Should we tell the whole truth about climate change?

by Judith Curry

In principle, yes of course.  In practice, many journalists, scientists and government officials are not so certain as to how to balance telling the whole truth and being truthful in an “effective” way.

The title for this post comes from an article by Michael Lemonik posted at Climate Central. Some excerpts:

So that brings me to climate change. The essential and utterly valid message, based on the best available science, is that the Earth is warming; it’s largely due to us; it’s going to keep warming unless we do something, and there’s a significant chance that the consequences will be disastrous.

But is that the whole truth in every detail? No. Some of the details are yet to be settled. So should the overall message be that nobody knows anything? I don’t think so. We would never want to pretend the uncertainty isn’t there, since that would be dishonest. But featuring it prominently is dishonest, too, just as trumpeting uncertainty in the smoking-cancer connection would have been.

So does it make us intellectually dishonest not to be trumpeting this potential challenge to conventional ideas? Not really: it would be dishonest to suppress this argument, but since it’s a long way from being even weakly established, and because abandoning the idea of human-influenced climate change would mean abandoning an awful lot that has been firmly established, the most honest thing to do is not to go into a tizzy about a very preliminary result.

There’s a flipside to keeping the message simple, though. . . . all sorts of natural climate variations operate to slow the warming down for a while, or speed it up.

So where’s the right balance between telling the whole truth and being truthful in an effective way? At this point, a columnist is supposed to offer a tidy prescription. Sadly, I don’t have one. But NPR does: the network just updated its guidelines to reflect a commitment to fairness and truthfulness in reporting. That doesn’t mean telling the whole truth in every last detail. It does mean giving readers and listeners an honest take on critical issues.

Roger Pielke Jr’s comments

Roger Pielke Jr. has a post on this, some excerpts:

Yesterday, Michael Lemonick asked of journalists at Climate Central, “should we tell the whole truth about climate change?” His answer is to ask “So where’s the right balance between telling the whole truth and being truthful in an effective way?” (have a look at the link title as well). For some journalists a desire for “effectiveness” trumps “truth.”

Journalists, like everyone else, have their biases and perspectives. And on the issue of climate change journalists are as prone as any of us to the seductive siren of tribalism, with good guys on one side and evil ones on the other. But does this framing actually serve the interests of the broader climate science community?  I think not.

The realities of the most intensely contested aspects of the climate debate are that there are human beings on both sides — complex, contradictory, red-blooded, imperfect human beings. When the media places scientists up on a pedestal and does so via the spinning  of untruths, they simply set the stage for a bigger fall when the scientists cannot live up to their adulatory press coverage. And besides, many of us know better. The media should cover science in three dimensions, and eschew the two-dimensional fiction of good vs. evil, even if that means exploring nuance and contradiction.

NPR fairness and truthfulness guidelines

The U.S. National Public Radio (NPR)’s new ethics handbook provides some sage advice to journalists. The guiding principles are accuracy, fairness, completeness, honesty, independence, independence, impartiality, transparency, accountability, respect, and excellence.

From the paragraph putting principles into practice:

We will fulfill the high standard we owe the public if we hold true to our principles. Doing so requires that we embrace complexity and continually think through difficult decisions. While these principles reinforce each other, they also are often in tension. In all situations, we balance them against one another, striving to honor our mission. This statement is intended not only to serve as a guide, but also to provoke ongoing discussion and deliberation – the keys to any ethical decision-making process. It should both test and strengthen the moral compass that guides each of us in our work. It aims to foster a culture that compels and empowers us to exercise our consciences each day. We believe it is our shared responsibility to live up to these principles.

Jay Rosen at Press Think comments on the NPR guidelines:

In my view the most important changes are these passages:

“In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.

At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been considered and represented fairly.”

Scientists communicating climate change

Journalists aren’t the only ones struggling with the issue of communicating about climate change.  Roger Pielke Jr’s post reminds us of John Houghton’s 2001 statements upon the release of the IPCC TAR: Human effect on climate ‘beyond doubt’. “Climate change is the biggest environmental threat.” In recent years, we have certainly heard this kind of hyperbole from Rachendra Pachauri, as well as from many climate scientists.

On a recent thread, Dan Hughes provided a very interesting example of climate scientists explicitly choosing not to tell the whole truth, in an apparent effort to keep the story simple and not confuse the public, in effect to be “effective”.

Here’s the text from Dan’s comment:

Simon Shackley, James Risbey, Peter Stone And Brian Wynne,ADJUSTING TO POLICY EXPECTATIONS IN CLIMATE CHANGE MODELING: An Interdisciplinary Study of Flux Adjustments in Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models, Climatic Change, Vol. 43, pp. 413–454, 1999.

From the Abstract:

In particular, many of our respondents expressed a preference for keeping discussion of the issue of flux adjustments within the climate modeling community, apparently fearing that climate contrarians would exploit the issue in the public domain.

And this in Footnote 53

53. A discussion took place over an early draft of the Executive Summary of Section B of the IPCC 1992 report which contained two possible versions. Both versions explicitly stated that the models: ‘Continue to display the same overall strengths and weaknesses identified in the first [1990] assessment’ and that ‘continuing validation tests indicate a slow but steady upward trend in the confidence which we can attach to their results’. Inserted between these two statements in version 2, however, was the following addition: ‘Among the major weaknesses is the need for substantial corrections to the air-sea fluxes in order to reproduce the present climate. The impacts of these corrections on the ability to model GHG-induced climate change cannot be assessed a priori’ (stress added). Although neither version was eventually used intact, the caveats of version 2 were not included in the 1992 report. Revealingly, a reviewer commented about version 2 that it was ‘too defensive – not much [has] changed in validation [since IPCC 1990]’. The advisory scientists were perhaps thinking strategically about the significance of representing quite legitimate scientific reservations about flux adjustment upon the credibility to a range of political, policy and media audiences of the IPCC reports (and especially the Executive Summary) and process (e.g., a consistent relation with the IPCC 1990 report was preferred). They may also have been thinking about how the scientific peer community itself would respond to such flagging of flux adjustments given that little new validation work had been conducted since the earlier report.

I’m sure such examples abound in the preparation of IPCC Assessment Reports, but rarely are these documented.  This is why the CRU emails were of such substantial interest to many people.

Government scientists

The latest issue of Nature has an editorial Frozen Out, with the subtitle Canada’s government should free its scientists to speak to the press, as its US counterpart has.  Excerpt:

Over the same period, Canada has moved in the opposite direction. Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party won power in 2006, there has been a gradual tightening of media protocols for federal scientists and other government workers. Researchers who once would have felt comfortable responding freely and promptly to journalists are now required to direct inquiries to a media-relations office, which demands written questions in advance, and might not permit scientists to speak. Canadian journalists have documented several instances in which prominent researchers have been prevented from discussing published, peer-reviewed literature. Policy directives and e-mails obtained from the government through freedom of information reveal a confused and Byzantine approach to the press, prioritizing message control and showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of scientific knowledge.

The Harper government’s poor record on openness has been raised by this publication before (see K. O’HaraNature 467, 501; 2010), and Nature’s news reporters, who have an obvious interest in access to scientific information and expert opinion, have experienced directly the cumbersome approval process that stalls or prevents meaningful contact with Canada’s publicly funded scientists. Little has changed in the past two years: rather than address the matter, the Canadian government seems inclined to stick with its restrictive course and ride out all objections.

JC note:  climate change was not called out specifically in the Nature editorial.

JC comments: The complexity of the wicked climate change problem makes it exceeding difficult to communicate to the public.  Journalists have taken the shortcut of portraying this as the good guys against the bad guys, with the definition of good vs bad varying among journalists. Many scientists (including the IPCC) are oversimplifying the problem, in the interests of being “effective”; effective presumably in motivating action for UNFCCC policies.  And depending on which political party is in power, scientists working on politically sensitive topics may be muzzled.

Since this has been going on in the context of the climate change problem for 20+ years, we’ve seen that simplicity doesn’t work, and the “good guys” often behave badly (whichever side you define to be “good”; Peter Gleick is the most recent example).  In fact  when oversimplification is uncovered (e.g. hiding the decline is a case in point), there can be very substantial backlash and loss of trust in the scientists.

The only way that I see out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form that is easily accessible to the public,  and let it be discussed in extended peer communities and by policy makers and their technical advisors.  This approach is ill-suited to traditional mainstream journalism, but well suited to online social media.

416 responses to “Should we tell the whole truth about climate change?

  1. Yes, and nothing but the truth.

    • Accepting reality – whether or not we like it – is the way to avoid the fears that compelled world leaders to adopt unscientific environmental policies that now threaten our economies, social order, the sovereign rights of our nations, and constitutional rights of our citizens:

      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/No_Fear.pdf

    • Here is reality, as described by experimental observations, about Earth’s heat source – the Sun:

      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/Neutron_repulsion.pdf

      It bears little, if any, resemblance to the solar model assumed in AGW models of Earth’s climate.

    • I agree, Professor Curry. The only way out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form easily accessible to the public.

      Candid, public answers from Dr. Ralph Cicerone (US NAS President),
      Dr. Steven Chu (US Secretary of Energy) and Mr. Charles F. Bolden, Jr. (NASA Administrator) to one question, with them accepting responsibility for their answers, will help resolve this debate quickly without further damage to society:

      http://tinyurl.com/7qvvg3w or

      https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/Public/Question_Bolden_Chu_Ciscerone.pdf?w=77530f83

    • Please encourage Dr. Ralph Cicerone (US NAS President), Dr. Steven Chu (US Secretary of Energy) and Mr. Charles F. Bolden, Jr. (NASA Administrator) to respond to http://tinyurl.com/7qvvg3w and provide evidence of any experimental data or solar observations like these:

      http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews12No12.pdf

      That are better explained if Earth’s heat source is an H-fusion reactor, . . .
      rather than a pulsar at the solar core.

    • Has the US National Academy of Science (NAS) banned consideration of data by research agencies that formulate policy recommendations?

      How else do we explain Climategate documents and NAS’s response?

      Is there another explanation for:

      a.) The US Department formulating energy policy while ignoring the greatest known source of stored energy.

      Ref: “Neutron repulsion confirmed as energy source”,  
      Journal of Fusion Energy 20, 197‐201 (2002).  
      http://www.springerlink.com/content/x1n87370x6685079/ 

      b.) NASA hiding data from Jupiter that confirmed Earth’s heat source is the Sun’s pulsar core and its iron-rich interior.

      Ref: “Isotopic ratios in Jupiter confirm intra‐solar diffusion”,
      Meteoritics and Planetary Science 33, A97, abstract 5011 (1998).
      http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/metsoc98/pdf/5011.pdf  

      No wonder the public has lost confidence in US National Academy of Science (NAS) and government research agencies whose budgets are controlled by NAS recommendations.

    • David Springer

      Yer link she is busted. Not in good way, either.

    • We won WWII and were then defeated by our own arrogance and power!

      Defeated by the practice of Judo, a fighting system that teaches “how to give way, rather than use force, to overcome a stronger opponent.”

      http://judoinfo.com/new/

      Our future was written in April 1956 when leaders of the American Geophysical Union and the Geophysics Section of the US National Academy of Sciences blocked normal channels of communication for evidence of natural “Nuclear Fires” on Earth [1,2].

      Our future was confirmed in April 1976 when leaders of the American Geophysical Union and the Geophysics Section of the US National Academy of Sciences thwarted attempts to report evidence that our elements were made in the Sun [3].

      Our future was sealed in 1995-1998 when NASA scientists followed instructions to hide isotope data from Jupiter that confirmed local synthesis of our elements in the Sun [4].

      1. P. K. Kuroda, “On the nuclear physical stability of the uranium minerals,” Journal of Chemical Physics 25, 781 (1956).

      2. P. K. Kuroda, “On the infinite multiplication constant and the age of the uranium minerals,” Journal of Chemical Physics 25, 1256 (1956).

      3. O. K. Manuel and D. D. Sabu, “Elemental and isotopic inhomogeneities in noble gases: The case for local synthesis of the chemical elements,” Transactions Missouri Academy Sciences 9, 104‐122 (1975).

      4. O. K. Manuel. “Isotopic ratios in Jupiter confirm intra‐solar diffusion”, Meteoritics and Planetary Science 33, A97, 5011 (1998).
      http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/metsoc98/pdf/5011.pdf

    • Jack Hughes

      After 20 years of trying, the climate scientists have not found any compelling evidence of anything unusual.

      How much longer do they need?

    • @ Jack Hughes | March 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
      After 20 years of trying, the climate scientists have not found any compelling evidence of anything unusual.

      Jack, lots of unusual climatic changes, but no GLOBAL warmings. Climatic changes are gradual and spontaneous; but nothing to do with CO2 or the phony GLOBAL warming. Thermometers don’t tell lies, people do. For any big climatic change, there is a legitimate explanation, nothing to do with solar / galactic influences. The ”legitimate” explanations gives the shivers to the fanatic Warmist and fake Skeptics. Same as small children don’t want to hear that Santa is not for real. Give them time; most believers and fake Skeptics will get used to the truth / lot of them on the other hand, will be making the psychologist rich.

  2. Anything less than full disclosure must be viewed as an attempt to deceive.

    • I do not have speakers in my office, and therefore have not yet heard this video. But it appears to be much closer to reality described by experimental observations than any of the reports from Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC.

  3. A good start to gain credibility with the public would be to have all scientists involved in the debate to reject the claim that the “science is settled”/

    • dennis, I believe you are absolutely right. Unfortunately, for this to be done, then the positions taken by just about all learned societies on the subject of CAGW, headed by the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society, would need to be completely rewritten and revised. That, unfortunately, is not going to happen in the immediate future..

      The best we can hope for is that some prominent scientist, who is currently strongly associated with the proponents of CAGW, such as out hostess, to make such a strong and public statement of what you suggest.

    • Jim,

      Lemonik should be dismissed on these three lines alone;

      “But is that the whole truth in every detail? No. Some of the details are yet to be settled.”

      If there are details not settled how could there be a whole truth to disclose at all??

    • @ cwon14 | March 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      +1

    • Peter Davies

      Professor Freeman Dyson has already done so.

    • Robert Austin

      Jim,
      No need to revise their positions, just delete them. Why should these organizations take a position anyway. Taking a position smacks of “consensus science” and “the science is settled” concepts which are inherently unscientific.

    • Out of curiosity, does the APS have a formal position on gravity?

    • David Springer

      Well, maybe be specific about exactly what “science” is settled.

      For instance it’s settled science that CO2 absorbs certain portions of longwave infrared spectrum and that it is re-radiated in all directions. It’s also settled science that a non-evaporative surface will respond to back-radiation from greenhouse gases by an increase in equilibrium temperature. Indeed this isn’t just settled science. It’s confirmed every second by millions of electronic sensors that control high-occupancy building ventilation fans by measuring the amount of CO2 in the interior air. It’s beyond settled science when something becomes a property of materials that engineers look up when they are designing things. It’s not “settled science” that rebar increases the elasticity of cured concrete. These are empirically proven facts. It’s not settled science that the resistance of copper rises with temperature. These are empirically proven facts. The so-called greenhouse effect of CO2 (which is really an insulative effect or even more aptly an albedo-lowering effect) is an empirically proven fact. I’m not sure exactly what the settled science consists of to be honest. I see facts and I see speculation neither of which is settled science. Settled science would be something like Gondwanaland which is unobserved but so copacetic with confirmed continental drift that I daresay Gondwanaland is settled science. Settled science is in the realm of things which cannot be directly observed.

    • “For instance it’s settled science that CO2 absorbs certain portions of longwave infrared spectrum and that it is re-radiated in all directions”

      However, as there is a discontinuous temperature and pressure profile in the atmosphere,and as CO2′s absorbance is broad at high temp/high pressure and narrow at low temp/low pressure, calculating the phontonic flux of exchanges of energy through different layers of the atmosphere is a real drag.

      “It’s also settled science that a non-evaporative surface will respond to back-radiation from greenhouse gases by an increase in equilibrium temperature”

      There is no equilibrium temperature, in the same way you car does not have an equilibrium speed. Equilibrium has a strict meaning and you are misusing it. Describing a steady state as an equilibrium is always misleading, but applying it with respect to heat transfers is a deliberate falsification of truth.

      Moreover, no one has ever demonstrated the ability of CO2 to increase the overall level of energy transfer of IR radiation from the atmosphere to the ground. One could postulate that addition of CO2 increases the rate of radiative transfer as collisions with N2/O2 allow poorly radiative molecules to become good radiative molecules.
      Please note David, no machine has been constructed that makes use to the ability of CO2 to increase the unidirectional transfer of IR radiation.

  4. Climate is always changing. A warmer world is better than a colder one. If we can warm the world we should.

    The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
    ===================================

    • Latimer Alder

      +1

    • It is interesting to note that this winter has been very warm across most of the US. According to the CDC, there has also been an abnormally low rate of influenza (through 2/1) across the country. In part, this is because of the continuing effectiveness of last year’s vaccine – the flu virus has not mutted very far (if at all) from last years dominant strains.

    • A warmer world is better than a colder one. If we can warm the world we should.

      Since a stopped car is safer than a fast-moving one, the safest thing you can do is to use the nearest brick wall to stop with. Much more effective than bricks for quick stopping.

      The same reasoning leads to the conclusion that since a warmer world is a better world than a colder on, the best thing you can do is elevate it to the promised 2-4 degrees hotter now instead of waiting until 2100.

    • Much more effective than bricks

      Much more effective than brakes (interesting typo).

    • @ Vaughan Pratt | March 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm |

      On the sandpit cars and fire trucks don’t need a brick wall to stop. Just do something constructive; those cars / trucks stop by themselves. Stop worrying Vaughn; ask your daddy for advice. Nobody has ever stopped the climate off changing and never will. Unless you think you can stop it; don’t charge money for it. Stop it first. The law says: it’s fixed, or it’s free. If you charge, but climate keeps changing as always; but there is no GLOBAL warming… don’t hide behind me, then.

      By the way; why do you need the climate to stop changing? Is it perfect climate now? Why no one of you swindlers say: hay climate will change, rainfall will increase in Sahara = more grass and trees, beautiful. Why is always; brimstone and dragons will fall from the sky, BOO!!!

    • Latimer Alder

      @stefanthedenier

      ‘Is it perfect climate now? Why no one of you swindlers say: hay climate will change, rainfall will increase in Sahara = more grass and trees, beautiful. Why is always; brimstone and dragons will fall from the sky, BOO!!!’

      See, for example the Garden of Eden/Adam and Eve/Fall of Man story. Or its equivalent in other relgions

      There’s always a time back in the past when things were ‘perfect’ and before the bad things happened. That humanity brought upon themselves by their own sin. And that can only be put right/redeemed/atoned by lots of sacrifice. Led of course, by the high priests who (for a price) know which sacrifices to make.

      See the similarities?

      One upon a pre-industrial time, our climate was ideal all over the world (good). Then we started to burn fossil fuels (sin) and this caused some warming (fall of man, bad!). To put things right (atonement), we need to make sacrifices (emissions cuts) as demaned by the High Priests (climatologists).

      So its just the same old, same old religious story that has been told and retold over thousands of years. Today’s guise is all about CO2 as the devil. A while back it was the ozone hole, then acid rain or pesticides. CJD was a good one too , but died very quickly.

      When this one fades into history there’ll be another along – with all the same characteristics – to replace it as night follows day……….

    • Note the Devil quotes scripture, having attended Divinity school, but dropped out after learning the relevant lesson.
      =============

    • @ Latimer Alder | March 9, 2012 at 2:25 am
      Latimer, brilliantly put comment by you. But if Adam didn’t commit the sin.. we wouldn’t be enjoying life. If god din’t make that thing to Adam – he would’t have committed the sin. Swindlers are not allowed to use their feudalistic gene as in the past; so they turned red, now green; for sponging and oppressing the Urban Sheep – they worship the dollar

      Remains me of my favored comedian, Dave Allen. ”He went to a confession box and confessed his 3 sins for the last week. The priest was criticizing him: you idiot, you should never ever do something like that in future, no more sinning; for St Peter to let you in heaven! Three sins – give me three dollars for forgiveness! Allen gave him $10 and asked for a change. The priest replied: no, you have credit for another 7 sins”

      In New Zealand, the farmers already pay even methane tax – not to stop the cows firing, but cash for the big city environmentalist – even though the farmer is on ground zero – where the firing is. They legalized extortion

    • VP, you have more faith in the power of CO2, or man, to raise the temperature of the earth than I do. Why is that? Is your faith from theoretical considerations or from observations.

      The human race faces a long battle against the cold. There will be a time when we celebrate warming spells and fight the cooling ones. I wish we had something stronger than CO2 to fight the cooling spells.
      ==================================

    • Dr. Pratt,
      You can do better on analogies, I hope.

