition (most of the surface is the same rocky crust), and it rotates backwards and its year is longer than its day. So it has a very slow and uniform heating. Differences in temperature plat a critical role in Convection Rates.

    • The End is FAR

      PekkaNo they do not emit practically at all, because their emissivity is so close to zero.

      Got it. O2 absorbs a great deal in the UV range, but that is mostly absorbed above the Troposphere, so little to absorb within it.

      Sorry for suggesting you thought N2 and O2 were without temp, I’m having crow for dinner.

      I will take a closer look at the Lapse Rate and will decide if I still have an argument then.

  48. “Ouch. On previous Climate Etc. threads on attribution of 20th century climate change, we have pretty much debunked each of these arguments. Serreze’s weak arguments do not necessarily mean that anthropogenic CO2 has not warmed the planet during the 20th century, it just means that he has made weak arguments. Now that I think about it, the Harry Potter theory might be good nomenclature for natural unforced variability; climate scientists seem to reject as magic warming that isn’t forced.”

    Exactly. It appears that some of the CAGW crowd are so inflamed by the “skeptics” that they don’t even listen to what they have to say.
    Thus, they keep repeating the same disproven statements over and over again.

    Those climate scientists who are buying into the meme that the cold, snowy weather is a sign of AGW (after saying the opposite for years) have really jumped the shark. If they think they had a credibility problem before, just wait till this all comes out.

    • The End is FAR

      “Now that I think about it, the Harry Potter theory might be good nomenclature for natural unforced variability; climate scientists seem to reject as magic warming that isn’t forced.”

      Something seems quite wrong with this statement and I believe I can describe what it is. In an earlier thread I opined that AGW Advocates typically are Keynesian economists, and Skeptics are typically Micro Economists.

      Keynesian’s understand that an economic system must be forced to a result, where Micro (Smith, Mises, Hayek) economists understand that economies occur naturally and spontaneously, they need not be forced.

      Macro is attempting to Coerce an outcome, where Micro is an attempt to Predict one. No time to develop this thought further at the moment, but an analogy of income to energy, and the ability to Coerce vs. Predict is where my thoughts are leading.

      Curious, are there Skeptics in this forum that favor Macro Economics?

    • It’s not entirely clear that you know much more about economic theory than you do about climate science. Microeconomics is the branch of economics that deals with the behavior of the individual producer and consumer, while macroeconomics is the branch of economics that deals with a nation’s total economic behavior.

      You can assert, if you want, that the author of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations can reasonably be called a “microeconomist,” but that doesn’t make it so.

    • The End is FAR

      Like my Caps? :)

      Yes, Micro Economies, Individuals must Predict the outcome of all the individual economic decisions that take place. Macro Economies deal with National Economic behavior by attempting to Coerce millions of individual’s behavior. Macro is reliant on Monopolies, Micro abhors them. Are you one of the Macro’s that thinks Big Business is Micro?

      I’ve read The Wealth of Nations, much of Hayek, and many of Mises papers. I feel confident that I can say that Smith understood Micro Economics, Mercantilism was King, as a form of it is now, so there are very few practicing Micro Economists. National Socialism and State Capitalism prevent it.

      I’ve also read Marx’s Das Kapital, English Engels annotated. He was just trying to ‘fix’ Mercantilism with Central Planning = Central Authority = Central Ownership. Socialism, Marxism, Leninism, State Capitalism, Mercantilism, Corporatism, and many other ‘isms are all basically the same thing except the Central Planners go by different monikers.

      Got more at http://wp.me/pB8xR-8S

      Have you refuted any of my climate posts? Last I saw you were Digging my Caps.

    • No, I’ll leave the Refutation of your Posts to Fred and Pekka.

      I think I understand what you’re referring to with your Micro and Macro, though like your idiosyncratic approach to Capitalization you’re just making up your own titles for ideas that are out there.

      I’m in agreement with the Austrian School that the economy is close to irreducibly complex, and with the idea of minimal government. Laissez-faire just seems to be throwing up one’s hands as a result, though.

      Mises was brilliant, but kind of a dick. Hayek was really good in the movie Frida.

    • The End is FAR

      Good enough, is it because you’re not clear on climate science, new here just qualifying my discussion with you?

      though like your idiosyncratic approach to Capitalization you’re just making up your own titles for ideas that are out there.

      I claim to never had a thought or understanding that some Human, present or in history, has already had or understood before me. If I have, I have not claimed it.

      I do however claim that anything I claim to understand, I have put forth effort to do so and will man up and alter my understanding if I am found to be incorrect. I claim to understand physics well enough to enter a fruitful debate with Any person.

      Adiabatic Lapse Rate is a slight exception, but that will be remedied in a short period. :)

      Curious, do you have a particular title in mind?

      Laissez-faire just seems to be throwing up one’s hands as a result, though.

      What an odd thing for a Micro Economist to say. Laizze-faire is not a chaotic system, just as nature has order, so does Micro Economics. However, it takes effort at individual level to maintain order. If you place your ‘household management’ in the hands of others, then don’t be surprised if they skim a little or a lot off the top.

    • TEiF

      *squint*

      I’m fairly conversant with discussions of economics. For all that you use the names of economists and even of some ideas of economics, I don’t see actual economic discussion in what you say. More like economics slam poetry.

      Could you produce a thesis statement of some type?

      Or maybe be more poetical?

      One or the other?

    • The End is FAR

      Bart R,

      I’m a terrible poet :)

      Are you referring to Socialism, Mercantilsim, Corporatism, Marxism, etc all being a form of Central Planning where the Central Planners are ‘chosen’ differently and go by different titles?

      Or that Laizze-faire is not a chaotic system with proper rules and effort?

    • Latimer Alder

      Go easy on the caps. They detract from your message.

      If English is not your first language, there are books to help you.

    • If French is not your first language, there are phonetic dictionaries to help you.

    • Now I need another shirt, and another coffee.

      Science is corrupt. Yup.

    • TEiF

      All economic systems deal with systems in chaos.

      That is, they use simplified models of complex iterative nonlinear objective correlatives with all the hallmarks of chaos mathematics.

      Your somewhat arbitrary assignments of roles is to economics as the zodiac is to astrophysics.. or ping pong.

      While I generally am in favor of interest in economics as a field of study.. I’m still grappling with what sort of hold of the actual fundamentals of the field you may possess, other than vocabulary.

      Please provide a commentary of environmental economist Ross McKitrick’s recent work in terms of the Theory of Bads, to allow me to better understand your approach.

      Much obliged.

    • The End is FAR

      My French is worse than my poetry. PDA has volunteered to proofread for me. Thanks PDA, good job, you’re worth every penny.

      Latimer, Will do.

      Bart, Have you read Hayek? Both Road to Serfdom and Fatal Conceit do a very nice job of showing how a central Planner must employ central Authority to carry our those plans and how this is in practice central Ownership. You can call it whatever you want, but when you can plan my efforts/wealth for me, you must have the coercive authority to do so, then you own my efforts/wealth.

      Each of the above systems employ relatively similar planning, authority/coercion, and ownership. Disagree?

      It is sort of like the planners have a vague Power of Attorney. They use it when they can get away with it because they are far outnumbered.

      As for chaos, an economic system need not be complex if all the players know the rules and have relatively equal access to knowledge. Certainly iteration comes into play, but when you try to describe the entire system, only then does it look chaotic or complex. At the micro scale there is no chaos unless there is a sudden and unforeseen change. Micro is more about expecting uncertainty than preventing it. If prevention is desired, it should be planned individually, not by the few for the many.

      Perhaps not as eloquent as Smith, or as long and detailed as Hayek, but my words, my understanding.

      I have not read McKitrick, and can find nothing on ‘Theory of Bads’. Are you looking for something specific?

    • TEiF

      So slam poetry is all it is.

      *sigh*

      That’s disappointing.

      To drop a breadcrumb trail, you may have to try a current economics journal to locate information on Theory of Bads.

      The idea being that for certain ranges of the Demand Curve (making this mainly a Micro topic, to place it in the context of your jargon) a traded unit no longer acts in the market as a Good, but as its opposite. As its price rises, more of the budget of individual consumers is devoted to it, causing other Goods to lose share, not gain share. Fun stuff, to do with extreme Elasticity values.

      Also called Addictive Goods, these items are the argument for distinguishing a Free Market (one that follows the parameters of a Free Market as laid out by some of the authors you say the names of) from a Libertarian ‘Free Market’ (one ‘free’ of management or regulation).

      As for McKitrick, I believe he has a website, or others host some of his work somewhere.

    • The End is FAR

      Bart R,

      We need a new theory to describe what Micro already explains quite well? Opportunity Cost already does a fine job at showing how rising prices of a good a person wants/demands will affect their choice of that good and other goods they demand. Has that not been expressed for at least 3 centuries already?

      What do you mean by a good becomes its ‘opposite’? Is this some form of dialectical materialism? The idea that the price of a commodity or good rising to extreme values outside of scarcity is not Micro, it is Macro which must employ some form of Monopoly (Coercion) on the good. Diamonds are an example. Their price is held high due to the restriction, not their scarcity in nature, or even the ability to get to/produce them. ‘Illegal’ drugs are another, Alcohol during prohibition followed this example. Immediately criminals held a monopoly on alcohol.

      :) Addictive Goods? Okay since ice cream is ‘addictive’ and harmful to some lazy people it should be regulated and the price increased even for the people who just enjoy it on occasion or without harm? Is that what you are saying? I think I see what you meant by opposite; a good is not something that is good for you, it is something you want.

      Now if you become addicted to a good that is expensive and bad for your health, how is that my concern unless your addiction becomes burdensome to me in some manner? Vice versa?

      Addictive Good sounds very nanny state to me. No thanks.

      Who is the author of the Theory of Bads? I can’t find anything on it.

    • TEiF

      In some ways, classical microeconomic theory has always described the theory of Bads quite well. Or badly; Smith and Ricardo certainly struggled with it, and consigned it to externalities for the most part.

      Simply reverse the sign on price elasticity of demand, and you have the demand curve for a Bad instead of a Good. The higher the price, the more the market buys in the short run.

      However, few now touch on the topic formally or develop it in detail, as it is mathematically trivial for the student to correctly apply the theory of Goods, is generally not very useful, and will confuse the novice for the more common case of Goods. See for example Modern Economic Theory by Sampat Mukherjee, pp 198, 218, 585-589, 970 for very brief discussion among nearly a thousand detailed pages.

      This has nothing to do with moral judgements. This is a coldly amoral tale. If the most reprehensible items you could imagine retained a negative demand slope, they would remain Goods. If the most virtuous commodities were in a positively rising portion of their demand curve, they would be Bads.

      It has nothing to do with quality, too. A bad pen remains a pen, a good tulip would still feed tulipomania.*

      Ice cream therefore is a Good, and that you may die of obesity due to personal moral failing or medical or cultural predisposition is simply an externality.

      Some Bads are described as those pests that infest Goods, like insects in food, or weeds in seed. Buy the seed, you buy the weed; to cut down on weeds you must buy less seed or more weed-killer.

      Some Bads are ordinary goods for most, that for some are so addictive as no price jump and no share of budget in the short run is too steep for one additional unit, such as cocaine or heroin.

      Some Bads are mania-induced tastes, like the famous case of *tulipomania. The very rise in the price of bulbs led to a price bubble.

