Arctic Update II

by Judith Curry

Here is a synopsis of some recent papers and other issues in the Arctic

For background, previous threads on the Arctic:

Permafrost thaw – just how scary is it?

Arctic permafrost, and the possibility of massive methane releases into the atmosphere, has been in the news this past week.  The Washington Post has a good overview of the issue with all the relevant links, in this article entitled Permafrost thaw – just how scary is it?   Some excerpts:

One of the least understood — and one of the more unnerving — facets of climate change is the question of what will happen as the Arctic region heats up and permafrost in places like Alaska and Siberia thaws out. It’s a potent feedback mechanism, and scientists still aren’t sure just how potent it might be.

Meanwhile, Gillis’s piece — and the Nature survey — largely dealt with carbon that’s frozen in the northern soils. There’s a separate, though related, issue of what happens with the methane locked in frozen hydrates that’s buried in ocean sediment. There are thousands of gigatons of methane beneath the seas, comparable to the amount of carbon contained in the Earth’s coal deposits. And, as the Arctic waters warm, some of this methane is likely to bubble up into the atmosphere. Another troubling feedback.

So how worried should we be? Over the weekend, Justin Gillis had a beautifully reportedpiece in The New York Times on the permafrost question that summed up what scientists do and don’t know: “In the minds of most experts, the chief worry is not that the carbon in the permafrost will break down quickly — typical estimates say that will take more than a century, perhaps several — but that once the decomposition starts, it will be impossible to stop.” There’s no looming apocalypse, but melting permafrost could make it much harder to avoid setting the planet down a path of irrevocable warming.

The problem is that scientists have had similar difficulties getting a handle on just how much methane actually is bubbling up, since the Arctic isn’t exactly an easy place to take measurements. It can also be unclear whether observed methane plumes are new developments related to current warming or long-standing natural trends. At the moment, despite some frightening headlines in the British press, there doesn’t seem to be a “methane time bomb” ready to go off. Read Andy Revkin or University of Chicago ocean chemistDavid Archer for more context here. There’s no need for lurid Hollywood disaster-movie scenarios. The reality of what’s actually transpiring is apocalyptic enough.

Drilling for oil in the Arctic

BOEM conditionally approves Shell Arctic drilling .  Some excerpts:

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Friday conditionally approved a plan by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell to drill exploration wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast.

One condition will be lopping 38 days off the drilling season to make sure the company has enough time to cope with a spill or a wellhead blowout before sea ice moves into the drilling area.

Canada National Energy Board keeps Arctic drilling provisions.  Some excerpts:

Canada’s National Energy Board said on Thursday that any company that wants to drill for oil and gas in Arctic waters will need to demonstrate it has the capacity to sink a relief well in the same drilling season to cope with possible well blowouts.

In Russia, oil spills are ravaging habitats.  Some excerpts:

 On the bright yellow tundra outside this oil town near the Arctic Circle, a pitch-black pool of crude stretches toward the horizon. The source: a decommissioned well whose rusty screws ooze with oil.

Environmentalists estimate that at least 1 percent of Russia’s annual oil production, or 5 million tons, is spilled every year. That is equivalent to one Deepwater Horizon-scale leak about every two months. Crumbling infrastructure and a harsh climate combine to spell disaster in the world’s largest oil producer, responsible for 13 percent of global output.

Oil, stubbornly seeping through rusty pipelines and old wells, contaminates soil, kills all plants that grow on it and destroys habitats for mammals and birds. Half a million tons every year enter rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean, the government says, upsetting the delicate environmental balance in those waters.

Interannual to decadal variability of Atlantic Water in the Nordic and adjacent seas

J.A. Carton, G.A. Chepurin, J. Reagan, S. Hakkinen

Abstract.  Warm salty Atlantic Water is the main source water for the Arctic Ocean and thus plays an important role in the mass and heat budget of the Arctic. This study explores interannual to decadal variability of Atlantic Water properties in the Nordic Seas area where Atlantic Water enters the Arctic, based on a reexamination of the historical hydrographic record for the years 1950–2009, obtained by combining multiple data sets. The analysis shows a succession of four multiyear warm events where temperature anomalies at 100 m depth exceed 0.4°C, and three cold events. Three of the four warm events lasted 3–4 years, while the fourth began in 1999 and persists at least through 2009. This most recent warm event is anomalous in other ways as well, being the strongest, having the broadest geographic extent, being surface-intensified, and occurring under exceptional meteorological conditions. Three of the four warm events were accompanied by elevated salinities consistent with enhanced ocean transport into the Nordic Seas, with the exception of the event spanning July 1989–July 1993. Of the three cold events, two lasted for 4 years, while the third lasted for nearly 14 years. Two of the three cold events are associated with reduced salinities, but the cold event of the 1960s had elevated salinities. The relationship of these events to meteorological conditions is examined. The results show that local surface heat flux variations act in some cases to reinforce the anomalies, but are too weak to be the sole cause.

Citation:  JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 116, C11035, 13 PP., 2011 doi:10.1029/2011JC007102 (link to abstract and partial figs)

Key Points

  • Nordic Seas region is subject to strong decadal ocean variability
  • The ocean variability is mainly due to changes in the inflow of Atlantic Water
  • The most recent anomaly began in 1999, is massive, and continues
Arctic warming, increasing snow cover, and widespread boreal winter cooling
J.L. Cohen, J.C.   Furtado, M. A. Barlow, V. A. Alexeev and J. E. Cherry
Abstract.  The most up to date consensus from global climate models predicts warming in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) high- to mid-latitudes during boreal winter. However, recent trends in observed NH winter surface temperatures diverge  from these projections. For the last two decades, large-scale cooling trends exist instead across large stretches of eastern North America and northern Eurasia. We argue that this unforeseen trend is likely not due to internal variability alone. Instead, evidence suggests that summer and autumn  warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover, which dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling. Understanding this counterintuitive response to radiative warming of the climate system has the potential to improve climate predictions  at seasonal and longer timescales.In press, Environmental Research Letters.
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Link to full paper [here].  (h/t Alex Pope).
Arctic warming is not greenhouse warming
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Arno Arrak
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Abstract. After two thousand years of slow cooling Arctic, warming suddenly began more than a century ago. It has continued, with a break in the middle, until this day. The rapid start of this warming rules out the greenhouse effect as its cause. Apparently the time scale of the accumulation of CO2 in the air and the Arctic warming does not match. It is likely that the cause of this warming was a relatively sudden rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system at the turn of the century that directed warm currents into the Arctic Ocean. All observations of Arctic warming can be accounted for as consequences of these flows of warm water to the Arctic. This explains why all attempts to model Arctic warming have failed: models set up for greenhouse warming are the wrong models for non-greenhouse warming. It turns out that satellites which have been measuring global temperature for the last 31 years cannot see any sign of current warming that supposedly started in the late seventies. This absence of warming in the satellite record is in accord with the observations of Ferenc Miskolczi on IR absorption by the atmosphere. What warming satellites do see is only a short spurt that began with the super El Nino of 1998, raised global temperature by a third of a degree in four years, and then stopped. It was of oceanic origin.
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Citation:  Energy and Environment.  vol 22, pp 1069-1083.  Link to full paper [Arno Arrak]
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JC comment.  What is going on with the Arctic climate is not straightforward to understand.  Recent attribution studies (see previous Climate Etc threads) have argued that the warming in recent decades, along with the sea ice decrease, is approximately half natural, half anthropogenic.  The study by Carton et al. is a very nice analysis IMO, I wish such an analysis could be done for the entire basin and back to 1900.  The challenge is to sort out the following:
  • Solar and volcanic impacts
  • Ocean heat transport
  • Arctic teleconnection regimes (e.g. AO)
  • Aerosol and GHG effects
  • Feedbacks initiated by all of the above
It seems that you need to go back at least to 1900 to sort this out in the Arctic.  What is going on with sea ice does not follow in lock step what is going on with surface temperature.
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Note:  While I think the Cohen et al. and Arrak papers each raise interesting points, I do not agree with either paper in their entire attribution analysis.


288 responses to “Arctic Update II

  1. Thanks for this story. These studies raise two questions:

    1. How much of the global climate scandal came from genuine interest of world leaders in finding ways to deal with natural changes in Earth’s climate in a way that would promote the welfare of the people?

    2. Were world leaders deceived by the scientists who manipulated data or did they encourage scientists to promote fear so they could manipulate the public?

    Either way, the great reality that surrounds and sustains life if far beyond the control or influence of world leaders and government scientists.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  2. Nebuchadnezzar

    Recent attribution studies (see previous Climate Etc threads) have argued that the warming in recent decades, along with the sea ice decrease, is approximately half natural, half anthropogenic.

    Hang on. I’m confused: are you referring specifically to Arctic warming?

    I thought the 50:50 claim (most in IPCC talk) was about global temperatures.

    I’m also not aware of any study that specifcially attributes the causes of Arctic sea ice decline. Do you have a citation?

  3. JC moderation: Deleted, off topic, post this comment on the santa fe thread, where it is being discussed
    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/02/notes-from-the-santa-fe-conference/

  4. I believe the Gillis and Revkin articles refer to two different potential sources of atmospheric carbon. Revkin indicates that massive methane release from undersea methane clathrates is unlikely in the near future, and that there is conflicting evidence regarding current rates. Gillis refers primarily to permafrost – not ocean stores – and describes a possible large scale release over a few centuries that would be difficult to reverse. The role of methane in the permafrost release has also been misrepresented in some reporting. Most of the stored organic carbon is likely to be released after oxidation to CO2, with only a very small fraction as methane. However, the global warming potency of methane on centennial scales or less is much higher than that of CO2 – e.g. about 25-fold or more over the course of a century – and so the fractional contribution of methane to climate warming would be a substantial part of the whole.

    • Yes, this is why I used the WaPo article, which discusses both

    • Fred, you are ”telling Green’s lies”, without even understanding them yourself! (cat in the bag, carried by blindfolded) 1] if there is substantial amount of methane to make few Euro – Russians will pump it out. They intend to drill deep into Arctic ocean – easier to drill in the permafrost (they are already doing it) 2] methane is burned by UV, if in the air / stays very low, used for fear-mongering and promotion of vegetarianism.

      3] Methane is not a greenhouse gas. 4] methane is not ”climate warming” gas! (it was nuclear winter, then it was GLOBAL warming – changed into climate change – now you invented ”climate warming” what next? If you are not suffering from ”truth phobia” go to my website, there is a page on methane – after reading every sentence – you will sleep better. Or if you have being misleading INTENTIONALLY until now – will give you insomnia. If you don’t take the challenge… easy to interpret why. Napoleon said: successful officer is the one who knows what the opponent knows and has. People that you are referring, if they believe that methane is GLOBAL warming gas; you cannot expect anything correct from them. The truth is on my website, don’t chicken out.

  5. Am I correct in believing that the antarctic has actually gained ice? What are we to make of that in a supposedly warming world? I’ve no doubt that the warmists have all kinds of rationalizations/explanations that may or may not be legit., but I can’t help wondering why I never read about the antarctic in the MSM in this context.

    • Pokerguy, I suspect our hostess’s bias is showing. The proponents of CAGW have spread all sorts of gloom and doom forecasts about what is going to happen when we put lots of CO2 into the atmosphere. viz:-

      Global temperatures are going to rise rapidly; they haven’t
      Hurricanes are going to get stronger; they haven’t.
      Glaciers are going to disappear; they aren’t.
      UK will have winters without snow; this has not happened.
      The snows of Kiimanjera (?sp) have gone; They have come back.
      etc.etc.

      The only doom and gloom story that has any credibility left, is that Arctic sea ice is going to disappear in the summer. The data does not, YET, show that this is not going to happen. So there are all sorts of papers on Arcitc sea ice to discuss. But since Steig et al was shown to be based on bad statistics, very little from the Antarctic.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        HI Jim,

        You said “Global temperatures are going to rise rapidly; they haven’t”

        The first ‘alarmist’ predictions were made in the late 1980s. Since then: the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s and the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s. That’s true for MSU satellite estimates of tropospheric temperatures, land surface temperatures, sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content.

      • Nebuchadnezzar. You seem to have missed my word “rapidly”. All you say is true, and it is also true that temperatures have been rising since the LIA. So we would expect a slight temperature rise every decade ~0.06 C since around 1850. But there has been no appreciable warming in the 21st century. However CO2 levels have risen rapidly. Trenbeth is looking for the missing heat and cannot find it. Roy Spencer claims it is disappearing into space.

        So my key word was “rapidly”.

      • No,
        The alarmist bs goes back decades. The current round of alarmist bs dates more or less from Hansen’s failed predictions regarding scenarios A, B & C.

      • The anti-science BS goes back centuries, back to the witch trials and earlier.

      • WHT – It’s slightly off topic, but since you’re online, I’d welcome your view on the figures shown in the pyramids of Figure 3 from Malhotra’s article. I haven’t read their book, but what is the basis for the data on additional resources for coal (1500 CMO) and unconventional resources for oil and gas?

      • The witches were really scientists? Who knew?

      • Fred, I haven’t seen Malhotra’s book yet, and I don’t know why he uses a cubic mile of oil as a metric instead of barrels. I know it is meant to put a perspective on things but most projections deal with barrels and I don’t have the conversion factor handy. It might come in handy though talking about cubic miles of frozen peat moss starting to outgas.

      • The first alarmist projections were made in the early 1980s. I can remember news reports on global warming at least as early as 1983. It stuck in my memory because just a few years (perhaps 10 years) before I had been studying the alarmism of the coming ice age in school. I was shocked at our quickly the sign on the alarmism could change. I still think an ice age is the bigger concern.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Thanks for the clarification of your position Jim. Of course absent a definition of rapidly from you- or the alarmists – it is literally an impossible claim to refute. The 90s were warmer than the 80s by more than 0.1C and the 2000s warmer than the 90s by as much or more. That’s a higher rate than the overall warming since 1850.

        So what is “rapidly” in your book?

      • Nebuchadnezzar writes “So what is “rapidly” in your book?”

        In order for AGW to be Catastrophic, we need a temperature rise of something like 5 C per century, or 0.5 C per decade. This is what I would describe as a “rapid” rise. Note that in the 11 years of the 21st century there has been virtually NO rise in temperature at all; let alone 0.5 C per decade. Unless temperatures start to rise “rapidly” once again, CAGW seems to be on shakey ground.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Thanks Jim,

        Its notable that most projections of future change have a similar rate of warming until around the 2020s or 2030s of about 0.2 C/decade with the rate increasing – for some scenarios – after that. The rapid rise as you have defined it isn’t expected to happen immediately.

      • Nebuchadnezza writes “Its notable that most projections of future change”

        These projections are very much a variable feast. If you go back to the projections of the 1980’s there was no provision for any pause in the rate of warming at all. When there was no appreciable rise in temperatures at the beginning of the 21st century, we got the first of the pauses, namely Smith et al Science August 2007. This said the pause would last until 2009. Then came Keenleyside et al in Nature 2008 (?date), which said the pause would last until 2015. Now you are claimimg studieds which say the pause will last until 2030 or whatever. You must forgive me if I regard all these projections as utter nonsense.

        The only thing that matters is what temperatures are actually doing. If you have drunk the Koolaid, and believe the propoganda of the proponents of CAGW, there is nothing I can do to help. But I would just ask you to be reasonable and consider whether the projections you have talked about have any credibility whatsoever.

      • Nebuchadnezzar – to which 1980s prediction do you think he’s referring?

        To me Hansen’s prediction has apparent pauses.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Hi Jim,

        I’m not claiming that ‘the pause’ will last to 2030. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

        IPCC AR4 projections were for a rate of global surface warming of around 0.2 K/decade for the next decade (at the time of writing presumably). We’re currently below that for the past ten years, but the rate of warming in different model runs that went into the 0.2K/decade average encompasses the observed trend.

        The decadal forecasts of Keenlyside, Smith and others said that there would be a pause followed by warming. As you point out. But these are different to the other projections because they are initialised from current conditions (whereas most other projections are not). To what extent that initialisation works in actual forecasts remains to be seen. It works OK in hindcasts, but they are the first and lowest of the hurdles that needs to be jumped.

        These are different things and its best not to get them confused, or at least, to appreciate what information concerning the future we might glean from them.

        What I’d like to know is where your definition of rapid actually came from. 0.5K/decade is quite a rate of change. Who was predicting this rate for the past decade?

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Hi JCH,
        I’m not sure what Jim’s saying. Hansen’s projections certainly didn’t rise monotonically. However, he seems to be conflating them with the initialised decadal forecasts and more recent climate projections.

      • Nebuchadnezzat writes “Who was predicting this rate for the past decade?”

        No-one, so far as I am aware. What I am referring to is the forecast for total climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 will be around 1.2 C for the no feedback, plus a factor of 5 or more for the feedbacks. So doubling CO2 is supposed to produce a temperature rise of 6+ C. If you project how much CO2 will rise by the end of the century, you arrive of a figure of around 5C. If you dont agree with the 5 C, put your own figures in.

        In any event, from the estimated climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2, plus an estimate of how much CO2 is going to go up in a century, you arrive at a projected rise of temperature expected in a century. Divide this by 10 and you get the rate of rise per decade. My estimate is 5 C per century. Yours may be different, but whatever it is, that is what I call a “rapid” rise in temperature.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        “The proponents of CAGW have spread all sorts of gloom and doom forecasts about what is going to happen when we put lots of CO2 into the atmosphere. viz:-”

        “Global temperatures are going to rise rapidly; they haven’t”

        Jim, based on your statement here it seems that this is a straw man argument. You are advancing a preposterous claim that, by your own admission, nobody other than you has made.

      • Nebuchadnezzar writes “You are advancing a preposterous claim that, by your own admission, nobody other than you has made.”

        Nonsense. The UNFCCC conferences are based on the idea that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is going to cause global temperatures to rise so much, that it is essential to reduce our use of fossil fuels. What the precise temperature rise is, may be in dispute. But that the claim is made that the temperature rise is too great, is beyond dispute. Whether the figure is 5 C per c entury or whatever is irrelevant.

        If my argument is a straw man, then why does the UNFCC meet at all? Surely we could save hundreds of millions of dollars is these boondoggles were teminated.

      • Heh, it is a preposterous claim, and only skeptics call it preposterous. In fact, that’s practically the definition of a skeptic, one who thinks CAGW is preposterous. Thanks, nebbie, for the simplifying insight.
        =================

      • It is apparent, Jim, that you did not get to my paper yet but you are right that the data about Arctic warming so far has been inconclusive. I demonstrate two things: first, that Arctic warming is definitely not greenhouse warming; and second, that it is caused by warm water carried north by Atlantic currents. Record shows that it did not begin until the turn pf the twentieth century and is still going strong. Models that assume greenhouse warming are inappropriate for non-greenhouse warming and that is why they fail to predict Arctic warming correctly. At present, we are in for an indefinite period of warming although it is possible for it stop temporarily as it did in mid-century, or more decisively if Mörner is right.

      • You are right, Jim, talk of a warming pause by Keenlyside and others is utter nonsense. The “warming pause” he tries to justify is the lack of warming in the twenty-first century. Satellites cannot see it, nor can they see a so-called “late twentieth century warming” in the eighties and nineties. I demonstrate that this particular warming, the one that Hansen spoke about in 1988, is purely imaginary and ground-based temperature curves where it appears are cooked. Check out figure 5 in my paper.