    • David Springer

      Bad analogy. A stopped car isn’t safer than a moving one if you’re on a freeway and everyone else is moving at 55mph. Besides that, you were comparing means of deceleration rather than what happens after deceleration is complete. Eating is better than starving. The average person should consume about 600,000 calories per year but not all at once. Really Vaughn, are you not embarrassed by how lame your analogy was?

  5. Last paragraph of Dr Curry:
    The only way that I see out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form that is easily accessible to the public, and let it be discussed in extended peer communities and by policy makers and their technical advisors. This approach is ill-suited to traditional mainstream journalism, but well suited to online social media.

    You mean the IPCC or two IPCC’s or three IPCC’s?
    How many more blogs on the internet?
    How to educate the citizen?

    Pieter

    • The citizens are being educated by the blogosphere. The number of people exploring the scientific debate is amazing. This is one of the greatest scientific debates in history, contrary to the increasingly ineffective claims of settled science.

    • For placing man in the proper role in the universe, this debate trails badly behind the Galilean example, but for near term social, economic, political, even scientific, effects this debate exceeds the earlier one by far.
      =========================

    • ‘For placing man in the proper role in the universe’
      somewhat sexist. Humanity is just an animal, less than 200,000 years old, on a small planet, orbiting a bog standard main sequence star on the outer fringes of a small galaxy.
      There are more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe and they contain 3×10^23 stars; whereas our brains only have 5×10^14 synapses.

    • David Springer

      Does beauty exist without an observer?

      Where’s the beauty of the universe without a mortal observer?

      Humankind might not be of any consequence in the existence of the universe but, as far as we know, without us its existence is without meaning.

    • Peter Davies

      Agree with Doc. Mankind should let out all its hubris and understand just how small everything we see and understand is in the universe.

    • Mankind should also accept that the Universe is indeterminate, and that for some problems, there are no answers.

    • for some problems, there are no answers.

      As any patent examiner will tell you, for some answers there are no problems. ;)

    • Very good, Vaughan!

    • Latimer Alder

      @vaughan

      +1 :-)

    • David Springer

      Jim S | March 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm |

      “Mankind should also accept that the Universe is indeterminate, and that for some problems, there are no answers.”

      Really. Did you single handedly determine that the universe is not determined? Isn’t that somehow inconsistent? I mean how can an inderterminate entity determine anything? I’ve determined that you and whole world are figments of my imagination and you’ll cease to exist at the same time I cease to exist. LOL

    • Two centuries ago, as documented by C. Dickens in “The Pickwick Papers,” societies of literate amateurs examined both common-place and innovative concepts. The Web allows inquirers to both gather in the Cyber-Cloud and corporately examine Authority’s claims. Genuinely amazing: the host of persons endeavoring to understand.
      Thank you, Dr. Curry, for hosting this salon.

    • Interesting–Very! :)

    • David,

      I am one of those citizens being educated by the blogosphere. It was amazing watching WUWT and the weather station project. Citizen science at its finest. It has become an obsession of mine to troll through articles and comments on the various blogs. It enables me, as a non-scientist, to see it happening up close.

      The battles that used to happen behind closed doors, in academia, seem to now be playing out in public. This is an extension of social media as applied to science.

      I have to agree entirely with JC that opening the data to scrutiny will actually convince people far more than anything else. Sure skeptics will pick it apart, and they should. That is their job. If the underlying science is robust, it will survive.

  6. That the question is even being raised- and you of course are not the first person to raise it- reflects very badly on the state of the science and testifies to the corrosive nature of the AGW social movement. Yo are to be commended for being one of what is apparently a too-small number of workers in the climate science arena who are making the correct choice.
    Until climate scientists as a whole stop being AGW ideologues things will not improve.

  7. My vocational field is software engineering. Over the years I’ve done real time telephony modeling, AI development and spectroscopy engineering in terms of both measurement and control. In pursuing these endeavors, I’ve read some pretty weighty articles and even written a couple. However, in understanding telephony theory, the underlying mathematics of real time operations, the statistically problematic nature of data communications, signalling and control etc, I’ve had to rely on higher level, more popular works. These give me the scope and form of the issues without descending into detail. To be sure, detailed analysis and experimentation supports the high level assertions that have driven my designs and implementations but I sincerely hope that the people assembling the info I rely on know what they’re doing and represent it fairly and correctly. In my field, I’ve found this to generally (almost categorically) be the case.

    My opinion is that something quite similar is needed in climate science. Right now, CS is so corrupted by vested interests of all types that it’s near impossible to sort image from chaff. Such a publication should be periodical in nature since research and conclusions are both in high flux in this field. Quite frankly, this blog is the only thing that approaches the matter at all. It’s lack is not objectivity but rather focus. It does not focus on objective distillation for “the masses.” That’s not it’s mission of course but that is never the less the stone it leaves unturned.

    Here’s a page detailing titles in the area of Chaos math that represent the kind of effort I’m talking about http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/chaos-theory

    This is the thrust of what’s needed in CS. What’s not needed is more evangelism.

    • And the top book when I click over is by one James Gleick. I wonder where I heard that second name before :)

      A valuable comment. The climate science situation has been woeful at every level, as far as one can tell. That’s exemplified in the UK by the government’s official response in Sep 10 to the science and technology parliamentary select committee’s report on Climategate:

      The Committee’s findings are in agreement with the Government’s assessment that the disclosure of emails from CRU does not undermine the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. Indeed, the conclusion that human activity is causing the Earth to warm is taken from multiple strands of global evidence that stretch across scientific disciplines and extend far beyond the work of any single University.

      As Lindzen has been saying for 24 years or more, it’s not a question of whether human activity is causing the earth to warm but how much and how likely this is to cause dangerous extreme climate events or other slower forms of disaster. For the UK government to come up with such bilge at such a crucial moment for climate science is a hallmark of how bad the situation has been – it’s turtles all the way down, as the man said.

    • “As Lindzen has been saying for 24 years or more, it’s not a question of whether human activity is causing the earth to warm but how much and how likely this is to cause dangerous extreme climate events or other slower forms of disaster.”

      There isn’t a single question. Some people deny the world has warmed. Some deny it is warming. Some deny man can warm the earth. Some deny man has warmed the earth. Some deny man will warm the earth.

      As long as the denial is scattered about like this you can expect these things to be slapped down with repeated references to “global warming is a fact” and “human activity is causing the earth to warm”.

    • lolwot
      re “warming”
      It is essential to clarify what time frame you are referring to.

      Since the Little Ice Age, the earth has been warming.

      Since the Holocene Climatic Optimum the earth has been cooling – towards the next Ice Age.

      Since 2001, the temperature has barely warmed. 0.006C/decade, vs the IPCC’s 0.2C/decade prediction.

    • David Springer

      Frankly I don’t believe the public is convinced by theory. Insiders have known for decades that matter can disappear in one place and reappear in a different place. The public probably won’t believe it even if you tell them that their contacts list in their cell phone would disappear when the battery was removed it it wasn’t for electrons in flash memory chips being able to disappear outside a storage well and reappear inside it. Or you might explain to them that times moves more slowly as objects move faster. You migh even explain to them that the GPS locator in their cell phones wouldn’t be as accurate if there wasn’t an adjustment made for how fast time passes for the phone and how fast it passes for the satellites in orbit overhead from which the position fixes are obtained. And let’s not even get into wave-particle duality. I’m afraid there are things the public are never going to grasp at the fundamental level but show them a device which wouldn’t work otherwise and they might come over to your side. So the problem for the climate boffins is showing them an earth which is warming at an alarming rate because it there’s no other possible outcome.

      They should have probably declared victory with the widescale replacement of incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescents which, near as I can determine, brought global warming to a screeching halt in the past 15 years. ;-)

  8. The notion that anyone has to right to lie in order to win the public to a certain point of view is wrong, dangerous, and loony.

    I have the increasing sense that we’re approaching critical mass when it comes to climate change skepticism. It’s time to call for a debate. At a certain point, and I think we’re getting there, someone’s going to have to accept..

    I mean a real debate with scientists on both sides and a moderator. The warmists can’t hide forever. It’s clear, or should be clear to any fair minded person that the warmists would jump at the chance to make fools out of the neanderthal climate deniers had they the better argument. Sure, you’re not going to convince said Neanderthals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them look very, very bad in the eyes of the general public.

    So why don’t they? Why indeed?

    The Heartland Institute has the right idea. They should keep inviting warmists to debate, and every time one of them declines they should make that public. These guys hate to look like cowards, and it makes them do crazy, desperate things. Just ask Peter Gleick.

    • Pokerguy,

      I posted more general content below but I have to say nothing confirms Dr. Curry’s basic failings as a despondent warmer then this topic. It’s shockingly clueless on so many thematic levels. If lies could be packaged better the world would be a better place???

      As always, the ties that bind the journalists, climate science and government officials will simply be ignored. The mythology that this is even mostly a science debate should have come to an end long ago.

      The latest on Climate porn being brought to the classroom;

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/03/07/global-warming-alarmists-rally-around-classroom-propaganda/

    • Eventually, they’ll understand it was a guilt trip.
      ====================================

    • Peter Davies

      PG’s critical mass wrt climate scepticism is certainly gaining momentum but when this critical mass is reached there are no clearly defined new climate change paradigm to be found from the sceptical voices; just many different issues that badly need synthesis so that climate sceptics may in future speak with one voice.

    • Yes, and there’s the old saw that you can’t kill a theory with just facts, you need another theory. Put differently, a horse race with just one horse is really boring, especially if the horse drops dead before it crosses the finish line. This is why I was intrigued awhile back by a notion that came up about creating some sort of wiki for the construction of alternative models. It would be good to see some more horses–particularly of a different color!

    • Since the core of AGW theory isn’t based on science but politics it’s a mistake to think there is a technical rebuttal of the AGW movement. The obvious political structure of AGW needs to be rejected and it is going that way.

      Progress would be demanding warmers admit their political affiliations instead of the make believe protocal maintained here, the media and government sectors. It’s the essential AGW fraud starting point.

    • Peter Davies

      Cwon14 states “Since the core of AGW theory isn’t based on science but politics it’s a mistake to think there is a technical rebuttal of the AGW movement”

      The issues surrounding climate change are technical (regardless of political agendas) and sceptics must not only confront the science (or lack thereof) behind present mainstream climate thinking but also to come up with new hypotheses about the masses of data that is available.

    • Peter,

      The burden of a hypothesis is on those presenting it and “proving” it. It’s the scientific method.

      It’s Inholf who is winning this war, not Dr. Curry sitting on a fence refusing to admit the obvious political collusion in the warming community.

      http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/3/8/questioning-the-scientists.html

    • @ Peter Davies | March 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm
      Peter, I came up with real proofs, facts and formulas, but Warmist and Skeptics are suffering from ”truth phobia”

      Secular believers / Skeptics are not much into climate; they can think for themselves. Fanatics are only megaphones for Hansen and prof. Plimer. For megaphone is necessary only a battery, but no logic and common sense, as prerequisite .

    • Peter Davies

      Stefan, please give me a link to your proofs, fact and formulas that everybody seems to be adverse to reading and understanding. I rather think that you have lumped me in with everybody else here but let me assure you that I do my own thinking and am not swayed by rhetoric or emotional language.

    • @ Peter Davies | March 9, 2012 at 8:12 am | said: Stefan, please give me a link to your proofs, fact and formulas

      Hi Peter, just click on my name – will get you there. Welcome to the truth. I’m the real Skeptic, with my own proofs. Proven everything, beyond any reasonable doubt. I don’t use ”maybe, can happen” as the Warmist do; I don’t use Warmist misleadings as the fake Skeptics do. I rely only on what is reliable. Me and the laws of physics cannot be wrong – same laws of physics will be in 100y.

    • Peter Davies

      Stefan, thank you for your response.

      I have had a look at your website and have read some of your articles. I notice that there is no quoted work from other scientists included in the articles that I have read.

      Does this mean that you have been working entirely on your own and have not used any material from other scientists or sources?

      This leads me to ask whether there has been any peer review of your work by other sceptics and if so could you give some links to these reviews?

      I ask this because I feel that I do not have sufficient scientific understanding to properly evaluate what you are saying.

      Quite frankly I find your literary style difficult to understand and the points you make sometimes don’t seem to flow logically from the evidence you have presented.

    • @ Peter Davies | March 10, 2012 at 2:57 am |:Stefan, thank you for your response. I have had a look at your website and have read some

      Peter, that’s what’s wrong with the commenters – they are all promoting work from scientists that are misleading = going in circle. I use in my work names of experts, only to explain why they are wrong – but just repeating what other scientist say – i see it as unnecessary. Plus, both camps believe in PHONY GLOBAL warmings, I don’t use rubish

      I have my own proofs, everything can be replicated / proven now. Saying that is difficult to understand something – just point WHAT? Using ”difficult” because doesn’t fit your beliefs, is same ”as 99y old man was blaming the young girl’s pubic hair; for making it difficult for him, as his only obstacle..”.

      Peter, Hansen’s and Ian Plimer’s books were peer reviewed – full of misleading garbage. ”Peer review” become as selling ”organic food for double price” When is blemishes on the fruit – put a sign / spin ”organic” and it works.Quality and substance is relevant.

      Peter, my work is easier to understand than theirs (even though with limited English vocabulary); because I’m simplifying – instead
      of inserting irrelevant rubbish as a smokescreen, to confuse. Find what you are really sure that is correct – send to those ”peers” or to any orator – they run for cover as cockroaches, when you turn the lights on. Trust me, it’s lots of fun; when you see some idiots portray themselves as authority; in science or bureaucracy. Show him some real proofs / they can be all proven now – they are scared from real proofs – as the devil from the cross. When a scientist is prepared to dive deep into Antarctic ocean or top of the mountain glaciers, to look for proofs of the phony GLOBAL warming – for fear – mongering…… but is not prepared to read my work; if find a misspelling, or a sentence didn’t understand; and just ask me, please explain in more details = that tells the sincerity.

      If something is not convincing to you and what you have being told – should be because all of those things regarding climate have being misleading. They started with one lie – finished with 10000. Peter, it’s same as when a person tells a lie – next day must tell another two lies, to cover up for the first – then next Monday another 6, to cover for the first 3 – then next month another 12 – to cover the first 6. It has being going for 20years – lots of lies. That’s why, I prove few of their lies wrong, for a example – then explain how is correct and most important; HOW THE THINGS FUNCTION on individual place or subject. When other people understand how things function, in the troposphere, on Antarctic, in the sea and mountain = they can judge any future lie; which part of the lie is wrong / correct, and what is the complete correct version. Only use the laws of physics – those laws don’t change. Same laws of physics were in the past as today – same laws will be in 100y. If is imprint of warmer than normal temp in the past on some place – look for the real reason – don’t call it GLOBAL warming, or GLOBAL ice age! They are NEVER GLOBAL, there is real explanation for everything, CO2 + CH4 are Warmist’s victims / WEAPONS, nothing to do with the reality. ALL PROVEN. Cheers

    • A debate indeed, and if so hopefully with the skeptic side first having pondered its position. There is the bottom-up physics and the top-down empirical solar-proxies battlefield. A risk lies in the former obfuscating the whole while still not reaching criticality. The latter is necessary: along the lines of Scafetta and Alec Rawls going for the no-solar-trend-during-recent-warming flagship, demonstrating crude-model centennial-millennial hindcasting, taking on board historic solar-climate coupling.

    • andrew adams

      The notion that anyone has to right to lie in order to win the public to a certain point of view is wrong, dangerous, and loony.

      Agreed, so it’s a good job that no one is suggesting that.

    • The notion that anyone has to right to lie in order to win the public to a certain point of view is wrong, dangerous, and loony.

      Agreed, so it’s a good job that no one is suggesting that.

      Steve Schneider did, for one.
      And of course virtually the whole ‘consensus’ is actually doing it, hiding data etc etc.

    • andrew adams

      No Schneider didn’t do that. He was making the same point as Lemonick.

    • andrew, just another case of skeptics reading what they want to read rather than what has actually been written.

    • “The notion that anyone has to right to lie in order to win the public to a certain point of view is wrong, dangerous, and loony.”

      They didn’t give that notion. That’s not what any of the quoted articles argued for.

      “It’s clear, or should be clear to any fair minded person that the warmists would jump at the chance to make fools out of the neanderthal climate deniers had they the better argument. Sure, you’re not going to convince said Neanderthals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them look very, very bad in the eyes of the general public.”

      Wrong. Scientists vs showmen = showmen win. We learned that from cases where biologists tried to debate creationists.

      The public get convinced by debate tricks and the shiny toothed cars salesman wins them over everytime while the socially unaware scientist flumps.

  9. The fall from grace was the point when scientists turned activists and utilised their findings as political programmes.
    That was compounded when they bastardised their findings so as to be able to keep on making political points.
    Next came the helping hands of political activists, who helped the scientists with PR, media campaigns and the rest of it.
    Add in the PR departments of Universities and publications, who trumpet ‘new findings, we’re all doomed, say scientists’, add journalists who have to fill their allotted spaces and who only copy and paste the PR material without query – and we are where we are.

    The public? Why, they’re stupid, so cannot by definition understand the lofty scientific messages in all the fine detail. Therefore they must be fed coarse headlines, spiced up by activist propaganda.
    They must be made to understand that it is their fault, and that they must pay for it.

    This will only change when scientists totally disengage their work from political activism.
    It will only change when journalists do their job properly, and scrutinise what they’re given by PR deartments.
    It will only change when journalists dig into the connections between vested interests, scientists and politicians.
    After all, if they can find out about tax fraud committed by politicians,they canfind out who pays whom for what in the swamp that is climate ‘science’.
    And the public is not as stupid as journalists and scientists would like to believe. So let them be able to read scientific papers, data and all, in online journals, let them debate on blogs like this one.
    But keep politics out of it.
    Does a problematical, uncertain warming (if it isn’t a model error anyway) of less than one K justify the destruction of our economies, the destruction of our landscapes, and the death of animals and humans?

    • The fall from grace was the point when scientists turned activists and utilised their findings as political programmes.
      That was compounded when they bastardised their findings so as to be able to keep on making political points.
      Next came the helping hands of political activists, who helped the scientists with PR, media campaigns and the rest of it.
      Add in the PR departments of Universities and publications, who trumpet ‘new findings, we’re all doomed, say scientists’, add journalists who have to fill their allotted spaces and who only copy and paste the PR material without query – and we are where we are.

      Very, very well said. This is exactly how we got where we are. Each part, though not sufficient by itself, was necessary to constructing the whole, sordid mess.

  10. Other than nominally it is caused by the Sun and sh*t happens there’s not much else to say about climate change. We don’t really have any say in the matter and in that respect we’re all nothing more than fleas on a turd waiting for the next big flush…

  11. An interesting comment at Bishop Hill on this topic. http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/3/8/questioning-the-scientists.html
    Science writer Ed Yong says even if scientists get it wrong, journalists must take full responsibility for producing something that is inaccurate. This is very refreshing. Many journalists seem willing to accept the scientist as the final authority. This allows the ‘truth’ to be distorted along the way.
    My vote is for the plain unvarnished truth at all times.

    • Peter, “journalists” accept this authority because it matches the common Green/Left-wing solution narrative. They all in a general way are members of the same tribe.

      Dr. Curry is a member as well, it’s all over this topic.

  12. Judith,

    I think this has been a consistent them on Climate etc since you started it, and the cause is that here science has become the reason for comprehensive policies designed to defeat a problem that may not in fact exist, or turn out to be a much lesser problem than projected. It is the twinning of science and policy that is at the heart of it — not communication, and not science.

    It is that connection that journalists so often miss. In Australia much too little was discussed about the fact that even if the carbon tax was triumphantly successful in its implementation, the effect on carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere would not be discernible for a thousand years, according to Climate Commissioner Flannery. So why are we doing it, again? Somehow that didn’t seem to be a key issue for journalists.

    ‘The whole truth’ is messy, and we all seek clarification of the mess. But in my judgment there has been very little good investigative journalism about AGW save on the sceptical side. As far as the MSM are concerned AGW was presented as a fact, not to be questioned. I think this is changing, slowly, and will change more quickly if the cooling and wet weather continue (we in Australia are supposed to be having El Nino droughts, rather than extensive flooding).

    I have written about how we got into all this, and won’t repeat it here. But I feel like doing so!

  13. It’s possible to be very open but it’s not possible to get everything understood. The big models are an obvious example of that. They are complex enough for taking much off from the value of open access to their code.

    Even the openness has it’s limits. All written material and all code can be made available but not all that knowledge that the model developers have learned in practice. This is not a trivial limitation in case of any large complex model as all of them involve some incompletely documented properties that are taken into account by their most knowledgeable developers and perhaps by their most experienced users.

    When issues are as complex as the study of the Earth system the hands-on experience from the use of models provides much additional basis for judgment of the reliability of the results, but unfortunately working long with some particular model may make scientists also myopic and willing to dismiss some important caveats.