      And some Bads are technically Goods, except that they are so near to zero elasticity and hold so large a share of the budget as to distort the market on their own, and produce a Bad effect though not apparently Bad on the face of it.

      It is important to remember these are short run effects, and also that the Demand and Supply curves are not straight lines but sickles, and when the price is moved to an appropriate range, elasticity will again become positive enough to undo the effect. This range may be in some cases imaginary.

      Who writes about this? Perhaps one textbook in five even mentions the topic. Good luck finding it in books. This, you need to think like an Economist for yourself to do.

      So, if Ross McKitrick’s proposal to base carbon tax level on proven negative climate change were applied, please discuss scenarios in terms of the above.

  49. The End is FAR

    @ Pekka Pirilä

    - “The adiabatic lapse rate is the end result of convective heat transfer, which occurs when radiative heat transfer tries to induce a stronger temperature gradient than is stable.”

    Convective heat transfer occurs when radiative heat transfer tries to induce a stronger temp gradient than is stable?

    Will convection occur when Radiation does not try to induce a stronger temp gradient than is stable?

    What is meant by stable? A state of equilibrium?

    - “The convection continues until the stable gradient is reached and this maximal stable gradient is called adiabatic lapse rate.”

    My understanding is that Convection occurs until a temperature inversion occurs.

    - “The convection that forces the gradient down to adiabatic lapse rate may be local and essentially adiabatic, because the non-adiabatic processes are very weak:”

    Bear with me, I think I’m starting to get your use of the Lapse Rate. In a Static World the Lapse Rate is 9.8C for every kilometer, but that rate changes regionally due to changing pressure and air composition. Same page?

    - “Little turbulence is involved,”

    Is wind turbulence or not?

    - “There are also other, usually larger scale convective processes, but that is a separate issue.’

    Now your talking, let’s describe/discuss those, that is the Convection I’ve been referring to. The small scale convective processes you are speaking of, if scaled up create giant convective cells. This is what cools the Earth’s surface.

    - “In areas, where the adiabatic lapse rate is true, the temperature of the whole air column must also rise, because the adiabatic lapse rate would otherwise be exceeded.”

    On a gradient, higher increases to lower increases as altitude increases?

    • The End is FAR,

      Convective heat transfer occurs when radiative heat transfer tries to induce a stronger temp gradient than is stable?

      Will convection occur when Radiation does not try to induce a stronger temp gradient than is stable?

      This type of local convection does not occur, when the temperature gradient is smaller than the adiabatic lapse rate. That is a stable situation – it is the situation called stratified. It is valid in stratosphere and may also occur in troposphere at upper latitudes.

      What is meant by stable? A state of equilibrium?

      It means that convection does not start.

      My understanding is that Convection occurs until a temperature inversion occurs.

      It is enough that the gradient is less than the adiabatic lapse rate, inversion is not needed.

      Bear with me, I think I’m starting to get your use of the Lapse Rate. In a Static World the Lapse Rate is 9.8C for every kilometer, but that rate changes regionally due to changing pressure and air composition. Same page?

      Lapse rate is essentially a synonym for temperature gradient, but I have tried to use the expression only for the adiabatic lapse rate, which is 9.8C/km for dry air and less for moist air.

      Is wind turbulence or not?

      Wind is not important for these considerations. Certainly it affects the real lapse rate or temperature gradient to some extent, but it is not an essential factor.

      - “There are also other, usually larger scale convective processes, but that is a separate issue.’

      Now your talking, let’s describe/discuss those, that is the Convection I’ve been referring to. The small scale convective processes you are speaking of, if scaled up create giant convective cells. This is what cools the Earth’s surface.

      No these are not the same effect that creates the large cells. Again different issues get mixed, but the basic processes are not the same.

      - “In areas, where the adiabatic lapse rate is true, the temperature of the whole air column must also rise, because the adiabatic lapse rate would otherwise be exceeded.”

      On a gradient, higher increases to lower increases as altitude increases?

      I don’t understand your question.

    • The End is FAR

      :) Getting somewhere, thank you.

      This type of local convection does not occur, when the temperature gradient is smaller than the adiabatic lapse rate. That is a stable situation – it is the situation called stratified.

      Sorry, I thought had little use for the Lapse Rate as I simply understood it to be a function of PV=nRT. Perhaps this was an oversight. I will be studying its use in the coming days.

      But here is what I’m reading. The Lapse Rate is 9.8C/km or .0098C/m or about 1C/100m. I will suppose that it is actually greater than .0098C/m since 1 meter is is much closer than the top of a km, but you understand where I am coming from.

      I cannot fathom many cases here on Earth when the Temp Gradient is less than .0098C/m given that the surface is in a constant state of cooling. While it certainly heats up during the day, the cooling rate also increases increasing the Temperature Gradient.

      Now can the Lapse Rate increase? Certainly, but I am not aware of the upper observations. Mirages come to mind. They occur at a Temp Grad of around 2C/m are common up to 5C/m, and get to 10C/m in deserts. Just trying to figure out when Convection DOES NOT occur. Doesn’t seem very common.

      and It means that convection does not start.

      Equilibrium.

      It is enough that the gradient is less than the adiabatic lapse rate, inversion is not needed.

      Got it, the Earth just happens to have one and convection would continue until the Temp Gradient became less than the Lapse Rate.

      But this is more typical at the top of the Troposphere, correct? Near the surface changes in cooling due to a rotating Earth and convective currents constantly keep the Temp Gradient in flux. Do you know if the doldrums are a result of the Lapse Rate being greater than the Temp Gradient?

      Lapse rate is essentially a synonym for temperature gradient, but I have tried to use the expression only for the adiabatic lapse rate, which is 9.8C/km for dry air and less for moist air.

      Doesn’t seem like a synonym for as much convection going on. Perhaps in a static and uniform system.

      Wind is not important for these considerations. Certainly it affects the real lapse rate or temperature gradient to some extent, but it is not an essential factor.

      This makes no sense to me. Wind chill cools a surface more quickly. It lowers the Pressure and therefor the Temp, increasing the Lapse Rate.

      No these are not the same effect that creates the large cells.

      What creates the large cells? What is large?

      On a gradient, higher increases to lower increases as altitude increases?

      I don’t understand your question.

      Sorry :) The temp of the air column will rise more towards the bottom of the air column than the top. If it takes 1 km to cool 9.8C, then it will take more than 1km to cool another 9.8C, just slightly more for the second km, and increasing from there.

  50. Malcolm Miller

    Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, early astrophysicist, succinctly described the entire universe in a mere nine words: “Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.”
    It seems to me that these words apply equally to climate.

  51. To All

    I think the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is due to both human emission of CO2 and due to the release of CO2 from the sea as a result of a long-term global warming of 0.6 deg C per century.

    Is there referenced information that apportions percentages to these man-made and natural increases of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere?

    • There are numerous references relevant to the principle that as the quantity of CO2 added to the atmosphere increases, so does the amount of CO2 that enters the ocean. In other words, both atmosphere and ocean are taking up CO2, rather than a situation in which there is a net loss of CO2 from the ocean.

      The best way to find these is to Google “Airborne Fraction”. Some studies suggest that the airborne fraction, which is currently about 45 percent CO2 retained in the atmosphere and the rest entering oceanic and terrestrial sinks, is increasing as the oceanic reservoir is growing closer to saturation. Other studies report a relatively unchanged airborne fraction.

      All show substantial net uptake of CO2 by the oceans as CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. There is no net release from oceans to atmosphere.

    • Thanks Fred

  52. So let’s just summarise here shall we?

    1. Curry tries to riducle the current research efforts of Serreze
    2. One of the researchers turns up and explains the science to Curry
    3. Curry obfuscates, blathers and does not address the arguments
    4. Researcher blows holes in Curry’s blather
    5. Curry tries some more blather that specifies things, trying to look knowledgable
    6. Researcher sinks the Curry blather boat with one very accurate statement:

    “Judy, I’m afraid that your knowledge of global climate models might be out of date.”

    Game, set and match to Ms Stroeve.

    • I have a very different take on the exchange between the two. Each made points based on her own expertise and record rather than engaging in a battle to determine who wins. The result was a difference of opinion on some issues combined with agreement on some basics.

      I found an exchange in a blog between two expert professional climate scientists to be one of the most refreshing blog interactions I’ve witnessed in a long time. I hope that nothing any of us says will do anything to discourage more of this type of rare event. That includes cheering for one “side” vs another.

      If that happens, we will all lose.

    • Fred, thank you for this comment. I agree, this is the kind of dialogue we should have. Very different from the exchange with Gavin.

    • Shouldn’t you do something about ianash. As far as I can tell, he has been doing nothing else than trolling around and never had anything to say or to ask about the ongoing subject.

    • Well, some people appreciate the comic relief. As long as he doesn’t violate blog rules or post endlessly long comments, he can stay.

    • I’m not convinced there’s any comedic value.

      Responses to ianash are almost invariably mocking derision, delivered in deadpan retort.

    • andrew adams

      Maybe that’s because in this case you actually backed up your initial assertions with some detailed scientific argument whereas when Gavin asked you to do this WRT your comments on paleo reconstructions you wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do so.

    • Thankgod for our bete noire, Gavin.

      Let’s all give him a good kicking at every opportinuty for being neither as nice , nor as reasonable, as us!

      High five!!

    • Judy –

      Gavin called you out on the vague, disparaging inferences made in your post, and Julienne did not. She simply ignored them, and responded to the science only.

      You, then, perceive this as more “civil” …. Apparently “civil” is only a requirement of others, and code word for “don’t hold me accountable to my words”. Hmmmm, interesting.

      cg

    • Either way, “Blather Boat:” best blog name ever.

    • Yes it is! PDA, just curious, you seem to be up to date on many papers. The 1910 to 1945 period is interesting to me because Gavin and others are RC feel I am “cherry picking” if I have a question about the attribution to the rise to solar and reduce volcanic aerosols. The few papers I have been able to read, use generally outdated solar TSI reconstructions and aerosol reconstructions that show positive aerosol forcing, if I am reading the plots right. Meehl et al (I may have mis-spelled, sorry Doc if I did) use a 1993 Hoyt et al which looked to over estimate TSI by about 0.2 C. Between the TSI and aerosol reconstruction, there is about 0.25 C attribution that may be incorrect versus newer reconstructions.

      Do you know of a more current evaluation of the period?

    • After that, PDA, could you bring me a coffee?

    • Thanks but that is the same old same old. Lean et al 2000, Hoyt et al 1993, etc. etc. all antiquated solar reconstructions. I guess it is too expensive to revise models based on new results, may as well keep quoting the older stuff since it tends to fit the consensus opinion. What the heck, it’s only a little over half of the warming of that period that may be over estimated as solar forced.

    • Holly Stick

      So cite some recent work.

    • I can cite recent TSI reconstructions. Several solar researchers have cited and made the same points. To my knowledge though, no one that is considered an “expert” in climate science has bother revising the model runs with the most current data. “Experts” in solar physics don’t seem to have the clout to point out the obvious differences in the older TSI reconstructions versus the new ones and how the new ones would seem to indicated that either there is unforced variation (magic) or perhaps some relationship may not be fully understood. That damn uncertainty thing.