    • well pg for an interesting discussion, we could try to relate it to the mechanisms discussed in the Cohen et al paper, linked in the post. Snow feedbacks?

    • pokerguy – I’m puzzled by the logic of your comment. Your first sentence is a question. You then discuss the meaning of the answer without waiting for the answer. If you are interested in the reality of Antarctic ice, wouldn’t it be better to know what the data show?

      It turns out that the Antarctic is very probably losing ice rather than gaining it, and the loss in recent decades appears to have accelerated compared with earlier decades. Most Antarctic ice is on land, and measurements of Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Changes show a substantial annual ice loss, although the variability in the estimates is fairly large.

      Antarctic sea ice is a different story. There has been a small and variable positive trend in Antarctic Sea Ice Area, but it is dwarfed by the seasonal changes, which cause almost all the sea ice to disappear during Antarctic summer. The overall picture is one of declining Antarctic ice.

      • Fred,

        Where do we think the ice went? Serious question, because loss of land ice would lead to sea level rise? Also, I note that the first reference is to Nature mag, while the 2nd is to a NASA web site. Though the Nature article is behind paywall, the abstract notes that radar data was used only 1992 to 2006 and thus does not by itself support the assertion of an acceleration in recent decades by examination of the dates alone. It appears that to get at this they had to extend the analysis back to 1980 using a climate model.

        Aaaaaaaarrrrgh – got a NASA website for that one folks?

      • Update – NASA does not appear to track ice mass, it is obviously not as simple as measuring area.

      • Bill – I cited the 2008 study mainly because it was more recent than the discussion and references in Chapter 4 of AR4 WG1. The earlier historical data are somewhat uncertain, as you point out, as is the variability in the estimates, but most recent studies, including the 2008 one, estimate a net ice loss. Here is a full text version of the 2008 article by Rignot et al.

        The extent is probably insufficient to be detected in sea level measurements among all the other variables affecting global sea level variation on short timescales.

      • When antarctic has a lot of sea ice, snow falls on the sea ice and does tend to go away in summer. When antarctic does not have a lot of sea ice, snow falls on land and ice volume grows and that ice does not go away in summer. Antarctic Ice Volume does grow more in warm times when there is less sea ice. Antarctic Ice Volume does grow less, or even declines in cold times when the snow falls on the sea ice that can go away.

    • pokerguy, Antarctic is gaining and losing ice simultaneously. The ice on Antarctic is melted from below; by the thermal heat – deficit needs to be replenished every season. When is El Nino, by freeze-dried the moisture from the air – more ice is replenished around Antarctic peninsula, but not enough on the side exposed towards Australia / south Africa – end result: Warmist are panicking the people that is less ice (because they point the side exposed towards Australia) Skeptics are beating themselves in the chest that is more ice, pointing the other side of Antarctic.. Then La Nina comes – more ice on areas in direction Australia; Skeptics / Warmist Change location of their finger, pointing as you are doing now. It’s more ice, ice is increasing! Proof that is getting colder!!! BULL!!!

      The reality is as I said: the amount of ice has nothing to do with the temperature. A] average temp on Antarctic is -35C, that is twice as cold than in your deep freezer(ice doesn’t start melting before it gets ABOVE ZERO, which is never. Even though thermal heat cannot match the coldness on the surface – is melting the ice from below, summer and winter; because white ice is full of air as best insulator, thermal heat cannot be cancelled by the cold winds. b] the amount of ice depends 100% on the amount of moist winds coming from north. Forget coldness theory, permafrost has – 60C below zero, but no ice. Go to my website, there is a page on the subject + in the condensed version of my book is extensive / correct details (in PDF). Have in mind that both camps are WRONG!!!

  6. On another luke warmer blog :) James Annan mentioned he was a little surprised that the Wiki page for atmospheric methane hasn’t been updated in some time. Is there a general loss of interest in keeping things updated?

    • Nah it’s just that nobody understands methane.

      While the HIPPO data showed methane pretty well-mixed in the atmosphere, I don’t know how this relates to sources. I was at an academic presentation recently that included a modeler and he was pretty skeptical of current abilities to do source attribution on methane.

      What I would really like to see is some study of the variability of methane hydrolysis rates compared to sources. Maybe Fred knows…I don’t know the source of the oxidation to CO2 he mentions, and I wonder if it continues in the atmosphere at greater (or lesser) rates than background when the methane concentration is high.

      • I think Fred was referring to the biological decay of carbon producing the methane which oxidizes into co2 like in a compost heap. It may be a chicken egg thing, but CO2 is the least reactive AFAIK.

        Both poles are interesting puzzles. I would like to see more carbon dating of the permafrost in the Arctic and Atlantic cod stock estimates if possible.

      • Yeah atmospheric CO2 beats methane in most cases. If the carbon stored in the permafrost is converted to methane and then CO2 before it gets to the atmosphere, it’s not really methane release. Not that anyone said it was, I guess.

      • Bill – the oxidation to CO2 I referred to involves decaying organic compounds in permafrost oxidized by soil bacteria and not the oxidation of methane. In the atmosphere, methane is oxidized to CO2 via a series of reactions involving the hydroxyl (OH) radical. Since the latter is consumed in the process, it appears that high methane concentrations will deplete the moiety responsible for its oxidation and prolong the atmospheric lifetime of methane, but I don’t recall the quantitative data on the extent of this.

      • I think it depends on the available oxygen and critters,
        http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=194444

        Fish stock average size and migratory patterns change with climate most likely based on changes in the microbial side of the food chain. Like most things, there is a correlation of fish stocks with climate, just not very convincing mechanisms for the changes. An increase in Atlantic Cod off Newfoundland and the northeast US may indicate that the cycle is more natural than anthropogenic.

        It may also indicate that I will have fewer snowbird captains down here to compete with :)

      • Fred, I suggest that you attempt to have some understanding of hydroxide radical chemistry and the reactions of carbon based radicals in an oxygen environment:-

        XCH + HO(Dot)
        to
        XC(Dot) + HOH
        to
        XC(Dot) + O2
        to
        XC-O-O(Dot)

        XC-O-O(Dot) + HCX
        to
        XC-O(Dot) + HO-CX or XC-O-OH + (Dot)CX

        XC-O(Dot) + HCX
        to
        XC-OH + (Dot)CX

        Whereas;
        XC-O-OH + hv
        gives
        XC-O(Dot) + HO(Dot)

        The only stable termination steps are

        2 XC(Dot) to XC-CX and XC(Dot) + HO(Dot) to XC-OH.

        What we have is a hydroxide radical initiated;
        carbon radical, peroxide radical, hypoperoxide radical, carbon radical cycle.

        The difference in the redox potential between the XCH and XCOH in an oxygen atmosphere drives it.

        The other chain terminators are nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxides, both radicals, which give the nitrosyl and nitroxide carbon species.

        Everything is based on second order rate constants, generally about 10^8 to 10^9 M(-1) s(-1). You don,t need to understand that the mass action or the oxygen reaction and the fission of methyl peroxide, generating a pair of radicals (hydroxyl radical and methylhypoperoxide radical, means that consumption of methane in the presence of O2 and hv is 2nd order with respect to methane, so doubling methane increase the rate of oxidation by about four.

      • For some further details on the increase in methane atmospheric lifetime expected from hydroxyl radical depletion due to consumption in methane oxidation, and anticipated from rising methane levels, the 1998 Lelieveld et al Tellus article remains a major reference source.

      • Oh, c’mon Doc. CFC’s have to be in there somewhere. Can’t let a good crisis go to waste.

      • So yet another Hare-brained scheme:-

        H-O-O(dot) + NO(dot)
        (Peroxy Radical and Nitric Oxide)

        is generally given to generate peroxynitrous acid

        O=N-O-O(1-)H(1+), which then become nitric acid.

        Whereas the dumb bunny has

        H-O-O(dot) + NO(dot) giving

        HO(Dot) + NO2(Dot).

        Thus, the reaction of the peroxy radical and nitrogen dioxide is given to be a source of hydroxyl radical and nitrogen dioxide by a floppy eared fool.

        Bunny actually needs the rate constants for the reaction series

        H-O-O(dot) + NO(dot) O=N-O-O-H

        O=N-O-O-H HO(Dot) + NO2(Dot).
        or
        O=N-O-O-H HNO3

        So mister bunny, go an look up the reaction kinetics and reflect upon the implications of a bifurcated pathway where one branch is in a rapid equilibrium and the other is irreversible.

        Andrew Mollner et al., 2010
        “Rate of Gas Phase Association of Hydroxyl Radical and Nitrogen Dioxide”
        Science 29 October 2010:
        Vol. 330 no. 6004 pp. 646-649
        DOI: 10.1126/science.1193030

        Bunny should also reflect on the rate constants of

        CH3(Dot) + NO(Dot) CH3NO

        CH3(Dot) + NO2(Dot) CH3NO2

        then wonder where all the nitrosomethane and nitromethane is?

        (Hint nitrosomethane is an isomer of formaldoxime:
        “The preparation and properties of formaldoxime”
        Wyndham R. Dunstan and Arnold L. Bossi J. Chem. Soc., Trans., 1898, 73, 353-361 )
        Bunny should also examine the role of mass action on the overall kinetics and the role of irreversible thermodynamics via the generation of unreactive species; like nitrate, nitrite and water.

        Finally, the bunny should reflect on the difference the kinetics of nitrogen and oxygen radicals and per-species and atmospheric pressure before he attempts to model anything

        http://jpldataeval.jpl.nasa.gov/pdf/JPL_15_AllInOne.pdf

      • Here. Have a dot. •

      • The branching ratio at the surface (300K , 1 atm) for

        HO2 + NO –> HNO3 is o.5%,

        the other 99.5 % goes via

        HO2 + NO –> OH + NO2

        where without stabilizing collisions, the reaction zips right over the O=N-O-O-H adduct potential well to the OH + NO2 final products. You can debate (Eli has better things to do) as to whether there is an adduct without collisions or the O=N-O-O-H is a transition state.. Formation of HNO3 through rearrangement of the adduct requires stabilizing collisions, e.g. high pressure. Once the adduct is stabilized, it can rearrange into HNO3,

        More details at the IUPAC atmospheric reaction critical review

        Details to follow

        Frankly, you Dunning Krugered straight in here Doc

    • Captain, methane when in low atmosphere, is burned by UV – never goes high up. Reason they don’t sniff in the atmosphere is because: their nose is constantly into the cow’s & sheep’s bums. Methane is concocted as GLOBAL warming gas by the extreme vegetarians, nothing to do with science. I have the correct version, a page on my website on methane.

      • actually stefan methane is far less dense than air and UP, damn quickly too.
        Mythbusters did a nice methane and soap bubbles segment.

        – – – –
        “P.E. | December 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

        Here. Have a dot. •”

        How did you do that? I can never do that in WordPress?

      • You just successfully copied it. Don’t lose it.

      • Doc, on same temperature: methane and oxygen & nitrogen – methane sinks in the soil and pushes the air out. When the gas bottle is leaking – methane goes down at ankle level – wouldn’t even go to the window seal to get out. If you are Doc of medicine; would be advisable to read on my website a page on methane in the digestive system. Very important. Propaganda is back to front and destructive on that one too.

      • Doc, you are trying to confuse / complicate different issues; by confusing yourself only. People are talking about methane; you read the drivel that you have being writing above. Methane is not nitrogen or oxygen based, don’t confuse it with ammonia, or other rubbish, what’s all that doo-doo?!

        In presence of oxygen; as is already pointed to you; methane deteriorates on the sunlight – every hydrocarbon – methane is the most sensitive! If you understand anything on the subject; you would have known that lots of methane is burned on oil rigs, industry > methane DESTROYS lots of oxygen. Producing NEW methane is repairing the damages. If you cannot understand the previous sentence, with all the irrelevant doo-doo that you plastered above from some chemistry book; you sound as a starving man trying to poo. I.e. lots of hot air, but nothing solid. Unless you find some book that says: methane is heavier than oxygen + nitrogen / UV destroys it in a jiffy – you must be into Wikipedia’s / DIAL A LIE. Methane eating bacteria are not in the air / methane fumigates bacteria in the air.

      • 1. Methane is odorless, you are smelling the mercaptains and other adatives.
        2. Methane does not absorb the UV light available at the surface (< 300 nm), the absorption edge is ~ 150 nm, which is only available very high in the atmosphere
        3. Methane at the surface reacts only (pretty much) with OH radicals.

      • Eli, Rabett 1] methane doesn’t have additives, but is never in pure form. B] methane makes dry trout and watery eyes. If you cook on gas, you are smelling after methane is burned; smell it before is burned; don’t believe every crappy thing on the net. It was my job on the coal-mine.

        2] methane never goes high up, UV burns it close to the ground. You are talking things that you don’t understand. Example: scattered bucket of coal on the ground doesn’t produce methane. But on the coalmine 200 feet high pile of coal waiting for transport, produces sufficient amount of methane to be ignited by UV; creates lots of small fires on the pile with coal. If you know how to prevent that, with your witchcraft, you can get paid millions by the coal companies. Unfortunately, they don’t pay for lies, only governments do. Methane at the surface reacts ONLY with oxygen +UV and turns into droplets of water. CH4 + O4 = CO2 + 2H2O.

        Soon when is exposed that the phony GLOBAL warming is 100% lie, not 99%; after we have to find out where you Warmist get misleading informations. I suspect that they are prepared for you as: DIAL A LIE. One scientist was saying that: methane destroys ozone. Must be getting his knowledge from same place as you and Doc Martin. A] methane doesn’t want to go higher than your belly button, because is heavier than O+N on sea level – how the hell would go to the Stratosphere 60km up, where the ozone is? In reality, by producing extra methane, is produced raw material for new ozone (CO2+2H2O = CH4 +O4). Badmouthing by the Warmist for creation of new methane is the second biggest crime in progress. Go to my website, there is a page on methane in the digestive system – see the crimes committed by the misleading propaganda – you + Doc are part of it.

      • Eli Rabbit and Doc Martin; instead of intentionality confusing methane with ammonia products – stick to methane as a hydro-carbon. Methane belched by the cow, or released from behind is NEVER in pure form. Methane by itself is odourless; but both of you will have problem convincing most of the people that the compound animals produce is odourless.

        The good Lord / nature made methane to be produced with a ”sinker” smelly bit is the sinker! That’s why they are not fracking for methane in the clouds, but deep down in the ground. Does it make sense to you?

        2] on the pasture, at night all methane sinks in the ground. During the day; any methane in the air – UV burns it. Experiment: collect in a transparent bottle methane from a cow, sheep, or your own; as long as there is oxygen present in a bottle (to imitate atmosphere) expose it to the sunlight for few hours – will turn into 2 droplets of water; will not wait for 10 years as you Warmist misrepresent. Because THE IMPURITY in methane absorbs the sunlight > destroys the methane CH4 + O4 = CO2 + 2H2O. Desperate attempts to destroy the grazing industry and to mislead that methane / CO2 regulates the temperature in the troposphere; refusing to admit the inevitable that I’m correct that: oxygen + nitrogen regulate the temperature by shrinking / expanding INSTANTLY in a change of temperature, created the ”METHANEGATE” (hide the stench) The damages in progress to blame the phony (greenhouse gases CH4 + CO2) will be irreversible.

        Anything you write Eli Rabbit, stays on record; I hope this will not end up in the bin: get informed on my website on page ”METHANEGATE” then read the page ”CREATION OF CRUDE OIL” inform yourself of those tremendous damages. I stand by my proofs that: O+N are the greenhouse
        gases 998999ppm, not CO2 + methane*** stefanthedenier

  7. Regarding that Permafrost:
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044024
    Note the comment “no trend since the early 1990’s”

  8. Fred writes: pokerguy –” I’m puzzled by the logic of your comment. Your first sentence is a question. You then discuss the meaning of the answer without waiting for the answer. If you are interested in the reality of Antarctic ice, wouldn’t it be better to know what the data show?”

    NOthing to be puzzled about Fred. Relax that furrowed brow. It’s plain by the way I formulated the question…i.e. “Am I correct in believing the antarctic has gained ice?” that I do in fact believe it has, though I’m open to hearing otherwise. I try to stay away from alarmists blogs because they tend to be a celebration of brain dead vapidity, and frankly they make me nauseous, but every once in a while I hold my nose and take a sip or two of the cool-aid. I got this from the comically named “skeptical science.”

    “One must also be careful how you interpret trends in Antarctic sea ice. Currently this ice is increasing and has been for years…”

    Of course they have an AGW-friendly explanation for this.

    • Yes I just looked at this too. There is a decline in TOTAL LAND ICE MASS from 1992 to present, and overall the rate has been greater in the 2000s than the 1990s. As Fred pointed out the sea ice stuff is what it is, and total ice AREA has been increasing, thanks to the sea ice.

      That’s the data.I am not commenting on its quality. Let’s argue from here…

    • “…I’m open to hearing otherwise.”

      • Pat – Thanks for the update. It’s significant that the two independent approaches – the mass balance method and GRACE measurements – yield similar figures for ice loss.

      • We will see what happens over the next decade. Sea level has certainly not been rising at alarming rates over the last 20 years, and the models certainly have not been effective in predicting the rate of rise.

      • Agree, the next decade will be interesting. From the UAH satellite record:
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_current.gif

        It looks like this:

        1980s (1981-1991) -0.15 K
        1990s (1991-2001) -0.05 K
        2010s (2001-2011) 0.15 K

        Further, I predict:
        2020s 0.0 K
        2030s -0.1 K (+/- 0.1 K).

        Arctic will likely cool accordingly. Melting is over. The question is if it’s only ~30 year cooling or also at longer time scales (~200 year and longer).
        http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png
        http://climate4you.com/images/UnivColorado%20MeanSeaLevelSince1992%20With1yrRunningAverage.gif

      • Let’s apply some fuzzy logic to that. Sea levels rise hasn’t accelerated. Therefore, ocean heat hasn’t been rising dramatically, AND ice melt hasn’t been accelerating. Both of those statements have to be true, since either one negates the observation. Either that, or the water’s been leaking out into outer space through some quantum hole.

      • The majority of the SLR prediction happens in the last half of the 21st Century. That starts ~38 years from now. I understand your eagerness to get started with it.

        There really is no prediction for a current rate of SLR.

        There is no inconsistency at all between the current rate of SLR and the models.

      • randomengineer

        JCH — There is no inconsistency at all between the current rate of SLR and the models.

        I call BS. That depends on whether you’re looking at the latest and greatest model and then using this to hindcast. Historically speaking we have been endured chicken little forecasts by the latest and greatest of the models etc of the day and thus far the dire predictions have yet to come to pass. Oh, so now you claim the big umpteen meter disaster in waiting won’t unfold until the latter part of this century. Reminds me of fusion and that damn flying car they promised always being just around the corner. SLR is an exercise in goal post moving.

  9. Am I missing something obvious, or doesn’t Arctic ice have a lot more to do with ocean temperatures than air temperatures? Is talk about “Arctic temperatures” missing an important distinction?

    • It appears the general theme is that most of the heat that gets there, gets there via the Atlantic Ocean, see first paper cited in Judith’s post. But I guess w/r/t melting permafrost, the heat would have to get there through the air, or precipitation.