    On the sheer volume of what the full truth might mean the IPCC reports give some clue. This site has seen a lot of discussion of its possible shortcomings, but the full WG1 report has actually fared rather well. With careful reading it does actually contain most of the caveats whose importance has been discussed. It’s wording is sometimes not very clear on them, but it’s 900 large pages seem to tell, how much text telling the whole truth takes, when smaller details are not touched or only hinted to.

    And that’s only the physical science basis.

    • “This is not a trivial limitation in case of any large complex model as all of them involve some incompletely documented properties that are taken into account by their most knowledgeable developers and perhaps by their most experienced users.”

      That was the position of the discoverers of N-Rays. They knew all the tricks and techniques required to visualize N-Rays, when others failed to see them it was due to their not being knowledgeable developers and lacking experience.
      Things don’t change Pekka, you either develop a falsifiable hypothesis and test it to destruction using published methodologies, you know science, or you get involved in silicon enhanced mental masturbation and justify your underlying prejudice; the majority of climate science.
      You can winge that your models are a valid description of reality, but they are not. I know it, you know it and all the programmers know it. I am a research scientist and know all the carp that goes into the sausage machine.
      At least in my case I do not have to massage reality, post-hoc, to make it fit my a prior biases.
      I spend my time always in a state of surprise as reality spits in my face and laughs at my meager knowledge and educated guesses.
      Whereas you and the rest of the digital-dowsers have the boring daily grind of squeezing reality to predetermined shapes.

    • David Springer

      DocMartyn | March 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply

      “I am a research scientist and know all the carp that goes into the sausage machine.”

      “I spend my time always in a state of surprise as reality spits in my face and laughs at my meager knowledge and educated guesses.”

      I’m an engineer and I spend my time in a state of unsurprise because reality confirms my superior knowledge of how things work and educated guesses about how untried things should work.

      Not a single observation that I can think of in climatology has surprised me. Meanwhile climate boffins are running around in a constant state of surprise because they simply do not understand or refuse to accept how things work. It’s heat engines all the way down. Let the engineers figure it out because heat engines are their baliwick. Let the scientists measure things that have not yet been measured or have been measured poorly. Stop them short of explaining why the measurements are what they are.

  14. I suppose Cardinal Bellarmino thought it would be more effective to keep the flock within the true faith) to stifle diffusion of Copernican ideas, which were (rightly) seen as dangerous as concerns religion, just as Darwin’s views were (also rightly) perceived to be several centuries afterwards. And not only for religion: Darwinism was also deemed (by Stalin) to be dangerous for socialism. Free discussion of hot political issues in times of war is often forbidden in the name of national security and to avoid “defeatism”. Even discussion of “sensitive” issues, e.g. possible inherited differences between the brain of males and females, is often avoided for fear of political incorrectness.
    But is science to move according to what is “effective” at each particular moment and according to each particular creed? Or to what is “politically correct”?
    In my view, and particularly when important collective beliefs and policy issues are at play, the role of science is just to tell the truth, honestly showing the facts and advancing any theory that seems to explain the facts, disregarding the consequences. Such hypotheses or theories need not be correct: other theories may in due course emerge that show the former theories were wrong. But sciences progresses by honest rational criticism. The mere fact of considering the issue of “effectiveness” in the sense of promoting a certain set of values or policies is in itself a betrayal of science as an intellectual enterprise.

  15. It’s always a bad start to see the “Truth” and NPR in the same narrative, as if they have a clue what truth is.

    Regardless;

    “Since this has been going on in the context of the climate change problem for 20+ years, we’ve seen that simplicity doesn’t work, and the “good guys” often behave badly (whichever side you define to be “good”; Peter Gleick is the most recent example). In fact when oversimplification is uncovered (e.g. hiding the decline is a case in point), there can be very substantial backlash and loss of trust in the scientists.”

    I can’t think of a paragraph that sums up Dr. Curry’s moral and social confusion about the basic roles the jack-boot green movement plays in her own mind regarding AGW “advocacy”. Hint; no where near the “good guys” in an objective narrative. Aside from that we are discussing levels of Owellian information management by the very consensus (it isn’t a scientific one of course) Dr. Curry will state doesn’t exist elsewhere. This is the basic blocking of what AGW is really about which is politics. Science is just obfuscation in Dr. Curry’s narrative if we want to start using words like “truth”.

    This is a sad and disgraceful topic already. The last paragraph seems mitigating and rational but again reinforces the same authorities that are at the core of science abuse. Yes, disclose and the AGW’s crash and burn will accelerate but the idea that this is something to be negociated is plain crazy. The core AGW science community is a joke on average not in a moral position to negociate reporting information at all. It all smacks of pompous self-rightous arrogance as it is worded. So “in practice” most of the truth adjusting confirms what many skeptics have known for years, AGW advocates are in hot pursuit of a rabid political agenda and are salespeople not scientist, journalists or even handed government officials.

    AGW is failing on it’s own merit, it isn’t about “communication”. The more honest communication there is the fast it will fail and reforms like defunding
    and purging political agendas will take place. We’re talking about climate science community of about 5-10% of the current size.

    • The globe is cooling, but you’re coming in from the cold, Kwan7Twinned.
      ======================

    • Oops, your bot name was still classified, wasn’t it? Sorry bout dat.
      ================

  16. Blimey! NPR going for balance, has anyone informed Ira Flatow?

  17. Ira Flatow is so far in the tank he needs scuba gear to breathe. Just disgusting. I’d drop dead if he….or anyone on NPR…invited a skeptic to give the other side.

    Infuriating is what it is.

  18. Regarding the quote from Dan Hughes, are flux adjustments still used? I thought most models no longer incorporate them?

  19. All your base are moshed to us.
    ========================

  20. Yes – the whole truth should be told.

    There should also be a clear distinction made between facts and opinion.

    An example of a fact – GISS showed that the average global temperature increased .xx C from 1850 to the present (couldn’t remember if it was .8C or not).

    An example of an opinion – I think that every structure in America should be moved to at least 2 meters above high tide, due to potential sea level rise.

    Many people confuse facts and opinion and don’t understand that reasonable minds can differ over “facts”, let alone over “opinions”.

    Here is an example of what not to do: climate sensitivity is 3C.

    Another example of what not to do: the sea will rise 59 cm by 2100.

    These are actually opinions, because they are projections of what will happen in the future, based on computer models, which themselves are built on many many assumptions.

    Projections are not facts.

    So don’t tell me that the temperature will rise 3C +- 1.5 C with a doubling of CO2 to 560 ppm – tell me that such and so a model projects that the temperature will rise 3C +- 1.5C with a doubling of CO2 to 560 ppm.

    Then we can have a better conversation.

    • Here is an example of what not to do: climate sensitivity is 3C.

      In fact don’t even claim that “climate sensitivity” without any modifier is a well-defined term.

      An emerging view is that there are different notions of climate sensitivity. This realization still has not penetrated however, and people continue to talk about “climate sensitivity” as though it were like Planck’s constant, able to be measured to higher and higher precision as you do more and more experiments. Such people are living in a state of sin.

      Here is an example of what to do: have a hundred people simply define precisely what each one understands “climate sensitivity” to mean. Then collect all hundred answers in the same place. It will then be obvious that the idea of climate sensitivity as a particular number is absurd without a precise definition attached to the term.

      I claim that no workable definition has been given to date the defines the concept sufficiently well that even its second decimal digit can be measured reliably using that definition.

    • @ Vaughan Pratt | March 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

      Vaughan, I’m impressed. Second digit is for the Urban Sheep; third digit is for the fanatics from both camps. Knowing the temperature in a thousandth of a degree is; to separate the ones that are in need of urgent psychiatric help. By the way Vaughan, did you understand the: sensitivity of oxygen + nitrogen in shrinking / expanding, when is change of temperature? That is the best medicine for the ”lost” brothers and sisters

      Your mob has being spooking the idiots for 20years BOO! BOO!!! The end result is; the straight jacket manufacturers will benefit a lot. I was telling them that: ”if somebody tells about GLOBAL temperature variation of 0,034C, he is not talking about the temperature; but about himself; or about his opinion of you, as a B/S consumer”. I don’t think is my limited English; but he thinks, if is not 0,034C… maybe is even 0,035C…

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      Vaughan Pratt: I claim that no workable definition has been given to date the defines the concept sufficiently well that even its second decimal digit can be measured reliably using that definition.

      I doubt both the sign and the first significant digit.

    • It’s not just the models that tell us that the temperature will rise 3C+/- 1.5 C with a doubling of CO2.

      There are other lines of evidence that tell us the same story.

      Does that start a conversation?

    • Yes it does. What are the lines of evidence. Let’s try to falsify them, one by one.

    • Try and falsify this then,

      http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf

      You will need a rather large grant, perhaps Heartland will help.

    • “Climate has great variability, much of which is unforced and unpredictable [2, 90]. This fact raises a practical issue: what is the chance that climate variations, e.g., a temporary cooling trend, will affect public recognition of climate change, making it difficult to implement mitigation policies?”

      This is laughable! They’re afraid of temporary cooling! The whole paper is so stupid, it hurts. No evidence in that paper, only handwaving and assumptions. Typical “CO2 the knob” propaganda.

      “Equilibrium sea level rise for today’s 385 ppm CO2 is at least several meters, judging from paleoclimate history [19, 32-34].”

      Several meters!

      The paper cannot be falsified, it’s not even wrong.

    • You will have to do much better than that.

      “Several meters” with an exclamation mark is no falsification.

      Typical drivel

    • A. C. Osborn

      You quote GISS as a FACT, you have to be joking. Don’t you read any other Forums about data manipulation?

    • they are lies

  21. Jim C writes: “The best we can hope for is that some prominent scientist, who is currently strongly associated with the proponents of CAGW, such as out hostess, to make such a strong and public statement of what you suggest.”

    It’s a tall order and I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon, but it sure would be nice.

    As to J.C, she’s really been doing that for a long while it seems to me in her measured, hence quite effective way. I think she’s done more for climate change skepticism than any other scientist I can think of, in part precisely because she refuses to “take sides.” I notice that some quite liberal outlets are calling her now to get a quote when something breaks. I saw something recently in the Washington Post that was quite strong. To me, that’s a very encouraging sign. News is news, and I think the msm is getting the idea…at last…that there really might be a story here (to wit, the science is very far from settled)…

  22. Pursuant to my above comment, what I’m really hoping for is some generally liberal journalist to dig into this. Can you imagine what a Matt Taibbi could do with this story? So much the better that he writes for Rolling Stone.

    • Andy Revkin got the tip. He even has another schtick, population and environment, upon which to depend and it would boost his credibility to admit that climate and energy have been badly and sadly portrayed.

      I told him four years ago that there was a big prize awaiting the journalist who tells the story.
      ==============

    • KIm,
      I can’t agree more. Which is why I think some explosive expose type story is inevitable. Of course it has to come from the left to be effective.

      As to Revkin, I honestly don’t get that guy. Sometimes I just think he’s not very bright. He sees some of this, but has a huge, probably insurmountable lefty bias.

      And he’s not above outright prevarication. I called him out for writing in the NYT Review of Books that re globale warming, the “overwhelming majority of scientists agree man is influencing the environment in a potentially calamitous way.” He knows damn well that’s true only if you stretch the weasel word “potentially” so far out of shape it’s lost all useful meaning.

    • I have defended Andy Revkin’s curiosity and intellectual integrity on many boards, but he disappointed me when he begged for the status of opinionator in the Gleick Affair when called on his reportage. He has been in on Catastrophic Global Warming from the gitgo, though, and it may be hard for him to give up his first born idea. He’s had plenty since, though, but this one had a genetic defect.
      =========================

    • Kiim,
      He’s not the worst guy on that side of the divide, that’s for sure, but I really hate that he won’t answer inconvenient questions. When I recently asked him how he could reconcile the according to him, mistaken but “well intended’ Peter Gleick’s obvious hypocricy (he stole and likely forged documents because he was” frustrated by the skeptics refusal to debate” or words to the effect…despite the fact that he’d just turned down an invitation from HI to do just that) all I got was crickets. He does that all the time.

      Sure, fine. His blog. He can do what he damn well pleases. But it’s a clear pattern with him. Say stupid crap then decline to defend said stupid crap.

      All in all, dotearth is a nauseating slog through a toxic swamp of vapidity. Some of the characters over there are truly detestable.

    • kim,
      I think it could be that someone like Eric Berger at the Houston Chronicle will be able to tell the story well. Watching Revkin slowly develop a rationalization for Gleick has serious implications about how compromised he may be by the AGW movement.

    • h, you know(I believe) that the process of slowly developing a rationalization for evil has got to be hard on Andy Revkin.

      pg, I called one of those sadsacks a ‘bag of bones caging his soul’ and Andy objected without censoring. I pointed out that the phrase was a good deal less vituperative than a lot of what went on there(particularly directed toward skeptics.)

      Gotta get my Gleick.
      ==============

  23. In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

    - Yogi Berra

  24. Lemonick’s musing is more amusing than interesting. He accepts CAGW so the uncertainties he says are dishonest to teach are precisely those we skeptics think are central to the debate.

  25. “So does it make us intellectually dishonest not to be trumpeting this potential challenge to conventional ideas? Not really:”

    So no longer is science hypothesis, test the hypothesis to destruction.
    No longer do you use your intellect to prove you model wrong, instead you use it to persuade people that your politically motivated model is perfectly correct and requires not testing.

    Post-modern science in the raw.

    The thing is, when this all goes pear-shaped, actual scientists are going to be tarred with the same brush as these charlatans.
    Science has been parasitized by groups of people who clothe themselves in its prestige, but infect its body with viral memes that destroy its fabric.

    • “Post-modern science in the raw.”

      Being 50-ish, I was an undergrad during that time when the relativism of that time’s Continental philosophy came ashore on this side of the Atlantic. When these kinds of discussions go on, I can’t help but suspect that a whole generation of the country’s elites (and yes, I’m a member) have been strongly influenced by all that, by the idea that language and discourse and rhetoric are all about power, not rationality, and that there’s little point in even trying to be unbiased. Maybe this isn’t as widespread as all that, but it doesn’t take a big mean difference to create a strong difference in the tails of distributions. And after all, we members of the cultural elite come from the tails of the distribution.

      As far as the next generation goes, I often think of a quote from Frederick Crews: “Weariness with standards of rationality in one generation become pathetic ignorance of them in the next.” And I shudder just a bit.

    • As far as the next generation goes, I often think of a quote from Frederick Crews: “Weariness with standards of rationality in one generation become pathetic ignorance of them in the next.” And I shudder just a bit.

      So would you say the relentless march of science, engineering, and technology has been relenting a bit lately? Or a lot? And if so, equally in all countries?

    • Vaughan, I really don’t know, and if I sounded like I thought I did, sorry about that. To be more precise, though, I am thinking less of what scientists and engineers do in their own disciplines with one another, and more of how they, journalists and public intellectuals interact with each other, and indirectly how that filters down to everyone else. I should have been more specific.

    • Vaughan, I’ll be more specific. Mainly I’m a statistician nowadays and I teach statistics, experimental design and econometrics. I think I am teaching students about rational canons of empirical inference. I think there are people like me in most science and engineering fields. I think most of us know that following the canons is difficult, but that it is worth teaching these to students.

      In other areas of the Academy, notably in the humanities, philosophy, history, sociology and anthropology, the ideas of a generation of postmodern thinkers have been very influential. Many of those thinkers deny that there are such things as rational canons of empirical inference. They make the argument that those canons are simply ways to exercise political power, even in the sciences and engineering. This is what the ‘Science Wars’ issue of the journal Social Text was all about; and it was there where Alan Sokal’s famous hoax article appeared. Probably you know all about that.

      To the extent that journalists, lawyers and politicians are primarily people with backgrounds in the fields heavily influenced by postmodern thinking–not the sciences or engineering–I expect a correspondingly heavy influence of postmodern thought amongst them. Perhaps I’m wrong to think that opinion makers, jurists and politicians seldom have backgrounds in the fields which still believe in norms of rational inference. But there seem to be a mounting number of scandals involving journalists and public intellectuals (at least in the US)–plagiarism, fiction sold as nonfiction, and so forth. These things seem to be indicators of a general decline in the notion that there is a “truth” worth effort–that the story or narrative is more important than any seeking after truth, particularly if it exercises power over others. By power, I mean politically effective speech.

      The subject of Dr. Curry’s post seems to reflect a moment, now, when opinion makers candidly and openly discuss whether a speaker should strive for politically effective speech rather than objectively true speech, and that seems like a sea change to me.

    • @ Vaughan Pratt | March 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm: So would you say the relentless march of science, engineering, and technology has been relenting a bit lately? Or a lot? And if so, equally in all countries?

      Yes, equally in all countries, thanks to the internet and telephones. If internet and telephones existed 3000 years ago; now we would have had one religion on the whole planet; and don’t argue with me Vaughan, because I’m correct!!! Most of people in the past were bashed and killed, to force them to believe in religion; now they will kill in the name of that religion…?! How many of the Warmist / Skeptics are born losers; but are aggressively promoting the fairy-tales?

  26. Good grief! Lemonick looks to NPR for guidelines to truth and fairness?

    Anyone right of center recognizes the profound liberal bias of NPR when it comes to just about everything that touches upon politics — climate change, Obama, Bush, the Iraq War, Israel, conservatives etc.

    I’m sure that most of the folks at NPR believe that they are doing their best to seek the truth and present it fairly. I’m not going to argue here that their side is wrong and the conservative side is right, but I will point out that it is a testament to the thorniness of the problem that NPR’s sincere attempts at truth and fairness should look so transparently bogus to about half of America.

    Writing up a mission statement doesn’t solve anything.

    • It’s something NPR and Dr. Curry have in common, delusional belief in their own objectivity.

      Go to the huffington post and you can find people who think NPR and the NYTimes are “right wing” and they frame their arguments accordingly.

    • I’m not going to argue here that their side is wrong and the conservative side is right, but I will point out that it is a testament to the thorniness of the problem that NPR’s sincere attempts at truth and fairness should look so transparently bogus to about half of America.

      Huxley, one question that has interested me on and off for decades, and which has lately come to a head for me with this really intense climate debate, is why such a clean divide between liberals and conservatives, particularly in the US (other countries sometimes divide along more or less different lines).

      My current best guess (which is not terribly different from what it was in 1972 when I was a junior faculty member at MIT) is that conservatives are more rule-based than liberals. They appreciate law and order, whether imposed by business leaders and observed by employees who get the point of organization and appreciate the structure it brings (not to mention their job!), or imposed by military leaders who need an army with a degree of coordination whose strategic benefits in a war are appreciated by that army from top to bottom, or imposed by God and observed by the devout. Or they simply appreciate the mores, conventions, and case law of their society as built up over the decades and centuries based on long experience, which make it easier for people to coexist without having to improvise their own rules on every occasion that a question arises. The Golden Rule might have worked well three thousand years ago, but has become somewhat of an anachronism today.

      Liberals are the opposite. They’re like the hiker that goes out with the minimal equipment to survive, with the thought that they can improvise their way out of any situation. Not that they always can, but they’re right just often enough that liberals haven’t yet died out, much as Ann Coulter wishes they would.

      Liberals make good scientists because science is advanced not by accepting the status quo but by rejecting any part of it that seems to have a weak link, which they replace with a better link regardless of what their boss or society tells them. Scientists who demand adherence to the established textbooks are better suited to careers in industry or teaching than research. Engineers are in between for exactly these sorts of reasons, and as one might expect one finds a relatively balanced proportion of liberals and conservatives among engineers, or at least not the same proportion as among scientists.

      But while I don’t foresee this gap disappearing, or even becoming less marked (it will probably become more marked with time), I do see it as narrowing. On the conservative side, the rapidly increasing pace and novelty of technology (and science, and society) is obliging conservatives to become more creative or risk dying out. On the liberal side, the rapidly increasing complexity of civilization is obliging liberals to following increasingly many rules or risk dying out.

      So why doesn’t the gap eventually disappear? Well, my theory of that is that it actually is disappearing. Its disappearance is masked however by the rapidly growing population, now hitting 7 billion. You don’t need more outspoken spokespersons for each side to maintain the appearance of a strong divide, even while their numbers dwindle when expressed as a percentage of the population. Each human can only spare each spokesperson a certain amount of time. This phenomenon constrains the media who are coming under ever increasing pressure from would-be spokespeople when the extant broadcast channel capacity can only support the present number.

      This pressure can be relieved to some extent with niche media for specialized audiences, along with coffee houses, phone trees, and any other mechanism for more efficient distribution of points of view. However that constitutes a diversion of pressure away from the main divide where the main conceptual and ideological battles of the day are fought, and where there is only limited room for those at the cutting edge of those debates. The public instinctively senses that the main issues are best understood at the main boundary, and that niche channels are noisy breeding grounds for every conceivable kind of heresy that is unlikely to carry any weight the cutting edge of the debate where the main debates are honed to greatest sharpness.