      If you like check out this comparison of TSI reconstructions http://www.leif.org/research/TSI%20(Reconstructions).pdf

      The Hoyt and Lean “explain” the 1910 to 1940 warming. Unfortunately, all of the newer reconstructions do not. Leif Svalgaard is somewhat an outcast because he questions the consensus opinion that solar and volcanic lull drove the 1910 to 1940 temperature rise. Then his is only one of several reconstructions that show the same thing. Even Judy Lean, primary author of the Lean et al 2000 TSI reconstruction and co-author of the Wang reconstruction shown in the PDF agrees that TSI variation is much lower than the 1993 and 2000 papers indicate.

      What should be a valid question is “cherry picking”. The possibility that unforced variation may play some role in climate change is laughed off as ignorance since the models, using Hoyt 1993 and Lean 2000, “clearly” show the sun done it.

      A simple question is heresy! Now the Null hypothesis will require papers to run the gauntlet of pal review to prove that the obviously imperfect models could be improved if current data is included.

      Now ill informed sunspot counters can say that the current solar minimum should be reducing temperatures toward an new little ice age, “IT HAS TO BE GHG’s” that are keeping the temperatures stable or slightly rising! But TSI only changes about 1/2 W/M^2 above and below the average, so it is not the cause. The PDO shift is more likely that the quite sun to cause a climate shift, that can’t be considered a trend until another 3 to 5 years pass, even though Tsonis’ Dynamical Method for predicting major climate shifts predicted it. Tsonis has been considered a member of the wrong team until his coauthor Swanson soothed things by mentioning “uncertainty”.

      It is an interesting subject, the climate science clique.

    • Now I need another coffee,
      And another shirt.
      Science is corrupt.

    • ianash,
      Sadly, yes.

      But her punditry seems to reassure both herself, and her people. It’s apparently a win-win situation. :-)

  53. ian (not the ash)

    Fred and Judith, couldn’t agree more …good to witness a civil exchange between peers. A confession as to my own stereotyping; until alerted by another poster’s comment I presumed Julienne to be male. It’s amazing the breadth of cognitive biases I am challenged to address through the climate debate!

    • Julienne Stroeve

      nope, I’m female, and Judy was actually on my PhD committee, so although we have not worked together on projects we are aware of each others work. While my original focus was on retrieval of geophysical variables from satellite data, I have since moved onto studies of interactions between changes in various climate variables in the Arctic and the causes for these changes, and more recently I’ve turned my attention towards the climate implications of these observed changes (look for a paper in Tellus on the impacts of sea ice loss on Northern Hemisphere precipitation that is in press). Since I am observation based, I rely on the observational record, which mostly relies on satellite data, but when available, other data are incorporated into my work to allow for longer term perspectives (if possible). Sometimes I also look at climate model data, such as in my GRL 2007 paper on the comparison between the observed sea ice extent from 1953 onwards compared to the IPCC AR4 climate models. It was surprising to me in that study to discover that the current sea ice loss is outpacing that predicted by our most advanced global climate models. It appears from my limited viewing of the latest round of model simulations that this is still the case. So trying to understand what is happening to the sea ice is one of my primary areas of study at the moment.

  54. Julienne Stroeve

    just one final comment :)

    Though I don’t normally engage in defending another person’s views, I believe Mark was talking about the warming observed this past century and not short-term variability in his statements.

    But I do believe it’s important to remember that this came from an interview, so it’s already at least once removed from the source, maybe even twice (if an editor got to it). I have learned the hard way myself how a reporter will twist the words you say to make the point THEY want to make in their press. I once stated during summer 2008 that if September 2008 dropped below 2007 then perhaps Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski was not too far off with his predictions of an Arctic summer ice free by 2012. So what the headline was on the BBC the next day was that NSIDC researcher says ice-free conditions by 2012. That’s not what I said, yet that’s what it was turned into.

    Our statements are often taken out of context, or not fully stated in order to make the point the person(s) doing the reporting. Important to keep in mind….always better to read the actual papers by the scientists if at possible.

    • Thanks for your participation, Dr. Stroeve. It was refreshing to see an actual domain expert participating in these threads.

      The problem, of course, is that journalists on both sides of the political debate end up (intentionally or unintentionally) twisting scientific findings in order to support their policy preferences: e.g. for action right now, no action ever, or – in the case of our host – dithering.

      My perception is that the presence of bias in the actual science is overstated, while we’ve got science journalists cherry-picking, distorting and flat misunderstanding new findings. Maybe some day some reporter will step forward to “restore the credibility of science journalism.” Maybe.

    • I would suggest that when the press was echoing your claims and building up the hysteria, most of our colleagues sat back and enjoyed the show (and vastly increased grants). Now you are not so happy with how things are going and suddenly things need to be as you would like them to be.
      The AGW community of promoters are the ones who are holding conferences on how to use marketing and spin to get the great unwashed to buy your science.
      It is a bit bold on your part to now talk about how you and your colleagues are just victims of the media when you have been using them for decades for your advantage.

    • Julienne Stroeve

      Hunter, do you happen to know any climate scientists personally? It appears you have some preconceived ideas of who we are and what our objectives are. Might be better to actually ask a climate scientist about some of your beliefs of us to see if they are actually true.

    • Dr. Stroeve,
      Actually I have met two prominent ones. And some PhD’s and post-docs.
      One is busy sticking to science, the other is between gigs working for the WH and selling books on apocalypse.
      I am not aware of anyone simply saying oops, we are doing this for cynical reasons. But the silence of so many in your community in the face of crazy talk by too many of your peers speaks louder than excuses.
      As to the confrernces on sales and marketing, it is not skeptics who hold meeting after meeting on how to sell AGW.
      When a community is committed to selling something like climate calamity or eugenics or Martian canals, I am not certain that asking the players ‘why?’ is a meaningful effort.
      I mean you no disrespect, but you and your peers need to make a decision: do you return to science or do you continue enabling this terrible waste of resources? Do you call out those who have profited off of cliamte hysteria or do you allow them to tarnish you all?
      Social manias are not harmless when they turn into policy and law.

    • hunter, shame on you for throwing around such paranoid false accusations.

      Shame on Judith for encouraging this dishonest conspiracy crap.

    • Holly Stick,
      You walked right in to corner and now seem stuck.
      I toss around no conspiracy crap.
      Shame on your self.
      I toss around nothing except what Hansen has said.
      I wanted to see if any of the faithful would jump on me for it.
      Where are the climate scientists condemning his lucrative bs?
      the marketing efforts of the AGW community are well documented.
      Respond substantively or shame on you.

    • “Where are the climate scientists condemning his lucrative bs?”

      Do tell how much he earns.

    • hunter knows climate scientists…hahaha.

      He knows maybe one – that runs this blog. Thats it.

      Julienne, you are being sucked into the Curry anti-reality vortex. Be careful.

    • Hansen has won six-figure prizes, sold lucrative book deals and is paid well to lecture.
      He has done multiple books and speaks a lot.
      Oddly, he seems shy about the commercial aspects of this.
      FOIA requests for the permission granted tohim to earn income outside his nice government job are not surprisingly ignored.
      So while I do not have a specific number, since he is dodging the question we are free to conclude that it is substantial.

    • ianashh,
      Even if your claim were true, that would be 100% more than you.
      But do keep demonstrating reality as you see it.
      It only creates more skeptics.

    • So while I do not have a specific number, since he is dodging the question we are free to conclude that it is substantial.

      And…

      “I toss around nothing except what Hansen has said.”

      See the contradiction? You have no evidence of lucrative deals which may even be completely insubstantial, yet it seems that when uncertainty doesn’t fit your narrative you feel free to make up certainties based on speculation. You also criticise Hansen for making extra money “on the side” but fail to mention that the host of this blog has her own company based around her expertise as an academic. By your own criteria for Hansen, would that suggest that there may be bias on the part of Dr Curry, or Dr Lindzen who is also paid lucratively for his speaking and consultancy? How about Pat Michaels who is funded ~40% by Big Oil, or Ian Plimer who, going by the prominence and numbers of his book on bookshop shelves compared to Hansen’s book, must be raking it in by comparison? Your call.

      Similarly, Hansen’s West Side Highway comments have been misrepresented.

    • Would you agree that many climate scientist’s did use their reported positions of “expertise” to promote government policy positions that were not supported by accurate science. These policy positions have subsequently been shown to be VERY expensive and the predictions of a dire future were found to be unsupported by crediable science.

    • Julienne Stroeve

      Rob, I would not agree with that statement. I suppose it depends on your definition of many. The majority of scientists that I know have nothing to do with policy. Yes, we are forced to give interviews at times when our research grabs the attention of the press, but besides our right to vote like everyone else, we are not actively involved in policy. Perhaps you are referring to the IPCC?

    • Julienne- I acknowledge that the use of the term “many” is subject to debate.

      I suggest that any “climate scientist” that attempted to get governmental policies implemented to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, because they had prepared a case for policy makers showing that if CO2 emissions were not drastically curtailed then humanity was destined to experience mass calamity; have used their positions of expertise inappropriately and misstated the fidelity of the science.

      Please tell me where you do not agree.

    • Holly Stick

      “…These policy positions have subsequently been shown to be VERY expensive…”

      What policy positions? What evidence of expense?

      Citations? or wild accusations?

    • Holly,
      Are you dim or just trying to obfuscate?
      CO2 mitigation policies are vastly expensive and shown to be worthless, which makes them the worst kind of expensive:
      high cost with no benefit.

    • Holly Stick

      Who told you they would be vastly expensive? What evidence did they provide? Why aren’t you skeptical of those alarmist claims?

    • Rob Starkey

      Holly

      A recent NASA-GISS paper in Env. Sci. Tech., co-authored by James E. Hansen calls for the shutting down of all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030, in order to avoid the global warming caused by the emitted CO2.
      http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Kharecha_etal.pdf
      What effect would this specific actionable step actually have on global warming?
      The paper tells us that 1,994 billion kWh/year were generated from coal in 2009 and that the average CO2 emission is 1,000 tons CO2 per GWh generated.
      So by 2030 Hansen’s plan would reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 2 GtCO2 per year.
      Roughly half of this “stays” in the atmosphere (with the rest disappearing into the ocean, the biosphere or outer space) so the annual reduction after 2030 will be around 1 GtCO2/year and over the period from today to year 2100 the cumulative reduction would be 80.5 GtCO2.
      The mass of the atmosphere is 5,140,000 Gt.
      So the net reduction in atmospheric CO2 would be around 16 ppm(mass) or 10 ppmv.
      If we assume (as IPCC does) that by year 2100 the atmospheric CO2 level (without Hansen’s plan) will be around 600 ppmv (“scenario B1”), this means that with Hansen’s plan it will be 590 ppmv.
      Today we have 390 ppmv.
      Using IPCC’s 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2C we have:
      Case 1 – no Hansen plan
      600 ppmv CO2
      ln(600/390) = 0.431
      ln(2) = 0.693
      dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.431 / 0.693 = 1.99
      Case 2 – Hansen plan implemented
      590 ppmv CO2
      ln(590/390) = 0.414
      ln(2) = 0.693
      dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.414 / 0.693 = 1.91C
      So Hansen’s plan will result in a total reduction of global temperature by year 2100 of 0.08C.
      But what will this non-measurable reduction of global temperature cost?
      The total, all-in capital cost investment to replace 1,994 billion kWh/year capacity with the least expensive alternate (current nuclear fission technology) is between $4,000 and $8,000 per installed kW (say $6,000 on average). [Note: If we replace it with wind or solar, it will cost several times this amount per generated kWh, due in part to the low on-line factor.]
      1,994 billion kWh/year at a 90% on-line factor represents an installed capacity of:
      1994 / 8760 * .9 = 0.251 billion kWh
      This equals an investment cost of 0.251 * 6,000 = $1.5 trillion
      Globally some 6,700 billion kWh/year are generated from coal (around 3.4 times as much as in the USA).
      So shutting down all the world’s coal-fired plants by 2030 would cost $5 trillion and result in 0.27C reduced warming by year 2100.
      I think it is pretty obvious why Hansen and his co-authors do not run us through this cost/benefit analysis.
      And that is the real dilemma. There are no viable actionable proposals to reduce global warming – because we are unable to do so.