  10. Willis Eschenbach

    “In the minds of most experts, the chief worry is not that the carbon in the permafrost will break down quickly — typical estimates say that will take more than a century, perhaps several — but that once the decomposition starts, it will be impossible to stop.”

    What is it with climate alarmists and “unstoppable” disasters?

    Why is melting permafrost “impossible to stop”? Permafrost melts somewhat every summer … and that stops. It also melts more in warmer years, and freezes more in cooler years … and that stops. Undoubtedly, it melts more in warmer centuries and refreezes in cooler centuries.

    And for every given temperature, it will melt some or freeze some … and then stop.

    So why on earth are they raving about melting that is “impossible to stop”?

    Once again, we have alarmism masquerading as science.

    w.

    • Does the permafrost that is nearly a mile thick somewhat melt each summer, or is it permanently frozen?

      Don’t you see that as more areas of the north have annual average temperatures above 0 C, causing the permafrost to melt, releasing methane and CO2, causing more areas to be above an annual temperature of 0 C, and so on could be considered alarming considering just how much of the stuff there is up there?

      • It’s exactly the reason why the alarmism is suspect! It’s not happening in the real world. Therefore, it’s evidence against CO2GW.

      • Did you read the articles, or at least look at the pretty pictures?

        It was the pictures that done it for me, don’t need no fancy science, but they forgot to put a cute polar bear on top of the decaying permafrost, that would have helped.

        Actually and on a more serious note, we don’t know what the normal amount of methane bubbling out of arctic lakes is, so we don’t know that it is not happening either.

      • bob droege

        There are a host of things “we don’t know are not happening” (as you put it), but I’m sure not going to worry about them – are you?

        There are a whole lot of things we KNOW are happening and some of these are not good for us. Let’s go after those first, right?

        Max

      • Right Max,
        And one of those things we know are happening that is bad is putting more CO2 into the atmosphere, but we don’t know when that is going to cause a whole lot more CO2 to go into the atmosphere due to the permafrost melting.
        Just another reason to stop the grand atmospheric CO2 experiment.

        Max you can just keep wearing your Alfred E Neuman mask and keep on chanting “What Me Worry”

      • bob droege

        Forget the “Alfred E Neuman mask” and “What Me Worry” chants – that’s silly talk, bob, which has nothing to do with our discussion about “what we know and don’t know” about our climate and human CO2.

        What do we really know, bob?

        1. We know that we are consuming fossil fuels and we know that since we started doing this and industrializing, our quality of life and life expectancy have increased immensely.

        2. We know that most inhabitants of this planet are either just starting this process of industrial development and increasing their quality of life by expanding their fossil fuel based economies or have not yet been able to do so.

        3. We know that consuming fossil fuels puts CO2 back into the atmosphere that came out long ago.

        4. We know that these human CO2 emissions are contributing to an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, although there is some uncertainty concerning possible other factors, due to the much larger natural carbon cycle of our planet.

        5. We know that fossil fuel reserves of our planet are limited, and we have estimates, which indicate that this limit constrains the increase in atmospheric CO2 to an absolute maximum of somewhere between 200 to 670 ppmv above today’s level.

        6. We know that we have seen a very small increase in global average temperature over the past 160 years of less than one degree Celsius.

        7. We know from theoretical physics that increased CO2 concentrations should contribute to an increase in global temperatures, and based on the CO2 and temperature record of the past 160 years, we can roughly guess how significant this impact might be (all other things being equal).

        8. We know from physical observations of the multi-decadal warming and cooling cycles in the160 year temperature record that “all other things are NOT equal”, so that natural factors may actually have had a much greater impact on our climate than CO2.

        9. We know from experimental studies and physical observations that crop grains as well as forests grow more rapidly at elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

        10. We know that there are more human deaths related to cold weather than to hot weather

        11. We know from history that a significantly cooler climate (such as during the Maunder Minimum, for example) was not better for humanity than today’s climate; in fact, harsher winters, and colder summers.resulted in crop failures and famines, which have been historically documented.

        12. We know based on calculated estimates that we are unable to effect perceptible changes in our climate by implementing any of the actionable proposals that have been made to date to reduce the emissions of CO2.

        13.. We DO NOT know whether or not a slightly warmer world would be a better place for humanity and our environment than a slightly cooler world

        So, bob, we really know quite a lot, although we do NOT know whether increased atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel combustion would be good or bad for our climate within the constraint of availability (or whether it will not make any significant difference at all) – we DO know, however, that the increased quality of life which most of the world hopes to enjoy through economic development, as well as our own continued high standard of living, depend today on a supply of low-cost energy based on fossil fuels.

        That about sums up our knowledge today, as far as I can see.

        Any comments?

        Max

      • Excellent, Max. It is shocking the number of things that we know, and have known, that must be ignored in order to believe in CAGW. This is why I call it a madness of the crowd.
        ======================

      • Max, regarding your #5 limit on CO2, the whole point of the melting permafrost conjecture is to exceed this limit, so you might have to say absent positive feedbacks or something. Positive feedback conjectures are the heart of the scare.

      • Actually Max, things are really different than in your world view.

        1. Not 100% true for all, coal miners don’t know what they are missing, and certain areas of China do not have the highest quality of life due to gross amounts of pollution.

        2. Quality of life can be much better with cleaner source of power.

        3. The problem is we are putting in back in the atmosphere much faster than it was taken out by several orders of magnitude.

        4. Not the much larger natural cycle excuse, which doesn’t matter at all.

        5. Are you sure of your numbers for fossil fuel reserves, because they sound like the numbers for conventional easily extracted sources and do not include shale oil, tar sands and natural gas fraccing. And I bet the calculation doesn’t include the current discussion of permafrost as a source of CO2, as well as the methane clathrates.

        6. Right about the amount of the temperature increase up to date, but what is worrisome is that we know from paleo studies what 3 C will look like in terms of what CO2 level is sufficient to melt the ice caps and it is within your estimate in number 5 above.

        7. We can roughly guess, and you are saying not a problem, and I am saying doom and gloom. Who has the better guess?

        8. Here I actually agree that for most and almost all of the record the natural cycles have been predominant, but recent events lead me to believe things are changing.

        9. Experimentaly, I would not disagree, however, generally in farming practises, the amount of CO2 is not the limiting factor in growth, usually water or temperature is. If it gets too hot or is too dry growth slows or stops no matter what the CO2 concentration is.

        10. True enough, currently more people die from cold than from heat, but the numbers of both are small enough and the data and analysis crappy enough that it wouldn’t take much change to flip the story.

        11. I think modern farming practises are more important than the Maunder minimum in preventing famine, but then there is the chance that we will see more crop failures due to heat and drought in the future. Any recent events come to mind?

        12. But also what we know is that we are making perceptible changes in the worlds climate and that we do have the capability to prevent an extreme change in climate. 3 C is not a slight change so we should try not to double the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

        13. Here I agree as well, except I am not worried about a slightly warmer world, we are already there, and what we dont want is a much warmer world. Let me ask you, how much warmer would you say is bad?

        See we really do know a lot.

        And our high standard of living doesn’t depend on really cheap energy, we are all just greedy bastards who want it as cheap as possible and don’t want to pay the full cost of our lifestyle if we can get away with it.

        Doubling the amount of cash I pay for my energy use won’t really affect my standard of living, and if everyone on the planet did the same…

      • ‘Doubling the amount of cash I spend for my energy use won’t affect my standard of living’. Please speak for yourself and not for everyone in the world. This is one of the most known of Max’s knowns, doubling expenditures for energy WILL affect standards of living everywhere, and not trivially.

        You need to get out more.
        =================

      • Are there any alarmists who think they can do better than bob droege? Putting his list side by side with Max’s starkly illustrates the difference between skeptics and alarmists. An independent observer would call the debate over.

        So, come on alarmists, here’s your chance. Explain to me why most of you ignore most of Max’s knowns.
        =============

      • You see, bob, this is why you don’t mind doubling the cost of your energy. To you it is a pittance, and a bargain for relieving your guilt over your success. To the poor, doubling energy costs is a damnation to be eternally poor, and they haven’t any of your guilty riches to buy off the phony damnation you feel.

        They are too busy collecting and drying the dung of the cattle they revere to buy into your falsely evoked guilt.
        ===========

      • bob droege

        Tou gave me a long answer to my “what we know” post, so let me respond in turn to your points.

        1. Those of us who are fortunate to live in regions that have developed economically as a result of available low-cost energy based on fossil fuels are, on average, much better off than our ancestors were before. Your example of the isolated coal miner, etc. is totally irrelevant to my point.

        2. Your hypothetical statement that “quality can be better with a cleaner source of power” does not address my point that China, India and others are improving the quality of life of their populations by developing their economies largely through increasing their use of fossil fuels – if there were a “cleaner source of power” that would get them there at the same cost, they would be using it (but there isn’t).

        3. The rate at which we are putting CO2 into the atmosphere by using fossil fuels has absolutely nothing to do with my statement of “what we know”, but I do not dispute that it is at a faster rate than the rate these fossil fuels were created.

        4. No excuse, bob. Just stating the facts, which you cannot refute.

        5. You ask “are you sure of your numbers for fossil fuel reserves?” The answer is “yes”. They are based on WEC estimates of “total inferred possible fossil fuel resources in place” and include all the sources you listed. These are 3-4 times as high as the Rutledge/Hubbert estimates, which are based on proven reserves only

        6. You agree with “what we know” about past temperature rise and then add your own totally irrelevant opinion about what might happen in the future – we do NOT “know” whether what you are projecting is realistic and it is beside the point,anyway

        7. You do not disagree with my point on the fact that CO2 is a GHG, but embellish it with irrelevant speculations on future warming, which have nothing to do with my point about “what we know”

        8. We agree on the point that natural cycles have caused temperature changes in the past.

        9. We agree that increased CO2 results in faster crop/forest growth – you add the point that other factors are also involved (sufficient water, etc.) and no one would disagree.

        10. Your “I agree that your statement is right, but it wouldn’t take much to flip it” rationalization is weak, bob – let’s stick with “what we know”

        11. Again, you add a new dimension. I stated that we know that periods of extreme cold in the past resulted in documented crop failures and famines and you add “modern farming practices” to the discussion – sure they are helpful, but they do not change “what we know” about past famines resulting from cold weather.

        12. You do not address the point I made about “what we know” – namely, that no actionable proposal has been made to date that would have a perceptible impact on our climate if it were implemented. If you know of such a proposal, please bring it up, rather than changing the subject.

        13. We seem to agree that a slightly warmer world might actually be a better place for us; you then get into speculations about what constitutes a “slightly warmer” or a more than “slightly warmer” world. I have no opinion on what the ideal, “just right” global temperature of our planet is, whether it is today’s average, that of 1998 (a bit higher), that of 1980 (a bit lower), that of 1945 (a bit lower yet) or even that of 1850 (0.7C lower than today) – do you? If so, I’d like to hear it and why you think it is “just right” /.

        Let me quote your last statement before analyzing it:

        And our high standard of living doesn’t depend on really cheap energy, we are all just greedy bastards who want it as cheap as possible and don’t want to pay the full cost of our lifestyle if we can get away with it.

        Doubling the amount of cash I pay for my energy use won’t really affect my standard of living, and if everyone on the planet did the same

        “Greedy bastards?” Get serious, bob. The billions of Chinese and Indians who are going to cause most of the increase in CO2 emissions over the next century are not “greedy bastards”, nor are the billions in underdeveloped nations, that can only pull themselves out of abject poverty if they can go the way we did, by building up their economies based on a source of low-cost energy based on fossil fuels (or another source, if it is just as “low-cost”). Putting a tax on fossil fuels to make them more expensive will not help these billions of people at all – in fact it will harm them.

        “Doubling the amount of cash YOU pay for YOUR energy use” might not affect YOUR standard of living although I doubt seriously that this is true, since it will affect the cost of everything you consume that has an energy component – and what doesn’t?

        But it sure as hell will make a difference to those billions who, unlike you, are not already enjoying the high quality of life brought about through industrial development based on the availability of low-cost energy coming from fossil fuels.

        And, believe me, bob, these millions are not going to forego this development because a few computer jockeys in the rich man’s world are telling them this will destroy the planet. It just isn’t going to happen, as the fiascos in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban have demonstrated.

        Max

      • David Wojick

        Thanks for CO2 feedback point (lead post here). Your point is valid.

        A rough calculation (by me, using IPCC’s 3.2C mean estimate for climate sensitivity and the estimate in the NYT article) shows that this “positive feedback” would add another 0.4C by 2100.

        An independent study (which I cited in another post above) estimates this at 0.5C.

        It’s there, Dick, and it’s real – but IMO it is not overwhelming.

        Max

      • Something tells me that bobbie has not even the zeroeth order clue about how much the cost of energy is built in to every good and service across the entire economy. The only way increasing energy won’t cost anything is if he lives in a yurt in Alaska and hunts with an arrow. But the yurt had to get there somehow, didn’t it?

      • randomengineer

        Bob D — Doubling the amount of cash I pay for my energy use won’t really affect my standard of living, and if everyone on the planet did the same…

        You must live in a mild climate with no weather extremes. You probably are also lucky enough to have enough IQ that you have good money coming in and aren’t working the line at the meat packing plant for $10 an hour. Most of the world isn’t in your boat.

        Fuel oil in the northern midwest is well over $3/gal which is absurdly difficult for those on a fixed (low) income, i.e. many of the retired are reliant on food shelters in the winter. Make the winter really cold and they’re using the food shelter until June just to pay for the heating costs. Add to this the price increases for *everything* ranging from food to shampoo. Transport costs alone add a significant percentage.

        You can’t simply wave a wand and say “oh, let’s raise their SS benefits to cover this” in an economy where SS and other “entitlement” items are already the lion’s share of budget problems. Do you know what the tax breakdown is for your tax dollar? At least 40% covers the elderly.

        Doubling the cost of energy would affect the standard of living for everyone and be a burden for most of the US.

      • Heh, and people like bob think their cause is noble. Yes, we must keep our room clean, but yes, we must stay alive in it, too.
        =================

      • Random, you’re understating the problem by only looking at direct costs. Everything has an energy cost built in (even the internet). School buses don’t run on pedal power. Cop cars don’t, either. Groceries don’t get to the store on magic flying carpets. There’s nothing in the manufacturing, service, retail, government, or nonprofit sectors that won’t be seriously and negatively impacted by significant energy price increases. If it has to happen, it has to happen, but the claim that it won’t have an impact that will hit lower income people disproportionately is reckless.

      • randomengineer

        PE — Random, you’re understating the problem by only looking at direct costs.

        Indeed, and this was purposeful.

        In reality I’m on Bob’s page. He’s already said he’s a supporter of nuclear energy, and on this we agree. What we (our society) need to do is embark on a program that delivers the max energy for the least cost. Nuclear does this and can ameliorate the fuel oil problem in the long term.

        Ever wonder about the negative impact of MBA’s? This crowd was all over the japanese JIT methods in the 70’s and 80’s. Just In Time solved quarterly profit issues. The problem they set out to solve was that async shipping via rail resulted in lots of real estate used for storage and having to purchase stuff further into the future. JIT allowed mfg’s to get materials as needed. The downside is that async shipping via rail is fuel efficient and JIT ships in smaller lots right now which requires craploads of trucks.

        MBA’s are inherently stupid. Not only did they fail to notice that Japan is smaller than the US, they didn’t take fuel into account. These days we are reaping that stupidity. Costs of things are more tightly coupled to transport fuel costs, the rail infrastructure is going backwards, interstates are deteriorating faster due to trucking volume, and road clogging and traffic backups (wasting even more fuel) is worse than ever.

        There’s a special place in hell for MBA’s.

      • Not to beat this to death, but…

        It’s not obvious if the problem is MBAs, or whole lot of other factors, but when I was a kid, any city of 100,000 or more had a local brewery or several. By the ’90s, these local breweries were gone, and most beer came from a couple of large regional breweries. Here in Pugetopolis, the last regional brewery was shut down about ten years ago by the environmentalists. Now, most beer is trucked over 1000 miles from LA.

        Think about this. The greens shut down the last of the regional breweries. Now were’re bring a product that’s 95% water from water-poor Southern California to the water rich PNW, over the roads using diesel fuel.

        Brilliant, huh?

      • randomengineer

        PE

        The point of MBA’s etc is that what seems reasonable here and now will have consequences. To that end much of what the skeptical side advocates (e.g. more drilling etc) isn’t any better thought out than what the alarmists seem to be advocating. What the alarmists are trying to say (clumsily in my view) is that we are all going to pay for things in the end either by planning and biting the bullet now or being surprised later that short term fixes have unforseen downsides. It’s the basic “reap what ye sow” argument.

        Where I part company with the alarmists is the notion of taxing fossil fuels or otherwise supporting crap tech that doesn’t work. Nuclear energy and spaceborne solar are two near to long term solutions to energy that do work. As you and others correctly point out, energy = wealth, so the argument with Bob D isn’t really *what* to do so much as *why* we want to do it. I don’t see that in the end that *why* ought to matter. *What* is plenty good enough.

      • Where I part company with the alarmists is the notion of taxing fossil fuels or otherwise supporting crap tech that doesn’t work. Nuclear energy and spaceborne solar are two near to long term solutions to energy that do work.

        Picking winners in advance is the wrong way to cut emissions. It leads to all of the problems inherent in central planning. It undermines the role of the market in promoting innovation and efficiency.

        Pricing carbon so that the emitters pay something resembling the actual cost to society of the emissions is the most hands-off, pro-market way to manage the problem (even Hayek thinks so).

        What I do think we should do for the nuclear industry is:

        1. Cut the regulatory approval cycle from five years to something more reasonable, like six months.

        2. Establish a permanent home for nuclear waste, even if NIMBYism means we have to negotiate a deal with a poor, lightly populated country to site it there.

        3. Build a backbone of HVDC cables across the country, to establish a real market in power (i.e., you can sell power to any customer, anywhere — power companies compete like cell phone companies for customers.

        All technological progress involves experimenting with things that are, in retrospect “crap tech that doesn’t work.” And somewhere in that crap is the next great breakthrough. Best let the market sort that one out.

      • random engineer

        You write that you are a supporter of nuclear energy (and so is bob droege).

        So am I, but I am afraid that in many parts of the world, the politicians (and voting populations) have been so pumped full of horror stories regarding nuclear power generation (by some of the same doomsayer types that are now spreading alarm about AGW) that in a post-Fukushima world, it will be virtually impossible to rely on nuclear fission as it is today for short- to medium-term future energy needs.

        The spent fuel problem is real, as well, although this can be largely solved with new technologies that have already been tested, such as fast breeder reactors with thorium, for example.

        There is absolutely no shortage of fuel for nuclear fission and studies made pre-Fukushima showed that current nuclear technology including costs for spent fuel disposal could compete economically with coal (without any carbon tax). I have no doubt that these studies are correct.

        But the hurdle here is not economic – it is political (and emotional).

        And it will certainly not be solved by imposing a direct or indirect carbon tax.

        Max

      • Max,

        1. I think I am resonsible for producing more clean energy than the fossil fuel energy than I have used. China has some of the most pollution due to their reliance on fossil fuels.