      One test of this theory would be whether swing voters are seeing their influence increasing. Signs of this would support my theory. What I don’t know is whether the influence of swing voters is increasing or decreasing. It might be worth monitoring that influence more closely in future. On the other hand it’s hard to monitor because there is a positive feedback wherein more swing voters force the sides to pay them more attention, further narrowing the gap which then acts to drive many swing voters back out of the gap to one side or the other.

      If you have a better theory as to what causes this increasingly more visible divide between liberals and conservatives, I’m all ears.

    • Captain Kangaroo

      Vaughan old buddy – you know I am there for you. Who else would explian the 3rd of motion for you or show you how to drink, swear, spit and ride bulls at the same time or what to do to meet more women. Actually – a funny thing has happened since I took a commission in the climate wars. I have become a much nicer person. What’s the point otherwise – I could rant and insult but who’s gunna care from a guy called Captain Kangaroo? Absolutely no one that’s who. On the other hand the idea of someone trying to have a serious discussion with Captain Kangaroo just cracks me up.

      To set the tone for what is to follow – I will refer you first to an essay by the sainted Heyak – “Why I am not a conservative’. – http://photobucket.com/login

      ‘This difference between (classic) liberalism and conservatism must not be obscured by the fact that in the United States it is still possible to defend individual liberty by defending long-established institutions. To the liberal they are valuable not mainly because they are long established or because they are American but because they correspond to the ideals which he cherishes.’

      I suggest you follow that up with a therapeutic dose of Team America. Have to go now – I have a date with a cowgirl.

      Best regards
      Captain Kangaroo

    • Vaughan, this is possibly of interest to you, data-wise:

      Morris P. Fiorina and Samuel J. Abrams. 2008. Political Polarization in the American Public.

      “For more than two decades political scientists have discussed rising elite polarization in the United States, but the study of mass polarization did not receive comparable attention until fairly recently. This article surveys the literature on mass polarization. It begins with a discussion of the concept of polarization, then moves to a critical consideration of different kinds of evidence that have been used to study polarization, concluding that much of the evidence presents problems of inference that render conclusions problematic. The most direct evidence—citizens’ positions on public policy
      issues—shows little or no indication of increased mass polarization over the past two to three decades. Party sorting—an increased correlation
      between policy views and partisan identification—clearly has occurred, although the extent has sometimes been exaggerated. Geographic
      polarization—the hypothesized tendency of like-minded people to cluster together—remains an open question.To date, there is no conclusive evidence that elite polarization has stimulated voters to polarize, on the one hand, or withdraw from politics, on the other.”

      http://web.posc.jmu.edu/seminar/readings/4b-polarization/cultwar%20fiorina%2008%20culture%20war.pdf

    • @ Vaughan Pratt | March 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Vaughan, you are still looking with the right eye closed. Marx and Al Gore demand more strict obedience. 2] conservative go into engineering, medicine – they are responsible people (there are exceptions) But the left, as predators; they are into shonky professions – they manipulate the politicians to legalize extortion – because they cannot produce anything useful that sells and contributes

      Actually, today’s Greens must have the feudal gene. They want to control the people and land / to loot for benefits; without any work

    • “Liberals make good scientists because science is advanced not by accepting the status quo but by rejecting any part of it that seems to have a weak link, which they replace with a better link regardless of what their boss or society tells them.”

      You do realize what an inane statement this is right on the face of it?

      Liberalism is all about peer conformity and approval found in groups and culture. AGW beliefs fit like a glove.

    • All ears and only math between ‘em. Such impoverished politics from such a puerile insight. Oh well, much is explained.
      ==============

    • “If you have a better theory as to what causes this increasingly more visible divide between liberals and conservatives, I’m all ears.”

      There is a book, Darwinian Politics: The Evolutionary Origin of Freedom, by Paul Rubin, that anyone who seeks an answer to that question should read carefully, especially the chapters on the evolutionary origin of envy. If you want to reduce the difference between what are now called “Liberals” and “Conservatives” in the USA to a single factor I suggest to you it is the difference between envy and jealousy as moral intuitions. The core moral intuition of the “Liberal” is envy, that is: a gut intuition that it is unjust for anyone to have significantly more of a good thing than anyone else; and the core moral intuition of the “Conservative” is jealousy, that is: a gut intuition that it is unjust for anyone to take from someone else that which belongs to that someone else. Conservatives believe they are entitled to keep good things to themselves and Liberals believe they are entitled to a share. Rationalizing those propositions is the entire enterprise of their political debate. Indeed, you could describe the whole history of the debate between the Left and the Right as the War between Envy and Jealousy.

    • Vaughn Pratt: Likewise I am interested in the liberal/conservative divide and how it might be bridged. More and more it seems to me that it is pointless to discuss the topmost disagreements in the national debate (including climate) when the real problems are buried several levels down.

      Your characterization of liberals vs. conservatives reminds me of Jonathan Haidt’s efforts. If you are unfamiliar with Haidt, I recommend this TED talk. For my money you and Haidt can’t help patronizing conservatives and favoring liberals in your overviews, but I appreciate the effort to understand.

      Unlike most people, I know both sides of the liberal / conservative divide from the inside. I was strongly liberal-progressive all my life until I rethought things after 9-11. My “openness to experience,” which is one of Haidt’s chief distinctions between liberals and conservatives remains intact, but I find the current conservative map of our political-economic world more useful.

      I don’t have any easy answers. The two sides work from different values, assumptions, canons, emphases, blind spots, and even different sets of facts. All of these differences are heightened by the emotional polarization and sense of urgency today. The situation has become so extreme that it looks to me like the two sides are basically in a cold civil war which won’t be settled with dialog or compromise.

    • Thanks for the link: yes so far Haidt has divided political ideology into two very useful examples:
      Liberal – appreciate the beauty of Michealangelo’s David, and eat at Chez Francois
      Conservative – “transfixed” by the stsatue’s penis, eat at applebee’s

    • And, a pal of mine observed, “Hey, Hitler was sincere”.

  27. What is statistically significant again? Thinking about TMI, “Wing found cancer rates raised within a 10-mile radius two years after the accident by 0.034% +/- 0.013%, 0.103% +/- 0.035%, and 0.139% +/- 0.073% for all cancer, lung cancer, and leukemia, respectively.[15]” For Wikipedia, TMI Health concerns.

    With the average US risk for all cancers at 44.8%, lung at 7.7% and leukimia at 1.7%, leukemia increasing to 1.8% would appear to be more significant than the other two. Dr. Wing, appears to have considered his results significant while the court system did not agree.

    If a climate scientist believes that significant is the same as Dr. Wing, then the courts would probably disagree with them as well. I am not particularly sure I would want Dr. Wing’s definition of significant to determine what choice I would have in my life, though I am sure Dr. Wing would only have the best of intentions.

    I believe there may be other examples of statistical significance that were not considered significant by the public or the courts. So I would say that it would be best to accurately describe all uncertainty and possibly standardizing a method of risk communication that the public can understand.

    • Capt Dallas, most leukemia’s are probably caused by viral infections. Clusters appear in places where a immune naive population is exposed to large numbers of ‘foreigners’.
      Just as nuclear power stations tend to be built away from population centers, so do other things.
      Here is rather a nice paper on the subject.
      http://ctep.cancer.gov/investigatorResources/childhood_cancer/docs/popmixing.pdf

    • Markus Fitzhenry.

      No Docmartyn, Leukemia is caused by gene mutations. More likely from electromagnetic disturbances than viral infections. You cannot pass leukemia to those not affected.

      That paper you pointed to was a redneck publication.

    • Redneck Publication! That’s right up my alley :)

      Doc, Viruses are pretty amazing.

    • Yes, every single one is made by a cell. Cells make viruses. Viruses are cell products.

    • Indeed Markus, perhaps you could share with the class how mutations in DNA can arise from non-ionizing radiation?
      We can stick animals, people and cell cultures in all sorts of magnetic fields without effect, in fact we do it in MRI machines all the time.
      Human T-lymphotropic virus Type I causes leukemia , the other members of this family probably also cause cancers.

      We could do an experiment in the form of a bet, I test your hypothesis and you can test mine.
      I will continue to live underneath a power line and continue to use my mobile phone and I inject you with HTLV-1, Epstein-Barr, Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, human papillomavirus and Merkel cell polyomavirus.
      I will also carry on smoking my cigars.
      Who ever dies of cancer first loses the bet. You up for it Markus?

    • Markus, Doc will keep smoking cigars. How can you lose? :)

  28. People have evolved a tremendous ability to lie and imagine, but like every arms race that came with an equal ability to spot these things. The ‘BS detector’ is a long term program, it assigns weights to groups and individuals, and is slow to forgive. So while you might slip the odd lie past people, over time the detector is pretty much fool proof. People lying convince themselves that if others don’t have the ability to prove them false, they will be believed. Imagine if that were true, the world would collapse in 10 minutes.

    The equation is something like, (1 / ‘severity of what is said’) / ‘how big a liar said it’. Every ounce of lie destroys a ton of good will, and getting caught lying about big things converts credibility at a much higher rate.

    To read the headline is to understand why no one takes climate science and its predictions of doom seriously. How can you even think that? Everyone’s BS detector gets an instant ping, except true believers, the media, and policy makers — these groups are acclimatized to BS due to their environment, giving them a much higher threshold for it. They also need giant narratives. Hard to accommodate both us and them.

  29. I completely agree that online social media is very powerful for facilitating communication of climate science directly involving scientists. 2 benefits of this are:
    (1) open discussion of the science between working scientists, that others can see
    (2) discussion between scientists and non-scientists – people asking each other questions and responding to them, often as an interruption to (1) above!

    Blogs like this one of yours (and also my friend Tamsin’s AllModelsAreWrong.com) are great for that. So is Twitter, albeit the restrictions of short messages (although that it also often an advantage as it forces one to stick to the point!)

    However the key point is that it should be two-way engagement in the same forum, so you can have a proper conversation and really get to the bottom of where differences or misunderstandings arise. Where it sometimes goes wrong is where a post is made on one blog and then someone writes a rebuttal on a different blog. This is the equivalent of just hurling rocks at each other from a distance, rather than coming together and figuring our what the fight is actually about and how to stop it. Nobody ever wins because each side can merely cite it’s own argument in future, and ignore the other one. Also, keeping a distance maintains an atmosphere of mistrust, so the audience is far less likely to be convinced (apart from each side’s existing audience, who are probably already convinced anyway).

    The one major problem, though, is time. A one-off post can be over and done with, whereas ongoing engagement can take up a lot of time! Lack of further responses in an online discussion can be misinterpreted as ignoring, when it fact it’s just that the person is otherwise engaged.

    Nevertheless I think online engagement by scientists is a very good thing, as it lets the complexity of scientific discussions be laid bare – this has got to be good for public understanding of science (I don’t subscribe to the view that the public need to be given a “simple message” – I find that patronising in the extreme, both “simple” and “message”!)

    • Well said Dr B

      Although social media have their advantages, I think they can also polarise. A significant majority of partisans interact solely with fellow partisans on blogs that are extremely hostile to the ‘enemy’. Throwing rocks becomes the default mode of communication.

      This problem isn’t quite universal, but how many blogs entertain participants from both sides in civil conversation?
      How many proponents of either extreme are even interested in examining sources of disagreement and misunderstanding?

      It ‘is the way it is’, but I don’t share Dr Curry’s view that there is a way out of the ‘gridlock’ – mostly because for many people what is behind the debate is political or ideological.

    • AGW is an ideological movement, why should we pretend otherwise?

  30. It’s kind of funny that anyone could write about the certainty of climate change like Michael Lemonik did when the climate is 10 years into a plateau and GCM’s still can’t properly model something as fundamental as clouds. The pacific ocean cycle is in a cold phase and will be for another decade or more while the solar cycles are becoming longer and weaker. Mother Nature has set up a great scientific experiment. You simply explain the two hypothesis, one that has temperature dominated by anthroprogenic green house gas concentration changes and the other by natural variation in the ocean and solar cycles. If by 2025 the global average temperature 0.3C warmer, Green House Gas theory wins. if it’s colder by at least 0.2C then natural variable dominate. People would understand this simple juxtaposition, it’s a prediction that is verifiable and might make for an interesting horse race.

  31. “So should the overall message be that nobody knows anything? I don’t think so. We would never want to pretend the uncertainty isn’t there, since that would be dishonest. But featuring it prominently is dishonest ,too, just as trumpeting uncertainty in the smoking-cancer connection would have been.”

    Message: We can’t trust those stupid voters to make the right decision,. so we have to withhold some things from them, but if we withhold everything the we have been, then we will get truthfully described as dishonest advocates, rather than objective scientists.

    So we have to find a happy medium between being flat out liars by omission, and giving the public enough information to actually make an informed choice.

    A long rationalization for the condescending structuring of information to force the public into a desired result. This is just more of the same musings on messaging, dressed up as a paen to integrity.

    There is nothing new in the climate debate.

    There is only one answer to the question – Should we tell the whole truth? “Hell yes.”

    • That is not his message. He believes the uncertainties are not significant, so stressing them would misrepresent th situation. He is mistaken about the insignificance, but his statement is consistent with his beliefs.

    • Good point David. We’d all do well to keep in mind the distinction between lying and speaking from incorrect beliefs. It is the handle by which things can best be borne.

    • David Wojick,

      I disagree. While Lemonick contrasts “trumpeting” uncertainties as opposed to “suppressing” them, the gist of his argument is at best that they should be cited somewhere, but not in a way to attract any attention.

      There simply is no middle ground in “telling the truth.” You either do or you don’t. Like most CAGW activists, he paints a false dichotomy. You don’t have to “trumpet” uncertainty, just acknowledge it.

      Notice the title of his article – “Should We Tell the Whole Truth About Climate Change,: not Should We Trumpet Uncertainties About Global Warming. I still say the only honest answer to the question he poses is an unqualified yes.

      If you even have to ask the question of whether you should tell the whole truth, you are discussing the degree to which dishonesty is acceptable. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Madam, we have established what type of woman you are. Now we are just haggling over price.”

    • GaryM,
      “But featuring it prominently is dishonest ,too, just as trumpeting uncertainty in the smoking-cancer connection would have been.”

      The uncertainity of climate is what makes this such a beautiful discussion every day. It only gets boring when someone thinks the discussion is “settled science”.

  32. Ironic that the Nature article is pretty biased. Canadian government scientists aren’t being blocked from publishing or giving media interviews. They have to go through a bureaucratic process to get approval (since they are going to be speaking on behalf of the GofC not unreasonable). This is taking time (days) and as a result they are missing opportunities to be interviewed in response to breaking scientific news. In other words their path to being a media darling/star is being blocked. They do have a choice: resign their government scientist job and go into academia (ala Weaver), the media (ala Suzuki), or private industry (ala McIntyre).

  33. The only way that I see out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form that is easily accessible to the public, and let it be discussed in extended peer communities and by policy makers and their technical advisors. This approach is ill-suited to traditional mainstream journalism, but well suited to online social media.

    That I think says it all. History is on your side, Dr Curry. At least it will be in the future :)

    • “The only way that I see out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form that is easily accessible to the public”

      Not possible with the current paywall system for papers claimed as highly influential. This issue is absolutely critical to the “truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth” concept

    • Again, agreed. There may be creative ways to use online advertising to ‘reward’ publishers and authors but the old ways must change – and what drives the change is the extraordinary claims on public policy climate science is making. The politicians that are being asked to implement the policies should have insisted on this long ago. But if they haven’t yet arrived at a rational view, Dr Curry has.

  34. Just to be contrary – In a democracy, it’s the publics fault. With modern attention spans of 15 seconds, and everything reduced to ‘soundbites’, he with the best soundbites wins.

    Most scientists know this, most journalists use it, and few members of the public complain about it.

    Only in the blogosphere is it different, because the participants have a genuine and deep interest in the subject, and are prepared to type for hours if need be to get a point across.

    • Peter Davies

      Yes, there are plenty of people who put a lot into their posts and regardless of whether I agree with their POV or not, I have learned heaps and appreciate the time and trouble they have taken.

  35. “Climate change” is based on a lie: that climate used to be both stable and gentle. Nothing could be farther from the truth. – Harold Ambler.

    Say no more!

  36. Should I repay ALL the money I stole? I don’t know. I mean, I really like having some of it. And do I HAVE to disclose on my resume that I got fired by my previous employer? Do they have to know ALL that stuff? I mean, come on. I really want this latex salesman/climate scientist job thing.

    Andrew

  37. Phil: Hey man, that was a good looking model I saw you with last night!
    Mann in street: Between you and me, it didn’t work out. Initial conditions just were’nt right.
    Phil: (sigh) Guess we’ve all had that experience with models. Life’s too complex, I reckon.
    Mann in street: Yeah. I’m thinking of writing another book. Something post moderne on alienation.

  38. scepticalWombat

    Don Aitkin
    (we in Australia are supposed to be having El Nino droughts, rather than extensive flooding)

    Could you give me a reference for this statement. I am not aware of any climate scientist who has claimed that ENSO will move into a permanent El Nino phase. My impression was that the mainstream theory was that the cycle would continue but that La Ninas would be warmer and wetter (in Australia) and El Ninos would be hotter and drier.

    • Captain Kangaroo

      There really was quite a discussion on whether we had moved to more intense and frequent El Nino pattern post 1976.

      Even a very cursory google search reveals much –

      ‘How will the El Niño phenomenon be affected by a global warming?
      This is what the Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the Max-Planck Institute (Germany), Matt Collins of Univ. Reading (U.K.) think. There is even a short entry about global warming and ENSO in Wikipedia. The brevity of this entry may reflect the fact that the question about how ENSO will respond to a global warming is still not settled. However, it seems that one common trait among some climate models is the indication that a global warming may result in a more a general El Niño-type average state (eg. Collins et al. 2005, Climate Dynamics, 24, 89-104. 19 and here).’ http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/el-nino-global-warming/

      In reality there is little theory at all that explains varibility in ENSO – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=ENSO11000.gif

    • scepticalWombat

      Even if you accept a prediction of a higher El Nino average state it doesn’t imply ( as Don appears to be saying) that 2012 should be an El Nino year. But as you say no one appears to have confidently predicted even an increased incidence of El Nino – nor have they discounted it.

    • Captain Kangaroo

      We get decadal changes in rainfall is Australia – called drought and flood dominated regimes if you want to google it. 25 odd years of high summer rainfall and 25 year of low summer rainfall. They are caused by natural changes in the frequency and intensity of La Nina and El Nino. But that changes hugely across history – as in the 11,000 year proxy I showed. The drying of the Sahel from 5,000 years ago, the demise of the Minoan civilisation from 3,500 years ago, hudreds of years of drought and hundreds of years of cyclones and floodind. All preserved in sediment in a South American lake – amazin’.

    • Captain Kangaroo

      We are in a cool La Nina mode. You can see the recent ENSO history here – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/ – La Nina (blue) dominant to 1976. El Nino (red) to 1998, and La Nina again since.

      All perfectly natural. I think Don was being a bit snarky and not serious. We were promised permanant drought – now it is drought and intense rainfall. What we are likely to get from natural causes in more flooding in Australia and drought in the US for a decade or three more. The CO2 effects are so minor as to be not noticeable.

    • scepticalWombat

      As you say we have had a lot of La Ninas in the last decade and solar radiation has been going down, yet average global temperatures have shown a slight increase instead of the decrease that might have been expected. I wonder why.

    • Captain Kangaroo

      La Nina has certainly picked up – but it is really a mixed signal up to 2008 when NASA announced the cool Pacific mode kicking in.

      So in the CERES data – Clouds (!!!) and Earth’s Radiant Energy System we have it all – what there is of it – happening in the short wave.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=CERES-BAMS-2008-with-trend-lines1.gif

      But with the Sun cooling over the rest of the decade -
      http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/total_solar_irradiance_plots/images/tim_level3_tsi_24hour_640x480.png – and the cool Pacific Decadal Variation kicking in big time – well what do you reckon.

      It helps to look at the data instead of being a pig ignorant warminista pr_ck.

      Best regards
      Captain Kangaroo

    • Captain Kangaroo

      A smarmy warminista pr_ck laying ENSO gotchas for Captain Kangaroo? You have got to be kidding. It was always ENSO and clouds.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=Wong2006figure7.gif

      Try this one for why it hasn’t warmed much at all – http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/

    • scepticalWombat

      What I really like about this blog is the level of civility displayed by the denizens.

    • Wait’ll you hear what Mr. GreenGenes says off camera.
      ==============================

  39. The simple truth is the Old Farmers Almanac has a better record predicting climate change than the witchdoctors of academia.

  40. The whole truth – yes, but nothing but the truth. For example, Willis wrote on WUWT: . the guesstimated range of climate sensitivity hasn’t narrowed in any significant fashion. It’s still right around 3 ± 1.5°C per double of CO2, just like it was in 1979.