    • Holly Stick

      Because Hansen is not an economist and not silly enough to pretend he’s an expert on economics?

      Cost of the Iraq war: over $3 trillion
      $5 trillion over 20 years does not seem so bad, since you have not accounted for the boost the economy gets from tooling up for a green economy with new jobs being created.

      And the cost of doing nothing will be higher.

    • Holly Stick

      Iraq war reference – worth reading to see that actions have consequences.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/03/AR2010090302200.html

    • Rob – What happens in the U.S. strongly affects what happens elsewhere. The importance of worldwide coal combustion as a contributor of CO2 increases and consequent global warming is something I discussed elsewhere – I don’t think it’s insignificant -

      Comment 34356

      How U.S. centric we should be is a matter of philosophy, but I don’t think we can completely ignore our impact on people elsewhere.

    • Holly,
      Now you are just putting fingers in ears and going ‘la-la-la-la’ and saying you can’t hear anything.

    • Holly,
      By the way, Hansen has pontificated on extinction, nuclear policy, taxes, botany, civil engineering, and much much more. But you say he draws the line at economics.

    • Holly Stick

      Rob, here’s an argument that the true coast of coal in the US is up to 1/2 a trillion per year; so over twenty years it would be $10 trillion; roughly half for health costs, air and mercury pollution, the rest for global warming. So shut ‘em all down by 2030 and you save $5 trillion!

      http://www.desmogblog.com/true-cost-coal-half-trillion-dollars-year

    • Holly,
      I am skeptical ov everything. Unlike you, on the topic of wildly expensive, ineffective and destructive policy demands by AGW extremists and profiteers, I am informed.

    • Holly Stick

      Prove it.

    • Prove exactly what? that you are still ignoring the posts all around our posts of Hansens selling his BS?
      Or how in the UK, thanks to AGW extremists and kooks consumers are now being told to no longer expect dependable electrical power?
      Or would you like to continue to prove that you decline to read things that are inconveninet?
      Let me know where to start.

    • All of the alleged claims about ‘true cost’ prove to be bunk.
      Oil receiving vast tax breaks, etc. …that turn out to be nothing more than normal accounting used by any industry.
      Let us go with direct projected costs.

  55. Fred Moolten and Sven

    I have followed your exchange on “tipping points” and “runaway conditions” with interest (March 3, 2011 at 4:34 and 4:56am).

    Please pardon me if I elaborate on this a bit more extensively.

    Gavin Schmidt, over at RealClimate, tried to explain the difference between the two, citing his boss, James E. Hansen.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/runaway-tipping-points-of-no-return/

    But the logic seemed a bit fuzzy and somewhat convoluted.

    The whole concept of a climate “tipping point” is dependent on having an inherently unstable climate system, i.e. one in which strong positive feedbacks dominate.

    In testimony before a US Congressional Committee, on April 27, 2007, Hansen put it this way:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2007/Testimony_20070426.pdf

    Crystallizing scientific data and analysis reveal that the Earth is close to dangerous climate change, to tipping points of the system with the potential for irreversible deleterious effect. The information derives in part from paleoclimate data, the record of how climate changed in the past, as well as from measurements being made now by satellites and in the field.

    The Earth’s history shows that climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings. Positive feedbacks predominate. This has allowed the entire planet to be whipsawed between climate states. Huge natural climate changes, from glacial to interglacial states, have been driven by very weak, very slow forcings, and positive feedbacks.

    Later in his testimony, Hansen tied these “tipping points” to changes in atmospheric CO2 caused by human CO2 emissions, adding the statement:

    The dangerous level of CO2 is at most 450 ppm, and it is probably less.

    Hansen has more recently stated that the “dangerous” level might be as low as 350 ppmv and even that a Venus “runaway” greenhouse effect on Earth could be a possibility if CO2 emissions are not curtailed!

    But wait a minute!

    Is this what our planet’s climate history is really telling us?

    Let me suggest this answer (taken from several sources): 23°C seems to be close to the optimum ambient temperature for humans. Over the past 500 million years, global average temperature has fluctuated within a narrow band between 10°C and 22°C and today’s average global temperature of around 15°C is somewhere around the middle of the natural range.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1644060/posts

    5 million years ago the average temperature is believed to have been around 5°C warmer than today, or 20°C.

    During the last Glacial Maximum 20,000 years ago, it is believed that the global average temperature was as much as 5°C colder than today, or 10°C.

    And there appears to be no statistically significant correlation between these temperature swings and atmospheric CO2 levels, as the chart shows.

    Over most of our planet’s history CO2 levels have been significantly higher than the “dangerous” level suggested by Hansen. At one time they were even 20 times as high as today (without “runaway” greenhouse warming).
    http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml

    Over the most recent 450,000 years CO2 has been lower than in earlier times, fluctuating between around 200 and 300 ppmv.
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_5GH_GreenhouseGas.htm#paleo

    This chart was used by Al Gore in his IAT film to demonstrate that atmospheric CO2 drives global temperature. What Gore overlooked is that the CO2 concentration lagged temperature by several hundred years on average. Even worse for the postulation of causation was the fact that temperature began to drop during periods of relatively higher CO2 concentration and began to rise during periods of lower CO2 concentration.

    Hansen has referred to the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a relatively minor marine extinction event affecting primarily plankton, as paleo-climate evidence of rapid warming and resulting extinctions, similar to what could occur today from AGW. This event is thought to have been caused by the rapid increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration by over 2,000 ppmv, as a result of either volcanic activity or comet impact.

    Temperature is thought to have risen by 6°C as a result, resulting in the extinctions. This would translate into a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of around 1.9°C. It is thought, however, that a significant portion of the carbon released was methane, a greenhouse gas ten times as powerful as CO2, so there is still a lot of uncertainty in trying to relate the PETM to today’s condition.

    In addition, all of the planet’s optimistically estimated fossil fuel reserves today contain only enough carbon to theoretically raise atmospheric CO2 levels by around 600 ppmv above today’s level, even if they were all completely consumed. So it is safe to say that human CO2 emissions will not result in a PETM event, regardless of Hansen’s imagination.

    In AR4 WG1, IPCC estimates a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C on average, as a result of strongly positive feedbacks based on model simulations, primarily from water vapor and clouds.

    Physical observations over the tropics more recently published by Spencer & Braswell and Lindzen & Choi point to a much lower climate sensitivity than this, i.e. somewhere around 0.6°C, primarily as a result of the observed strongly negative feedback from clouds.

    These estimates are not based on reconstructed data from millions of years ago, but from recent satellite observations, so IMO they are considerably more valid.

    This would mean that our climate system is not inherently unstable, as postulated by Hansen, and that there will be no resulting “tipping points” in our climate from increased CO2 levels.

    The hypothesis of Willis Eschenbach, based on observations over the tropics, points to clouds, caused by warming, acting as a “natural thermostat”, by increasing our planet’s albedo and reflecting more incoming SW radiation as it warms, thereby resulting in cooling.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

    In a recent interview, Kevin Trenberth has also explained the most recent lack of warming of both the atmosphere and the upper ocean despite record increase of CO2 as possibly having been caused by the missing energy “going back out into space” with “clouds” acting as a “natural thermostat”.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025

    So we really don’t know for sure whether our planet’s climate is inherently stable, with clouds acting as a natural thermostat, or inherently unstable, with clouds acting as a positive feedback resulting in even more warming.

    However, in view of the most recent observations and the fact that our climate has stayed within a fairly narrow range of temperatures over many millions of years despite widely fluctuating CO2 levels, one can conclude that the “tipping point” or “runaway greenhouse warming” postulations of Hansen with CO2 at a “dangerous” level at 450 ppmv (or even 350 ppmv) appears not to be validated by the observed data

    Max

    • Max – Too many assertions to dissect each one, but it’s not true that tipping points require an inherently unstable climate, if unstable means prone to runaway. I’ve addressed the climate sensitivity and CO2/temperature correlation in detail elsewhere, and outlined the principles and evidence underlying the conclusions that are ordinarily drawn about these entities based on a large number of studies.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      “But the logic seemed involved and convoluted” ?

      Really? He named several uses of the expression and explained what they meant. And then illustrated them. He didn’t write an argument about specific tipping points except to note that they obviously exist.

      ” observed strongly negative feedback from clouds.”

      In what universe has this been observed? Clouds exhibit both positive and negative feedbacks. The likelihood that they throttle climate sensitivity is scant to non-existent simply because they haven’t done that in the past. (See the 13C swings in temperatures over the past million years. Where is this cloud negative feedback then?) Lindzen and Choi’s paper was disparaged even by Spencer.

      “However, in view of the most recent observations and the fact that our climate has stayed within a fairly narrow range of temperatures over many millions of years despite widely fluctuating CO2 levels”

      That’s simply not true. Over the past million years global mean temps have swung as much as 13C. Several times. If a span of 13C is a “fairly narrow range” for you, you should say so. It’s a bit extreme for me.

    • Fred and most believers know they cannot defend the bs of tipping points or runaway, so they are seeking to parse the two from what Hansen and the extremist fear mongers say.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Three points.

      Climate obviously has a tipping point. Witness the rapid transitions from glacial max to glacial minimum. You must have a private meaning for “bs”.

      Few climate scientists share Hansen’s worry about a Venus-like runaway. And Hansen qualifies his worries. I hope you’re not implying that he doesn’t.

      Horrible consequences to AGW don’t need a Venus-like runaway climate.

    • Jeffrey,
      1a- the tipping point giong from bad to good is not really what we are discussing, are we?
      1b- it did not really tip that far or dangerously.

      2- then those few need to be told by their colleague to stifle themselves.

      3- such as?

    • Jeffrey Davis

      ” it did not really tip that far or dangerously.”

      ~13C

      But, hey, if you think that’s ok, I’m sure it’ll be just fine.

    • Jeffrey,
      As I look around, we apparently did.

  56. It’s all about albedo and clouds when it comes to Earth’s temperature. This is where significant variation in power balance can occur that is greater than a doubling of CO2 in direct forcing. For simplicity, I’ll include aerosols and all atmospheric effects as lumped in with clouds. The cloud cover is around 62% and is variable.

    Cloud reflectivity, or albedo, varies as well, depending upon cloud type and upon droplet or ice crystal size, not to forget impurities from other chemicals (sulfuric acid for instance). If the reflectivity varies, so does the albedo even if the cloud cover stays the same.

    In Kheil & Trenberth 97, one finds the conceptual model as being 62% cloud cover lumped together as optically thick and composed of 3 types of clouds, and attributed with an average reflectivity of 0.35. A quick check of wikipedia on albedo shows that only one cloud type has reflectivity as low as 0.35 and the range goes up from there for all cloud types. It seems to me that here is an example of bias since one would expect an average value to at least be within the range of most cloud types instead of at the bottom of the range for only one cloud type and below the minimum range of the others.