        2. It is questionable whether China ia actually improving the standard of living the vast majority of its inhabitants.

        4. There is no evidence to refute, that there are any natural sources contributing to the rise in CO2 levels. The rise in CO2 is wholly anthropogenic and that is the fact.

        5. Here I will admit that I am not 100% correct. Fossil fuel reserve estimates from here

        http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=f7bd7b77-ba50-48c2-a635-220d7cf8c519

        do include tar sands and methane clathrates, but they do not include shale oil, and I couldn’t tell if all natural gas reserves included those using fraccing as an extraction method. And of course they don’t include the topic of discussion, the CO2 that could be released from permafrost, and they dont consider the possibility of the ocean sink for CO2 diminishing somewhat.

        But your upper estimate of an increase over today’s level of some 670 ppm would put us well over 1000 ppm. You see no problem with that.

        6. Back to the Pagani paper, no one seems to want to read it. 1000 ppm carbon, which you say will only result in slight warming, maybe so, but it is enough to melt the icecaps. Its in the published literature other than the IPCC reports.

        10. The data on the number of deaths related to cold and heat is really of limited quality and could go either way and is pretty much beside the point.

        11. And we know from recent history that warmth and lack of rainfall cause crop failures, and if it were not for modern transportation capabilities would have resulted in famines as well. As if we are not having the occasional famine anyway. If we get to the 1000 ppm carbon you are so comfortable with, and there is paleo data showing that that will result in temperatures a few to several degrees warmer than today and outside the range of temperatures the plants we rely on for food evolved to thrive in, then I would expect more famines than in the 18th century.

        12. We do know that your proposal to continue to burn fossil fuels until they are all gone will have an adverse affect on the world’s climate.

        13. I would like to limit the increase in temperatur to 2 C above today, not because I think that is idea, but because that would limit the amount of adaptation necessary. Ideally I would like to have the temperature stay within the 20th century ranges.

        I didn’t say the Chineses nor the Indians are greedy bastards, I said we are, and we are responsible for most of the CO2 emitted to date, so the industrialized nations should lead. And hope that China and India will follow. After all there is not enough fossil fuels left to raise the standard of living for all the Chinese and Indians to the western mark as well.
        You could raise their standard of living without increasing their energy consumption to our western levels. Do you want to raise their standards of living or maintain ours? Do you think the western societies could maintain their standard of living while decreasing their energy consumption.

        Kim, I think the prices I pay for energy are a bargain for what it allows me to do, so I think doubling the cost I pay would be acceptable to me, others may see it differently as I am sure that you do. You may reread my post and you will see that I was speaking for myself.

        And I was suggesting the doubling of energy costs on a voluntary basis, so those pensioners need not go along, neither should those whose energy prices are already taxed so as to double the cost. European gas prices or should I say petrol prices come to mind.

        I wouldn’t want to double the heating oil prices for those heating their homes with oil, but those should consider natural gas or at least propane for that.

      • bob droege

        By now we have gone back and forth on the “what we know” discussion to the point that most lurkers have probably dozed off.

        OK. You cite a document listing estimated US fossil fuel reserves but then agree that you may not have been “100% correct”, when you stated that the data I cited from WEC on “total inferred possible fossil fuel resources in place” on our planet was incorrect.

        But then you add:

        But your upper estimate of an increase over today’s level of some 670 ppm would put us well over 1000 ppm. You see no problem with that.

        I did not comment on whether I saw ”a problem with that” or not, simply that this is the maximum ever physically possible CO2 level from human fossil fuel combustion, which could ever by asymptotically reached.

        If I take the 160-year past CO2 and temperature record and accept the IPCC assumptions that a) natural forcing only represented 7% of the total and b) all other anthropogenic forcing factors other than CO2 cancelled one another out, I arrive at a maximum ever possible warming from human fossil fuels of 2.2°C above today’s temperature:

        dT(1850-2011) = 0.7°C
        93% caused by CO2
        dT(290-390 ppm) = 0.93 * 0.7 = 0.651°C
        = temperature response of increasing CO2 from 290 to 390 ppmv

        dT(390-1065 ppm) = dT(290-290 ppm) * ln(1065/390) / ln(390/290)

        = 0.651 * 1.005 / 0.2962 = 2.2°C (maximum ever physically possible warming from human fossil fuel combustion)

        I personally do not “see a problem” with this upper limit, but that is not what we discussed under “what we know”, so is a change of subject.

        Do you see a problem?

        If so, what?

        Max

        PS Sorry, but your other points are “yeah, I agree that’s ‘what we know’. but…” rationalizations. Since you have not been able to demonstrate that my “what we know” points are incorrect, let’s just leave it at that and break off this discussion.

      • manacker, you forgot aerosols that negate some of the CO2 effect. the attribution would be more like 0.7 = 0.2 solar, 0.9 CO2, -0.4 aerosols. The aerosol effect is not growing much and may decrease, so the CO2 number is nearer 0.9 than your 0.65, and the final effect is 50% greater than yours, and more if aerosols do decrease. I would also dispute that 0.7 is valid for 2010. It should be more like 0.8.

      • Max,

        There are a couple problems in your calculations other than what Jim D has pointed out.

        Your calculations assume that all the forcings that have resulted in the temperature change from 1850 to today to change linearly with the change in CO2 from 390 to 1065.

        Do you see that you made that mistake?

        Also you claim your calculation gives the maximum possible temperature increase of 2.2 degrees, rather than an estimate with a possible uncertainty.

        Not only that, but you are mixing up calculations for equilibrium climate response with short term data.

      • Jim D

        You write:

        :you forgot aerosols that negate some of the CO2 effect. the attribution would be more like 0.7 = 0.2 solar, 0.9 CO2, -0.4 aerosols. The aerosol effect is not growing much and may decrease, so the CO2 number is nearer 0.9 than your 0.65, and the final effect is 50% greater than yours, and more if aerosols do decrease. I would also dispute that 0.7 is valid for 2010. It should be more like 0.8.

        Let’s go through your points one by one.

        – NO. I did NOT forget aerosols. In AR4 SPM Figure SPM.2. IPCC tells us that, since pre-industrial times, the net radiative forcing from CO2 was 1.66 W/m^2. The total negative radiative forcing from aerosols (-1.2 W/m^2) is cancelled out by the positive RF from other GHGs, etc., so that the total net anthropogenic RF is 1.6 W./m2, or essentially the same as the RF from CO2.

        – The solar effect is natural (and not included in the anthropogenic total). It is estimated by IPCC at 0.12 W.m^2 (with the footnote that its “level of scientific understanding” of solar forcing is “low”); this equals 7% of the total natural plus anthropogenic forcing. I have seen several studies by solar scientists (whose “level of scientific understanding” of solar forcing is presumably not “low”, who conclude that around half of the past warming (not 7%) can be attributed to the unusually high level of 20th century solar actiivity (highest in several thousand years). But for this calculation, I have stuck with the IPCC estimate

        So, you can see that the basis I used for the past CO2 temperature response calculation is the same as used by IPCC in AR4.

        – To your final point, the HadCRUT3 record tells me that the linear warming from 1850 to 2011 was around 0.7C (not 0.8C, as you state). Go back and check it. [The linear rate of warming was 0.041C per decade, times 161 years = 0.67C, which I rounded up to 0.7C.]

        Max

      • bob droege

        OK.

        Since I have laid aside Jim D’s objections, let’s look at yours.

        You write:

        Your calculations assume that all the forcings that have resulted in the temperature change from 1850 to today to change linearly with the change in CO2 from 390 to 1065.
        Do you see that you made that mistake?
        Also you claim your calculation gives the maximum possible temperature increase of 2.2 degrees, rather than an estimate with a possible uncertainty.
        Not only that, but you are mixing up calculations for equilibrium climate response with short term data.

        Again, one-by-one.

        – I have assumed that the future CO2 temperature response would be exactly the same as the physically observed past CO2 temperature response, using the logarithmic relation. (not “linearly”, as you write) Please explain to me why you personally believe that this is a ”mistake”.

        – I have not included any “uncertainty ranges”, simply the mean value, based on the observed past CO2 temperature response and the maximum ever possible future CO2 level (based on the WEC study). Inasmuch as the past numbers are based on actual physical observations, I do not know how one would define an uncertainty range – do you?

        – Your point about ”mixing up calculations for equilibrium climate response with short term data” does not make sense. I have used the physically observed CO2 temperature response over the past 161 years to make an estimate for some hypothetical date in the future when all fossil fuels have been used up – will this hypothetically be in 150 years, or 200 years? Or never? (Who knows?)

        Max

      • The temperature response is calculated as the forcing times the sensitivity. If you assume the response to the change in CO2 from now to a level of 1065 will be the same as the response from 1850 to now, you are tacitly assuming the changes in forcings will be linear, even though you are calculating the logrithmic temperaure response. Yes the temperature response to a forcing is logrithmic, but you sum the forcings before you calculate the response. That is why I said you are assuming a linear change in all forcings as CO2 changes to 1065. Perhaps the solar and the aerosol forcings do not change with CO2.

        So,

        “(maximum ever physically possible warming from human fossil fuel combustion)”

        becomes

        “simply the mean value”

        Do you see a change in your position?

        If you don’t understand the difference between a fast response, ie the use of todays CO2 levels with todays temperature, which is a fast response and what would be expected for an equilibrium response see here,

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

        Wikepedia uses transient where I am using fast but same difference.

      • In addition to the distinct between transient sensitivity and equilibrium sensitivity, it’s important to bear in mind, when looking at greenhouse gases, the difference between calculated sensitivity and effective sensitivity, which is to say, the real change in temperature expected for a given anthropomorphic release, given that (as we now know) that warming caused by the direct effects of those GHGs will cause the release of more GHGs from natural sinks.

        So if, using this as an example and not an estimate of real numbers, you had a sensitivity to doubled CO2 of 3C, but that 3C is going to trigger the release of enough CO2 to double the concentration of CO2 again, then while the actual sensitivity to doubled CO2 is still 3C, the effective sensitivity — the number you have to think about when releasing GHGs — is 6C.

      • bob droege

        I’m afraid you are now slipping into mumbo-jumbo double-talk.

        – The CO2 temperature response from 1850 to 2010 was 93% of 0.7C for an increase from 290 to 390 ppmv, based on IPCC assumptions

        – The CO2 temperature response is assumed by IPCC to be logarithmic (i.e. a doubling of CO2 from 290 to 580 ppmv will have the same radiative forcing and temperature response as a further doubling from 580 to 1160 ppmv)

        – So the CO2 temperature response from 390 to 1065 ppmv follows the same logarithmic relation.

        Explain to me why you are of the opinion that the CO2 temperature response for the next 100+ years will not be the same as that of the past 161 years (using the logarithmic relation).

        Max

        .

      • Robert

        Looks like you are joining in as well – since Jim D and bob droege appear to be stumbling a bit in their logic.

        But, hey, I’ve got enough to do just responding to these two without adding a third, but I will humor you once..

        Your hypothesis about human GHG warming causing more GHG warming from other sources is a bit too “hairy fairy” for me, Robert.

        Let’s stick with what we have actually observed: a measured increase in CO2 caused a certain physically observed temperature response over the past 161 years and it should cause the same logarithmic temperature response in future years

        Basta!

        Max

      • The temperature responds to all forcings, I think you would agree.
        So the temperature response to past forcings will not be the same as the response to future forcings if you assume that the mix of forcings will not change.

        But the mix of forcings certainly will change in the future, solar is certainly not going to keep up with the projected increases in CO2 forcings.

        An analogy if you will, you have 50K invested in 1970 in the stock market, 10K each in IBM, a growth mutual fund, a corporate bond fund, a money market fund, and a certificate of deposit.

        Now, in 2011 you have 200K, do you think in the next 40 years you will get the same return from each of the investments?

      • “Looks like you are joining in as well . . .”

        Wasn’t really talking to you, just talking about climate sensitivity.

        It’s probably a little over your head, don’t worry about it.

      • bob droege

        This exchange is beginning to become a bit repetitive.

        Rather than refuting ANY of the “what we know” points I made at the start of this discussion, you now bring up hypotheses of what might happen some time in the future regarding the “mix of forcings”.

        Then you add an analogy regarding capital growth in a diverse investment basket.

        This is all very nice, bob, but does not change “what we know” one iota.

        So let’s break this discussion off.

        Max

      • Max, I think I have clearly shown why your calculation of the future temperature response to hypothetical future levels of CO2 is wrong, yet you seem not to understand the points I have been making.

        Your failure to understand the science doesn’t mean I have failed to refute your points, and your refusal to continue the discussion means that I have won the debate.

        Thanks for playing.

      • bob drorge

        You just won’t give up, will you?

        You wrote:

        Max, I think I have clearly shown why your calculation of the future temperature response to hypothetical future levels of CO2 is wrong, yet you seem not to understand the points I have been making.

        You are dead wrong, bob.

        I understand very well “the points you made”, I just do not agree that they are correct.

        My calculation of future warming at a hypothetical maximum CO2 level is based on

        – logarithmic CO2 radiative forcing (and temperature) response
        – IPCC AR4 estimates on historical CO2 RF
        – IPCC AR4 estimates on historical RF of all other anthropogenic forcing factors
        – IPCC estimate of historical RF from natural (solar)
        – IPCC estimate of CO2 level in1850 – 290 ppmv
        – Mauna Loa measuement of today’s CO2 level = 390 ppmv
        – HadCRUT3 measurement of liner temperature rise 1850 to today

        If you have a problem with any of these bases, please let me know.

        Future absolute maximum ever possible CO2 level is based on WEC 2010 estimate of the “inferred possible total fossil fuel resources” on our planet today. This equals 1065 ppmv. There is no more, bob (and you have been unable to show me any estimates that would make me conclude that the WEC estimates are not correct).

        So on this basis, using physically observed data (rather than simply model estimates based largely on theoretical deliberations) I have shown you that the amount of GH warming to be expected from this maximum ever possible increase in CO2 is 2.2C. That’s it, bob, and despite your bluster, you have tried (with objections that I have refuted) but have been unable to refute my logic, the bases for the calculation, the method or the result.

        Try again, if you haven’t run out of gas by now.

        This is important, because it suggests that AGW, caused largely by human combustion of fossil fuels, is NOT a potential serious problem for humanity or our environment.

        Max

      • My response was below. Thread got too long.

      • “alarmism is SUSPICIOUS”

      • And as the permafrost melts, tundra gets replaced by forest, what absorbs more CO2, an acre of tundra or of forest?
        The catastrophe mongers, as usual, miss out half of the equation.

      • Adam Gallon

        You raise the “chicken and egg” dilemma of the melting permafrost doomsayers.

        Where did all that (30,000-year old) frozen plant material come from in the first place?

        Max

      • manacker, if you try using the numbers since 1980 (340 ppm and 0.4 degree rise to 390 ppm), you get a different story for 1065 ppm. I make nearly 3 degrees which is nearly 4 above pre-industrial. I don’t know why the 1850 start doesn’t give the same result, but maybe the aerosol change was underestimated as mentioned on the IPCC error thread recently.

      • Jim D

        You write:

        if you try using the numbers since 1980 (340 ppm and 0.4 degree rise to 390 ppm), you get a different story for 1065 ppm. I make nearly 3 degrees which is nearly 4 above pre-industrial. I don’t know why the 1850 start doesn’t give the same result, but maybe the aerosol change was underestimated as mentioned on the IPCC error thread recently.

        Why in the world would I want to eliminate 81% of the temperature record (from 1850 to 1980)?

        Cherry-picking out a piece of an existing long-term record to prove a point makes no sense at all.

        I think I may able to give you a suggestion “why the 1850 start doesn’t give the same result,” [as the 1980 start], and it has nothing to do with an IPCC underestimation of the aerosol effect.

        Just look at the record, Jim D. You will see that there have been multi-decadal warming and cooling cycles,each lasting around 60-70 years (total cycle time) with an amplitude of +/- 2.5 C approximately and an underlying slope or warming trend of between 0.04 and 0.05 C per decade.

        The data since 1980 are part of one of these warming half-cycles, which appears to have started in the early 1970s. This warming cycle is statistically indistinguishable from an earlier cycle from around 1910 to around 1940 (before there was much human CO2) and similar to another slightly less prominent cycle in the late 19th century (when there was almost no human CO2), raising questions regarding the suggestion that CO2 has played a major role in the past warming (as IPCC would have use believe)..

        There have been many suggestions regarding the cause of these cycles (NAO, PDO ENSO, etc.), but I do not believe that there is a definitive answer regarding the mechanisms involved.

        Stick with the long-term record, Jim D. It is more meaningful than simply a 30-year “blip” in the record.

        Max

      • It is certainly understandable that you don’t want to focus on the part where the CO2 effect is strongest. Going back to 1850 is better for your purposes for sure.
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best/mean:120/from/plot/best/trend

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      Hi Willis,

      As I understood it, its the loss of organic matter that is impossible to stop not the loss of permafrost. Once the organic matter decomposes into methane and carbon dioxide that part of it can’t refreeze. The ground, as you point out, can. I think at the moment the region is a net carbon sink, but it won’t take much in the way of warming to change that.

      Theres a presentation on this on the WCRP open science web site…
      http://conference2011.wcrp-climate.org/Parallel_B11.html

    • I cannot understand why the “unstoppable” crisis did not occur about 8,500 years ago and continue unabated to the present. The Arctic was far warmer for a very long time in the Hypsithermal Optimum. Lamb has a picture of the arctic tree stumps in his book “Climate, Past, Present, and Future, and notes that the stumps, indicate that the tree line in the arctic was roughly 200 miles north of its current location. It was warm for such a long enough time that trees grew literally to the Arctic Ocean. Why didn’t the methane released from the melting permafrost tip things over then? Perhaps the laws of radiative physics were different then, and therefore we needn’t posit a negative feedback to prevent runaway warming.

  11. I would really like to know the 14C age of the methane that appears to be gushing.

    Does anyone have the age, and ref, of the newly discovered gas?

    • The Gillis article cites estimates of 30,000 to 43,000 years..There was no reference to published data.

      • That would put it in the midst of the last ice age. Was not the land under ice?

      • Not necessarily, large areas of Alaska were not under icecaps during the last galacial maximum.

      • The maximum extent has generally been cited as about 21,000 years ago, with 30,000 and 43,000 years ago a bit warmer. The following site gives the LGM date as 18,000 years ago, which is probably a bit too recent, but it illustrates the fact that even at maximum coverage, large areas at Northern high latitudes were apparently uncovered – see Ice Age Geography. I think that ice coverage inland probably depended to some extent on water availability, and was not uniform in dry regions.

      • David, it is interesting what was and wasn’t covered with glaciers during the last glaciation. Large parts of Siberia was supposed to be covered with a huge lake. It looks like things didn’t quite line up with the axial tilt change. Some theorize that the shift in the geomagnetic field was greater than the axial tilt and drove the climate. Crazy talk I am sure :)

    • That would be interesting Doc. I saw one paper that dated Barrow Alaska permafrost matter to 6,000 – 10,000 YBP. If the Siberian stuff is 30,000 years old, I am not too sure I would have much faith in Greenland ice cores.

      • The permafrost contains carbon trapped gradually over many thousands of years. The carbon dates will vary because the time the carbon went into the permafrost varies.