    Indeed, and they still don’t recognise, even though it’s been pointed out numerous times, that the sensitivity calculation is based on completely fabricated “physics” which assumes, firstly that the Earth’s surface only loses thermal energy by radiation – hence their 255K figure – and then they say that 33 degrees is due to water vapour and trace gases, when in fact it’s not 33 degrees at all (because the 255K is wrong) , and whatever it should be is due to the acceleration due to gravity, which determines the adiabatic lapse rate. Then, to cap it off, they put back evaporation and diffusion (wrongly named convection or thermals) into their energy diagrams, thus admitting their mistake in assuming that the surface only radiates like a perfectly insulated blackbody does.

    They also neglect the cooling effect due to absorption of solar radiation in the SW IR range, followed by upwelling “backradiation” to space. This SW IR has more energy per photon than does the LW IR from the surface. And backradiation to space does prevent warming, just like reflection, whereas backradiation downwards cannot transfer thermal energy to the surface – it can only slow the radiative component of surface cooling, not the evaporative of diffusion processes.

    Hence there is absolutely no basis whatsoever for any warming sensitivity when, in fact, carbon dioxide almost certainly has a very slight net cooling effect.

    • Doug, you write “Hence there is absolutely no basis whatsoever for any warming sensitivity…”

      I must say it is a real pleasure to see someone else writing these words. I have been convinced of this for many years. There is no proper physics that allows anyone to estimate what the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is. None whatsoever. Any numbers which are quoted, even by Dr. Lindzen, are purely hypothetical and meaningless. It is not that there is uncertainty as to what the climate sensitivity of CO2 is, the hypothetical estimations give us absolutely no idea what the number might be.

      The only thing we know for sure on the subject of CO2 climate sensitivity, is that there is no CO2 “signal” in the temperature/time graph. No such “signal” has been observed. So the indications are that the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero.

      The 60 trillion dollar question is “How much longer will we have to wait when no CO2 “signal” has been observed, before it is agreed that the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero?”

    • Uh oh, there’s trouble at the Old Mill, honey. Call Steven Mosher, quick, to put this fire out. lol

      Andrew

    • I choose Miscolzi, er Machamp.
      =============

  41. scepticalWombat

    A quick google search located this extract from FAO’s Water Report on “Climate Change Water and Food Security” quoting CSIRO’s report of the previous year.

    There are a number of important aspects to the changes in runoff: where yields
    are expected to decline, we can cautiously assume a reduction in groundwater
    recharge, but this may not always be the case. An expected increase in the
    frequency of larger rainfall events is likely to cause increases in peak runoff rate
    and probable maximum flood. This has implications for storage management
    in that the proportion of currently available storage will decrease unless peak
    flows can be captured and stored. Where runoff declines and the proportion of
    large events increases, we can expect lower median annual storage volumes and
    supply security. At the same time, spillway sizes will have to be increased to
    pass larger probable maximum floods, especially if more dams are designed or
    modified to harvest peak flows and carry storage from year to year. Thus the
    costs of surface water storage can be expected to increase, especially in terms
    of unit costs of median annual volume stored. In Australia, there has been
    a revision of estimated Probable Maximum floods (Australian Rainfall and
    Runoff, 1999) and a revision of spillway capacity, overseen by the Australian
    National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD)(CSIRO, 2007). If this logic
    is correct, then there will be considerable interest in enhancing groundwater
    recharge as an alternative and possibly cheaper means of storage
    .

  42. There is no descernible fingerprint to Anthropogenic global warming in the sea, the troposphere or the stratosphere. The postulated heat is missing because the postulation is wrong. The warming of the last hundred years is not increasing either so absolutely everything points to a natural and frankly unremarkable warming of 0.6 degrees per century. In more enlightened times this would be regarded as remarkably stable, given the history of the planet.

    Hence skepticism is fully warranted and scientists and journalists are meant to be skeptical, even trained to be so. Why then are they unskeptical to the extent of espousing apocalyptic thermageddon and declaring every natural weather event to be manmade? It’s more than just money-grubbing and headline-grabbing. It seems to be an actual popular crusade against modernity. But the consequences of this popular delusion are not benign – beginning to bite and hitting the poorest first.

  43. Simply, when a scientist confuses the big / small / constant climatic changes with the phony GLOBAL warming; is malpractice / detrimental spin. 2] When they inform that: it was warmer year by 0,136… they pretend to know to the thousandth of a degree, the temperature on the WHOLE planet… Truth: nobody knows what was the temperature for the last, or any other year, to save his life!!! The best guess would be inaccuracy by plus / minus 3-4C. 2] they are not simplifying, but are over-complicating it, bringing / ataching issues that are COMPLETELY irrelevant for the climate; to confuse the public

    3] sticking to the original lies; as water vapor is bad for the climate… because vapor / clouds was used as inspiration that CO2 must be Global warming gas… When the truth as for everything else is COMPLETELY the the opposite. Honest Scientist always double checks and compares, not to overlook something. But when scientist knows that he is lying – no need for him to compare. Bottom line: human cannot produce GLOBAL warming – there is NO such a thing as GLOBAL warming; but human can change the climate, for better and for worse. Because H2O controls the climate, not CO2. Examples in nature exist on thousand places.

    Oxygen + nitrogen regulate the temperature, not CO2! When gets warmer, for any reason – vertical winds increase INSTANTLY, and equalize in a jiffy. Until my formulas are taken into consideration – people are 101% into deceiving, from both camps Those two gases cool million degrees from atom bomb in 3-6 minutes – cannot cool 0.156C in 10 years?! Those two gases shrink when is solar eclipse and proven cooling instantly. For the last 150 years, the GLOBAL temperature hasn’t accumulated enough extra heat to boil one chicken egg!!! When is a solar eclipse – lots of sunlight is reflected, but the troposphere doesn’t get enough extra coldness to cool one bottle of beer!!! O+N are 998999ppm in the atmosphere – they shrink / expand INSTANTLY with change of temperature. Does any scientist need a proof of it?! Those gases will be doing same in 100y from now, because they are controlled by the laws of physics – not by CO2 and and IPCC!!!!!
    The truth will win: EH>AE>ECI (Extra Coldness > Atmosphere Expands > Extra coldness Intercepts) / EC>AS>LHR (Extra Coldness > Atmosphere Shrinks > Less Heat Release) The truth is not complicate, is it? Crime shouldn’t pay. Disregarding the real proofs, then complaining why people don’t believe in IPCC’s lies, is a black satire.

  44. The topic here is “should we tell the truth about climate change?”

    It is clear from his opening statement that Michael Lemonik remains a CAGW advocate, rather than an objective journalist.

    The essential and utterly valid message, based on the best available science, is that the Earth is warming; it’s largely due to us; it’s going to keep warming unless we do something, and there’s a significant chance that the consequences will be disastrous.

    He then adds:

    But is that the whole truth in every detail? No.

    It may be an“essential and utterly valid message” that our planet has warmed gradually since we have emerged from the Little Ice Age 150-250 years ago.

    The suggestion that this message ”is based on the best available science” is gobbledygook. It is based on a global temperature record (warts and all) that goes back to 1850.

    The claim that ”it’s largely due to us” is not supported by empirical evidence, but only by model simulations. It is one of many hypotheses out there, which has been so hyped up by the media (guys like Lemonik), politicians (guys like Al Gore), interested political bodies (such as IPCC), environmental lobby groups (like Greenpeace) and ex-scientists turned activists (guys like James E. Hansen) to the point that it has become the “politically correct” message, allegedly supported by a “consensus” of climate scientists. An almost brainwashed general public is becoming aware, however, that it has been bamboozled and some scientists are beginning to speak out against this “consensus” view.

    The premise that ”it is going to keep warming” ignores the observed fact that it has stopped warming over the past decade, according to the same thermometers that showed us it warmed in past decades.

    The phrase ”unless we do something” is presumptuous to start off with, it ignores the fact that we have done nothing and it still stopped warming and, most importantly, that there are no actionable proposals we could implement that would stop our climate from doing whatever it wants to do, no matter how much money we throw at it.

    The clincher: ” there’s a significant chance that the consequences will be disastrous” is pure, unsubstantiated fear mongering.

    Forget about Lemonik – he’s trying to sell a bill of goods and has absolutely no interest in “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

    Max

    • @ manacker | March 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm | said:
      The topic here is “should we tell the truth about climate change?”

      Manacker, the topic should be: can we recognize the truth; if we are presented the truth? Too much wool over the people’s eyes created in the education system. I remember when I pointed to you that; nobody is monitoring on enough places to know what the global temp is. Therefore nobody knows what the GLOBAL temp is, to save his life. Therefore, all the drivel about ”warmer / colder years” is a misleading lie. B] the laws of physics don’t permit for more than few minutes the WHOLE planet to be overall warmer, or colder. If is warmer than normal some place – other place / places must get colder INSTANTLY. Your statement was:” but that is all the data we have, and have to work with that.”

      manacker; that is same as me saying: I have $50, that’s all I have, and I’m buying a jumbo jet. I would have looked too you silly. Mate, I keep repeating that: temperatures they present are localized, NOT GLOBAL – some people with some shame and common sense have taken it on board – some of you are still treating it as GLOBAL. Because: ”when I present the truth about the climate / phony GLOBAL warming, most of you run for cover as cockroaches, when turning the lights on. TRUTH IS THE LIGHT, – shouldn’t be an offence when saying that: mushrooms are scared from lights – they are kept in a dark with those misleading GLOBAL temp informations.

      Bottom line: my formulas and the laws of physics prove that GLOBAL warming is IMPOSSIBLE for longer than few minutes! 2] even if there is a hypothetical GLOBAL warming – they wouldn’t know – because on 99,9999 places in the troposphere, nobody is monitoring. On the few places they are monitoring, is for justifying their expenses + for growing mushrooms in the dark. Manacker. if is warmer than normal where they are monitoring; it means is COLDER than normal some place where is not monitored!

      It’s same as: if the creek in your neighborhood has 30% less water this year than last – it doesn’t mean that: ”the planet is got 30% less water”. Doesn’t mean that Amazon has 30% more water because of your creek also. I.e. if Europe is WARMER by 1C, Oceania gets COLDER by 0,1C, is still exactly the same temp overall. EXTRA HEAT IN THE TROPOSPHERE IS NOT ACCUMULATIVE!!! People like you, plying smart asses are guillotining the truth and doing lots of harm – BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH, ( all activist, from both camps are suffering from debilitating truth phobia)

    • Max, makes lots of sense but then you attack me for the facility arguments Dr. Curry makes to protect these very same forces in direct conversation.

      They’re only “advocates” the story line goes, ask no more.

  45. “The essential and utterly valid message, based on the best available science, is that the Earth is warming; …”

    As indicated by thermometer record. As dramatically noticeable by observation of glaciers.
    But one can’t notice the temperature difference. If you took 10 random Julys or any other month 150 year ago compared them to 10 random months of 21 Century. The months 150 year ago wouldn’t be noticeable different. If you guessed, you would have 50% of being right.
    Nor could other animals or plant “know” the difference. The idea that such warming causes extinction of a species is foolish. The idea that 100 year old person can remembers when it was cooler is dislusional. A living creature or couple days thermometer measure can’t tell there has been any temperature change. A few days 150 years ago could warmer than today’s same calendar days, or average month temperature could also be warmer than today.
    You can’t feel climate temperature difference, though you obviously can feel weather differences. The day to day difference are much greater differences in warming and cooling.
    One also can’t see any difference in sea level.
    And the changes 100 year into the future will be the same degree of climate change- if you time traveled century into future you would be able to feel any change in climate temperature, nor could measure it with a themometer if measuring a rather brief period- a few days or as much a a month of time. Though with month one could have better than 50% chance of saying whether it warmed or cooled over the century of time. If you had a month of measured global temperature readings, it’s even better chance you could guess correctly, maybe 90% chance. But being able to actual feel it rather accurate measurement, not a chance improving the odds better than 50%.

    it’s largely due to us;
    No. Only the warming of last 50 years of so, is there a claim [unsupported] that it’s largely due us. It’s not claimed regarding the last 150 years of warming.

    “it’s going to keep warming unless we do something, and there’s a significant chance that the consequences will be disastrous.”

    There is good chance that over next couple centuries it will become warmer, and there little we could do to affect global temperatures.
    And there zero chance that warming will have consequences which are disastrous.
    Unless a glacier which formed during the Little Ice Age completely melts is regarded as a disaster. Within 50 to 100 years I expected most glacier added during the Little Ice age to have melted. And maybe a significant glaciers formed during last Ice age may also melt. In thousand years we could lose a lot of glaciers in temperate and tropical region. But in 1000 years can will still be able to have snowfall for skiing- and/or snow can melt to provide summer time river water.

    So in terms of disastrous, we will have nothing like the distaster that occurred 10,000 years ago- which marked the end of the Ice age and beginning of our current interglacial period.

    • gbaikie The idea that such warming causes extinction of a species is foolish.

      The difference between blogs and biology is that biologists compete for the best jobs in their field on the basis of greatest impact. It’s not all that different from football where the props go to those who advance the ball furthest.

      Blogs on the other hand are their own reward. One can say whatever springs into one’s mind without fear of being thrown off the blog.

      This is why one can read statements like the above about the impossibility of species extinction from temperature variation in a blog, but never in a biology department, which is held to a higher standard of rigor in defending such claims in the face of what biology has learned to date.

    • “gbaikie The idea that such warming causes extinction of a species is foolish.

      This is why one can read statements like the above about the impossibility of species extinction from temperature variation in a blog,”

      I did not suggest the impossibility of species extinction from temperature variation. I said such warming [i.e difference of about 1 C in average temperature] will causing extinction is foolish. And obviously there has not actually been any animals which have gone extinct due to such warming.

      The temperature difference between the numerous ice age in interglacial period is fairly significant. There some reason to suppose climate change of the recent interglacial could have some relations to extinction of sabre tooth, Mammoth and other large land creatures.
      I wouldn’t say there strong evidence, but I would certainly not dismiss it as merely foolish.
      Description of this event:
      “The Younger Dryas saw a rapid return to glacial conditions in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere between 12.9–11.5 ka BP in sharp contrast to the warming of the preceding interstadial deglaciation. It has been believed that the transitions each occurred over a period of a decade or so, but the onset may have been faster. Thermally fractionated nitrogen and argon isotope data from Greenland ice core GISP2 indicate that the summit of Greenland was approximately 15 °C (27.0 °F) colder during the Younger Dryas

      Measurements of oxygen isotopes from the GISP2 ice core suggest the ending of the Younger Dryas took place over just 40 – 50 years in three discrete steps, each lasting five years. Other proxy data, such as dust concentration, and snow accumulation, suggest an even more rapid transition, requiring about a 7 °C (12.60 °F) warming in just a few years.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas

      So in the period there is a large amount warming and large drop in temperature. Probably of the climate change occurring, the cooling could have been more lethal. Whether these extinction are related change in temperature [warming or cooling or both] one probably can’t ignore the huge ice amount glaciation of the North American continent.
      If current condition were such that we all the ice of Greenland stacked up in America and it was warming, one could envision a repeat of history.

      To summarize just the warming involved in transition from the last Ice Age is not likely major cause of extinction. The warming we talking about is big league warming and very rapid as comparison to our current warming [about 1 C over century]. And if there bigger lake than any in the world in the middle of North America and it was held back by dam consisting of ice and the discussion was about warming- then that would an obvious threat.
      But I repeat: “requiring about a 7 °C (12.60 °F) warming in just a few years”.
      Do you think it is not foolish to expect 7 C increase within a few years? At any within the next century?
      Because such wild projection in our future temperature seems to missing in any scientific papers I seen.
      One has listen to Al Gore or Ted Turner who has perhaps has imbibed massive quantities of alcohol. As in:

    • Vaughan Pratt

      I have seen no empirical data to support your claim of species extinction resulting from a few tenths of a degree change in the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” construct.

      Have you? (If so, please provide it.)

      Otherwise, admit that it’s all (pardon the expression) “hot air”.

      Max.

    • Changing climate, and changing biological niches, is a great driver of evolution. It’s time to start calling the static, perfect, climate believers evolution deniers.
      ================

    • Agreed. Climate change is an essential driver of evolution.

    • But for climate change, we’d still be crawling out of the sea.
      ===============

  46. NPR: “accuracy, fairness, completeness, honesty, independence, independence, impartiality, transparency, accountability, respect, and excellence.”

    Did anyone besides me think: “A Cub Reporter is Accurate, Fair, Complete, Honest, Independent, Impartial, Transparent, Accountable, Respectful, Excellent… oh, and Clean and Reverent.” :)

  47. How long did it take Rick Santorum to be ridiculed by Jay Leno after his “global warming is bogus comment? What in HEDOUBLEHOCKYSTICKS does Jay Leno know about any of this? Anyone who speaks out publically in opposition of the “consensus” faces that kind of humiliation. Even Fox tiptoes around the subject. Hats off to our hostess on this blog for however tepidly she expresses doubt. I can certainly understand why she is so reticent.
    The warmest have very cleverly framed the debate in such a way that if you disagree, you are a. anti intellectual, b. a Christian creationist, c. somehow in cahoots with big oil or d. just plain dumb or a combination of all of the above. Eh, a physicist? We’ve effectively been branded.
    I can’t even mention the topic with my brother without a fight (not physical) breaking out. Last Thanksgiving, I left his house with my niece screaming in the background WORST THANKSGIVING EVER!!!. My brother believes the meme. That’s why he is so outraged by anyone, even his own brother who expresses the slightest doubt about the science as he understands it. In fact, that’s why every intellectual wannabe so passionately needs to be on the warmest bandwagon and those who may disagree don’t want to face the ridicule. Very difficult to overcome.

    Jim

    • “Hats off to our hostess on this blog for however tepidly she expresses doubt.”

      Jim,

      It’s past time to raise expectations. It’s exactly the self-surrender of skeptics that drags out the endgame of AGW decline.

    • cwon14: It seems obvious to me the skeptical side is matching wits with a group that absolutely believes they are on the side of the “smartest people in the room” . It’s a breed of arrogance that is very hard to tamp down but very much needs to be recognized and addressed.

    • I’m sure that’s part of it. Explaining the weak persona of skeptics who refuse to challenge the moderators basic political obfuscations is more to my point.

    • What in HEDOUBLEHOCKYSTICKS does Jay Leno know about any of this?

      Oh, excellent point, Jim J. Santorum by contrast is a noted authority on climate. How dare Leno question Santorum’s authority? He has a direct line to the Omniscient One who knows much more about the climate than any climate scientist.

    • Meh, more likely an indirect line to Steve McIntyre and Richard Lindzen. The wonders are worked mysteriously.
      =================

    • Oh, exellent point Jimj. Point made. Thanks!

  48. If you have to ask, don’t do it. If you don’t know if you have to ask, don’t do it. This put me immediately in mind of the Mushroom Theory where you keep your audience in the dark and feed them night soil. This leads to excellence in ignorance preservation.

  49. I am not sure that there is a bigger communication & policy stick as money. The crude meat cleaver approach would be to cut funding for targeted climate research. Politics would be the decider of who gets to use the new Cray super computer and what questions may be asked.

    My slant on the issue of full disclosure was recently tweaked by Willis Eschenbach’s piece yesterday on climate scientists changing the questions they were originally asked by National Science Foundation. Apparently the climate scientists want access to the super computer to model even better their trace gas radiative transfer models.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/07/under-the-radar-the-nas-report/#more-58606

    What I took away from Willis’s messaging: climate scientists want access to resources to support their confirmation bias.

    A commentator up this thread, David Wojick points out that journalists and by extension scientists believe that acknowledging that there are uncertainties would be incorrect because these uncertainties are trivial compared to what is known, by them, about the anthropogenic component to climate change.

    Communicating uncertainties makes the message less effective as climate scientists already know with great certainty that in 100 years, earth’s temperature will rise, at least 3.7 C. What is uncertain is how catastrophic that temperature rise will be, how many people, species will become extinct. The super computer will help provide an answer.

    As I piece this communication issue together: climate scientists are certain where they should not be. Journalists report that certainty to avoid confusing the public. The public is not sufficiently knowledgable to deal with complex issues. And we have administrators and chapter writers for AR-5 who don’t want to go off message. I really don’t see a place for science in this cabal.

    • RiHo08

      Communicating uncertainties makes the message less effective as climate scientists already know with great certainty that in 100 years, earth’s temperature will rise, at least 3.7 C.

      Huh? (I assume you wrote this with tongue in cheek).

      Nobody knows with great certainty what’s going to happen in 100 years. This is pure balderdash, to put it politely.

      Anyone who does claim to know what is going to happen to our climate in 100 years is either a lunatic or is flat out lying.

      He/she is certainly NOT “telling the truth about climate change”.

      Max

      Max

    • manacker

      Tongue firmly planted in… now was it right or left cheek?

  50. How can you tell the truth when you don’t know the truth? Still no one is acknowledging the fact that we emit enough heat annually from our energy consumption to raise atmospheric temperature by 0.014*F. were it not for melting of glaciers, and other receptors of heat. We need for the scientists who declared CO2 to be the cause of global warming, to explain why they have never mentioned heat and how it escapes without consequence. s.