    Consequently, it seems they miss this value of cloud albedo contribution substantially. Never fear though, they make up for it with over estimations of surface albedo, apparently by forgetting that it has rather little effect underneath optically thick clouds. They do redeem themselves by admitting their numbers from the ‘cartoon’ may be off individually by as much as 20% so 20% low here gets averaged out by being 20% high there. Both errors though go to underestimating cloud cover albedo and the final total is quite close to what it has actually been.

    Note that the albedo is not actually constant nor is albedo reflection of incoming short wave, the only consequence of cloud fraction.

    There’s around 105 w/m^2 reflected away from the Earth out of the average 341 w/m^2 of incoming solar. The vast majority of this is due to clouds, except during periods of glaciation, where it doesn’t matter much whether there’s clouds over the ice fields when it comes to albedo.

    What about the blocking of long wave IR from the surface? On average, Earth is or was about 288K average Temperature and a BB emits about 391 W/m^2. With 341-105 = 236 w/m^2 of actual absorbed power to balance, the Earth must radiate 236 w/m^2 for balance. 391-236 = 155 W/m^2 of power that must be blocked from escaping. Somewhere around 110-120 w/m^2 is the total ghg blocking, leaving around 35-45 w/m^2 of blocking that must be from clouds. Contrast that with the 75-95 w/m^2 for the cloud contribution to albedo, 0.22 to 0.28 of the nominally 0.30 albedo fraction and you have an almost 2/1 ratio of power reflection to LWIR blocking. Note the raw K&T 97 number is about 0.22, before the corrections for overestimating surface and underestimating clouds.

    What we have is is a poorly understood but very significant factor capable of causing tremendous variations in climate. While often assumed to be constant, it has been observed to vary by quite a few percent. Unfortunately, there is little direct measurement of the albedo and the record even in the satellite era is rather incomplete. What’s even more interesting is cloud cover and composition varies with everything imaginable, probably even with cosmic ray flux. Definitely, the large multiyear oscillations in weather patterns affect the cloud cover as do volcanic activity and probably even human pollution.

    Currently, one sees the evidence of group-think and political activism when it comes to their comments on albedo. It’s all cryosphere and land use changes. Cryosphere is the cryosphere because of large solar angles wrt the normal (vertical), and with that comes much higher reflectivity for liquid water along with other effects that tend to reduce the impact. Also turning low albedo jungle into higher albedo cropland doesn’t exactly hurt the albedo value either, despite whatever emotional attachment one might have to jungle. Whether or not such things are economically viable is another matter entirely.

    • @cba

      You have hit the nail on the head.

      It appears that K+T have taken some very dicey and very large numbers, subtracted the “energy out” from the “energy in” , and then ended up with a very tiny difference in Earth’s annual energy budget, i.e. the “imbalance”, which is the root cause of the whole “dangerous AGW” premise.

      Tiny differences in the planet’s “surface albedo” from melting ice and snow near the poles (which the sun only sees at a very oblique angle half of the year) are given great weighting while albedo change from changes in clouds (in particular those over the tropics where the sun shines essentially directly overhead and most of the incoming energy comes in), is glossed over.

      But it is even sillier than that.

      If you really start checking where the small “imbalance” in Earth’s energy budget comes from, you find out that it is a “plug number”, taken from an earlier model-based Hansen et al. “hidden in the pipeline” postulation (where the “pipeline” was suggested to be the upper ocean, for which there was no reliable temperature record at the time).

      As we know, this postulation has since been falsified (Pielke) by the most recent lack of warming of both the atmosphere (surface plus troposphere) and the upper ocean (where the “missing energy” was supposed to be building up and “hiding” and which is now measured more accurately with the new ARGO system).

      Until this falsification can be refuted scientifically (which has not yet happened), it stands.

      Frantic attempts are being made to “find” the “missing energy” somewhere (maybe it slipped unnoticed through the upper ocean to the deep ocean, where it, unfortunately, can’t be seen?), but even Kevin Trenberth has conceded that it may have gone out to “space”, with “clouds” acting as a “natural thermostat”, sounding more like Willis Eschenbach or Roy Spencer all the time.

      Max

    • Pielke doesn’t claim to have “falsified” the estimated energy imbalance. I’m familiar with his statements about OHC, including an exchange he and I had on an earlier thread, where we agreed that much longer observation intervals are needed to draw confident conclusions about OHC measurements as a metric for energy imbalance.

      “Falsified” is not a word to be thrown around lightly, Max, which is why it seldom appears in legitimate scientific discourse, where evidence is understood almost always to be less than unequivocal.

    • Fred, do you prefer “refuted” to “falsified”?

      Hansen, Willis, et al. used relatively short-term, dicey OHC data from admittedly inaccurate and expendable XBT devices to back up and quantify the “hidden in the pipeline” hypothesis (which became part of the official “AGW dogma”).

      Now you are telling me that much more accurate and comprehensive ARGO measurements that tend to falsify this hypothesis are inconclusive because they are of too short a duration?

      Hmmm…

      I sense a lack of consistency here, Fred.

      Max

    • You are pushing too hard, Max. The problem is not with the concept of OHC, but with the reliability of short term data to accurately represent what is happening, given both measurement errors and sampling errors. No, the data do not “refute” the radiative imbalance estimates. They simply raise questions as to the extent that short term fluctuations are informative in judging the relationship between measurements made by satellites and those made by the ARGO floats.

    • ‘pushing too hard’
      Afraid of a tipping point?
      ;^)

    • Fred.

      OK Let;s cap this off,

      Hansen et al. use around 10 years of unreliable XBT upper ocean temperature data with an admitted “warming bias” (Willis) to support their model-derived “hidden in the pipeline” postulation.

      We now have 8 years of much more reliable ARGO measurements, which show no such warming, but a slight loss of energy instead (Willis called it a “speed bump”).

      ‘Nuff said.

      Max

    • I’ve already responded, Max. You can continue to assert that the data show no warming but rather a slight loss of energy. I don’t think the evidence reported in the literature, taken in total rather than cherry-picked, supports that. I’ve discussed this extensively on earlier threads, including a discussion with Roger Pielke, and if you want to review those discussions, you may understand the basis for my conclusions. I don’t see it as my job to convince you of anything, but rather to arrive at accurate conclusions, which I believe I have done. You are free to disagree, and others are free to review the literature to make their own judgments. I’ve always been content with that.

      I do have to ask you, though – which journals do you follow regularly? I have the impression that you depend on sources in the blogosphere more than in the literature and other original sources to reach your opinions. That would be a mistake, but maybe I have underestimated the extent to which you read the literature.

    • Fred,
      What manacker is saying is actually worse than what you are defending:
      The signal of a world wide catastrophe is subtle that it is indistinguishable from the typical noise.
      In fact it raises the question if the whole apocalypse is just noise that believers have forced by stint of will into a pattern?

    • The point of K&T is not to figure out, what the imbalance is. The point is to give a general picture of various components of the energy balance.

      The purpose may be described as attempting to find out most likely numbers for the picture that represents these components without any specific claim about the accuracy of these numbers.

    • But it is the “imbalance” that causes the purported problem, right?

      “most likely numbers”?

      Hmmm…

      Max

    • Yes, but this paper is not about that, it is really about a description of the present atmosphere. The general description helps in looking at the details, but determining the strength of the warming is explicitly left outside of the analysis of this paper and the related papers by the same authors. This could have been said more clearly in the paper, and this is certainly one reason for the confusion. The other reason is that many make guesses about the content without bothering to read the paper or the related more detailed papers.

    • @Pekka Pirilä

      As you have written, K+T have not calculated the 9 W/m^2 figure they show in their latest annual energy balance diagram as “net absorbed radiation” or “imbalance”. They have simply accepted the Hansen et al. figure of 0.85 W/m^2 and rounded it up to 9 W/m^2. Then they used this number to adjust all the other numbers they had from CERES, etc., to make it all balance out.

      But let’s check out Hansen’s assumptions and calculations in arriving at this number.

      Summarizing Hansen’s determination of the 0.85 (or 0.9) W/m^2 figure: Total GH forcing is assumed to be 1.8 W/m^2 (1880-2003) and observed warming was 0.6-0.7 degC. Assumed climate response is 2/3degC per W/m^2 (equivalent to an assumed 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3 degC), therefore 0.65 degC warming is response to ~1W/m^2. But since theoretical GH forcing was 1.8 W/m^2, this leaves 0.8 W/m^2 still hidden “in the pipeline”.

      Checking Hansen’s logic, it is “circular”. He starts out with an assumed CO2 climate sensitivity, then calculates how much warming we should have seen 1880-2003, if all warming had been caused by AGW (ignoring all other factors). This calculates out at 1.2 degC. He then ascertains that the actual observed warming was only 0.65 degC. From this he does not conclude that his assumed climate sensitivity is exaggerated, but deduces that the difference of 0.55 degC is still hidden somewhere “in the pipeline”. Using his 2/3 degC per W/m^2, he calculates a net “hidden” forcing = 0.82 W/m^2, which he then rounds up to 0.85 W/m^2 (and K+T round up again to 9 W/m^2).

      Checking Hansen’s arithmetic: The theoretical GH forcing from 1880-2003 is 5.35 * ln(378/285) = 1.51 W/m^2 (not 1.8). Using Hansen’s figure of 2/3degC per W/m^2 puts theoretical warming at 1.0 degC. Observed warming was 0.65 degC leaving 0.35 degC hidden “in the pipeline”. This equates to a “energy imbalance” of 0.35/.6667 = 0.53 W/m^2 (not 0.85 or 0.9), all other things being equal.

      But all other things are not equal. Several solar studies show that 0.35 degC warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity over the 20th century (highest in several thousand years), although the exact mechanism for this warming has not yet been determined. Let us assume that this covers the same 1880-2003 period cited by Hansen. Much of this occurred during the early 20th century warming period from around 1910 to around 1944, which cannot be explained by AGW alone. This leaves 0.3 degC observed non-solar warming (1880-2003). If we assume that one third of the theoretical GH warming over this long period is still hidden “in the pipeline”, we have 0.3 + 0.15 = 0.45 degC equilibrium GH warming 1880-2003 with an “imbalance hidden in the pipeline” of 0.15/.66667 = 0.22 W/m^2 (instead of 0.85-0.9).

      In addition to the solar studies, there are many observed natural factors that have caused warming. Notable among these are swings in the ENSO, which were partially responsible for many high temperatures in the 1990s, including most notably the all-time record high in 1998. The current cooling after 2000 is being attributed to these natural factors (called “natural variability” by Met Office), despite the fact that all models predicted record warming as a result of record increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration. So it is wrong to simply ignore these natural factors, as Hansen has done, and assume that all warming 1880-2003 was caused by AGW.

      Of course, if we assume that Hansen’s “hidden in the pipeline” hypothesis is wrong, we arrive at a theoretical imbalance equal to the GH forcing of the annual change in CO2 concentration. This calculates to somewhere between 0.03 to 0.11 W/m^2 (instead of 0.85-0.9), depending on the assumed 2xCO2 climate sensitivity.

      Kevin Trenberth himself has conceded that the summation of 0.26% of the budget is a fantasy.

      So it looks like the 0.9 W/m^2 shown on the K+T annual energy balance cartoon is a “plug number”, which is poorly substantiated, based on “circular logic” and questionable arithmetic and, as such, can be ignored.