  12. An important player in this that has largely been ignored is limnology.
    Freshwater bodies are much more active in the carbon cycle than has been generally recognized. I have posted links to studies on this before.
    Recent published studies show that freshwater systems account for sinking as much carbon as oceans.

  13. bob droege

    The cited article refers to a NYT blurb by Justin Gillis as “a beautifully reported piece in The New York Times”.

    The NYT article quotes various scientists, including this one:

    “Even if it’s 5 or 10 percent of today’s emissions, it’s exceptionally worrying, and 30 percent is humongous,” said Josep G. Canadell, a scientist in Australia who runs a global program to monitor greenhouse gases. “It will be a chronic source of emissions that will last hundreds of years.”

    Let’s take a look at this “humongous” threat.

    The article tells us that the source of the CO2 (if it were to happen) would be decomposing plant matter from 30,000 years ago:

    These plants last saw the light of day 30,000 years ago and have been locked in a deep freeze — until now.

    Once it thaws out, it could start to decompose like “broccoli once you take it out of the freezer”, as a scientist from NSIDC put it.

    Now this all raises some questions:

    - If these plants were removing CO2 from the atmosphere 30,000 years ago to build up all this frozen plant matter, how high was the atmospheric CO2 level before these plants removed it all from the atmosphere? [

    IPCC tells us that CO2 levels remained pretty constant for thousands of years until humans started burning fossil fuels, so the CO2 level must have been around 280 ppmv, even with all that CO2 still in the atmosphere. IOW there was no noticeable net change in atmospheric CO2 as a result of these plants having grown.

    - If these plants were growing 30,000 years ago where there is now permafrost, what was the temperature there 30,000 years ago when these plants were growing?

    According to IPCC:

    The last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than the present for an extended period [was] about 125,000 years ago

    The “humungous” CO2 release if this biomass all decomposes will add as much CO2 back to the atmosphere as was taken out of the atmosphere 30,000 years ago by the plants to create this biomass in the first place. And this is supposed to have happened at a time when it was no warmer than today.

    Sorry. The “beautifully reported piece in The New York Times” looks like a red herring to me, bob.

    Max

    .
    It’s like broccoli in your freezer,” said Kevin Schaefer, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. “As long as the broccoli stays in the freezer, it’s going to be O.K. But once you take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge, it will thaw out and eventually decay

    .

    • Max,

      The article cited a claim that the organic material was mainly from summer season grasses growing on windswept, non-glaciated, otherwise pretty cold arctic areas. FWIW.

      I don’t think anyone is claiming that the CO2 release is all that big of a deal. It’s the supposed methane release, and the higher GWP of methane than CO2. The article does seem a bit confused on the difference, though in other parts explains it clearly. It’s like the author understood the issue but wasn’t consistently clear. Of course, you could suspect a “trick”.

      • BillC

        Yeah. I saw that reference to methane (rather theoretical and pretty well hidden though).

        Permafrost is retreating today, yet methane levels are not increasing, so I’m not going to worry too much about that.

        Just another hobgoblin IMO.

        Max

      • I don’t think anyone is claiming that the CO2 release is all that big of a deal. It’s the supposed methane release, and the higher GWP of methane than CO2.

        Both are an issue. Most of the emissions from permafrost will be CO2, but methane is more dangerous pound-for-pound.

        Permafrost emissions are not going to suddenly double the radiative forcing change and hurl the world into a new climate; nothing like that. They are a big deal, because they accelerate climate change and because unlikely anthropomorphic emissions, we can’t decide to reduce them later.

        Methyl hydrates (different from methane from permafrost) if release abruptly could change the climate virtually overnight. Models are mostly optimistic that this will not happen for a long time, but it’s not a well understood area, and things like undersea landslides could also change the picture.

        I’ve written a bit about this at my blog. It’s complex, both the methyl hydrate part and the permafrost part. Gills explains it as well as I’ve seen it explained. I wouldn’t use posters around here to educate yourself; while their confidence is high, the level of understanding is — uneven.

    • manacker would feel fine living downstream of a damaged dam because, after all, before the dam was built, all that water flowed through here without doing any harm, right?

      • Pat Cassen

        Can you run me through your “damaged dam” logic?

        It seems a bit far fetched to me.

        Max

      • Max,

        You don’t understand the subject. You’re not able to judge what’s far-fetched, and what isn’t. You’re thinking with your bias.

        Pat, great analogy. The carbon in the permafrost, like the water in the dam, built up gradually over time (tens of thousands of years, vs weeks.) The rapid release (centuries vs minutes) is a different order of things entirely, with the potential to be very destructive.

    • PS and the survey that the Times article cited was behind paywall. I wanted to see the actual survey results. The Times seems to have picked the highest number for maximum scare value.

    • Right, since the carbon in the permafrost was originally in the atmosphere before it became sequestered in the permafrost, then there is no problem in releasing it all to the atmosphere.

      I don’t see any problem with that kind of logic, anyone else?

      Though, I would guess that as plants take the carbon out of the atmophere, the oceans would degas carbon dioxide to replace it.

      • bob droege

        Your speculation that the “oceans would degas carbon dioxide to replace” the CO2 “as plants take the carbon out of the atmosphere” is nice, but purely speculative.

        I could speculate that “the plants would take the carbon out of the atmosphere as humans put it in from fossil fuels”, which would also be an unfounded speculation.

        The observed facts are:

        Humans are putting an increasing amount into the atmosphere; at the same time there is a fairly constant exponential rate of increase in the atmospheric concentration.

        Over a period of several years, “something” (terrestrial plants and soils, weathering, phytoplankton or chemical buffering in the oceans, etc.?) is taking around half of the human emissions out of the atmosphere and keeping up with the rate of human emissions.

        The plant material, which took CO2 out of the atmosphere 30,000 years ago to create the organic matter in the permafrost can only produce as much CO2 when it decomposes as it absorbed when it was formed 30,000 years ago – so it is highly doubtful whether it is physically able to release “humungous” quantities of CO2 that

        could eventually equal 35 percent of today’s annual human emission

        This hypothetical estimate would be around 12 GtCO2 per year.

        Let’s say that the CO2 emissions from this permafrost would really reach such a level over the next 50 years or so and stay there till the end of the century.

        This “humungous” CO2 emission would then amount to a cumulated 780 GtCO2 by 2100.

        Now there is serious doubt in my mind that so much CO2 was taken out of the atmosphere 30,000 years ago, when all this plant material was supposedly created, but let’s leave that aside for now.

        This is equivalent to a theoretical increase in the atmosphere of 100 ppmv. If 50% “remains” in the atmosphere (as is the case with human CO2 emissions) this represents an increase of 50 ppmv.

        Let’s say IPCC is right and, without this “humungous” addition, we would arrive at 584 ppmv by 2100 (computer “scenario and storyline B1”); with the addition this would increase to 634 ppmv.

        Using IPCC’s mean estimate for 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C and the logarithmic relation, we see that this “humungous” addition wiould theoretically result in added warming of 0.4°C (from a calculated 1.8°C to 2.2°C).

        Sorry, folks, I am not going to get all panicky about that, especially since the scientists have not answered the question of where all this carbon came from in the first place and why it will create a problem when it goes back to where it started..

        The NYT article is an attempted bamboozlement – and not a very well thought out one, at that.

        Max

      • Max,

        My speculation

        “Your speculation that the “oceans would degas carbon dioxide to replace” the CO2 “as plants take the carbon out of the atmosphere” is nice, but purely speculative.”

        This is not speculation and can be confirmed by a simple experiment with a 2 liter bottle of soda.

        Open the bottle and observe the CO2 gas escape, put the cap back on and wait a while, open the cap again, and again gas escapes, recap and repeat.

        As you remove the gas above the soda, the solution of soda degasses to replace the gas until there is no more.

        The oceans work the same way.

      • manacker | December 21, 2011 at 8:15 am

        The plant material, which took CO2 out of the atmosphere 30,000 years ago to create the organic matter in the permafrost can only produce as much CO2 when it decomposes as it absorbed when it was formed 30,000 years ago – so it is highly doubtful whether it is physically able to release “humungous” quantities of CO2…

        Hope you don’t mind my unsourced and unsolicited speculation regarding humongous methane release from permafrost methane-mud volcanoes…

        The top layer of out-gassing permafrost may be mostly due to plants which grew 30,000 years ago. However, frozen biological material has been accumulating for more than 2 million years (in some parts of Alaska and Siberia). The maximum accumulation depth of this beignly frozen material is determined by the pressure of the permafrost overhead (which reduces the melting point) and the insulation of geothermal heat by the permafrost. Higher temperatures resulting from increased thickness are at some point sufficient to melt the bottom of the permafrost. Once unfrozen, decomposition by exothermic methane bacteria additionally increase temperatures and upward melting.

        In intermediately cold latitudes, a supra-permafrost talik can form. The top layer of permafrost becomes separated from lower frozen layers by a layer of permanently melted, decomposing ‘mud’. Each inter-glacial period produces layers of taliks which slowly move to connect with each other. When the surface cap of frozen earth becomes too thin to contain built-up pressure, then KA-BLOOEY! There is evidence in the arctic of sudden massive disruption of terrain coinciding with mass mammoth deaths. So, methane-mud volcanoes may have actually happened.

        No idea of a good way to prevent the potential problem, but seems reasonable to understand it better.

        bi2hs

      • bob droege

        Whoa! You’re changing the story.

        No one doubts that oceans release CO2 – they do it all the time (just like the soda bottles you mention).- and they reabsorb it all the time.

        And plants convert atmospheric CO2 to plant matter continuously (a bit more in NH summer than in NH winter) – and dead plant matter re-emits CO2 as it decomposes..

        But you stated that “oceans would degas carbon dioxide to replace” the CO2 “as plants take the carbon out of the atmosphere”, implying that there is a connection between the amount of net CO2 absorbed by plants and the amount degassed from the ocean.

        If that is not what you meant, then I agree with you. Both processes are at work continuously, but there is no evidence to show that they are directly linked (since there are too many other processes working simultaneously)..

        Max

      • No idea of a good way to prevent the potential problem, but seems reasonable to understand it better.

        If we do reach a point of geoengineering, I imagine we’ll probably start in the Arctic; it’s lightly populated, warming rapidly, or variably albedo, and home to immense amounts of frozen carbon.

        Something like aerosol-spraying flights to cool things locally would be a logical move if (when, I fear) we have no choice but to actively cool the climate.

      • bi2s

        Thanks for info – interesting.

        Looks like this is an on-going process that has gone back much more than just 30,000 years.

        But, in view of the fact that it has been considerably warmer than today in our planet’s recent history without the problem of humungous methane releases leading to disaster, I am not going to worry about this one.

        Max

      • Hi Max

        A last comment. The most benign mud volcano eruption would seem to be the case where the top layer of permafrost thinned (though the release in pressure could cause lower levels to also break). Obviously, the worst case would be if all lower frozen layers weakened to where 2M yr of methane mud ‘blew’ at once.

        bi2hs

      • Max

        To me, you seem overly worried about not worrying.

        If I smell wood smoke I might think, ‘Smells like birch, probably my neighbor’s fireplace, not my oak home’. Yet, I still will get up to check on it. Note: I am not worried. If there is a problem I call the fire dept and evacuate the premises.

        Concern is what I would experience if someone were to insist that for peace of mind, it was necessary to me ignore the potential problem. Worry would happen if I were prevented from investigating.

        bi2hs

      • Max,

        But I do think they are directly linked, by the atmophere that is in contact with both the plants and the oceans.

        And the same process is occurring in both the plants and the ocean, the chemical equilibria reaction between water and CO2.

        No matter what other processes and reaction that are occurring.

      • bi2hs

        Without beating this dog to death much longer, let me very quickly tell you why I am not going to worry about the permafrost doomsday scenario.

        There have been thousands of doomsday scenarios throughout human history, all based on the “science” of the day with oracles, prophets or computer models assuring us that catastrophe is just around the corner..

        They ALL have one thing in common: THEY NEVER HAPPEN (or we wouldn’t be here today).

        This one, in particular, is not even credible – when one looks at the past climate history of our planet. There have been extended periods, during which it was considerably warmer than today, and there was no “humungous” release of carbon from the permafrost that caused catastrophic greenhouse warming.

        So, if you want to worry about this doomsday prediction, be my guest.

        Just don’t count me in. I’ve got other things to think about than this harebrained hypothesis.

        Max

    • manekar, you are putting IPCC’s dirty washing on the line… naughty, naughty.
      My grandma’s saying: if you tell a lie today, must tell tomorrow another two, to cover up for the first one – next Monday another 3 lies, to cover the first 3, and so it multiples. So many lies has come out of IPCC, they should be made to apologise first for the lies proven; before allowed to tell any new lies…

  14. In theory, ice cores should contain a record of the methane released as the planet exited the last ice age and vast regions of permafrost (or other climate-sensitive sources of methane) were released into the atmosphere. I assume that if this record supported fears about methane release from arctic warming that information would be well publicized. Given the absence of such publicity, is there any reason to fear this problem?

    The same thing applies to other problems that might occur in the Arctic in the near future. During the multi-millennium Holocene Climate Optimum (when the sun was closest to the earth during Arctic summer), it was apparently warm enough for trees to grow on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. The present Arctic – polar bears and other fauna and flora and Greenland Ice Cap – survived this period and has mostly cooled until the late 20th century. If climate sensitivity for 2X CO2 is greater than 2, I can envision serious concerns about what will be happening in the late 21st century when CO2 has doubled and the Arctic has experienced more warming that the global average, but all of the attention being paid to current changes in the Arctic seems purely alarmist. What am I missing?

    • the late 21st century isn’t so far away

    • Frank, Tanguska explosion in Siberia is one of those records – from methane released. Methane is the most volatile gas, ignites, if no flame, UV zaps it in a jiffy. The sun wasn’t closer to the earth, Frank; there was real reasons, not what comes from the propaganda.

      • Stefan,
        So what is it?
        Is methane the “most volatile gas” or “Captain, methane when in low atmosphere, is burned by UV – never goes high up. ”

        Or how does methane get burned by the UV while it is low in the atmosphere?

        Or is methane more volatile than say Oxygen, Nitrogen, Argon or even Helium?

        I am so confused, my head hurts.

      • Bob, UV burns methane, same as it burns your skin, only mush quicker. In presence of oxygen +UV, methane is converted into droplets of water. Fill up a transparent bottle with gas, as long as is still oxygen in it , to imitate open space (natural gas is 95%methane) let it on the sunlight for 2h.

        2] helium, especially argon are very stable gases. b] helium is in the stratosphere, methane never gets there; but methane can and is in presence of argon. If you are comparing volatility of methane with argon; your head will never heart. You could have ridiculed me a bit on funny way; unfortunately, by comparing methane with argon – you are ridiculing yourself… sorry…

      • I guess you are confused by the definition of volatility, I hope this helps.

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

        A tendancy for a substance to vaporize.

        And congrats on your discovery of the O4 molecule.

      • Bob, when I say: is the most flammable; hair Splitters as you are asking about; where is the flame? No flame when is methane dispersed in the air; but UV joins it with oxygen. If it make you happy to use flammable instead of volatile, no objection; but I don’t trust Wikipedia…. What I know, I talk about; I never use references. References are used too much on the net by the Warmist as a smokescreen b] if I really have to ask for advice; wouldn’t be Wikipedia

        2] I though you are joking; by saying ”O4 molecule” Looks like you didn’t read the text… there isn’t any dirty photos… If you did, most probably would have made different comment. For the record; O4 represents the release of 4 oxygen atoms, by creating one molecule of methane; O4 can represent cluster of oxygen atoms / isotope = ozone. I was hoping that you will read every sentence of that text; is the current topic / very important; would love to discus, after you read it

        3] during the ice age, Alaska was permafrost; Arctic ocean didn’t have any ice cover. Without ice as insulator – water was absorbing extra coldness; in combination with normal winter coldness and + the ”extra” was radiating ”extra” coldness south – was creating more ice in Europe / USA, was no moisture left to replenish ice on Arctic circle; Arctic ocean no ice / Alaska permafrost / but south lots of ice. I have given it a name in my book ”ice doughnut affect” It would be much more prudent for you to read every sentence on my website, is not much – you will change your attitude, the page on ice is next to page on methane, go for it. Others are reading it – you will sound silly to them; when you are desperately trying to ridicule me

      • I just love this: “What I know, I talk about; I never use references.”

      • To persuade, link to references; to raise curiosity, just talk about what you know. I love the way that works.
        =========

    • “What am I missing?”

      Basic awareness of the extensive scientific literature on these topics.

      • Robert: There is much alarmist research about the changes that are already occurring in the Arctic. My point was that the Arctic went through a dramatic warming period at the end of the last ice age and a well-documented warm period in the early Holocene. The information from these periods suggests to me that projections of what might happen in the next fifty years are overly alarmist. Why should I fear massive release of methane or polar bear extinction when these disasters apparently didn’t happen in the past? Scientists can make projections about what MIGHT happen, but these projections of disaster carry little weight with me when they didn’t happen when trees were growing on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. The polar bears are still there, elevated levels of methane are not present in ice cores from this period and annual layers of ice continued to accumulate on the Greenland Ice Cap.

      • 90% of the time, references are given by the Warmist; to avoid facing the truth / when put on the spot. If you believe in that reference that you are giving; you argue about its accuracy. Most of the treads are pointing to texts written by the Warmist, not by working people that are genuinely concerned about climate / economy; but by the ones that sponge from them. When you follow their treads – you face even bigger doo-doo.
        In the old country is a saying about that tactic, it says: ”if you don’t believe me, ask my brother – the other liar”

  15. Re: permafrost.

    1. During the Holocene Climate Optimum that permafrost would have been thawed to a greater extent than it is today.

    2. During previous Pleistocene interglacials that permafrost would have been thawed to a greater extent than it has during the Holocene because they were warmer (at least all of those in the past 400,000 years were warmer than this one has been)

    3. If that thawing of the permafrost is reactivating decay of organic matter, how warm was it when that organic matter was laid down in the first place?

    We know with 100% certainty that a 2 degree rise in temperatures will not cause an environmental catastrophe as all species alive today survived the Holocene Climate Optimum (and nearly all of them also survived the previous interglacial which was warmer).

    • Exactly we can be sort of confident as long as temperatures stay within sorta-recent ranges. This is exactly why the common complaint that alarmists are imagining some “optimum temperature” for the planet is misplaced.

      What alarmists are pointing out is the danger of taking the world outside of tried and tested ranges.

      As for the holocene optimum, I’ve read it was about 2-3C warmer than present in the arctic back then, but globally it was less. Same with past interglacials.