    • @ Philip Haddad | March 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Philip, when there is a solar eclipse; the moon makes on large areas full eclipse for 6 minutes and partial eclipse on much larger areas for 12-18 minutes. That prevents 1000 times more heat; not to be created on the earth; than all the heat human produces for the last 150 years. But the planet doesn’t get colder even for one hour. Because; where the shadow from the moon is – the atmosphere instantly shrinks > releases less heat in outer space, and keeps the temp same.

      Much easier for the oxygen + nitrogen by EXPANDING a bit extra; to waste the extra amount of heat that human / volcanoes produce. Whoever told you that: they know that the WHOLE atmosphere is warmer by 0,014F, is a shameless liar. Somebody to know on the planet to a thousandth of a degree; (that’s what 0.014F is), he can’t believe in that; but the predator is looking for victims like you. Don’t let them do it to you Philip! Open your eyes

  51. Philip You seem to imply that the “heat” as you like to call from human emissions is some special form of thermal energy which accumulates year after year, does it? Not like the energy from the Sun which ends up back in space each night?

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/03/08/should-we-tell-the-whole-truth-about-climate-change/#comment-183283

  52. Fellas, Steven Goddard has posted for the last 4-5 weeks over 50 posts on his Real Science blog. Short and to the point. You, from both camps should visit it and make a comment or two. And the most important; broaden your minds, because so-far, you are getting bored even to yourself; by repeating same philosophy over and over, but no proofs. He has variety of proofs – learn and bring back to this lovely website. Make it more colorful / interesting. Instead off repeating same indoctrination as in the fanatic Muslim madrases for brainwashing.

    You don’t even pay much attention to Judith’s text – just repetitions off topic. By repeating the same thing, nobody learns anything, just engraving in your brains deeper and deeper Hansen’s drivel. Check all his posts from the last few weeks – next time you will understand why ” SECULAR people” don’t believe your / Al Gore’s doo-doo. If you want to convince somebody in your theory – need to know first what he / she knows. Instead of sounding as a scratched record. Compare and think for yourself; instead of what IPCC and prof Plimer told you to think.

  53. Steven Goddard has posted for the last 4-5 weeks over 50 posts on his Real Science blog.

    If it’s his blog it must be true. Why would anyone misrepresent themselves on their own blog, for goodness sake?

    • @ Vaughan Pratt | March 9, 2012 at 12:11 am | : If it’s his blog it must be true. Why would anyone misrepresent themselves on their own blog, for goodness sake?

      Vaughan, one more comment and you are on your own in this world off deceit. Vaughan, if you think that ”bigger is better” you will be disappointed in life. Bigger is never big enough; the ”repetition” is that counts. The best is: enjoy them, bigger and smaller. Become open minded; at least try.

  54. Cross posted (more or less) from WUWT:
    =======
    Many have wondered how the thickheadedness of the Greens and Hokey Team could possibly survive the analytical and observational battering they are taking.
    Forbes reports a study that reveals all!
    A new adage is being born [My paraphrase/summary]:
    Power tends to stupify, and absolute power stupifies absolutely .

    Not only do overconfident people tend to acquire roles that afford power . . . but the subjective sense of power brought on by these roles causes people to become further overconfident. . . . Finding practical ways to soften and/or hold in check the causal relationship between power and overconfidence represents an important endeavor for future research. Helping the powerful safely escape this perilous aspect of power is not only in the interest of power holders, but is also in the interest of all who are daily impacted by their decisions.

    What can you do? One answer, apparently, is to humiliate the powerful. The fifth and final experiment the four conducted found that the tie between power and overconfidence “was eliminated when the powerful were made to feel incompetent.”

    (My bolding)
    Of course, some egos are so bullet-proof …

    In the science world, retractions and corrections and other “gentle” rebukes are supposed to work. It often takes much more than that. For Mikey and Kevin, e.g., it might be enough, if it could ever be make to happen. For Peter, the jury is still out. But the McMaster Genius seems to have suffered a permanent IQ loss. We’ll see!

    In politics, failure of policies followed by electoral defeat are usually the minimum necessary. Retirement sometimes works. The upcoming U.S. elections will be a truly epic test!

    • typo, above:
      Power tends to stupefy, and absolute power stupefies absolutely.

    • Peter Davies

      Don’t worry Brian H spelling is not important on a blog. You have coined an interesting quotation that deserves debate.

      My view is that power is a dehumanising condition that seems to progressively gets worse as the exercise of power over other humans continues, unless appropriate checks and balances exist, such as that which can usually be found in western style democracies.

      Does the exercise of power necessarily make one stupid? ( in the sense that feelings are dulled) ? Probably yes.

  55. To those skeptical about brain change:

    Before we can focus, we have to be unfocused. That is how those who know how to use their eyes do it. And even more so, for those who know how to use their mind’s eye.

    Sometimes too much focus on the beetle in the bark on the tree, makes one incapable of encompassing the dying forest.

    The reply to climate skeptics is this: why do you cling to straws? Why do the chickens cackle away that it is not so hot today, and call that “profound”?

    Why to you talk about “climate change” when the real problem is the poisoning of the atmosphere by CO2, and of the oceans, by carbonic acid? Those curves are going straight up, and accelerating. Same for the rise of the oceans. Those “skeptical” about what it means that these curves are accelerating up have got to have spectacularly low IQ. No skepticism there.

    The latest number is 393.9 ppm of CO2, an absolute record. We are about 460 ppm in CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases (versus a pre-industrial of 280 ppm).

    We cannot wait for the fossil lobbyists to drown in Washington’s rising seas. The biosphere is being poisoned, and it does not have that kind of time.
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • CO2 makes green stuff grow. CO2 is not any kind of poison and the oceans are not rising. Whatever you are using for your information is really flawed. Valid data is available and if you look at it you will see that your opinion is wrong.

    • Patrice

      You are attacking CO2.

      However,

      CO2 + H2O + Sun Light + Soil => Plant food => Animal Food

      As a result,
      CO2 => Foundation of Life

      Please don’t attack plants by attacking their food.
      Please don’t attack herbivorous by attacking their direct food.
      Please don’t attack carnivorous by attacking their indirect food.

    • @ Girma | March 9, 2012 at 1:19 am said: Patrice, You are attacking CO2.However, CO2 + H2O + Sun Light + Soil => Plant food => Animal Food As a result, CO2 => Foundation of Life Please don’t attack plants by attacking their food. Please don’t attack herbivorous by attacking their direct food. Please don’t attack carnivorous by attacking their indirect food.

      Girma, yours is the most intelligent comment, the most sensible I have read on this blog. Good on ya mate!!! Blaming H2O + CO2 for giving the life, is sign of madness. They exile CO2 from their lungs; for their vocal cords to use it, to badmouth CO2… Even an earthworm wouldn’t do that

  56. So biosphere poisoning, not “climate change”!

  57. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise

    Sea level rise speed has doubled in the last 30 years. The very latest numbers, a further acceleration to 5mm/year, if confirmed, are evidence of ice shields melting, something the IPCC, in its anxiety to satisfy the fossil fuel plutocrats, refused to include.

    By the way, “green stuff” is called vegetation, as those who completed primary school know.
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Patrice Ayme

      From your post it is obvious that you do not have any notion about “sea level rise”.

      There has been no doubling in the rate of rise over the last 30 years, as you state.

      IPCC pulled an excellent example of subverting the truth without actually out-and-out lying in its AR4 representation of sea level.

      It picked a cherry-picked short time period (1993-2003) to compare with a second cherry-picked longer time period (1961-2003) to suggest an increase in the rate of sea level rise between the two periods.

      A lot of people (apparently including yourself) fell for this ruse. But how realistic was this comparison?

      First of all, IPCC (AR4 SPM pp.5-7) compared “apples” with “oranges”, mentioning in a footnote:

      Data prior to 1993 are from tide gauges and after 1993 are from satellite altimetry

      Tide gauges measure SL at selected coast lines (where we humans live), while satellite altimetry measures the entire ocean except areas near coastlines or polar regions, which cannot be captured by satellites (so not only the method, but also the scope of the measurement is totally different).

      Then IPCC concede:

      Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear.

      A look at the longer-term tide gauge record shows pretty clearly that the multi-decadal swings in the annual rate of rise (from -1.2 mm/year to +5.3 mm/year) far outweigh any suggested trends.
      http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/3144596227_545227fbae_b.jpg

      This obviously makes a comparison between shorter and longer time periods meaningless.

      In fact, the record shows that there was no acceleration in the rate of rise at all. Over the entire 20th century there was even a slight deceleration in the rate of rise, with an average rate of rise over the century of 1.74 mm/year.

      Several independent studies have arrived at different values for the period 1993-2003, ranging from -0.3 mm/year to +2.5 mm/year (but all being lower than the IPCC claim of +3.1 mm/year) – see graph.

      Arguably the most comprehensive study (which was published after AR4) is that of Carl Wunsch et al. (2007), which combines several direct and modeled methods and arrives at a value for the period 1993-2003, which is around half of the IPCC claim.
      http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/Wunschetal_jclimate_2007_published.pdf

      Estimates made here produce a global mean of about 1.6 mm yr-1, or about 60% of the pure altimetric estimate

      .

      Wunsch et al. also make the point that error levels in the measurements are very high:

      Useful estimation of the global averages is extremely difficult given the realities of space–time sampling and model approximations. Systematic errors are likely to dominate most estimates of global average change: published values and error bars should be used very cautiously.

      Even the scientists doing the satellite altimetry at NOAA have conceded that errors in satellite altimetry are great.
      http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU04/05276/EGU04-J-05276.pdf

      However, every few years we learn about mishaps or drifts in the altimeter instruments, errors in the data processing or instabilities in the ancillary data that result in rates of change that easily exceed the formal error estimate, if not the rate estimate itself.

      and

      It seems that the more missions are added to the melting pot, the more uncertain the altimetric sea level change results become.

      And, finally, there is a more recent study by Houston and Dean (2011) showing that the U.S. as well as the global tide gauge record shows a slight deceleration in the rate of sea level rise since 1930.
      http://www.jcronline.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00157.1

      So, Patrice, you can forget about an increase in SL rise over the past 30 years.

      It is a fabrication rather tham “the truth”.

      Max

    • Latimer Alder

      @patrice

      I looked at the Wikipedia article you referenced. And can see no reference whatsoever to sea level rise speed doubling in the last 30 years.

      The trend seems to be pretty constant at about 2-3 mm/annum for at least the last century. Which has led to an increase of about 8 inches. And nobody has really noticed.

      I also note that the latest figure quoted there is

      ‘The Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry (LSA, 2011) estimated the trend in GMSL over the time period 1992 to 2011.[30] Their estimate was a trend of 2.9 mm per year, with a range of plus or minus 0.4 mm per year’

      So, unless you have other undisclosed numbers, your claim that is has somehow accelerated to 5mm/annum is prima facie incorrect.

      Please either show the figures you have (with citations) or withdraw the remark. Thanks

    • Patrice lives in a Hell of his own imagining.
      =================

  58. 1 Not telling the whole truth in order to be “effective”.

    Yip, that’s what we need – thinking and policies that have an effect. Half-truths don’t matter. Nor does it matter what the effect actually is. Just make sure there is an effect. The bigger the better.

    2 From the ethics ( (c) P Glieck) handbook : guiding principles are accuracy, fairness, completeness, honesty, independence, impartiality, transparency, accountability, respect, and excellence.

    Best someone quickly delete #3 before anyone gets the wrong idea.

    3 …many of our respondents expressed a preference for keeping discussion … within the climate modeling community, apparently fearing that climate contrarians would exploit the issue in the public domain.

    Oh, sorry, slight change to (1). The effect does matter – it needs to be the politically correct one you decided on before starting your investigation.
    So better also delete #1, #2, #4, #5,#6, #7, #8, #9 then.
    #10 can stay though – ‘excellence’ needn’t imply compromising your position with the truth.

  59. Maybe the title of this thread should be changed to:


    Should we subvert the whole truth about climate change?

    [Because that is precisely what is being done by the IPCC "consensus process" and its "the science is settled" premise.]

    Max

    • In particular, many of our respondents expressed a preference for keeping discussion of the issue of flux adjustments within the climate modeling community, apparently fearing that climate contrarians would exploit the issue in the public domain.

      As this AMS comment clearly shows, there is only one reason to not tell the whole truth, and that is to deceive. In this case, the AMS wants to deceive the public by hiding from them the uncertainties, ie just how unsettled the science is.

  60. Judith here is the Questions & Answers Session following MIT Prof Richard S. Lindzen’s seminar on Reconsidering the Climate Change Act Global Warming: How to approach the science (Climate models and the evidence ?) at the UK House of Commons in Committee Room 14 held on the 22nd of February 2012.
    Regards Fay coordinator for the Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act

  61. Or is the topic here really:

    How big a lie can we get away with?

    • Anyone who asks the question believes the answer is no. It’s just that simple, folks. And they wonder why their rhetoric is so transparent.
      ========================

  62. Markus Fitzhenry

    Should we tell the whole truth about climate change?
    Posted on March 8, 2012 | 173 Comments
    by Judith Curry
    In principle, yes of course. In practice, many journalists, scientists and government officials are not so certain as to how to balance telling the whole truth and being truthful in an “effective” way.””

    You’ve got me this time Judith. I am able to give a definitive answer so ‘we’ can put their minds to rest against the nagging ever so creeping tide of doubt.

    No, you cannot tell the whole truth because you don’t know it. Climate scientists have some vague notion physics is involved but just ain’t smart enough to work it out. Journalists are unable to communicate climate truth because they can’t understand it as they get it from the scientists who don’t understand it and government officials have Buckley’s change of effectively flogging what is, essentially, a dead horse, that they also don’t understand.

    The thing is, Joe Public turns nasty when he has been told a lie, just look at the vitriol thrown at Gleick.

  63. Captain Kangaroo @ 9/3 12.42am
    Look, Captain Kangaroo, I want to have a serious conversation with you. ‘Have you you got your pony back?’ :-)

    V P, ( Descartes, c’est vous?) May I remind you that you spend far too much time arguing whether you exist? You don’t. :-)

    Actually, VP, you are a witty guy, you can join in whenever you want.

  64. Judith,

    The only way that I see out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form that is easily accessible to the public, and let it be discussed in extended peer communities and by policy makers and their technical advisors. This approach is ill-suited to traditional mainstream journalism, but well suited to online social media.

    I don’t think this is a bad idea in itself but the problem is that an awful lot of the public still get their information from traditional mainstream journalism, not from online social media. Nor do a lot of the public have either the ability or the inclination to examine the models and data for themselves and make informed judgement about the reality and threat (or otherwise) of AGW.
    The number of people who take a close interest in the arguments and follow the debates on blogs is relatively small, the wider public still needs people to communicate the current state of our knowlegde in a fairly succinct and understandable way so the questions posed by Lemonick are important and are not really answered by your above comment.
    And it certainly doesn’t help when certain people try to frame Lemonick’s argument as making a choice between telling the truth and lying.

  65. And another thing, Vaughan, having read your comments on free spirited ‘new ‘ liberals and fuddy duddy ‘old’ liberal conservatists, I choose to disagree. My experience is quite different concerning ‘old’ liberal respect for rule of law, rule of contract, your handshakes your bond, and non arbitrariness. Fergit ‘let’s change or interpret the rule because the ends justify the means, (see climategate ‘liberals ‘ in action,) (I’ve really got to love parenthesis since Gleick.) Neo liberalism is not as as free spirited as you claim, withi its ever encroaching government interventionism and ‘thou shalt not’ laws. I’d say more but I am on my way out :-)

    • Peter Davies

      Careful Beth that sort of thinking is more in tune with my age group of 70 plus! I’m sure that there are many good, old fashioned values that should be extolled from time to time.

      In relation to your comment on Judith’s eSalon concept I think that good language and avoidance of personal abuse is something that we all aspire to but sometimes fail to achieve, in this case, I find that by ignoring such abuse and sticking to the arguments at hand, the debate would normally go on for everyone’s benefit.

      I personally never react to anything that is said or written about me but take a pause and then respond. If only some others who use the internet would use this approach then it would be a much safer and more hospitable environment for discourse.

  66. Just before I depart I wish to respond to John RT’s comment @ 8/3 11.38 thanking Dr Curry ‘for hosting this salon. I say yes to that!

    The French Enlightenment had its salons, Benjamin Franklin was addicted.
    The Scottish Enlightenment had its clubs, open to anyone who was able to participate. There was the Tuesday Club, the Oyster Club, the Poker Club, not card games, Pokerman, and many more. Their membership included David Hume, Adam Smith, Lord Kames and William Robertson. Members were known to imbibe copious amounts of claret and sometimes become rowdy.
    We are more decorous here, hmm, most of us, but thank you Judith for your salon for ‘climate’ and ‘etc’ discussions.

    • Beth, thank you much for participating!

    • Theo Goodwin

      Well said. It is quite a thrill to read someone who knows the importance of David Hume and his crowd. History has seen many important salons. As internet salons go, Dr. Curry’s is the best.

  67. Dr. Curry,
    From the behavior of a significant number of opinion leaders and science workers and communicators involved with promoting AGW, the answer is “No, we should not tell the whole truth”.

  68. Captain Kangaroo

    Oh there you are Beth – yes there was even a thread at some time in the distant cyber past exploring the e-salon allusion.

    Shibboleth and I have never been parted – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=blue_horse.jpg – it was the unicorn that was shacked up with the Shetland pony he met at a strip club.

    I must admit that my new found decorum lasted about 5 minutes before I was calling sceptical wombat a warminista pr_ck. As an Australian you will appreciate the mental propensities associated with wombats and this one seems typical of the breed.

    With Vaughan I was merely pointing out the distinction between classic liberalism and conservatism. The classic liberal is better known as a libertarian in America although that term always gives me flashbacks to Leopold Ritter von Sacher- Masoch. No wait – that’s libertine. Mind you the unicorn has been getting right into leather and riding crops lately.

    I will have to go now. I have made the same awful mistake again and flashed on Vaughan in leather. Last time it was Vaughan in a thong – and not the Aussie variety. I was in trauma counselling for a month.

    Whimsically yours
    Captain Kangaroo

  69. Judith,

    Society in it’s current form cannot handle the truth.
    In the unlikely event that the climate models were absolutely accurate, than predictions of events would change economies and mass migration from areas of high danger would occur.
    Really do not have to worry though, man-made science currently missed the mechanical parameters to understand this planet.
    Government grants and bias has made scientists too complacent in looking to understand our planet for the path of statical analysis by way of mathematical calculations.
    These really do not apply to an orb.

  70. Michael Lemonik starts with the false premise that some scientist are repositories of the “truth” and others are not. It is very easy to present a balanced story – just publish the thoughts of warmists and also those of skeptical scientists. It’s really that simple.

    • Jim, The Bible tells us all that God is Truth, & He hates the lie. His plan deals with this very issue. So you are right on point when you say at the end, “It’s really that simple.” Justice.
      YMMV

    • I wasn’t coming at this from a religious angle. I’m coming at it from a scientific angle. Science isn’t determined by consensus. It is in a constant state of flux. Truths are discovered, then frequently later found to be incomplete or limited in application. Climate science rests on divers fields. It is not neat and tidy like relativity, for example. Therefore, both the critics and proponents of catastrophic global warming need to be heard, published, and all views placed on the table before the public and government.

    • Neither was I.

  71. The God Particle is a very complex concept. It is still unproven, yet for those interested – without a doctorate in Physics – the debate is clear and easy to understand. It is an hypothesis that is being tested, and the answer being strived for. I find it fascinating. And the fact that it has not been proven yet does not make me a doubter of the Higgs Boson (sp) particle. Why? because the scientists involved have been honest in their doubts, the debate on both sides, and in their research. In other words, they are telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

    AGW on the other hand is being packaged. In order to get the nice pretty packaging, one side is not telling the truth. Not even close. Oh, they sprinkle in bits of truth and hope you ignore the man behind the curtain. But they are not telling us the truth, instead they are trying to sell us snake oil. The snake oil may actually be an elixir that works (mistakes do happen even with the worst of intentions). But because they take the public as fools, the public rebels. most of the Public does not KNOW all of the science behind AGW. But they are not stupid either (politicians excepted). And so they see the lies. The lies may be small, they may even be inconsequential in the long run. But mankind hates to be lied to. And if they see the lie, then they doubt all. How many rational people believe Bill Clinton about any of his sexcapades? While I am sure he still has many supporters, they do not want to hear about his sexcapades, because he LIED to them.

    And so it is with the AGW crowd. They lied because they were not interested in the truth, but in selling snake oil. And their lies were so bad that most people could see right through them. So of course their proponents try to excuse the lies. But most – who really do not hold a strong opinion on it, stop believing them because of the blatant lies.