      So where does that leave the “hidden in the pipeline” (i.e. “upper ocean”) postulation, especially now that physical observations show us that the upper ocean is losing energy rather than warming?

      Max

    • Manacker,
      My purpose was not to defend Hansen’s value. K&T made some arguments to justify using that value, but not really on any deeper level than to tell that they pick this one as a reasonable choice. What they really argue is that the value 0.9 W/m^2 is not very much off the mark and certainly closer than the very strong warming imbalance that was calculated from the satellite observations. Essentially they say that 0.9 W/m^2 is better than 6 W/m^2.

      They do not use the resulting balance to justify this choice, but they use this as a constraint to get a better estimate of the least well known components.

      These papers should really not be used as any kind of evidence for a particular net imbalance. They are not that and they are not supposed to be that.

    • Manacker,
      For the purpose of the K&T paper it might have been better to state that the imbalance in known to be small (less than 1 W/m^2 or at the most little over that), and put it to zero instead of 0.9 W/m^2. That would have emphasized better the logic of their work and would have given equally well justified values for the other energy flows.

    • Agree regarding the K+T paper.

      1. the “imbalance” is lost in the “noise”

      2. the theoretical 0.9 W/m^2 “imbalance” could have been stated to be “somewhere between 0.2 and 0.4 W/m^2″ , with a footnote:

      This is the calculated “imbalance” based on the annual average change in atmospheric CO2 concentration at the IPCC AR4 assumed 2xCO2 climate sensitivity range, with

      a) all other anthropogenic forcings cancelling one another out (IPCC AR4 assumption) and

      b) natural forcings essentially negligible (IPCC AR4 assumption).

      Max

    • The K&T 0.9 imbalance is the 2007 or 2008 paper rather than the ’97 paper. In the first paper, there is no attempt an an imbalance estimate and there is the admission of potential 20% errors, which can be observed in places. In the more recent paper, that caveat disappears and a few minor changes are made, always in the direction resulting in more alarmism. To that, some additional resolution is added to a few numbers and voila’, here’s the 0.9 w/m^2 imbalance. Nevermind that the original error introduced in the first paper was never corrected. That was the surface vs atmospheric albedo that overestimated surface and under estimate ‘atmospheric’ by around 20%+.

  57. @Fred Moolton

    Sorry, you have skirted the issue.

    Most importantly, our planet’s long-term climate record and recent physical observations do not support Hansen’s premise of an inherently unstable climate with strong positive feedbacks leading to either “tipping points” or “runaway greenhouse warming”, as I pointed out citing references.

    Hansen states his “tipping point” premise fairly concisely, and it is based on the suggestion that “climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings”, that “positive feedbacks predominate” and that “huge natural climate changes…have been driven by very weak, very slow forcings, and positive feedbacks”.

    Hansen has also stated his suggestion of a possibile “Venus-like runaway greenhouse effect” clearly.

    The distinction between the two premises is, at best, murky. Gavin tries to draw this line mathematically, and, while the math sounds convincing at first, the logic, itself, is murky. A runaway system “spiralling out of control” is compared with a positive feedback system “reaching a new stable equilibrium”. But, hey, Venus (the example cited of a runaway system) has reached a new equilibrium, right?

    Then Gavin slips into “Rumsfeldese”, discussing the distinction between “known unknowns” and ”unknown unknowns”, i.e. “tipping points that we are as yet unaware of”. (Obviously, these are the scariest kind – like the WMD in Iraq – which we should mitigate against, following the “precautionary principle”).

    Sounds like mumbo-jumbo to me, Fred.

    Max

    • See my earlier link to the PNAS paper on tipping elements. It will be clear that “tipping points” as described in almost all the published literature do not refer to runaway climates.

    • Fred, you are splitting hairs here.

      It may well be true as you write that

      “tipping points” as described in almost all the published literature do not refer to runaway climates

      But, as I showed you, James E. Hansen has suggested both “tipping points” and a Venus-like “runaway climate”.

      But this distinction in terminology is not the real point here, Fred.

      The point is that Hansen has conjured up the specter of “tipping points of the system with the potential for irreversible deleterious effects”, driven by “very weak forcings” and strong “positive feedbacks” and resulting in a planet being “whipsawed between climate states” with “huge climate changes”.

      Yet this postulation is not supported by our planet’s long-term climate record or recent physical observations.

      And that is the issue here, Fred, which you have failed to address.

      Max

    • Max – Your argument is with Hansen, not with me. I happen to disagree with Hansen, as do most climate scientists, but not for the reasons you cite, which do not make a convincing case. The real argument against the Hansen interpretation lies in the improbability of a runaway climate unless solar irradiance approaches the Kombayashi/Ingersoll limit, which is nowhere near where we are. Hansen might still turn out to be right, but it seems unlikely.

      If you contact him and explain your position, I hope you’ll share his response with us.

    • Fred, it is possible that we agree.

      I have rejected Hansen’s suggestion of “tipping points of the system with the potential for irreversible deleterious effects”, caused by “very weak, very slow forcings and positive feedbacks”, which have resulted in the “entire planet being whipsawed between climate states”, with “huge natural climate changes”, based upon our planet’s long-term climate record and recent observations.

      If you have also rejected Hansen’s above suggestion, we do agree on the basic issue here.

      Max

  58. one thing my ‘back of the envelope approach does is to simply look at the overall averages which is what it’s supposed to be about – ‘gobal climate’. You can note that in dessler’s ’10 paper, an apparently rushed paper to get out some claim about clouds having a net positive feedback, that dessler gives a tiny bit of lip service to clouds as an impact and then evidently chunks it in the assumptions drawer that there is no real net effect of cloud IR blocking and cloud albedo reflections before beginning his quest to show clouds warm.

    As for that early hansen paper, they use a 1-d model and plenty of assumptions to come to the conclusion that the cloud fraction decreases in their gcm with rising T while on the next column, they admit other reasonable alternatives result in no effect.

    Another consequence of the simple calc. I showed above – indicating there is around 155 w/m^2 of blocking of outgoing LW IR is that when combined with the temperature rise of 33deg C, one finds there is a sensitivity overall average value of about 0.21 deg C rise per W/m^2 increase in power absorption or roughly 3/4 of a deg C for the direct effect of a co2 doubling. This is less than the straight radiative solution of what does it take in raising the average surface T to permit an extra W/m^2 to escape when there is the equivalent of 60% of surface radiation escapes so there is 40% that doesn’t. That means for 1 W/m^2 additional to escape, one must radiate 1/0.6 = 1.66 W/m^2 needed to radiate and stefan’s law indicates an increased T of about 0.27 deg C so our net result indicates a net negative feedback in operation. Most of that is probably due to convection.

    When it comes to h2o vapor feedback, it too runs into trouble. A 2 deg C rise in the atmospheric T of the whole column results in an increase of only 13% if relative humidity is held constant and 30% if that increase goes to 5 deg C. Like co2, water vapor effect is a log function so 30% is a long way from a doubling. In fact, it doesn’t quite match the blocking effect of a co2 doubling, coming in around 3.1 w/m^2 versus 3.7w/m^2. So here we have almost 7 W/m^2 increased blocking but that only amounts to 1.5 deg – not enough to cover even half of the necessary 5 degrees. In fact, at 0.21 deg C/W/m^2 would require around 23 W/m^2 to raise the T that much.

    If we assume cloud cover to be an independent variable, we can determine the coverage range for 0 to 100% cloud cover. Here we find that we can have over +/- 5 deg C. This assumes that cloud cover can vary that much and we know it doesn’t. However, it also indicates that we can have this much T variation for a specific amount of ghgs. This leads to the question of if we currently have an average cloud cover of ~60% and a global T of 288.2k as in the 1976 std US atm, why do we have this instead of 290k or 285k with the respective cloud cover necessary to achieve either of those?

    One answer is that there is a strong feedback mechanism regulating temperature this way – per the ideas of Lindzen and Spencer. Another appears to be that it’s just random and floating around to whatever ma nature feels like doing and it just happens to accidently be doing what we’ve got now.

    Note that even with a strong setpoint control system in operation, cloud variability has many variables affecting it so the results are going to vary in a somewhat random fashion.

  59. just wanted to let everyojne know about the brooding hemisphere of hatred towards climate etc fromshewonka’s hilarious blog…she is the Charlie Drake of climate science (but please do not ask me about susan alexander friend of feynmann..)

    For decades, scientists around the world have been puzzling over the source of recent anomalous warming of the planet otherwise known as anthropogenic global warming or AGW. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created to sort through the mountains of research and summarize it so that governments could plan to deal with the increase in temperatures, melting of glaciers, sea level rise and droughts.
    However, in light of recent revelations about shenanigans at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) brought to light by hacked emails and all the “gates” linked to the IPCC, enough questions about the theory have been raised that an independent team of experts has begun its own investigation.

    “We opened the science up to everyone who’s interested in helping out,” said Professor Lance Donnegal of the UK’s Bureau of Skepticism (BS) as we walked across the verdant British countryside to a site near an old stone castle.

    “Tons of tips and hints have been flooding in since we invited the public to contribute their ideas. I’ve been astonished at their insights into the causes of global warming.”

    As we talked, crowds of black-caped children milled around us and the camera crew, their cheeks apple-red in the chill February air. It was a picturesque winter afternoon in the English countryside.

    “We came here after some particularly intriguing claims were made about the real cause of global warming. Believe me, what we found is a bombshell!”

    .

    I followed Professor Donnegal across the fields past a snow-dusted soccer pitch and towards a rather dismal looking forested area. Near its edge, we arrived at a cottage similar to any one might find in the tiny English hamlets around this area, but this one had particularly high ceilings and doors. I followed Professor Donnegal inside and to my surprise, was met by a rather large trollish fellow with a beard and ratty hair. He must have been twelve feet tall and over half a ton in weight.

    “Go ahead, Hagrod,” Professor Donnegal said, urging the large fellow on. “Tell the nice lady here about the source of global warming. You know, like you told me.”

    The huge man was quite a sight, twigs caught up in his beard, a frown on his brow, spider webs on his filthy cloak. He averted his eyes and twiddled his thumbs as if nervous around the cameras, but finally, he nodded.

    “I’ll get in a lot of trouble if this comes out,” he said, his eyes large as teacups. “Professor Snope told me not to do it, but they get so tired of cages, and who was I to keep them inside such a cramped space?”

    He looked at us with such a pleading in his eyes, I felt quite sorry for the oafish fellow, but a story is a story, and this was perhaps the biggest one of all.

    “Well,” Professor Donnegal said, gesturing with a hand. “Tell the lady what happened. She’s come all the way from Canada just to learn the truth.”

    “It’s the dragons,” Hagrod said sheepishly. “They got loose and flew away. They mate like bunnies, they do. Before I could alert the authorities, they’d flown away, and set up a nest somewhere I couldn’t find ‘em. Since they escaped,” he said, his cheeks burning a bright red. “I wager there were millions of the little beggars born, all of ‘em breathing fire and smoke.”

    “How long has this been going on?” I asked, astonished.

    “Been since around 1949 that they escaped,” Hagrod said, shrugging. “We’re doing a dragon cull now.” He wiped a tear from his enormous cheek.

    Millions of dragons all belching fire and steam into the atmosphere? I could scarcely believe my ears.