      The arctic has warmed by about 1.5C since 1970. Under even low IPCC scenarios we will easily breach holocene optimum and past interglacial max temperatures in the arctic this century
      http://qsr2010.ospar.org/en/media/content_img/ch03/Fig_3_1_EN.gif

      • CURRENT temperatures in southern and central Siberia range between -15C and -30C. Northern Siberia is even “less warm” :) Not a lot of permafrost melting there

        In my hard experience, this temperature range will not warm until April-May next. Summer temperatures then range from 4-5C to 25-30C for a few months. Refreezing is already well under way by October (experienced 1st hand)

        If Arctic temperatures have indeed increased by 1C in the last 100 years, it is utterly trivial. Very scarey-bear, indeed

    • crosspatch | December 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      Re: permafrost.
      CROSSPATCH, those warmings and coolings were not GLOBAL, when one area on the planet gets warmer – equally opposite areas get colder. The precursor of all today’s evil is: in the past, when an opportunist discovers some imprint of warmer than normal on 50m2- was declaring it as GLOBAL; because sounds more interesting for the students. Then goes in the books and become official. Last 3 Januaries was colder than normal in Europe – must have made some imprint (but in the same time / same days, was much warmer on the S/H = overall no warming or cooling. In the other 10 months is normal temperature, is not recorded; normal is boring….

    • We know with 100% certainty that a 2 degree rise in temperatures will not cause an environmental catastrophe as all species alive today survived the Holocene Climate Optimum (and nearly all of them also survived the previous interglacial which was warmer).

      How many ways is that assertion totally wrong? I count six.

    • crosspatch, your heart is on correct place, but barking up the same wrong tree as the Warmist – you will not win. Holocene and every other warming or coolings in the literature; they were NOT GLOBAL. Until you people realize that: when is ice age on one hemisphere is ALWAYS hotter on the other – you are only giving oxygen and prolong the life of the leading Warmist. (laughter prolongs life) Laws of physics don’t permit GLOBAL warming; or ice age on both hemispheres.

      If it gets warmer on both hemispheres; O+N expand up INSTANTLY, intercept extra coldness and equalize in a jiffy. 2] when it gets colder on both hemispheres – troposphere shrinks (as in solar eclipse) = releases less heat, equalizes in a jiffy. When I say that: oxygen + nitrogen that are 998999ppm control the temperature, not CO2 that is only 260-400ppm, Warmist are avoiding to face the truth, but you aper as not a Warmist. If you think that the truth should win, join me, all the proofs are on my website

  16. Oh, and to what extent, if the permafrost were to warm sufficiently, would new plant growth at the surface absorb the CO2 being emitted from below? Much like a deciduous forest provides its own CO2 fertilization by shedding leaves which decay and release CO2 the following year, maybe that release of CO2 from the decaying vegetation is part of a natural local carbon micro-climate. The stuff growing on the surface might need that CO2.

  17. Judith Curry

    You make the point regarding fluctuations in temperature and ice extent in the Arctic:

    It seems that you need to go back at least to 1900 to sort this out in the Arctic.

    This appears to me to be very true.

    A couple of years ago I had a blog exchange (I think it was on RealClimate) concerning retreating glaciers and rising Arctic temperatures, specifically related to the Jakobshavn Glacier, so I decided see if I could find out anything about the longer-term temperature record there.

    Illulissat, Greenland lies at the tongue of the (retreating) Jakobshavn Glacier, which has made the headlines with some spectacular calving pictures when chunks fell off from time to time; these events were always tied to AGW, of course.

    The Illulissat temperature record goes back to the 19th century, although data before 1900 may be suspect.

    I downloaded the record going back to 1900 and plotted it to see if I could see any trends.
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2620/3797223161_16c1ac5e39_b.jpg

    To my surprise I found that there had been a strong warming over the first half of the 20th century and (believe it or not) slight cooling over the second half, while the most recent years showed a strong warming trend again. The entire century showed essentially no change.

    Now I realize that this is just one isolated station in Greenland, but there is also the study by Petr Chylek et al., which shows a strong warming trend in the early 20th century, as measured at other Greenland stations.
    http://www.joelschwartz.com/pdfs/Chylek.pdf

    These data tell me that you are absolutely right when you write that one needs to go back at least 100 years, where this is possible, to really understand what is happening in the Arctic.

    Max

    • Greenland:
      http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/greenland/vintheretal2006.pdf
      “the warmest year in the extended Greenland temperature
      record is 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s are the warmest decades.”

      • Ibrahim; today, with all the armada of shonky scientist and reporters, there is nobody on the 97% of the surface of Greenland. When somebody tells you the temperature with confidence about individual year in 1930’s… I wouldn’t buy used car from person like that.

        When one doesn’t have good pair of socks, winter looks much colder than to his brother with new socks and booths. They will describe it differently

      • Stefanthedenier,

        “…..there is nobody on the 97% of the surface of Greenland. When somebody tells you the temperature with confidence about …

        When the doctor puts a thermometer up your backside , he’ll only be measuring a very small part of your body too. However, if he says you’re sick, he’ll mean your sick all over. Not just in your anal region.

      • tempterain, that has being covered, on this website I have underlined on 4-5 occasions: ”troposphere is not as a human body, when under armpit is one degree warmer = the whole body is warmer by one degree.” WRONG!!! In the atmosphere, when one part gets warmer than normal; UNDER THE LAWS OF PHYSICS, other parts MUST get colder, otherwise is no warming with extra heat. Read the homepage on my website, will be enough to for you to see that your vulgarity is admission of ignorance only.. When you argue against me – you are arguing against the laws of physics. Ask and you will learn –

        to ad another example, because I am a good person: if the 6 creeks in your area have 23% less water this year – does that mean the planet has 23% less water; under your model it should. Instead of making fool of yourself – go to my website and learn. If you skip a sentence, or a paragraph, need to go again. With your comment you have proven that you are more ignorant than most; but nobody is born with knowledge… here is your chance

      • Stefanthedenier,

        One of my main criticisms of Judith is that she doesn’t do enough to correct obvious nonsenses. For instance, you seem to be of the erroneous opinion that any kind of global temperature change is impossible.

        That’s just not the case at all. The GH effect causes the Earth to be 33 deg C warmer, globally, than it would otherwise be. Change the content of GH gases in the atmosphere and that figure changes – globally.

      • tt –
        Just in case you think you’re going mad, I’m with you on this one. More GHG = more radiative forcing. Less = less. How much, we’re finding out.

        I think that bit should be like a captcha – you don’t get that bit right, you’re not coming in!

    • manacker Dec. 20, 2011 at 4:59 PM says:

      “The Illulissat temperature record goes back to the 19th century, although data before 1900 may be suspect. I downloaded the record going back to 1900 and plotted it to see if I could see any trends. … To my surprise I found that there had been a strong warming over the first half of the 20th century and (believe it or not) slight cooling over the second half, while the most recent years showed a strong warming trend again. The entire century showed essentially no change.”

      Congratulations, manacker, you have just discovered Arctic warming that my paper is all about. I have read through a hundred comments on this blog by now and not one of the them has even bothered to to read my paper. But never mind, someone just may still read it and become curious about the science. To make a long story short, Arctic warming started suddenly at the turn of the twentieth century, after two thousand years of slow cooling. It was not greenhouse warming because laws of physics do not permit this but was caused by Atlantic currents carrying warm water to the Arctic Ocean. It began with a rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system at the turn of the twentieth century. This was interrupted by thirty years of cooling from 1940 to 1970, then resumed, and is still going strong. Since Arctic warming is definitely not greenhouse warming it can no longer be used as proof that greenhouse warming exists. Hence, there are no more observations of nature that can be used to confirm greenhouse warming – it is all model-made. But what about that observed warming we are told about by the IPCC? Truth is, most of it is bogus. Satellites have been measuring global temperature for 31 years now and they can only see one short spurt of warming in all this time. It started with the super El Nino of 1998, raised global temperature by a third of a degree in four years, and then stopped (fig. 5). It was oceanic in nature and there was no warming before or after that. A third of a degree is half the total warming of the entire twentieth century. It was this warming and not an imaginary greenhouse warming that was responsible for the record-breaking warmth of the first decade of this century. There is more, but you have to read and digest my paper to get the full picture. My book “What Warming?” has some useful background science that I could not fit in the paper. Lets see some intelligent questions from you.

  18. Just like the BP blowout, methane released by ocean will be eaten by microbes:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/06/methane-bp-oil-spill-microbes

    I don’t know about the permafrost melting, but I’d assume that something in nature would eat this new food source and find a new place to live and grow if it was temperate enough. At the very least, the tree line would start to move northward.

    • The possibility that bacteria would consume methane released undersea is plausible; presumably they would convert much of it to CO2. However, the BP blowout was an exceptional event that isn’t yet completely understood. Despite the report in the linked article, other estimates suggest that much of the released hydrocarbons diffused away rather than being consumed due to a sudden spurt of bacterial growth. The water temperatures in the Gulf are also warmer than Arctic temperatures, and some of the depths of release are probably greater than would apply to some pelagic methane releases. I don’t think we have enough examples of these types of event to extrapolate them to the consequences of Arctic warming.

      However, as mentioned in the post and comments, oceanic methane release appears to be less of an immediate concern than large scale carbon release from permafrost (mostly CO2 but also a small quantity of methane). The principle is that during very cold intervals, biological growth occurs, but decay (with carbon release) is impeded, and so the area is a net sink. During warmer intervals, growth may increase, but carbon release increases even more, with a net shift from net storage to net release into the atmosphere.

      • Fred, methane is heavier than O+N will sink in the ground; if is on the sea-surface – UV burns it quickly, or the alkaline seawater gets read of it. Methane is not a greenhouse gas; is only used by vegetarians for fear – mongering. I hope that will make you sleep better; or give you big insomnia. I hope that Santa will bring you lots and lots of global warmings; so you can scare the kids in your neighbourhood, BOO!!! BOOO!!!

      • No. It is actually lighter than air.
        You can work this out from the fact that a gas’s density is proportional to its formula mass.
        If we take the atomic masses of Carbon (C) as 12, Hydrogen (H) as 1, Oxygen (O) as 16 and Nitrogen (N) as 14 then:
        Air contains Nitrogen (N2) – 78% and oxygen (O2) 21%. The equivalent ‘formula mass’ of air is therefore just slightly more than 28 (2 x14)
        Methane’s (CH4) formula mass is 12+ 4 or just 16 – so it is lighter than air as the formula mass (and hence density) is less than 28.

        [I haven't referenced this as stefanthedenier doesn't believe in references]

  19. “Fred Moolten | December 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm |

    For some further details on the increase in methane atmospheric lifetime expected from hydroxyl radical depletion due to consumption in methane oxidation, and anticipated from rising methane levels, the 1998 Lelieveld et al Tellus article remains a major reference source”

    You quote a paper on the chemistry of atmospheric CH4 which does not contain any experimental data or rate constants.
    Their figure 2 is a joke. There is a clue in their ability to 1) firstly present a radical and 2) being unable to balance an equation.

    H3C-O-O(Dot) + H2O

    goes to

    H3C-O-O-H + O2

    BTW The chemistry presented is from an earlier report on the smog chemistry of LA.

    http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/60612/EL_TR_1989_001.pdf?sequence=1

    Have a look at this, the hydroperoxide isomerizes and generates H(Dot). Of course H(Dot) reacts with O2 to given hydroperoxide. Reaction with the next methane and giving H2O2 and CH3(Dot).

    • Well, Doc, rather than argue with me, why don’t you write to one of the paper’s authors, Paul Crutzen, winner of a Nobel Prize for his work on atmospheric chemistry. Explain to him why his article is a joke, and if he responds, I hope you’ll share his response with us. I’m sure that Nobel Prize notwithstanding, he will still be glad to have you correct his mistakes if you point them out to him.

      The article I referenced was only one of many making the same point. Among all the reactants, the hydroxyl radical is strongly rate limiting, and when increased atmospheric methane reduces the concentration of this radical, methane oxidation is impeded, and methane atmospheric lifetime increases.

      No joke, Doc!

      • Also, the reaction you claim is unbalanced doesn’t appear in Figure 2, so I don’t know where you got it from.

      • Fred,
        Just curious. How many more years of no warming would it take for you to start worrying that perhaps you’re backing the wrong horse. And while you’re mulling that over…if you’d be kind enough to do so….I’m also curious if you’re at all bothered by what seems the uncanny knack of the warmists’ to make rotten predictions. If these guys were working on Wall Street, they wouldn’t last a year.

      • pokerguy – I try to answer questions when they are asked out of a genuine sense of curiosity. When they are simply an invitation to argue, I generally decline. From what I can gather, and I admit I might be wrong, climate change appears to be a subject on which you have strong views and almost no knowledge. If you want to learn something, there are many of us who would be willing to help you, but if you’re determined to cling to your preconceptions, we and you would both be wasting our time.

      • I’m genuinely curious why you are so blind to your own confirmation bias. Nick Stokes, too. Heck, there’s a bunch of you. What is it? Catching?
        =============

  20. THIS IS THEIR PROOF OF PERMAFROST MELTING it’s in my book and on my website:
    Railway line is sinking in the Russian permafrost; proof for their global warming!… Or is it? Rule is: when train is in station; not allowed to use train toilets. Because when you drop something in, falls on the ground (because those toilets don’t have bottom). But when the train goes from A to B, thousands of bottoms go on those toilets without bottoms. Food decomposes slowly, but not the salt in that food. Salt accumulates day after day, year after year and sinks into the permafrost… for the last 100 years on that railway line.

    Remember, permafrost is desert in cold country, not enough rain or melting snow to flush away the salt. If you calculate how much salt the surrounding towns and camps are consuming every year – salt accumulates in the soil from septic – permafrost gone in small patches. Human activity, sewage treatment goes in the soil and then salt is on the move slowly eating the ice in the ground on few patches (that is sufficient for fear-mongering). For the Swindlers it’s easy to pin everything on their phony Global Warming. You can pee sodium chloride without global warming, so can the local population, where the permafrost is. Mineral salts, ash accumulates, where there are no plants to consume it. I suggest to the western Green top-coated Reds (under green camouflage): if you intend to prevent that kind of global warming, you should demand Russian people not to put salt in their food. Or, because that melting of the permafrost is good for the Global Warming con industry; send them some money, to drink more vodka on the trains (vodka is antifreeze). So you can con the suckers even easier in the western countries, Botanical name (Urban Sheep).

    • Stefan, I’ve figured it out, you’re really Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. LOL “thousands of bottoms go on those toilets without bottoms.”- Sort of like bottomless bottoms, makes sense though.

  21. Judith, Real Climate has a one sided piece on the Santa Fe conference and it is a hit piece on your presentation. You might want to respond at some point. It’s the usual but it is pretty personal and in my view unjustified. The comments seemed to me to be surprisingly mild except for the usual suspects such as Ladbury.

    • I saw this, I won’t bother responding over there. I was also surprised by the mild comments.

      • Wait’ll Joshua gets hold of ‘there is no defining contrarian ideology or motivation’. I can’t wait to see what he makes of that, heh.
        ================

      • Moshpit stirred the pot

        “Funny.

        People are accusing Dr. Curry of hiding the uncertainty bars or rather dropping them from her chart.

        standard defenses apply.

        since the uncertainty bars are shown in the original literature and since everyone knows about them and since they are discussed somewhere, the trick she uses to hide the uncertainty bars is a really a common practice and not deceptive. In short, before you criticize anything anyone else does with charts and graphs you must apply the ‘decline’ defense.

        Any line may be removed, truncated, cut off , erased, provided that :

        1. It has been discussed in the literature at some time and place.
        2. people working in the specialization know about it
        ##########

        its christmas and I love a good fight

      • Invoking the “mommy, mommy, they did it first” routine?

        He he – I got in before Joshua

      • No louise it is not mommy mommy.

        I argue something entirely different.

        If you are going to employ the standard issue “decline defenses”

        1. everybody in the specialized field knows about it
        2. it was discussed in the literature

        Then you have to apply those defenses consistently.

        I do not accept the standard defenses. So I would be just as critical of Dr. Curry as I am of Briffa/Jones/Mann/Micheals/ you name it

        I would also propose the same remedy. Stop calling chartmanship fraud. Stop defending chartmanship. and fix the damn chart.

        That is called being sensible. I dont excuse it on anybodies part. I dont blow it up out of proportion. For those who defended the decline, they have a problem. that problem is called hypocrisy or intellectual inconsistency. Me, I get to apply the same damn rule to everyone

      • You know, I keep seeing this phrase “Mommy, mommy they did it first…!” on this blog. But I notice that you never hear mommy’s reply. Which doesn’t seem to me to be very inclusive or in the spirit of full disclosure and all. So I thought it’s about time to to remedy this situation and so I sought out mommy’s reply from the biggest “Mother” of them all–a lady that goes by the handle “Mommy Nature.” Here’s her reply:

        “Just because they do it first is no reason or justification for you to respond in kind unless, of course, the ones who do it first are a bunch of lefty greenshirts. Then your reply in kind is perfectly appropriate and you are in the right and they are in the wrong because lefty greenshirts are moody Delinquent Teenager-mutants with vegan flatulence issues and loser blogs! And zits. And they lack gravitas!”

        Incidentally, “Mommy Nature” thinks Gaia is an over-hyped trollop who hangs out with the geeks because she can’t do any better. To quote “Mommy”, “If that dork-bait Gaia ever messes with me I’ll kick her used-up wannabe butt! And she knows it too!”

        “Mommy” is also a big fan of “Climate etc.” and thinks Dr. Curry rocks!

      • mike

        Thanks for your post about “Mommy”.

        When she gets irritated or agitated, she prefers her other name, “Mutha”.

        Max.

    • David, This one thing he said really highlights the perverse logic some apply, “Among her straw-man arguments was her dismissal of standard risk-reduction methodology for low-probability high-consequence events as a mere “precautionary principle” (the same principle that nuclear weapons engineers are taught when they told to always ask “what can go horribly wrong?”).”

      The variety of risks are a lot greater than CO2 and they are lost in the “magic bullet” mentality that “sustainability” is an achievable solution. If you are building a nuclear power plant you can over build elements, include redundancy and reduce efficiency to improve reliability eliminating most of “what can horribly go wrong.” You can never guarantee that something less horribly but still pretty horrible in limited events can’t go wrong, anymore than you can make airplanes and spacecraft that will never crash. You can never completely eliminate risk.

      With climate change the magic bullet is as great a risk as not using it. Economic collapse is a much greater risk than many realize. It could very well make the CO2 issue mute, but that is not a desired impact if famine and war are not part of the strategic planning.

      Sustainability approaches are already proving themselves to be more of a problem than a solution. Bio-diesel fuels made from dedicated crops are more a problem than a solution as selected. Requirements for cellulose ethanol that is not available is moronic. Food crops, even surplus corn,diverted to ethanol are causing problems because it is a commodity. Natural gas is demonized because it may cause a problem. Nuclear power is demonized because it may be a problem. All risk cannot be eliminated. Reasonable risk needs and always has been a needed consideration.

      Current observation indicates that what can horribly go wrong is not a great as what was predicted to be the most horrible that could go wrong. That changes the options and the risks of the options. Pretending that black swan is as real as it was once thought and that bending rules are justified in a holy quest to save man from himself. Well, is F-dup!

      Some climate scientists need to get a clue.

      • Cap’n,

        “Sustainability approaches are already proving themselves to be more of a problem than a solution.”

        You mean – poorly thought out sustainability approaches?

        Lots of good sustainability stuff out there, but it mostly coincides with common sense. The ones that don’t, well…

      • I agree completely. It is the “approaches”. Business needs a level playing field and stable rules to develop the more innovative alternatives. Instead there are treats of oppressive taxation and regulations that drive business offshore and prevent start-ups from having a chance.

        If Steven Jobs was just starting out in his garage he would probably be regulated to death for having carcinogenic chemicals in his possession.