    The moral of the story Michael Lemonik? Yes, the whole truth (warts and all) should be told. As soon as you surpress the truth, and it is found you are surpressing the truth, you lose your credibility. And no amount of truth then will get it back. Hansen et. al. killed their golden goose with lies. Now, they are just trying to contain the fallout with damage control. And are losing the battle.

  72. You uphold the ideal of Open Society, Judth, so thank you again.

  73. Captain Kanga, new found decorum you say? Didn’t know it had been lost, (LOL.) Thought it was only the unicorn you’d lost.

  74. Fred from Canuckistan

    Let me fix the political fear mongering embedded in this storyline.

    The essential and utterly valid message, based on the best available science, is that (RIGHT NOW ) the Earth is warming (A VERY LITTLE BIT, LIKE IT HAS DONE COUNTLESS TIMES BEFORE); it’s (LIKELY DUE IN SMALL PART) largely due to us; it’s (MIGHT keep ) going to keep warming (DESPITE) unless we do something, and there’s a (MINOR) significant chance (THAT AS WITH ALL CHANGE) that the consequences will be disastrous. (THE CHANGE MIGHT ALSO BE VERY BENEFICIAL FOR ALL WE KNOW).

  75. I think that the hallmark of an effective communications strategy for climate scientists can be summarized by one sentence: Climate scientists should take their serious critics seriously. I think that this blog exemplifies this strategy and that is why I frequently come here to learn about climate science. It is also why I spend much less time on many other blogs written by other climate scientists.

    An example of how this blog exemplifies this strategy can be found in the recent threads on Dr. Lindzen’s presentation before the House of Commons. Although I understand that many climate scientists think that Dr. Lindzen is flat out wrong, I think that it is a huge mistake not to view him as a serious critic. He is after all a well-published climate scientist on the faculty of MIT. To make an analogy, I do not find any holocaust “deniers” on the history faculties of prestigious universities.

    I have learned a great deal by reading Dr. Curry’s comments and even more by reading the comments in the thread. For example, in my view, Steven Mosher has made a convincing case that Dr. Lindzen is mistaken or at least has grossly overstated his case when he contends that the GISS historical temperature record is manipulated for nefarious ends.

    Similarly, Fred Moolten has made a convincing case that Dr. Lindzen wrong when he claims that the climate models are explicitly tuned to the historical record with aerosol forcings as when Dr. Lindzen suggests the climate scientists arbitrarily use aerosol forcing to cancel out in the models as much of their high climate sensitivity as is necessary to match the historical temperature trend. He also makes a strong argument on the more difficult issue of whether such tuning might be happening implicitedly, although he is receiving push back on these arguments. Fred has indicated that it would be helpful for some professional climate modelers to appear to clarify some contested issues. I could learn more and perhaps be persuaded more, if his requests were heeded.

    These discussions are helping me gain a much better understanding of climate science and to may eventually change my views on bigger issues. Perhaps the same points are being made elsewhere, but I generally do not spend much time on blogs that I have seen are heavily moderated, and make empty boasts of how they have eviscerated their critic’s positions.

    Implicit in my argument that serious critics should be taken seriously is the corollary that one cannot do this without honestly presenting the whole truth.

    • Pokerguy might appreciate that a bluff is being called. Two in fact, one called by the other. C’mon fellas, show your cards before raking in the pot. That’s basic physics.
      =========================

    • pdd, it would be very nice if it were implicit rather than explicit. But we know about the thermostats in 1988 in Congress, and we know just a thing or two more.

      Connect the dots. Damn, I miss Joshua.
      =========

    • I meant to say ‘it would be very comforting if it were implicit rather than explicit’.
      ===============

  76. Since when did opinion become fact? Alarmist scientists expressly state that we don’t know feedback and without assumptions of positive feedback there is no catastrophe.

    There is no argument that the “science is settled” is really nothing more than some scientists are of the opinion that they think feedback is positive.

    That is a fact. That is what reporters should report.

  77. Hide-the-decline was not an example of oversimplification, but of deceit.

    The scientists effectively communicated they were activists.

  78. The following comment was posted here on another thread and originally appeared on Bishop Hills blog It was written by by Dr. Jonathan Jones, professor of physics at Brasenose College , Oxford University I think that it is relavent here so I will repost a shortened versions:

    “For me the Hockey Stick was where it began, and probably where it will end (and I will daringly suggest that the same thing might be true for our host). The Hockey Stick is obviously wrong. Everybody knows it is obviously wrong. Climategate 2011 shows that even many of its most outspoken public defenders know it is obviously wrong. And yet it goes on being published and defended year after.” . . .
    ““You ask us to judge you by AR5, and in many ways that is a reasonable request. Many of us will judge it by the handling of paleoclimate, not because this is all that important an aspect of the science, but rather because it is a litmus test of whether climate scientists are prepared to stand up against the bullying defenders of pathology in their midst. So, Richard, can I look forward to returning back to my proper work on the application of composite rotations to the performance of error-tolerant unitary transformations? Or will we all be let down again?”
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/12/2/tim-barnett-on-the-hockey-stick.html (scroll down in the comments)

  79. The “appeal to authority” is the go to tool for many so called science journalists. Invariably, the science journalist is pigeon-holed by one or two authority types and then the message is catered to the journalist’s audience. The science journalist’s audience is rarely given enough information on the “uncertainty monster” primarily, I feel, because that would lesson the authority. If there is a possibility that the authority could come under question (be subject to actual scrutiny), then that lessons the impact the science journalist makes – losing the “hook, as it were – and calls into question why the article was published in the first place.

    • Nice positive feedback mechanism in the practice of modern journalism. No wonder it’s blowing itself up.
      ===============

  80. Can you handle The Real Truth?

    The facilitators of global warming alarmism abandoned linear thought.

    They abandoned the statistics that scientists like Wegman, McIntyre, McKitrick, McShane, Weiner and all other rational people understand.

    Here’s the fact: statistically, there is no signal in the data that Mann used.

    McShane & Weiner are only the most recent to prove that.

    MBH98/99/08 (aka, the ‘hockey stick’ graph) is pure jiggery-pokery.

    But, the Hockey Shtick Fraud is NOT the real news here.

    That the field of paleoclimate as practiced by witchdoctors like Mann and his gay band of merry sycophant in-breeders is sorcery not science is no longer news either.

    “More to the point, the shortcomings in many science papers used by the IPCC are not usually specialty-related but rather result from ignorance or misuse of advanced (and even standard) statistical methods, computer programming, basic scientific procedures and simple common sense.” (Holland D. Bias and concealment in the IPCC process)

  81. The Climate Central article wrote: “there’s a significant chance that the consequences (of a warmer world) will be disastrous.”
    I ask you (or anyone else) to summarize the potential disastrous consequences of a warmer world that might be mitigated by the US (or the EU) implementing CO2 mitigation policies.
    Is it sea level rise?
    Is it more severe storms?
    Is it the belief that there will be dramatically more or less rainfall in some specific region?
    Is it “ocean acidification”?
    I can easily describe the potential disastrous consequences of implementing policies that greatly discourage or prevent the exploitation of fossil fuel resources in the US the rest of North America. These include:
    Wealth transfer to nations unfriendly to the US on a long term basis which allows them to promote policies contrary to the US national interest
    A loss of national security due to the threat of energy disruption
    Long term high unemployment
    And a general decline of the US’s ability to compete in world markets
    What is it that so scares people about the world being slightly warmer? Please someone tell me. When we read the IPCC assessment reports based on the outputs of GCM’s that describe potential harms to specific regions 50 or 100 years from now, I think we all realize that the models simply do not have the fidelity to justify the conclusions of many of these “peer reviewed” papers.
    Can someone, anyone please summarize your largest realistic fears about a warmer world.

  82. Michael Larkin

    You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has gone bananas, and those bananas have to be guarded by men with sophistry. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Anthony Watts? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the stupidity, and you curse the lies. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know – that global warming hysteria, while indeed hysteria, is an imperative for changing the world; and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is necessary for implementing that change. You want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me thrown under a bus — you need me thrown under a bus. We use words like “team,” “cause,” “catastrophe.” We use these words as the backbone of a life spent in obfuscation. You use them to ridicule us. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to anyone who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I seek to demolish and then questions my right to do so. I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you swallow the poison pill and join the righteous cause alongside me. Either way, I don’t give a damn that you think you are entitled to the truth!

  83. “Inserted between these two statements in version 2, however, was the following addition: ‘Among the major weaknesses is the need for substantial corrections to the air-sea fluxes in order to reproduce the present climate. The impacts of these corrections on the ability to model GHG-induced climate change cannot be assessed a priori’ (stress added).”

    This quotation from Climatic Change, Vol. 43, pp. 413–454, 1999 shows that the elephant in the room was once recognized by someone in the room but subsequent history shows that the elephant remains in the room while the person or persons who recognized it has been driven from the room.

    All work with models is “a priori” work. The case for AGW today depends totally on “a priori” work alone, unless you continue to believe that empirically unvalidated claims about tree ring proxies for temperature make the case.

    The fact that the elephant of “a priori” work presented as empirical science remains in the room and the fact that those who recognized the elephant were driven from the room show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the press colludes with the “a priori” scientists to promote AGW alarm.

  84. Steve McIntyre

    When I first got interested in climate science some years ago, in my own mind at least, I did the thought experiment of considering IPCC reports as a sort of scientific “prospectus” as this term is understood in offering securities to the public. There is much experience about standards of “full, true and plain disclosure” and “due diligence” in securities legislation, some of which seemed transferable to climate science news releases and other documents.

    The climate “community” typically sneered at the analogy, saying that I was claiming that businessmen were more honest than scientists and cited familiar financial fiascos. But my point was the opposite: businessmen have much more temptation to shade the truth and to be “effective” in raising money; legislation and regulation requiring full, true and plain disclosure is to protect the public as much as possible.

    One of the ongoing climate science issues comes with press releases, which often are more promotional than the articles themselves. The scientists all too often disown responsibility for the press release, blaming the university press officer, and fall back on the fine print of the article. This is not permitted in mining promotions. Press releases are scrutinized just as carefully as qualifying reports and must be passed by an independent qualified person (“peer reviewed”, if you prefer).

    Also, if someone wishes to be credible with investors, it’s always a good idea to under-promise and over-perform. This is easier said than done. But it seems to me to be worthwhile for the climate community to reflect on how they would be perceived by objective third parties in this respect.

    • Lots of people bought lots of prospects from the prospectuses. Courts will be unable to cure the torts.

      Should I return the carriage between those two sentences?
      ====================

    • Steve’s example of a prospectus-worthy approach is really about the issue of quality. Quality is standard practice in business and one that science would do well to adopt (and science journalists could use as a guide for stories). Lots of very bright people who understand the concept of quality control become appalled when they start to learn about the process by which climate science ‘operates’. Actually, ‘appalled’ is probably to tame a word to describe their reaction.

      If these technically trained, intelligent folks from the world of business were to encounter a problem with the ramifications claimed for global warming, there simply is no way they would tackle the issue with the kind of haphazard sloppiness that permeates the IPCC and so much published research. That kind of sloppy might be acceptable for most academic inquiry, but it is ridiculous when used to justify the kinds of policies that are being demanded to address climate change.

      The most important part of credibility is simple competence. Quality matters. If no one in the climate science arena, whether scientist or journalist, addresses the need for a quality approach to the subject, don’t be surprised that the public has doubts about the message being communicated.

    • Steve,
      Excellent points. I have asked the question before, and this may be a good place to repeat the question:
      Would it be prudent to make no change in your investment plans if you found out your 401-k or other significant savings were being invested by people who acted towards your money as the “team” has behaved towards climate science?

  85. The partisan of atmospheric poisoning have talking points, always the same.

    The talking point that surely CO2 is not a poison because it’s necessary to life is as intelligent as saying that surely a raging fire is good for you, because, without warmth, we would freeze.

    Way too much of a good thing is a bad thing. That is one of the first thing to teach toddlers.

    Water is no poison either, but ingesting too much is not comfortable (it was a standard torture). And actually beyond a point, one more glass will kill someone (good torturers would know when to stop).

    Another point is that the atmospheric poisoners often claim human activity has only augmented the CO2 by 1/10,000. That math is off by a factor of 10,000 times, or so. No wonder they are skeptical. When I do math, and i am off by 10,000 orders of magnitude, I become skeptical too. But then I search for my error, that is what research mathematicians do.

    It’s actually worse than that, because we have created other greenhouse gases. Too much cattle since the neolithic has brought a lot of CH4 in the atmosphere, and monster gases mentioned in:
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/biosphere-collapse-not-climate-change/

    Those gases have to be included to compute the greenhouse.
    With them we went from 280 to 460 parts per million. In other words, it will take about 15 years at most for a doubling (so 100%, not a tiny change!)
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Please try to be rational.

      Countries such as China, India, etc, etc.. are going to continue to increase their CO2 emissions dramatically,and as a result worldwide CO2 levels are going to increase.

      That is going to happen–it is a fact.

      I ask you (or anyone else) to summarize the potential disastrous consequences of a warmer world that might be mitigated by the US (or the EU) implementing CO2 mitigation policies.

      I can easily describe the potential disastrous consequences of implementing policies that greatly discourage or prevent the exploitation of fossil fuel resources in the US and the rest of North America.

    • Dear Rob:
      Good point. If your neighbor is a criminal, you should be a bigger one, right away. Let’s call that the crime race.

      The others will keep doing it, right, and increase the CO2 dramatically (although many developing nations are pushing nuclear very aggressively; for example China and India are developing a THORIUM nuclear industry).

      So war may well happen, because there is no better cause for war than sheer survival.

      To be rational, we have to be ready. And that means, use our greater innovation capability to develop non carbon energy. We could actually sell the technology, and, should that fail, there will always be precision bombing against coal plants… Thus aerial supremacy is part of a sound and profound ecological plan, on a planetary scale.

      http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • OK, that’s an interesting idea. Bomb China and India over CO2 emissions? Yeah, that’ll fix it. IMO, before you start WWIII, it would be wise to be sure that you are right in believing a gas integral to the proper operation of the ecosystem is actually, as you chose to say, a poison. The proof just isn’t there. The understanding isn’t there. The science isn’t there.

    • Rob Starkey

      Patrice

      I assume you are attempting to be funny in your response.

      Do you consider it “criminal” to emit CO2? What are the 4 or 5 top fears that you have regarding the world potentially warming?

      Isn’t it true that virtually all of the concerns can be adapted to more efficiently by the construction of proper infrastructure over the time scales in question?

      Development of non fossil fuel energy sources does make sense, but the use of those technologies need to make economic sense.

    • Rob Starkey

      patrice

      BTW- You seemed to miss the suggestion on being rational.

      If CO2 levels are going to continue to rise (and they are) shouldn’t any action proposed also make economic sense?

      Does it makes sense to spend vast amounts of resources to do something that will result in no measureable impact on the climate? Will it matter if CO2 is at 450 vs 460 in 50 years?

    • Patrice,
      Perhaps you are just a wee bit too wound up on this climate obsession?

    • Rob lost this one as Edim claimed increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration was not human driven. Where’s the teamwork?

    • Patrice, 0.04% CO2 is not too much of a good thing. It would be fanatical to think so. Furthermore, atmospheric CO2 change seems to be driven by climatic factors and not by the human input.

    • It’s actually worse than that, because we have created other greenhouse gases. Too much cattle since the neolithic has brought a lot of CH4 in the atmosphere

      And who would you say was responsible for the vast herds of buffalo, antelope etc which roamed the great plains of America, Africa and Asia hundreds and thousands of years ago?

    • Peter317,
      Thankfully, the beleivers have not considered that scourge of the world, termites.
      http://www.ghgonline.org/methanetermite.htm
      …..destroy a species to save the planet. Classic.

    • Dear Peter: Good point. The 60 million or so bisons roaming around the plains were an example of Homo Sapiens messing up the planetary ecology. In an accurate sense, bison proliferation was neolithic free range farming.
      Why?
      The so called American Natives exterminated the mega predators who preyed on bison (American Lion, Saber Tooth “lions”, Short Faced Bears, Giant Wolves, etc.). Thus bison proliferated, making lots of CH4… And some of the antelopes are actually too fast to be caught by present predators, a problem American Cheetahs used to solve…
      http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • You watch NOVA too?

    • Patrice,
      The theory that humans killed off the megafauna is disputed by many.
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072315.htm

      But the disputing theory is nearly as good: climate change killed the beasts.
      I do have a serious question for you: How do you seperate your loathing for humans in general from care for yourself? Or do you care for yourself?

    • Patrice – Life has transformed the planet. Man is an element of life. To you hysterics I reply with a big yawn, then a “So what?”

    • Even if you’re anywhere near right about North America, that still leaves several other continents.

  86. Judy wrote: “The only way that I see out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form that is easily accessible to the public, and let it be discussed in extended peer communities and by policy makers and their technical advisors.”

    Reality Check! Unlike scientists, the public is not comfortable making decisions based scientific experiments and theories. Their decisions are made on the basis of intuition, philosophy, morality, religion, prejudice, and adversarial processes like politics and the law – where winning takes precedent over any search for “truth”. Most than 40% are going to vote for whatever Republican or Democratic candidate is nominated no matter what the candidates say and whether or not George Washington rises from his grave and runs as a third-party candidate. Have the Congressional hearings at which you’ve testified illuminated any minds, or was it all theater? ScienceofDoom has a current post titled blah-blah-blah vs equations. Comment include: “The 2LoT requires ..” or “these generalities apply” or “the world works this way, so this must happen”. All without mention of absorptivity or emissivity or dq/T or how conservation of energy requires temperature change. What do equations predict? What do experiments show? Furgetaboutit! Blah-blah-blah wins in the real world all of the time.

    We’d be much better off if a group representing all scientific points of view would be willing to address a few specify what they can and can’t agree upon, with no forced search for consensus, majority and minority opinions and no political approval. Will 2XCO2 raise temperature before feedbacks by about 1 degK? What qualifications should be attached to such a statement?

    • good points. as for your last paragraph, it is a pipe dream, since the consensus crowd won’t budge on the idea of a consensus

    • Judy,

      One of the problems with using an appeal to authority (other than its fallacious logic) is that it puts the credibility and competence of those invoking it into issue. If the consensus crowd insists on doing so into the future, it is simply a matter of time before someone calls the question.

    • Judith Curry

      In a way, you (and Frank above) have identified precisely what is standing in the way of “telling the whole truth”: the IPCC “consensus process”.

      You have addressed this problem in several earlier posts.

      Frank calls for “a group representing all scientific points of view” to sort this problem out.

      You state that this “is a pipe dream, since the consensus crowd won’t budge on the idea of a consensus”.

      It is my firm opinion that IPCC is the root cause of the problem.

      Until IPCC can be disbanded and its function taken over by that “group representing all scientific points of view” we will have this impasse and we will not be hearing “the whole truth about climate change”.

      And until this happens, the public trust and confidence in climate science will continue to erode.

      Max

    • John from CA

      I disagree, its more about the IPCC/UN solution work groups that’s the issue. As long as the IPCC is about the science and not the solutions to their conclusions there isn’t much a problem.

      Kill the IPCC/UN solution work groups in favor of information pass down with proper governance on the IPCC research and its a home run for the general public and the science?

    • I would completely disagree, average members of the public are very good at making judgements, based on fuzzy data. The jury system works, as does representative democracy.
      The Warnock chaired ‘Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology’. produced a report giving rise to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
      This, not the IPCC, is the template to follow for the intersection of politics, science, morality and the public.

    • John from CA

      The UN would love to get public support for the science and its conclusions and the easiest way to do this is to simply release the models and data for extended pear review. One has to wonder why the models aren’t being released.

      The logical answer, they can’t be released because of the proprietary code in the models. Code which is likely to stem from a variety governmental agencies. This was alluded to in Dr. Curry’s post related to AR5 and the support the DOE is providing to help improve the climate models.

      The answer to public support for the science is far easier than the answer to a UN which is demanding immediate action. If the UN wasn’t attempting to pick the pockets of every nation with poorly thought out solutions, the general public would be far less interested in the scientific basis for the proposed solutions and far more likely to support the effort to understand the climate system.

      The public understands there is no need for a rush to judgement without due diligence. If the UN had taken the time to properly develop culturally appropriate solutions that improve the human condition, save the taxpayer money, and return on investment (definitive solutions), support would overwhelming.

      Yet the point is, who decided product development is the role of the UN?

    • Frank,
      Scientists are just subject to prejudice, magiacl thinking, group thinking, noble cause corruption, etc. as anyone else. A great fallacy is to think that a particular group of people are imune to human foibles.

    • As has been shown on the Linzen part II thread where he has been forced to issue an apology for his claim that GISS was manipulated. Would he ever have apologised if it hadn’t been made clear by so many people that he was wrong?

    • Or like Hansen iwth his claims of 2.0o temp increases between 1986 and 2006? Or his claim of Manhattan flooding? Or hide the declline? Or Yamal?

    • Got any scrap of evidence for any of those claims (other than exagerated media reports)?