    “How did this escape the notice of scientists? Millions of dragons flying around, warming the atmosphere?”

    “They’re magical. Can’t see ‘em unless they want you too,” he said but then quickly added, “but I probably shouldn’t have told you that.”

    After a moment, he continued. “They especially like the Arctic on account of it being cold and all,” Hagrod said, blowing his nose into a handkerchief. “Lay their eggs under the snow, in the permafrost, and them little devils is hot, let me tell you! The last time they got loose from my aviary, they did the same thing. Hundreds of thousands of ‘em born before we knew it, making everything hot.”

    “When was that?” I asked, leaning forward.

    “Oh, let’s see. It were about 800 — maybe 810 AD or thereabouts. Took us a couple of centuries to catch them all back then, what with the lack of planes and suchlike. It were a lot hotter back then, but we caught this in time. It’s what we magic folk called the Medieval Dragon Period.”

    Then, the trollish fellow grabbed a large tool resembling an oversized butterfly net and went to the door.

    “When will it end — this current dragon cull?” I asked.

    “Oh, we started in 1999 and we’re almost finished. Have been at it now for about eleven years. There’s only a dozen left, and they’re all little ones, so you should already be seeing cooler temperatures.”

    I thought back to my hellish week of snow and cold and nodded.

    The large man ducked under the doorway and then turned back. “Well, I best be off. Professor Snope says I have to get at it, round the rest of ‘em all up and before the end of the week or I’ll be turned into a toad. I don’t want that, I can tell you!”

    Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t have to say what a startling development this is. For years, I’d been a believer in man-made climate change, accepting what the scientists said about the cause of warming — that it was due to human greenhouse gas emissions, but I suppose I should have known better. Those graphs were just too convenient. The science too rational, the theory just too logical, the data too perfect for it to be anything but a hoax.

    CO2 indeed!

    I spoke with Climate Skeptic Steffan Maginter just a few moments ago and his first comments were, “So that’s what Jones meant when he wrote “using Mike’s Nature “trick” to hide the decline! Trick? Sounds like magic talk to me. I’ve called Mike a liar, a cheat, a fraud, a scoundrel, but I never thought about him and the Team being wizards. They knew it was dragons all along!”

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    1.
    dhogaza
    March 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm | #1
    Reply | Quote

    Brilliant … and a very fast response to Curry’s silliness!
    *
    shewonk
    March 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm | #2
    Reply | Quote

    I wrote it a year ago. ;)
    2.
    dhogaza
    March 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm | #3
    Reply | Quote

    oh … such a nice coincidence, then!
    *
    dhogaza
    March 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm | #4
    Reply | Quote

    (you’re having that in stock and curry’s idiotically blundering into your gunsights, I mean!)
    3.
    Ron Broberg
    March 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm | #5
    Reply | Quote

    After months of wondering where Prof Curry was going with her blog, we finally have reached the irrefutable, probably inevitable, conclusion. More comic than tragic, Prof Curry has chosen to defend the “Harry Potter” theory of climate. I suppose if you believe that hand-waving is sufficient to exorcise consensus science, it would be plausible to believe that wand-waving is sufficient to cause climate change. I look forward to her next publication.

    dénouement

  60. shrugs…does it get more pathetic than that? only dhogaza, jeffrey davis, halpern, foster, susan alexander, can say…it is in their hands…and not forgetting JohnMashey…it is all to do with nhe Kochs….

  61. ok …someone is putting words in my mouth

  62. looks like the climate losers want to lose again…if you simpulate a person’s resp0nses…do not just repeat nthem….

  63. wow…these guys are scared of me….it is so funny

  64. i just wonder what goes through their single-celled minds…..can we just cut their university grants?

  65. JUDITH…re you able to trace the IP addresses an adress a queation as to whether they hop
    one day tgo join the intelligentsia?

  66. OMG!

    Can it be?…..is it?……Graeme Bird!!!!!

  67. smiles…the Stalinist do not like my rhetorical analyses…queue up guys

    • Graeme Bird, is it really you?

    • WORLD SERIES BLOGGING
      (Your announcers today are Bob and Phil)

      Phil:
      Well it looks like there is a real coup here today at Climate Etc. Team Manager Curry seems to have pulled another rabbit out of her enormous hat with the addition of famed internet crank, Graeme Bird, to her player roster.

      Bob:
      Yeah, this is stunning stuff from Curry. She’s really showing her ability to attract the very best in crankism. In my opinion, right now there is no one that can touch her. Having landed Oliver K. Manual and Girma, Curry has now completed the crank triumverate with Graeme Bird.

      Phil:
      What do you think Bird can offer an already jam-packed player roster?

      Bob:
      You’re right Phil, there is no lack of crank-talent there, but Bird really does take it up a notch. His ability to engage in endless and mindless abuse is simply unparalelled. His orientation is perfectly suited to Climate Etc with his unerring sense of hostility towards anything vaguely ‘liberal’ or mainstream science. I think we’ll see the comment numbers soar. 1000+ comment threads should be easy if Bird can get his mojo going. Curry has a great game plan – unbridled hostility to climate scientists, with some science to attract serious commentators, and that is, as we all know, the perfect recipe for pointless, but hit-friendly, flame wars. And that is Graeme’s natural environment.

      Phil:
      But what about Bird’s history? Do you see that as a problem?

      Bob:
      True, he’s been banned from almost every political/science blog in Australia, but I think the unmoderated comments at Climate Etc and Manager Curry’s embrace of any old rubbish that is critical of the IPCC will suit Bird. But he may have to tone down the expletives a tad – but I’m sure that for someone at this stage of his career, Bird realises that he’s been landed a life-line and can make the small concessions necessary to take this next step up to the big league.

      Phil:
      You don’t think that this is like an Sitcom executive producer telling the rest of the cast that he’s just made Charlie Sheen the new star of the show?

      Bob:
      Ha! Maybe Phil. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

      Phil:
      So there you have it folks. Put on your seat belts and get ready, here comes the Bird!

      {normal programming is now resumed}

    • Michael, it’s a heck of a thing to watch you transform into a troll posting your snide and vindictive diatribes. The sheer hatred that pours from you and your loyal acolytes is palpable, and is a wonder to behold.

      When you finally recognise the ogre that you have become, I wonder if you will collapse in on yourself. I don’t expect so. I expect you’ll embrace it.

    • I completely agree with you Simon, and I’m sure even one else (except the Gavin-lovers) will too.

      Go Team Skeptic!

    • And so yet another true believer crosses over, as they discover they cannot engage on topic or with substance.
      Best wishes, Michael.

    • But I’ve been convinced by the substance!

      Gavin is arrogant, RC is a joke, Steig is duplicitous and dishonest, the IPCC is corrupt, and Mann is a fraud.

      High Five!

    • 1. Gavin regularly compares himself with Newton, and his findings with the laws of gravity. Pretty arrogant.

      2. RC is many things, some of them very funny.

      3. Steig knows how to play a broken system.

      4. The IPCC is susceptible to gaming, and has been gamed. It is corrupt and has been corrupted.

      5. Fraud is such a harsh word. Mann is a pseudo-scientist.

    • The Bore Hole is good. Give RC credit for that, at least.

    • Latimer Alder

      You really cannot get your head round the idea that a blog can accommodate different points of view without the host needing to agree with all or any of them can you?

      Its the difference between megaphone broadcasts of the One True Way and a general debate among adults..some of whom may have ‘odd’ ideas.

      Are you so lacking in confidence in your own beliefs that the only way you can handle anybody who disagrees with you is to try to bulldozer them out of the way?

      Or do you have that little nagging doubt in your heart that actually your case doesn’t stand up to proper examination?

      Just interested. Because you sure aren’t taking guidance from Dale Carnegie’s book – How to Win Friends and Influence People. Those who go so far out of their way to be needlessly unpleasant usually suffer from deep-rooted angst about themselves and their self-image.

    • It’s the different points of view that have won me over!

      At some places they say ‘let’s agree to disagree’, but here it’s ‘let’s disagree to agree’ !
      Here are some examples of what I mean;

      -co2 is a greenhouse gas, but there is nothing to worry about; co2 is not a greenhouse gas, in fact there is no greenhouse effect, so there’s nothing to worry about.
      - Steig has used sub-optimal methods and his result is wrong; Steig has broken the law and should be sent to jail ,so his result is wrong.
      - the satellite data is correct, there is no warming; the corrected satellite data shows warming, the satellites are wrong, there is no warming
      - weather station siting gives a warming bias, so there is no AGW; let’s just forget about weather station siting and focus on the corrupt IPCC
      - climate scientists are corrupt, that is the problem; climate scientists are Ok, it’s the IPCC that is corrupt, that is the problem
      - science by consensus is wrong; hey look at this petition signed by 30,000 ‘scientists’ saying that AGW doesn’t exist.
      - climate sensitivity is low (maybe even 0 !!), so there is nothing to worry about; snowball earth shows that the climate is always changing, so there is nothing to worry about
      - we need a more civil debate; high priests of the IPCC, Mann is a fraud, Steig is duplicitous, climate scientists are corrupt, they just do it for research grant $
      - “extended peer review”; “If anonymous bloggers with no apparent understanding of the subject are misled, it is not my problem but your problem”

      Isn’t that just great! It’s this kind of independent, critical, even completely contradictory thinking, all leading to exactly the same conclusions, that has won me over. No group think here.

      High Five!

    • And that’s the memo: science is corrupt.
      Let’s all embrace scrutinity in no uncertain terms.
      Let’s all embrace uncertainty in no scrutinized terms.

  68. hunter;
    I like you as a person and a commenter, so it saddens me to say this:
    Dallas obviously refrained from terminating his post with a /HUMO(U)R&IRONY tag as an IQ test.
    I think you just failed.
    {B-(

    • Brian H,
      Thank for the heads up and the kind words (?).
      I am unable to locate his post that I replied to.
      If you will be so kind as to show me, I would like to see what I missed that Dallas posted and what I missed in my response.
      Regards,

  69. @Michael

    You were won over by the diversity of opinion among those who state that they are rationally skeptical of the premise that AGW is a serious threat, and you gave some excellent examples of this diversity.

    I had exactly the opposite experience, Michael.

    I was won over by the lock-step unity of opinion among those fearing AGW on exactly the same topics you mentioned. Let’s go through them:

    - CO2 is a greenhouse gas, so we should be worried

    - Steig may have fudged the data, but we know his answer is correct anyway, so we should be worried

    - The satellite data shows considerably less warming than the surface record, so it must be wrong; let’s concentrate on the surface record; it tells us we should be worried

    - Weather station siting changes have probably introduced a warming bias, but we know it’s really warming, so let’s not be distracted by this and stop worrying

    - Climate scientists are not corrupt because science never is; therefore IPCC is not corrupt and we should be worried

    - A mainstream consensus of 2,500 climate scientists must be right, Naomi Oreskes proved it, so we should be worried

    - Climate sensitivity is high (maybe even high enough to cause “Venus-like runaway”), therefore 350 ppm CO2 is the dangerous level and we should be worried

    - McIntyre and McKitrick are stooges of the mining (or maybe oil?) industry, or they would not try to discredit honest scientists like Mann, who are warning us we should be worried

    - A peer-reviewed study is, by definition, correct, because the peers know best what is right and what is wrong, and they are telling us we should be worried

    Here we have a wonderful example of thinking in lock-step unity among the leading scientific minds of the world!