    • I thought it was unjustified too. I said so, and had my first comment ‘vanished’ into the borehole. Perhaps I should feel chuffed?

      It struck me that mindlessly flinging out the label ‘science cynics’ to a whole group of people at a conference was pretty much ‘demonising the dissenters’ which just provokes the response of ‘fundamentalism’.

      I particularly thought that claiming Dr C as describing herself as “50% a denier” was a simple but obvious misrepresentation of her presentation. I guess that’s what got me bore-holed :)

      I was surprised at the sneering denunciation throughout the “climate cynicism” post. “Climate science from climate scientists”? I don’t think so.

      P.S I did make an error in my RC comment so my being vaporised wasn’t 100% unsurprising

  22. That is the problem at RC, they think they are God like in their ability to judge everyone else and their comments. Every contrary comment that gets through has a “reply” to make sure who has the last word. Some of their stuff is funny, for example their constant updating of Hansen’s 1988 testimony plots with recent data. Looks like the earlier story had to be altered for the 2010 update. But at least they did see that they had to admit the obvious facts here, albeit with some rationalizations about total forcings vs. CO2 forcing.

    • I agree. I do have two views of RC. When the topic is not contentious and people are asking to be ‘taught’ (quite a few are) then the putting a comment at the end of every paragraph is quite helpful. I think Gavin does an amazingly patient job – it’s just un-partisan outreach stuff most of the time and I even think the award he got was justified.
      However [and it's a big old 'However'] as soon as there is even a hint of dissension, doubt or scepticism, the wagons get circled and the comment policy (as well as the censoring) feels like abuse. Then the spectre of fundamentalism and closed-mindedness creeps in and the basic tenets of science get thrown out the window.
      The Team remind me of the rogue vigilantes in ‘Magnum Force’. Particularly, they think their cause is a noble one and so the ends justify the means. Well, put me on the side of ‘sceptical’ Clint Eastwood :)

      • To what are you referring? My comments on this graph are upthread. My comment about Mann and his misrepresentation of the Hansen 1988 graphics stands and is correct. The problem here is that Mann is never criticized by the climate establishment and his errors allowed to stand. That’s pretty serious.

      • I don’t see anything up thread.

        Mann’s video presentation appears to me to end around 2005, and looks to me to be identical to the 2005 version of the graph. To me there is no apparent alteration. It appears to be an accurate presentation of Hansen’s prediction at ~17 years. The scenarios appear identical to the ones presented in the 1988 paper.

        I would take you seriously, but I honestly think you thought the graph in the video ran to 2010, and Mann was putting up fictitious temperature data. Is that what you thought?

        If you had instead said Mann probably should have shown Hansen’s prediction at ~22 years (through 2010), I would have agreed with asking the question as to why he did not do that. I think he probably should have, but I don’t see it as a big deal.

      • yea, that’s the problem. The TED video is 2011 and he terminated the temperature data in 2005. Why would he do that? We have a hint from the emails. JCH, you are not reading my posts. I said upthread that he appears to have terminated in 2005. But perhaps reading is not one of your skills. Or perhaps your just not very honest. Let me guess, in your free time, you have really solved the problem of turbulence.

        It is a big deal because it fits a pattern of smearing opponents and truncating data to fit his agenda. I hope you have reviewed the climategate emails for the 20 or so emails in which doubts are expressed about Mann’s methodology. Several refer to Mann in very unflattering terms. Why hasn’t he received any public questioning from the “team?”
        The answer is obvious: politics. Its a shame that climate scientists do this.

      • Actually, it may be the previous thread where you and I discussed this.

      • The first thing I noted when I watched the video is the temperature data ended in 2005. I told you in the last thread the graph in the video ended in 2005. I did not get that from you.

  23. “Environmentalists estimate that at least 1 percent of Russia’s annual oil production, or 5 million tons, is spilled every year. That is equivalent to one Deepwater Horizon-scale leak about every two months.”

    Well, what a relief!

    I’ll never worry again about another US Deepwater Horizon-scale leak until these all powerful “greenie” environmentatlist organizations get Russia to stop their massive leaks occuring every two months, that’s for sure! Seems they are picking on the wrong countries and companies.

  24. One might add to Tempy’s statement that the insertion of certain individuals into a discussion can bring illness to the entire blog. Never did like anal thermometers very much. New nickname?

  25. I’m afraid the story of Arctic sea ice decline is just another case of where the modellers have got it wrong.

    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2007/seaice.shtml

    Its melting much faster than they predicted.

  26. May I add two more “anthropogenic’ factors that could contribute to Arctic warming.

    First a probably minor issue, pertaining local weather stations. It is well known that the out radiation at night causes most cooling directly at ground level, which is most obvious in a calm night, since the heavy cold air stays put. Very basic, known as inversion. When it’s windy, turbulence causes this cold layer to mix with warmer air from aloft. The rate of turbulence is dependent not only on wind strength but also on obstacles (trees, buildings, etc).

    So If rural stations these were originally at a flat plain and eventually if some construction activities were going on, the turbulence in windy conditions would increase, getting more warm air down more often. Obviously, this idea can be tested.

    Second -as the satellite data can’t be fooled by the turbulence effect- there have been more changes. Air traffic. If you fly long distance from east – west or vice versa on the northern hemisphere, the shortest distance, great circle, gets you in the Arctic and the last few decennia air traffic has grown almost exponentially. Aircraft putting out tons of water vapor, creating contrails which can be very persistent and may futher devellop into cirrus clouds as the humidity in the troposphere is higher due to the same reason. Obviously these clouds restrict the outradiation and reduce the surface cooling especially at night, hence especially in the winter.

    Andre

  27. ” Understanding this counterintuitive response to radiative warming of the climate system has the potential to improve climate predictions at seasonal and longer timescales.” If you delete “radiative warming” and insert the process of your choice, I wonder how many “counterintuitive responses” will lead climate scientists of 2211 to conclude that our present day scientists did not give enough credence to “counterintuitive responses”

  28. I have three issues with papers like “Arctic warming, increasing snow cover, and widespread boreal winter cooling” and their ilk:

    The suspicion they are engaging in a twisted form of confirmation bias, observations contradict their favoured hypothesis, so they look for alternative mechanisms that allows them to be reconciled—it also seems somewhat anti-Popperian.

    To be credible I think the mechanisms would need to be demonstrated as part of skilful regional climate models—which I understand are not currently possible, or not demonstrated—else they are little more than expert speculation written in scientific language. The earth climate system is hyper-complex, it is possible to imagine mechanisms that could account for practically any hypothesis and outcome.

    Finally, if such were demonstrated to be realistic, then surely it would constitute a significant negative feedback?

    • Anti-Popperian, but totally Kuhnian!

    • It does constitute a significant negative feedback!

      That is why earth will never get as warm as the consensus climate scientists forecast.

      This will become clearly plain to everyone in the next few years.
      Maybe this coming year. The snows are falling now that will help cool earth.

    • Gary Moran | December 21, 2011 at 8:30 am | says:

      “I have three issues with papers like “Arctic warming, increasing snow cover, and widespread boreal winter cooling” and their ilk:….”

      Well, since I wrote about Arctic warming I must be that ilk. I don’t particularly like your ilk that can only be describes as a no-nothing ilk. Just what is it about you people that makes you want to shut down your brain when there is something to learn? Mind you, I am not defending stuff about snow cover or boreal cooling. I just want to know why someone who wants to judge a book by its cover is even bothering to sign into a science blog.

  29. “pokerguy – I try to answer questions when they are asked out of a genuine sense of curiosity. When they are simply an invitation to argue, I generally decline. From what I can gather, and I admit I might be wrong, climate change appears to be a subject on which you have strong views and almost no knowledge.”

    Fred,

    My question is absolutely sincere. Not sure why you’re not wanting to answer. Seems pretty straightforward. As to my knowledge or lack thereof, I’m no scientist that’s for sure. I wasn’t even very good in high school algebra. IN fact truth be told, I’m not all that bright. But you have to realize that it’s the great unwashed, intellectually speaking, who will ultimately decide which way this thing goes based on what we see when we stick out heads out the window. As Ma Joad put it so eloquently in Grapes of Wrath…”WHY? Because we’re the people. And we keep ‘acomin. They can’t wipe us out.”

    SO I can read, Fred. Well enough to understand the many predictions the establishment climate scientists have made based on the models that so far don’t seem to be coming true. Which leads me back to my original question. How many more years of no warming would it take for you to reevaluate your position? And are you concerned that thus far so many AGW predictions are failing?

    • pokerguy – If you are genuinely curious rather than using a question as a means of stating your preconceived views or inviting an argument, I’ll try to answer any specific question you ask via email. You can find an address via the denizens page. Please use your real name, although I won’t disclose it if you don’t want me to.

      • Actually pg, you are far smarter than Fred. You have asked a very pertinent public question and he’s first responded with a dodge and an insult. He’s obviously bluffing with an empty hand. And now he wants to show you his hand in private? And he thinks he’s being smart.
        ===============

      • This is the question every alarmist should have been asking himself for at least 5 years, and the cognoscenti for at least 10 years. And what’s the response? Pssst, come over here, I’ll whisper it in your ear.
        ============

      • Kim – I’ve responded via email to quite a few individuals with a genuine interest in improving their understanding. What’s wasteful is to spend time arguing with people who have no intention of changing their mind in response to evidence, and who often are extremely ill-informed about climate change. It wastes my mind and it also wastes theirs. Through experience, I’ve learned to distinguish the two types. If someone is truly interested in arriving at a better understanding, I find a discussion useful, and something I can learn from as well as the other person.

        I also suspect that most bystanders, after reading this and other threads in this blog, can quickly surmise who fits into which category.

      • In the above, I meant to say “wastes my time and also wastes theirs”, but maybe “mind wasting” is also accurate.

      • Bah, you jump through hoops to avoid answering the question, which is a good one. Judge Judy, find this man in contempt of blog, for refusing to answer the question.
        ==========

    • randomengineer

      Which leads me back to my original question. How many more years of no warming would it take for you to reevaluate your position?

      Fred can’t answer this because the question is wrong. To Fred and those who share his view there isn’t any such thing as “more years of no warming” because there isn’t any such thing as **any** years that are *not* warming, e.g. the 2000’s being warmer than the 1990’s which were warmer than the 1980’s and so on. You’re asking a variant of “when did you stop beating your wife?”

      The common answer to the question of (what I see as obvious) flatline of the past 15 years or so is that this is “consistent” with models in that the long term trend is up therefore short term deviations aren’t problematic. And the common answer is correct. Look at temps from 1850 to today and you’ll see variation both up and down. It’s all about timescale.

      Now, that said, the problem with the common answer is that this is a dodge in that the answer from the alarmists is framed as support of their “man dunnit” contention, the dodge being false attribution. It’s been warming since 1850 anyway, so predicting future warmth is neither miraculous nor science nor proof a damn thing other than evidence that we have thermometers and can make graphs.

      While I reckon AGW to be correct enough in the abstract (i.e. radiative physics works as advertised, so more CO2 will add to the trend) the attribution notions of forcings and all that belong in the arena of pure entrail reading voodoo. But then again I’m obviously not that bright either. To me the warming from 1850 to present looks like a 95% natural signal, not evidence of capitalist evil.

      So I will ask you — at what point of continued temp increases will you look at the trend and say “oh, it looks like it’s getting warmer over the long term.” ??

      • I’m even dummer than you randomengineer.

        And I say the upward trend is not consistent with Co2 models as the increases in emissions over the last 15 years must have signaled the effect in our T results over that time. They haven’t.

      • They have

        http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044022

        “We analyze five prominent time series of global temperature (over land and ocean) for their common time interval since 1979: three surface temperature records (from NASA/GISS, NOAA/NCDC and HadCRU) and two lower-troposphere (LT) temperature records based on satellite microwave sensors (from RSS and UAH). All five series show consistent global warming trends ranging from 0.014 to 0.018 K yr−1. When the data are adjusted to remove the estimated impact of known factors on short-term temperature variations (El Niño/southern oscillation, volcanic aerosols and solar variability), the global warming signal becomes even more evident as noise is reduced. Lower-troposphere temperature responds more strongly to El Niño/southern oscillation and to volcanic forcing than surface temperature data. The adjusted data show warming at very similar rates to the unadjusted data, with smaller probable errors, and the warming rate is steady over the whole time interval. In all adjusted series, the two hottest years are 2009 and 2010.”

      • They haven’t.
        1748-9326/6/4/044022 says “The adjusted data show warming at very similar rates to the unadjusted data, with smaller probable errors, and the warming rate is steady over the whole time interval. In all adjusted series, the two hottest years are 2009 and 2010.”
        My point exactly. Not all impact factors are known, and those that are, we have only some understanding. I remain unconvinced that Co2 is a the major driver of the upward temperature trend. There is no hockey stick effect from C02.
        I am not a scientist and as a lay person I will only rely on unequivocal proven fact, it is hard wired into my human DNA. So, until the AGW theory presents with those types of fact I remain intelligently sceptical.

      • The central question is, why do your think your admitted ignorance of science enables you to ignore the proven facts?

        The reality of CO2 as the primary driver of the recent warming has been proven — by science. It is a fact. As a lay person, you may not fully understand the scientific fact, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

        The behavior you describe may be “hardwired” — if you accept a very low view of the human animal — but is neither “intelligent” nor “skeptical.”

      • Robert, three times in the last century and a half the rate of temperature rise has been the same as in the last quarter of the last century. Only in the last of these very similar temperature rises has CO2 also risen. This proves that CO2 is not the primary driver of the first two temperature rises.

        Where is your proof that CO2 is the primary driver of the most recent temperature rise?
        ==================

      • kim,

        I suggest you investigate what science has to say on the subject. You will then understand why your “temperatures have risen before” argument is a fallacy.

        If you have a real argument against CO2 as the driver of recent warming, one that might meet your burden of proof, let me know when it clears peer review and I will give it my full, undivided attention.

      • So, no proof, eh, Robert. Well I’ll turn this and show that those three identical temperature rises strongly suggest, not prove, that CO2 is not the primary driver of the most recent temperature rise.

        Furthermore, we have evidence that all three temperature rises were from the oceanic oscillations. The fact of identical rise, and the last decade’s pause simulating the cooling or pausing that comes after the warming episodes, strongly suggest, not prove, that CO2 is not the primary driver of the most recent temperature rise.

        Looking at the temperature course of the last century and a half I can’t find evidence that CO2 has had ANY effect on temperature.

        But I try to be fair, so I’ll give you the chance to reconsider your tactic, and actually show me that CO2 has been the primary driver of the recent temperature rise. You’ve got science, right? I loooove science. Show me more science and less rhetoric.
        =======

      • “”The reality of CO2 as the primary driver of the recent warming has been proven — by science. It is a fact. As a lay person, you may not fully understand the scientific fact, but that doesn’t make it any less real””.

        I may very well be a lay person with climate science, but that would only enhance my ability to see the woods from the trees. Logic says you cannot suggest that because one fact is so, then all facts are so.

        You can’t disprove what hasn’t been proven. Warming by C02 in science has only been accepted by a so called consensus of scientists. I would like just one scientist to prove it unequivocally, as it does remain unproven.

        Until that happens I remain intelligently sceptical. Call me old school or a flat earther, whatever. How many previously consensually accepted scientific theory have been turned on their head. Science by consensus is not science.

      • I may very well be a lay person with climate science, but that would only enhance my ability to see the woods from the trees.

        No. That’s the fallacy — the belief that ignorance gives you special insight, and the “lay person” is fully able to judge the science they don’t understand.

      • “And I say the upward trend is not consistent with Co2 models as the increases in emissions over the last 15 years must have signaled the effect in our T results over that time. They haven’t.”

        Markus. Perhaps the theory of AGW has not been explained to you clearly enough. C02 is but one of the “forcings” that act to produce changes in the climate. There are positive forcings and negative forcings. There are internal forcings and external forcings.

        The climate does not respond instantly to C02. In other words the theory does not predict that if you increase C02 today that you will see a change tommorrow. The effect takes decades and centuries to fully materialize.

        So quite simply, there are more forcings than C02 ( C02 is maybe 50% of the story ) and if you change C02 today, you wont see a difference tommorrow. Looking at the past 15 years will tell you nothing. In fact the theory predicts that you will learn nothing from that amount of observation. So, logically, you cant use that observation to say anything about the theory, except that theory gets that right. The effect of C02 is small ( relatively). The system responds to it over the course of decades, that response can be masked by other forcings and by natural variation, so we can only understand the system by observing for decades.

        If you could hold all other forcings constant and just change C02 then it would be easier to see the effect. But we cant hold other forcings constant. The earth is our lab. Our best science tells us that if we increase C02 over time, that over time, over long periods, the temperature will creep up. There will be periods or fluctuations that go down, and some that go up dramatically, but over time the long range trend will be up.

      • steven mosher

        Excellent points (effect of CO2 is small – maybe half of total, looking at small time segments of the record does not make sense).

        The “delayed impact” of GH warming is more difficult to visualize, though, since other forcings (volcanoes, clouds, etc.) seem to act rather quickly). Realize that different mechanisms are involved, but do not know how one arrived at the conclusion that GH warming takes decades to centuries to “reach equilibrium”. Do you?

        Max

        PS This is not a trick question.

      • My dear Robert, it is not ignorance that gives me my powers of insight but the power of my intellect. I do have more than the necessary cognitive ability to sort the charf from the oats, moreover, empirical experience tells me that if I am unable to understand the AGW theory, not because of a lack of knowledge but because of a lack of reasoned discourse within it, and the conflicting physics it produces.

        Rather than having a low opinion of the human animal I hold it supreme, It is not the responsibility of the wider public to understand the theory of AGW but the responsibly of scientists to clearly explain it. In the case of climate change, anything but clear explanations have come from science.

        And a little bit of insight for you Robert, the reason the greater public cannot understand the theory of AGW is because it is a fallacy to them, until reasoned conclusions are derived from real life data.

        You need to respect our layman’s ignorance just a touch more if we are going to close the divide.

      • Markus,

        You strike me as of below-average intelligence. Certainly nothing in your writing or your uninformed speculation about the climate suggests cleverness. Why do you believe you are intelligent?

      • Robert try not to be so unlikeable. you are hurting the cause

    • pokerguy

      (corrected formatting)

      Your two questions to Fred, which I will repeat here, are very pertinent for all those who truly believe, like Fred apparently does, that AGW has been the principal cause of past warming and represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment:

      How many more years of no warming would it take for you to reevaluate your position?

      And are you concerned that thus far so many AGW predictions are failing?,

      Depending which record you use and how you define “no warming”, there have now been 14 or 11 years.

      We are informed by B. Santer et al. that at least 17 years of data are required to establish a trend.
      http://muenchow.cms.udel.edu/classes/MAST811/Santer2011.pdf

      Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.

      I suspect that Fred may not agree with Santer, especially if we should reach that 17 year mark. I doubt seriously that he would “reevaluate his position” even if we should reach 34 years, or twice Santer’s length, sine his “position” seems to be cast in concrete. But since he has been unwilling to give you a firm number, we can only guess.

      As to the second question, I think Fred must be aware that some ”AGW predictions” are failing (Hansen’s 1988 warming forecast, IPCC’s 2001 and 2006 warming projection for the first decades of the new century, etc.). Whether Fred accepts that these predictions have failed I do not know, but fortunately (for Fred) most AGW predictions have been made for many decades or a century into the future (which no one can check, of course).

      Keep after him, though – he will eventually have to give you specific answers to your questions.

      Max

    • manacker – how many more decades of warming will it take for you to re-evaluate your position?

      • Nobody doubts changes in climate, Nooone. Why can’t we get past that?
        That Co2 emissions are a material factor in that change is a unproven theory.

        How much overwhelming evidence of no rise attributable to C02 before you re-evaluate your position.

      • markus, spot on! The biggest precursor is: leading Warmist confused the naive Skeptics that; the phony GLOBAL warming and the constant climatic changes are one and the same thing… tragic… tragic! Climate never stopped changing for one day in 4 billion years – some places changes for better, others for worse. H2O changes the climate, not CO2. Skeptics cannot see that around Kyoto city / Stuttgart is better climate than inland Australia. Around Kyoto is 1000% more CO2, than in the desert. Cannot see which climate is better; Brazil or Sahara, and why? Because the leading Warmist are fattening the active Skeptics on top quality bull…

      • Louise

        Glad you asked.

        The answer is “no more decades”

        I agree fully that it has warmed (on average) over the past 16 decades (according to HadCRUT3, warts and all), at an average long-term linear rate of between 0.04 and 0.05C per decade, with multi-decadal cycles of warming and cooling having a total cycle time of around 60 years and an amplitude of around +/- 0.25C.

        I do not think that this position needs to be “re-evaluated”, since it is based on empirical data supported by actual physical observations.

        Do you?

        Max

      • PS

        Louise

        Now for the future:

        If the warming continues at the long-term rate of 0.04 to 0.05C per decade for several decades, I will accept this.

        If the warming rate suddenly accelerates to a sustained long-term rate of 0.2C per decade, as IPCC would have us believe, and continues at this long-term rate for several decades, I will accept this as well.

        As far as changing my “position”, i.e. that the premise that AGW has been the primary driver of past climate change is not substantiated by empirical data based on physical observations or reproducible experimentation, I will change this position when the empirical evidence is presented which demonstrates clearly that the temperature changes could not have been caused by natural factors.

        Hope this has answered your question..

        Can I ask you the same question?

        Max

      • See Fred, it’s not so hard to think about, and not so hard to put your thoughts on the screen. Why so shy?
        ===============

      • silence,………

      • When he gets the temperature trend wrong by a factor of three, what is there to say?

        Mack refuted himself with that stupidity, effectively ending the discussion.

      • Manacker: If the warming continues at the long-term rate of 0.04 to 0.05C per decade for several decades, I will accept this.

        Manecker, that is a very LOADED comment. Truth: there isn’t any warming to continue. Extra warmth in the troposphere is not accumulative!!! If you believe that anybody can get the temperature to 0,04C precise on the whole planet, you believe in fairy-tales. Nobody knows what the temperature was last year with plus / minus inaccuracy of 3C degrees; to save his life!!! It is one thing saying; is warmer – the truth is completely different. For the last 150 years hasn’t accumulated EXTRA heat in the troposphere enough to boil one chicken egg!! Start to believe in the laws of physics; instead of wasting your life on ”ifs” The laws of physics are precise and most reliable

      • stefanthedenier

        The past 161 years has shown warming at a linear average rate of 0.04 to 0.05C per decade (with a several multi-decadal warming’cooling cycles).

        I would agree with you that it is unlikely that “anybody can get the temperature to 0,04C precise on the whole planet”, but the record we have is all we have: a surface record, with all its warts and blemishes, that goes back to 1850 and a satellite (tropospheric) record, that goes back to 1979.

        Since 1979 the surface record shown more warming than the tropospheric record, even though “the laws of physics” (as IPCC interprets them for GHG warming) tells us it should have warmed more slowly. This gives some credence to the claim by some that the surface record includes a spurious warming trend due to urbanization, land use change and poor siting, relocation plus abandonment of weather stations.

        The “laws of physics” are great, but it is their interpretation by political bodies, such as IPCC, using computer models, that is problematic IMO.

        And, yeah, the record is only as good as i is.

        Max

      • Louise, wasn’t allocated space above to answer, so here it is: I have given myself an order – to simplify things; because complicating don’t change the truth, but is used exclusively for confusing the majority on the street, by people that are scared from the truth. Should I make exception for you? .

        Ask anybody that has being using gas for cooking; they will tell you that methane is heavier than O+N on sea-level / in gas state. When you recognise the truth, wouldn’t complicate / massage the facts – instead you look for real reasons: the 4 atoms of hydrogen in the methane molecule only have PROTONS that’s where the gravity is; but no lots of neutrons as in O+N, which take space = volume, but no weight. 2] 2H2 (2 deuterium) in methane hug each other – oxygen + nitrogen in the air stay apart. It’s just a small example; if is something unusual, look for real reasons, don’t make fool of yourself, just to be argumentative. Louise, 4 ball-bearings are heavier than a cork with double the volume. I challenge you: ”you challenge every scientist on this blog; what would they say; is methane heavier than O+N on sea-level – then ask a WORKING PERSON on the gas station that handles methane – will tell us all, who is cherry-picking / who has interest to massage the truth? Definitely the person WORKING with methane will be the one to believe, not a Warmist academic.

        Methane is very important subject that will affect the atmosphere / climate. Not for what the propaganda says; but because burning methane depletes lots of oxygen – creating new methane is REVERSING THE DAMAGES; I have A page on methane in the digestive system on my website. Yesterday 62 people visited my website; only 2 people went to the page on methane.= all are avoiding what is most important for their life – instead will keep repeating here about: albedo, noise, observation, forcing, equilibrium bla, bla…. = Sir Humphrey’s empty talk” If you read every sentence of the text I am referring – you will understand how harmful empty talk is – how important exposing the truth is – take the challenge, all of you. It’s a big crime in progress – most of them are plying Sargent Schulz ( I know noooothing) That is a crime in itself

  30. Climate scientists warm earth with CO2 and melt ice because it got warmer. That is not how it happens.
    Back during the Little Ice Age, Earth got cold and water froze. Because of a lack of moisture, snowfall diminished greatly and ice melted and retreated, causing earth to warm. That is still happening today, but much of the ice has melted, the Arctic Sea Ice has record Low Extents and the snow has started. Earth will cool again, now, as it did to end the Medieval Warm Period when the same thing happened.
    http://popesclimatetheory.com/

  31. the Arno Arrak paper:
    This means that we will have to find a heat source that can act suddenly and massively and influence Arctic temperatures over a wide geographic area. And at the same time it must be
    capable of retracting for significant intervals of time as happened after the thirties.
    The heat source is fairly constant. It is the sun.
    The thing that can change suddenly is Ice Albedo.
    When the Arctic Sea Ice Melts, it snows like crazy and Ice Albedo increases quickly. When the Arctic freezes, the snow stops and ice melts and retreats, not quite so slowly.

  32. Max,
    A nice argument!

    I read your post twice because Kim normally saves here energy for dinging those with heightened self esteem, circular logic and of course polls.

    Your summary (IMO) seems nicely complimentary with David Wojick’s opinion that climate change discussions should begin by explaining “what caused the MWP and LIA”? That post also refreshingly cut to the chase. Thank you for trying to make a clear climate argument.

  33. “pokerguy – If you are genuinely curious rather than using a question as a means of stating your preconceived views or inviting an argument, I’ll try to answer any specific question you ask via email. You can find an address via the denizens page. Please use your real name, although I won’t disclose it if you don’t want me to.”

    Hey Fred,

    Not sure why we should take this off the table. It’s not as if these issues aren’t of general interest. Nor do I understand your wish for some sort of privacy. Just a bit about me. Perhaps it will surprise you to hear I’m a lifelong Democrat and environmentalist. I’m not an activist, but it’s where my sympathies lie. I never bothered to question global warming until around the time of “climate-gate.” So in fact I did have a set of preconceived views, but not the views you’ve been supposing. The good news from the point of view of having a discussion is that if my mind can be changed once, it can be changed a second time.

    My reason for asking you these questions is not to be a wise-guy, or put you on the spot. From what I’ve been able go glean from your comments here, you’re a very smart fellow… an able scientist (though I don’t know your background) and a gentleman. The honest to God truth is I have a hard time understanding how you can maintain your views with such apparent serenity despite the fact that the real world does not seem to be cooperating with your alarmist predictions. I don’t recall reading a blessed thing about any predictions of a hiatus in the warming (upwards of 13 years now give or take)… despite massively higher Co2 levels. I also don’t recall anyone calling for more snow as a consequence of global warming. (Of course, now that we’ve had a bunch of cold and snowy winters I’m seeing a lot of backtracking.)I do recall predictions of drought in the U.S, and of hordes of climate refugees, and of stronger hurricanes. On and on.

    Look Fred, I’m sure you’ve got many agw-friendly explanations for each and every failed prediction. I’m also sure you’ll argue that some of them haven’t failed at all. But what I’m thinking about now is the sheer weight of it all. Aren’t you finding yourself working harder and harder to ignore the body of ever increasing real world evidence that at the very least, the alarmists have jumped the gun. Will you even admit that?

    As far as my understanding goes, no one has been able to prove the case that rising Co2 levels will warm the world dangerously. The case is being made largely by the use of models. But the problem is these models are not doing a very good job. What are we to make of that?

  34. Judith, in the abstract above, have being mentioned few times that: ”salty water from Atlantic goes into Arctic” That is wrong information, accompanied by lots of insinuations of warmings. Your informer doesn’t understand the basics! Because the set-up is for midi ice age in the area; forgive me for commenting on the subject.

    Salty warm water ALWAYS goes from the opposite direction; from north Pacific via Bering Sea into Arctic, that water creates the ”Northwest Passage” Next: 80% of Russian rivers drain into Arctic – spreads on the top of the heavier salty water and protects the ice. Then via Labrador and Norwegian currents goes into Atlantic from Arctic – south to Mexican gulf. Around Greenland those currents are strong, in direction south, not northwards – south in front of Canada they sink deep, because of difference in the water temperature and are not noticeable. From the Mexican gulf all of that water goes in the Mediterranean system. Because that system is exposed to Sahara – very high evaporation; but no tributaries to replace the deficit. River Nile is to a trickle, Danube had god water last year, but the previous 10 was decreasing > makes the current from Bering to Black sea UNDER the ice to increase > more intake salty warm-water from Pacific.

    I am trying strongly to emphasise: ice is very important on Arctic’s water for mild climate 2] ice sacrifices some of itself from below, to create buffer between the salty water and ice. 3] When the current increases, melting increases; not from the top as they mislead themselves; but from the bottom. 4] The offender is somewhere far away; as Sub-Saharan desert expanding / less water from Danube / Aral sea instead producing moisture for the Russian rivers, is producing dry heat… On the top of it, with nuclear ice crusher ships are vandalizing the remaining ice on Arctic, for the idiots that are going there to manufacture informations about the phony GLOBAL warming… all those factors and more are preparing for midi ice age; lots can be prevented…

    Unfortunately, the shonky science believes that: ice is white – reflects the sunlight – minus ice, hopefully small global warming, to get them out of trouble. The truth: water has mirror reflection also; but the idiots don’t take into account the most important: for 6 months there is no sunlight to reflect; but water without ice as insulator absorbs much, much more coldness. That EXTRA coldness was creating blizzards in Europe / USA, was intercepting the moisture that supposed to renew the ice on Arctic = chain reaction has already started!!! Biggest crimes in progress; whoever supplied you with informations from there is part of those biggest crimes. If Tony Brown would like to assist me with my limited English vocabulary, I have lots of proofs, all can be proven now, not in 100y trick… if you would agree to put couple articles on your blog, all correct informations, would be good for climate and humanity, please

  35. Hey Fred,
    Not sure why we should take this off the table. It’s not as if these issues aren’t of general interest. Nor do I understand your wish for some sort of privacy. Just a bit about me. Perhaps it will surprise you to hear I’m a lifelong Democrat and environmentalist. I’m not an activist, but it’s where my sympathies lie. I never bothered to question global warming until around the time of “climate-gate.” So in fact I did have a set of preconceived views, but not the views you’ve been supposing. The good news from the point of view of having a discussion is that if my mind can be changed once, it can be changed a second time.

    My reason for asking you these questions is not to be a wise-guy, or put you on the spot. From what I’ve been able go glean from your comments here, you’re a very smart fellow… an able scientist (though I don’t know your background) and a gentleman. The honest to God truth is I have a hard time understanding how you can maintain your views with such apparent serenity despite the fact that the real world does not seem to be cooperating with your alarmist predictions. I don’t recall reading a blessed thing about any predictions of a hiatus in the warming (upwards of 13 years now give or take)… despite massively higher Co2 levels. I also don’t recall anyone calling for more snow as a consequence of global warming. (Of course, now that we’ve had a bunch of cold and snowy winters I’m seeing a lot of backtracking.)I do recall predictions of permanent drought in the U.S, and of hordes of climate refugees, and of stronger hurricanes. On and on.

    Look Fred, I’m sure you’ve got many agw-friendly explanations for each and every failed prediction. I’m also sure you’ll argue that some of them haven’t failed at all. But what I’m thinking about now is the sheer weight of it all. Aren’t you finding yourself working harder and harder to ignore the body of ever increasing real world evidence that at the very least, the alarmists have jumped the gun. Will you even admit that?

    As far as my understanding goes, no one has been able to prove the case that rising Co2 levels will warm the world dangerously. The case is being made largely by the use of models. But the problem is these models are not doing a very good job. What are we to make of that?

  36. Link to Carton & al paper

    Link to a recent Kobashi & al paper
    Published in GRL in Nov 2011.

    High variability of Greenland surface temperature over the past 4000 years estimated from trapped air in an ice core

    Abstract
    Greenland recently incurred record high temperatures and ice loss by melting, adding to concerns that anthropogenic warming is impacting the Greenland ice sheet and in turn accelerating global sea‐level rise. Yet, it remains imprecisely known for Greenland how much warming is caused by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases versus natural variability.
    To address this need, we reconstruct Greenland surface snow temperature variability over the past 4000 years at the GISP2 site (near the Summit of the Greenland ice sheet; hereafter referred to as Greenland temperature) with a new method that utilises argon and nitrogen isotopic ratios from occluded air bubbles.
    The estimated average Greenland snow temperature over the past 4000 years was −30.7°C with a standard deviation of 1.0°C and exhibited a long‐term decrease of roughly 1.5°C, which is consistent with earlier studies.
    The current decadal average surface temperature (2001–2010) at the GISP2 site is −29.9°C.
    The record indicates that warmer temperatures were the norm in the earlier part of the past 4000 years, including century‐long intervals nearly 1°C warmer than the present decade (2001–2010).
    Therefore, we conclude that the current decadal mean temperature in Greenland has not exceeded the envelope of natural variability over the past 4000 years, a period that seems to include part of the Holocene Thermal Maximum.
    Notwithstanding this conclusion, climate models project that if anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions continue, the Greenland temperature would exceed the natural variability of the past 4000 years sometime before the year 2100.

  37. bob droege

    Further up on this thread you discussed the quality of life in China, questioning whether it had improved on balance because of the pollution there.

    I have lived in China and can tell you that it has improved for that percentage of the population that is part of the economic awakening there, despite the industrial pollution and the smog in most of the cities.

    Someone recently remarked that to understand China one had to first imagine the USA, with its 300+ million inhabitants ranging from very wealthy to relatively poor and then add 1 billion peasants who live on less than $1,000 per year. That combination would be similar to China.

    Before its relatively recent economic development, there were only the peasants and almost equally impoverished city dwellers.

    The leaders of China are very pragmatic. They know that civil unrest does not come as a result of a large inequity between the poorest and the richest – it comes from knowing things will never get better. So the way the government there manages to avoid major unrest and revolt is to make life a little bit better for everyone year after year. So far it is working.

    The life expectancy in China has risen from 61.0 years in 1970 to 73.5 years today.

    Another indication of recent Chinese affluence is the fact that the number of Chinese tourists in my country (Switzerland) has grown by leaps and bounds. They’ve even had to put Mandarin-speaking sales personnel in the jewelry and watch stores on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. The same is apparently true in Paris, with the trade in the luxury boutiques booming from Chinese customers.

    So there is no question, bob, that the Chinese are improving their standard of living, life expectancy and quality of life as a result of the economic growth, which they are currently experiencing.

    Max

  38. 31. Herman Alexander Pope | December 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm | replies to me with the following comment:

    ” This means that we will have to find a heat source that can act suddenly and massively and influence Arctic temperatures over a wide geographic area. And at the same time it must be
    capable of retracting for significant intervals of time as happened after the thirties.
    The heat source is fairly constant. It is the sun.
    The thing that can change suddenly is Ice Albedo.
    When the Arctic Sea Ice Melts, it snows like crazy and Ice Albedo increases quickly. When the Arctic freezes, the snow stops and ice melts and retreats, not quite so slowly.”

    This is pretty trivial. Ice Albedo did not come into existence at the turn of the twentieth century.

    • You say: “This is pretty trivial. Ice Albedo did not come into existence at the turn of the twentieth century.”
      You are right, this simple process has been providing limits to the temperature range of earth during the whole time that we have ice core data and most likely much longer than that.

  39. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all

    Max

  40. I did just now read the paper by Judah Cohen again and your “Note” and looked for additional comments from you about the paper.
    I do believe that the paper by Judah Cohen strongly supports “Pope’s Climate Theory”
    Your Note: While I think the Cohen et al. and Arrak papers each raise interesting points, I do not agree with either paper in their entire attribution analysis.

    Would you say what it is in the Cohen Paper that you disagree with?

  41. Here is another new paper spotted at AGW observer:

    The impact of the Madden-Julian Oscillation trend on the Arctic amplification of surface air temperature during the 1979–2008 boreal winter – Yoo et al. (2011) “One of the most prominent and important features of climate change is that surface air temperature (SAT) change is greatest at high latitudes. The cause for this Arctic amplification of SAT is uncertain. Using ERA-Interim reanalysis data, we show that Arctic amplification during the past 30 years (1979 to 2008) is linked to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), the primary mode of intraseasonal variability in the tropics. Specifically, it is shown that interdecadal changes in the frequency of occurrence of individual MJO phases have had considerable influence on the Arctic warming during the boreal winter. During that time period, MJO phases 4–6 exhibited a large increase and phases 1–2 a moderate decrease in their frequency of occurrence. Time lagged composites of the SAT show that MJO phases 4–6, which correspond to enhanced localized tropical heating, are followed 1–2 weeks later by Arctic warming. Similarly, MJO phases 1–2, which are associated with more zonally uniform tropical heating, are followed by Arctic cooling. These relationships between the Arctic SAT and the spatial structure of the tropical heating are consistent with the poleward propagation mechanism of Lee et al. (2011a, 2011b). By incorporating both the trend in MJO phase and the intraseasonal SAT anomaly associated with the MJO, it was found that the MJO-induced SAT trend accounts for 10–20% of the observed Arctic amplification over the Arctic Ocean.” Yoo, C., S. Feldstein, and S. Lee (2011), Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L24804, doi:10.1029/2011GL049881.