    Let’s not fall for the deniers’ subterfuge of denigrating it as “group think”. It must be correct by definition – 2,500 scientists can’t be wrong (and we should be worried).

    Max

    • Yes Max,

      The evil climate scientists are guilty of GroupThink. We all know this.

      Thankfully, our brilliant skepticism will deliver the troof!!

    • Michael,
      That is what skepticism does: challenge group think.
      TTFN,

    • And it’s great that we can all to it together!

      At the same time!!

      In precisely the same way!!!

    • Mike,
      Oddly enough, you made your earlier point by claiming that skeptics are all over the map on what is wrong with AGW.

    • I take back what I said, Mike. You actually are collapsing in on yourself.

    • Michael

      You got it wrong once again!

      It’s not about the “evil climate scientists” at all, Michael. It’s the “evil climate deniers”!

      These evil climate deniers can’t even agree why they deny the combined consensus wisdom of 2,500 climate scientists (as you pointed out so brilliantly). We all know this.

      Thankfully, “science” (under the guidance of IPCC) will deliver the “troof” (or rather the “proof” that “we should all be worried”)!!

      Max

  70. “Ouch. On previous Climate Etc. threads on attribution of 20th century climate change, we have pretty much debunked each of these arguments. Serreze’s weak arguments do not necessarily mean that anthropogenic CO2 has not warmed the planet during the 20th century, it just means that he has made weak arguments.”

    The demonstrates the folly of the “consensus”. Even people who should know better, like the ‘climate scientist’ at the head of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, believe in CAGW for unscientific reasons.

    It is not important who believes, or how many believe. It is important why they believe, and that why is, universally, “weak arguments”.

  71. @cba

    [Am sending the two links separately, since the “spam filter” has apparently blocked them]

    Your two posts on the basic K+T error of downplaying changes in cloud albedo with warming while exaggerating increased cloud GHE are very interesting and very much to the point.

    A good summary of the cloud albedo effect can be found here:
    [See Link 1]

    Based on five-year global mean energy budget observations, Ramanathan and Inamdar estimated that clouds exert a predominantly cooling effect on our climate: -48 W/m^2 versus a warming GHE of +30 W/m^2 = a net cooling effect of –18 W/m^2 (or almost 5 times the +3.7 W/m^2 warming expected from 2xCO2). So it has always puzzled me how all the IPCC model simulations could conclude that net cloud feedback with warming should be positive.

    And not only positive, but strongly positive; IPCC AR4 WG1 (Ch. 8) estimated this to be +0.69 W/m^2°K and strong enough to increase the average 2xCO2 CS from 1.9°C without clouds to 3.2°C including cloud feedback.

    So it is clear to me that if the IPCC models are wrong in assuming a net positive feedback from clouds and this is even negative instead of positive, we would have a 2xCO2 CS of somewhere below 1°C on average, rather than 3.2°C, as assumed by IPCC.

    We know from ISCCP observations (Pallé et al.) that the global monthly mean cloud cover decreased by around 4.5% between 1985 and 2000. As a result the Earth’s global albedo decreased by the equivalent of around –5 W/m^2, i.e. decrease of reflected SW radiation (= heating of our planet). Over the period 2000 to 2004 the cloud cover recovered by around 2.5%, with an increase in reflected SW radiation of around +3 W/m^2 (= cooling).
    [See Link 2]

    Spencer and Braswell points in the direction of a fairly strong negative feedback from clouds of around –6.1 W/m^2 per °K with warming, based on CERES satellite observations. The observations show an increase in SW reflection without an increase in LW absorption, tending to confirm the “infrared iris” hypothesis of Lindzen.

    Lindzen and Choi show similar results from ERBE satellite data, calculating the 2xCO2 CS to be around 0.4 to 0.5°C. Spencer has critiqued the methods used by L+C and comes up with a 2xCO2 CS of 0.6°C.

    But, regardless of whether, as a result of net negative feedback from clouds, it is 0.6 or 1.0°C, this would mean that AGW does not represent a serious potential threat to mankind or our environment, as postulated by IPCC and the so-called “mainstream” position.

    So clouds hold the key to the whole AGW debate. And I believe that you are spot on when you wrote:

    It’s all about albedo and clouds when it comes to Earth’s temperature.

    As IPCC has conceded in AR4 WG1 SPM:

    Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty.

    And, as Joni Mitchell sang back in the late 1960s (and Roy Spencer paraphrased in his book The Great Global Warming Blunder):

    “I really don’t know clouds at all…”

    Max

    • High clouds have a positive effect in the IR and negative effect in the solar radiation, more or less canceling each other. Low clouds have little effect in the IR and a cooling (negative) effect in the solar radiation, leading to a net cooling effect. If climate warming leads to less low clouds, that is a warming effect that would be a positive feedback. That would be what the latest studies are saying.

    • max,
      it’s been a while, but I seem to recall the positive effect was from a hansen paper(older one) chock full of presumptions without solid reasons. It resulted in the expectations of a reduction in cloud cover by ~3% for just a small increase in T. The other mentioned possible alternative showed none at all.

      jim & max,

      my simple numbers here use the average cloud effect rather than what a particular type of cloud does. The global effect will be from the average, not some result from a localized cloud location and type.

      I seem to recall something about the lindzen Iris idea was also what I mentioned but didn’t address. That is variation in cloud reflectivity (due to the particulate average size in clouds). That’s can be the difference in 45% reflectivity versus 80%.

      the typical research going on seems to be one cloud type and one region. again, it’s going to be the average that counts. The notion that low cloud cover will drop as T rises is an affront to common sense. Nature seldom does that. What this is saying is that more evaporation and greater amounts of h2o vapor in the atmosphere will result in fewer clouds forming. Since having less h2o vapor in the atmosphere means that there’s less to form clouds with, it smacks of the concept that we cannot have more clouds than we already have. More h2o = less clouds, less h2o = less clouds. That must mean that Earth cannot have more than the roughly 62% cloud cover we presently have. How does one reach 100% cloud cover? we already know that under vastly different conditions, a planet, for example – venus, can have 100% cover. And, if true, then why is Earth at its maximum cover?

      Additionally, if there were a cloud cover positive feedback rather than strongly negative as we appear to see, then how could we have any cloud cover other than the absolute minimum? If losing cloud cover raises T and raising T lowers cloud cover, we’ve got a total runaway condition.

      It only makes sense that clouds on average have a significant negative feedback. Also, as ghg effects increase, there is additional IR happening but all that can do with the oceans is cause more evaporation. It takes SW incoming to penetrate and warm the oceans.

    • @cba

      Your posts on the basic error of K+T and others of downplaying changes in cloud albedo with warming while exaggerating increased cloud GHE are very interesting and very much to the point.

      A good summary of the cloud albedo effect can be found here:
      http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/LEA/presentations/thurs_am/Goode_Lunar_Workshop.pdf

      Based on five-year global mean energy budget observations, Ramanathan and Inamdar estimated that clouds exert a predominantly cooling effect on our climate: -48 W/m^2 versus a warming GHE of +30 W/m^2 = a net cooling effect of –18 W/m^2 (or almost 5 times the +3.7 W/m^2 warming expected from 2xCO2). So it has always puzzled me how all the IPCC model simulations could conclude that net cloud feedback with warming should be positive.

      And not only positive, but strongly positive; IPCC AR4 WG1 (Ch. 8) estimated this to be +0.69 W/m^2°K and strong enough to increase the average 2xCO2 CS from 1.9°C without clouds to 3.2°C including cloud feedback.

      So it is clear to me that if the IPCC models are wrong in assuming a net positive feedback from clouds and this is even negative instead of positive, we would have a 2xCO2 CS of somewhere below 1°C on average, rather than 3.2°C, as assumed by IPCC.

      We know from ISCCP observations (Pallé et al.) that the global monthly mean cloud cover decreased by around 4.5% between 1985 and 2000. As a result the Earth’s global albedo decreased by the equivalent of around –5 W/m^2, i.e. decrease of reflected SW radiation (= heating of our planet). Over the period 2000 to 2004 the cloud cover recovered by around 2.5%, with an increase in reflected SW radiation of around +3 W/m^2 (= cooling).
      http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Palle_etal_2006_EOS.pdf

      Spencer and Braswell points in the direction of a fairly strong negative feedback from clouds of around –6.1 W/m^2 per °K with warming, based on CERES satellite observations. The observations show an increase in SW reflection without an increase in LW absorption, tending to confirm the “infrared iris” hypothesis of Lindzen.

      Lindzen and Choi show similar results from ERBE satellite data, calculating the 2xCO2 CS to be around 0.4 to 0.5°C. Spencer has critiqued the methods used by L+C and comes up with a 2xCO2 CS of 0.6°C.

      But, regardless of whether, as a result of net negative feedback from clouds, it is 0.6 or 1.0°C, this would mean that AGW does not represent a serious potential threat to mankind or our environment, as postulated by IPCC and the so-called “mainstream” position.

      So clouds hold the key to the whole AGW debate. And I believe that you are spot on when you wrote:

      It’s all about albedo and clouds when it comes to Earth’s temperature.

      As IPCC has conceded in AR4 WG1 SPM:

      Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty.

      And, as Joni Mitchell sang back in the late 1960s (and Roy Spencer paraphrased in his book The Great Global Warming Blunder):

      “I really don’t know clouds at all…”

      Max

      Link 1
      http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/LEA/presentations/thurs_am/Goode_Lunar_Workshop.pdf

      Link 2
      http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Palle_etal_2006_EOS.pdf

    • cba,

      You write:

      Additionally, if there were a cloud cover positive feedback rather than strongly negative as we appear to see, then how could we have any cloud cover other than the absolute minimum? If losing cloud cover raises T and raising T lowers cloud cover, we’ve got a total runaway condition.

      Without going in other arguments, I only notice that the above argument is false. It would forbid all positive feedbacks in all applications, not only in climate, but that is of course not true.

      The runaway situation is only observer, if the positive feedback is so strong that the first correction as as large or larger than the original forcing. Otherwise the first correction is smaller than the original forcing, the next correction smaller than the first correction, etc. This converges to a finite end result, which may be of any size.

      The total feedback factor is in the linear case 1/(1-f), where f is the strength of a single feedback step. This is finite for all f = 1, the formula is not valid.

  72. So, in actual fact, Venus is not a “runaway” situation, since it has “converged to a finite end result”.

    In a “runaway” situation, the warming would continue ad infinitum with the planet finally vaporizing and disappearing from sight.

    Am I right?

    If so, when Hansen refers to a “Venus-like runaway situation”, he is actually presenting us with an oxymoron.

    (When he tells us this is a possible result on Earth of exceeding the “dangerous” CO2 level at which we will enter a “tipping point”, it is simply hot air, as most bloggers here have agreed.)

    Max

  73. cloud effects are neither small nor delayed. hansen’s original paper implies a drop in cloud cover of 1-2% minimum for a doubling of co2 as I recall. That’s about as much or even more than the co2 direct forcing. It’s not less than 1. Feel free to play games with ultraprecise totally controlled circumstances permitting your little positive feedback scenario but even the noise level is too high for that sort of thing in this case.

  74. JCNow that I think about it, the Harry Potter theory might be good nomenclature for natural unforced variability; climate scientists seem to reject as magic warming that isn’t forced.

    Seems to me the climate scientists buy into the Harry Hotter theory actually.

  75. As adumbrated in HARRY_READ_ME.txt.

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