      The ‘Manhattan flooding’ one in particular is well known to be a complete distortion of what he said, deniers frequently claiming it was a 20 year period when even the guy interviewing him apologised and admitted it was 40 years.

      However, even when that is all taken into account, there is a huge difference between predicting or projecting the future (that everyone knows is never 100% known) and putting up slides to government legislators that accuse others of data manipulation that was not true. Will he write to each of those to apologise?

      Even his apology is weazly worded – he blames somebody else (he didn’t check the work) and then says that even though the slide was wrong, it doesn’t matter as his point still stands.

      The man’s a lying toad.

    • andrew adams

      Louise,

      If you’re not familiar with the Yamal saga you can look here.

      http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/30/briffa-teaches-but-will-mcintyre-ever-learn/
      and also follow the associated links.

      In short, the accusations made against Briffa were garbage. I don’t know if hunter knows that, I don’t know if he even cares – it’s just another bit of mud to fling.

  87. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Should we tell the whole truth about climate change?

    A complete discussion of what “the whole truth” is would be beyond the capability of every news story or IPCC report. Something (all those cockamamie 2nd law of thermodynamics arguments, perhaps?) has to be omitted. Usually, much has to be omitted. Even Pierrehumbert’s book “Principles of Planetary Climate” doesn’t have everything, and it has much. Yet everything that might be omitted in one presentation has a lobby promoting it, and every omission sparks charges of politically motivated deceit. Journalists like Michael Lemonick are in a serious bind, in my opinion. I don’t know what the resolution of their dilemma is.

  88. The price of coal burning should fully reflect its ecological impact, and that includes producing mercury vapor which precipitates over the poles, and stuff fish with heavy metals, worldwide.

    Even though, burning 500 million years of fossils to insure that there will be no tomorrow would still be a criminal activity. It is actually turning into the greatest crime ever committed. At the very least, like Al Capone, the atmospheric poisoners ought to pay their taxes.
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Patrice,
      Will you please set the example for us and stop using all tools and appliances that use electricity, or burns or utilizes any form of fossil fuel?
      Plesae let us know how it goes. But you will not be able to post your report on the internet. And you cannot call someone. Maybe you could send a post card…..ooops that would require a USPS delivery truck.
      Smoke signals? No, that is soot, CO2 and nasty NOx’s.
      So if you ever post again or update your blog, we will know you are just another AGW hypocrite, and according to you, a climate criminal.
      Yes, there is no doubt you are a wee bit wound up on this issue.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      hunter: Will you please set the example for us and stop using all tools and appliances that use electricity, or burns or utilizes any form of fossil fuel?

      That’s absurd. All she is calling for is that all external costs be internalized. Users of electricity object because their prices go up, but as the beneficiaries of the electrical use the fair approach is for them cover the external costs.

    • Matt,
      She is calling coal companies and power palnts that use coal “criminal”.
      She should set the example and stop participating in the crime.
      And there is no agreement that her / the AGW community’s claims about what the actual costs of fossile fules are is accurate or comprehensive.
      So as long as Patrice promotes absurd misanthropic views, she will get little more in return.

  89. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Dr. Curry: The only way that I see out of this gridlock is get all the information (data, models, etc) out there in a form that is easily accessible to the public, and let it be discussed in extended peer communities and by policy makers and their technical advisors. This approach is ill-suited to traditional mainstream journalism, but well suited to online social media.

    I think that you are right on both counts. Michael Lemonick shows how ill-suited this debate is to traditional journalism (not just “mainstream”), and the only solution for the public is to make all the data publicly available for the extended peer community.

  90. As an astute reader pointed out, I think all external costs ought to be internalized, to START with.

    An immediate effect would be that, over more than half of the planet, solar voltaic would cheaper than fossil fuel burning, with existing technology.

    Green technology, such as conservation (better houses, better cars, better transmission lines, better transportation, better urbanism, etc.) would also create a huge amount of jobs, as governor Schwarzenegger administration demonstrated in California.

    Poisoning fish with mercury is definitively a criminal activity, though, and that something beyond cost.
    BTW, the country of France uses, per capita or per unit of GDP, less than a third of CO2 relative to what Canada, Australia, or the USA use. France is not exactly a small country, she has the world’s fifth GDP. by the way, Japan and Germany use less than half CO2 per capita and per GDP. And there is no speed limit on German freeways.

    What do CO2 poisoning countries such as Canada, Australia and the USA have in common?
    They stole all the lands from all the natives, and even massacred them (in the case of the USA). This is symptomatic of an exploitative mentality, even to the point of criminality and genocide, that prefers to serve plutocrats, and splurging, rather than humanity, or righteousness.

    What to do? First acquire moral clarity: infamy ought to be crushed. Second, knowledge of the important facts, not irrelevant minutia.
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Patricia

      France has a relatively low co2 footprint because she has a high proportion of nuclear power within its energy mix. Greens have traditionally been against nuclear power. Are you endorsing it?
      Tonyb

    • This whole ‘greens are against nuclear’ is balony. I’m pretty clear in my views that AGW is such a real threat that we should be changing our behaviours right now in an attempt to mitigate the worst effects and by far the most important step is to embrace nuclear power. I’ve not yet met (or blogged with) an AGW realists who disagrees with this view.

    • Louise

      I deliberately used the word ‘traditionally.’

      By their stance in the past greens prevented a whole generation of nuclear power stations to be built. Perhaps it is now too late to embrace them bearing in mind what happened in Japan. Germany has decided to shut much of its nuclear capability.
      Tonyb

    • I have always been green:
      I try not to waste stuff and reuse what I can
      I try not to litter and pollute my environment
      I switch off lights when not in the room and have a small, high mpg car
      I moved house so I can walk to work so the car stays at home most of the time
      I’ve always been in favour of GM foods providing that there are protections in place that enable poor farmers to afford to buy seed year on year (many GM crops being infertile and many poor farmers traditionally rely on saving some of their crop to reseed with)
      and I have ALWAYS supported nuclear power.

      Us greens can be like that you know, sensible. It’s only when others start to think of us all as being the same as the most extreme greenpeace warrior that you get things wrong.

      I don’t think all of those who disagree with my view of AGW are like stephanthedenier, wagathon or cwon14 although I don’t know why on earth the rest of you put up with them.

      Have you ever seen any AGW realists on this blog claim nuclear is bad or that we should euthanise a vast swathe of the population? Nope – ‘cos they’re bogeymen mainly of your own imagining. If they came hear, I’d be oe of the first to argue against them – why don’t you ‘non-rabid deniers’ (ie sensible skeptics) tackle the wagathons, manackers and cwon14s the same?

    • Louise

      Please re read my post at 3.32

      What may be happening now with greens converting to nuclear is not what happened in the past and the nuclear moment has probably now been lost for ever.
      Tonyb

    • Louise,
      In lifestyle choices such as the ones you list, we are very similar.
      But yes, even now Patrice is off into a misanthropic rant that is difficult to ignore. And more than a few AGW opinion leaders have either hinted at or even endorsed genocidal and xenocidal solutions.
      Every climate realist I am aware of is pro-nuclear. Many AGW believers, however, have been opposed to nuke power.Oh, wai: You think YOU are a climate realist. lol.

    • Tonyb – there may well have been a green movement that has held up nuclear power in the past in some parts of the world. I have always been green (see above) – I’m over 50 – and have always been pro-nuclear.

      In the UK, the anti-nuclear lobby has been much more about nimbyism than ‘green’ and our ridiculous planning laws result in very few major infrastructure programmes at all.

    • hunter – can you please point to anyone who has ever posted here who has been either against nuclear power or in favour of eugenics?

      I’ve never seen any and if I did, I would be amongst the first to condemn them.

      Can you say the same about the ‘UN is a commie plot, AGW is a global hoax by scientist who want to get rich/rule the world, CO2 can have no impact on climate ‘cos the laws of physics say so’ brigade from your more extremist side of the fence?

    • Louise,
      The analogy of AGW being similar to eugenics is based on the history of the two movements. Trying to avoid the implications by asking for those who have actually endorsed eugenics is not responsive.
      As to nuclear power, show me the leading bloggers on the AGW beleiver side promoting it. The countries that are led by the strongest groups of AGW believers are shutting down their nuclear power plants. Britain, Germany, etc. Germans would rather waste their efforts on solar and increase coal to avoid nuclear.

    • Louise

      We are not far apart in our green ness, we are not all environmental Neanderthals you know. I also buy my food locally in season, am a vegetarian, ride an electric bike which I power with a solar panel and ‘own’ an acre of rain forest to prevent it being logged. I have also always been pro nuclear. Unfortunately most influential greens have not been and as I say I suspect the moment has passed. What sources of grown up power do you suggest Ihe country now uses?

      Saw your exchange with Anthony watts, the mentally ill jibe was uncalled for, your post was perfectly reasonable in the context of the thread
      Tonyb

    • hunter – the UK is investing in 8 new nuclear power stations and is doing so because it is the only viable way to a CO2 reduced future for power so I don’t know where you got your idea that Britain is anti-nuclear.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/8070810/Eight-new-nuclear-power-stations-despite-safety-and-clean-up-concerns.html

      As I said earlier, British folk are always against large developments of any type when it’s in their own area – “it might reduce the value of my property” is their first thought, not “it might not be safe”

      This is quite a small island and large developments are either next to people or in areas of natural beauty and it is this that people campaign about. It could be coal, gas, nuclear, rail, airport or any other large industrial development and people will campaign for it to not be built ‘there’.

    • My name is Patrice, not Patricia…
      Germany uses (way too much) coal, but still not even half the CO2 of the genocidal nations. It’s a question of conservation.

      A Very High Speed train uses 3% of the CO2 of a (latest tech) plane, per passenger (and go faster, below 1,000 miles).

      I am 100% against ridiculously criminal reactors such as those installed in Chernobyl, or even Fukushima (where a cliff was cut, so that the reactors could sit below the giant wave that towered over them. Notice, though that the tsunami killed nearly 20,000, whereas the explosion, burning and destruction of four ridiculously obsolete reactors did not kill that many people (if any). The Fukushima reactors were a first generation design, and the closest mobile emergency generators were in… Florida (!) Even after the wave hit, the operators piled up the mistakes.

      Coal, by itself kills officially hundreds of thousands, a year. In truth, probably millions. To replace coal by even obsolete nuclear tech would save millions of lives a year. Civilian nuclear energy, except at the idiotically conceived and operated Chernobyl reactor, basically never killed anybody. Even then, coal burning kill as much in a few minutes, worldwide.

      Existing first generation nuclear energy, with state of the art reactors would be completely safe. Even the waste problem is not really a problem. French plants use MOX (recycled fuel).

      There are 100 new nuclear technologies possible out there. I endorse 100% those which will work perfectly (and there are assuredly plenty of them). Refusing nuclear now is like refusing carbon burning, two million years ago.
      http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Patrice

      Sorry for mis spelling your name.

      As you can see from my exchange with louise I am in favour of nuclear stations but in their absence, bearing in mind the green reticence in the past and recent events, what do you suggest industrial nations use for power?
      Tonyb

    • Patrice,
      1- no technology ever works prefectly.Holding that out as a standard means never doing anything.
      2- it is an over statement by orders of magnitude to claim that the use of coal is killing millions per year.I do not believe yo ucan cite one credible source to suport that.
      3- trains do not “use CO2″. Nor does any other technolgy “use” CO2 for power. Of course plants do use CO2….
      Yet you are on track with nuclear in the general sense that we should be using it. And that existing nuclear technology properly used is safe.
      Can you please tell this to the big green coalitiions in Europe and the US?
      thanks,

    • “Coal, by itself kills officially hundreds of thousands, a year. In truth, probably millions.”

      Patrice – this is a pant-load. On top of that, shut down all the coal plants in Winter and we’ll see what kills more people the fastest.

    • Rob Starkey

      Patrice

      Yes, humanity has historically been cruel to members of its species. To say that it was any worse in north american history than the balance of human history would be inaccurate.

      You seem to think that CO2 is the root of much evil in the world, but you fail to be rational in evaluating the situation. You fail to analyze two key issues as a minimum. 1st is how much humans will be harmed if they do not have the energy provided by the use of fossil fuels, and 2nd, the “environmental harms” that occur as a result of alternative forms of energy production.

      Under your rationale, it would be best to try to eliminate 2/3rds of the world’s population. The size of the human population is the root cause of the environment issues is it not?

    • Patrice, you write “An immediate effect would be that, over more than half of the planet, solar voltaic would cheaper than fossil fuel burning, with existing technology. ”

      This is complete and utter garbage. So called “renewable” sources of energy, solar and wind, and completely unreliable, because the energy generated cannot be stored economically. The sun only shines, on average, 12 hours per day, when there are no clouds. So there is no power for anything at night. Until we can store gigawatt/weeks of electricity economically, solar (and wind) will remain expensive and unreiaible sources of energy. The only “renewable” that does not use food as a source of energy, that is of any use, is cellulose ethanol.

    • Jim

      It’s surely much worse than you state. In winter when the energy from solar power is most needed there is about 8 hours of theoretical sunshine. Unfortunately reality is often very much less than that. As you say storage is needed before renewables can come into their own.
      Tonyb

    • Tonyb , you write “It’s surely much worse than you state.”

      Maybe you can help me. Do you know a polite way of saying something that is worse than “complete and utter garbage”?

    • Patrice,
      IRT to solar power being cheaper to power the planet, can you please clarify exactly which planet you re talking about?
      It is not Earth, nor will it ever be Earth.
      So please let us know which planet we need to move to where solar can work as you wish it could work here.
      Are you actually here to promote the new John Carter movie?
      http://disney.go.com/johncarter/splash-page/#/tickets

  91. Patrice,
    By the way, “Good Green economy” is an oxymoron.
    But “green economy” is a synonym for “waste and fraud”.
    Please show us those green jobs under the former Governator.

  92. With existing technology, solar voltaic industrially deployed will be cheaper than diesel up to the latitude of Spain by 2015.

    True there is a storage problem with PV (which can be solved with solar thermal, by heating molten salts)

    True nuclear has to be developed as base line energy. Especially nuclear thorium as India and China are doing

    Now for the one who accuses me hysterically to be irrational.

    What is irrational is to believe that Germany, which is relatively more industrial than the USA, is on a different planet. American industry, at this point, is not even half as efficient as German industry. Is that the future of the USA? Always less efficient than Germany? Or Japan? Or France? All of Europe?
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Patrice,
      Simply repeating your assertions about ‘green’ power does not make them any less untrue or more rational.
      In what sense is Germany more efficient? In building solar panels that do not do what they were intended to do?
      And thorium, as promising as it is, is a long way from being practical. we are going to use uranium reactors for awhile, at least.
      As to hysteria, you are the one indicting the use of fossil fuels as the world’s biggest crime.
      And since you have not addressed the worldwide pattern of fraud and waste associated with ‘green’ economy, and you cannot show the green jobs in california, should we take that as a concession on your part?

    • Patrice you write “True there is a storage problem with PV (which can be solved with solar thermal, by heating molten salts)”

      Reference please. I know of no-one who has, as yet, demonstarted that ANY form of storage is economical on the scale required. It is all very well having ideas that work in a lab. It is entirely a different issue to make them practical and economical on a large scale. Pumped storage is also a possiblitiy, but no-one has done it yet. Here in Ontario, Canada,we are ideally suited for pumped storage, but instead we pay neighbors to take the excess electricity off our hands when we generate too much from wind.

    • Patrice Ayme

      Your last post contains some valid points, which can be discussed rationally (i.e. not influenced by that basic emotion: fear).

      Using solar panels locally for small domestic or commercial load makes sense, but photo voltaic power will not compete with fossil fuels as a major energy source, simply because the sun does not shine all the time (25-30% reliability compared to 95%). This requires standby plants running the other 70-75% of the time to cover demand. Heating molten salts as a “power storage” scheme is even more costly.

      Thorium-based nuclear fission has been tested in France and India and will go a long way toward solving the spent fuel problem of conventional nuclear fission plants, so you are right on that point. This, combined with fast breeder technology, could be a major source in the future.

      You compare German industry with that of the USA, but I doubt that your relative efficiency claims are valid. US worker productivity (amount of output per hour of work) is around the same as it is in Germany for comparable industry branches but one generally works more hours/week. Germany has decided (politically) to shut down all nuclear power plants, without having a clear plan of how the demand shortfall will be supplied.

      Both nations are over-regulated, but it used to be such that the USA was less so than Germany (BMW reported this a few years ago in defending its decision to expand in South Carolina rather than Bavaria). This has shifted recently, and the USA has arguably become less “industry friendly” than Germany due to more new regulations

      A fossil-fuel based economy is not inherently “less efficient” than one run on any other energy source. The key is the relative economic viability –and this will get taken care of, i.e. as soon as there is an economically more viable alternate to fossil fuels, it will replace fossil fuels.

      If we , however, let “fear” be the basis for the decision to switch from fossil fuels (or to exclude a possible alternate, such as nuclear) we are no longer acting rationally, but rather emotionally.

      Max

    • Dear Manacker: I am no PV specialist. However, if the real cost of fossil fuels are all included, it’s pretty obvious that, in well insolated places, PV beats diesel now. Even with the subsidies for carbon, it will happen in 2015, with presently planned plants.

      Fossil fuel tend to be less efficient, as they depend upon the Carnot engine. That is why Apollo XIII used fuel cells instead of burning gasoline. And that would have been true even if there had been air outside.
      Conservation has huge potential, as Japan demonstrates, having all its nuclear reactors stopped but for two (soon all 54 will be shut down).

      By the way, the entire atmosphere is a Carnot engine, so the wind industry will run into problems, as the cold sink disappear, winds will slow down. But the production of wind energy is proportional to the cube of wind speed!
      http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Patrice,
      No, if you arbitrarily cause the price of oil and coal to get too high, then windmills and PV cells will simply do an even worse job in providing power.
      If the arbitrary and unrealistic assignment of costs on the price of fossil fuels is successful, then nuclear will never happen either.

    • It is kind of ironic that progressives don’t understand progress. They seem to have a 19th century opinion of coal and 22nd century opinion of “alternatives”.

    • Rob Starkey

      Patrice

      Perhaps solar voltaic will be more efficient by 2015, and perhaps it will not. Nobody is opposed to using the most efficient means of generating electricity, it is simply not cost effective now. When it is it will be adopted.

      Use of nuclear power to generate electricity is a great idea. Why is the government not improving (greatly shortening) the bureaucratic approval process that so delays the construction and increases the cost of these facilities. Those are the issues that preclude construction.

      What is so special about Germany, Japan, and France? To write that the US is not half as efficient as German industry is simply untruthful. A quick fact check shows that the US is more productive than Germany.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:OECD_Productivity_levels_2007.svg

  93. Louise

    Your claim that “greens” are not “against nuclear” is weak.

    Tell it to the Germans, the Swiss or other European nations that have announced a moratorium on all nuclear power (without even having a substitute – except letting France build more nuclear plants across the Rhine and sell them the power).

    Even before Fukushima, various green lobby groups had so brainwashed the public with an anti-nuclear fear-mongering campaign (similar to the current anti-CO2 campaign) that it became politically impossible to build new nuclear plants in many European countries.

    This scare tactic is now coming home to roost.

    Just ask the average European (Frenchmen excluded) whether they “fear” nuclear power or human GHGs more, and you’ll be surprised.

    Max

    • I am so green, I glow in the dark…
      France + Britain that’s 130 million people who are pro-nuclear… The Swiss gov decided to stop a super hold, cracked, Fukushima (same model) plant holding together with rubber bands, built on top of an 8 Richter fault, 600 meters below a dam, but the natives are furious, because the plant is the main employer…

  94. His answer is to ask “So where’s the right balance between telling the whole truth and being truthful in an effective way?” (have a look at the link title as well). For some journalists a desire for “effectiveness” trumps “truth.”

    Intentional omission of the truth is just as much a lie as an out and out. Didn’t their Mothers teach them that? How strange.

  95. Inserted between these two statements in version 2, however, was the following addition: ‘Among the major weaknesses is the need for substantial corrections to the air-sea fluxes in order to reproduce the present climate. The impacts of these corrections on the ability to model GHG-induced climate change cannot be assessed a priori’ (stress added). Although neither version was eventually used intact, the caveats of version 2 were not included in the 1992 report.

    Uh huh. So the one bit of science referred to in this article reveals that the model wallahs have got around their complete misconception of how the climate system works by fiddling the figures, and then deciding not to reveal it.

    “Air-sea flux” is a euphemism for pretending that the atmosphere heats the ocean. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Sun heats the ocean, and the ocean heats the atmosphere. It would be hard to misconceive the true situation more completely. This is why we are abandoning all hope of steering mainstream climate science back onto the path of proper scientific enquiry and striking out to build a new paradigm from scratch.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-talkshop-thrusts-towards-a-new-theory-of-climate/

    • David Springer

      I’ll see your “the ocean heats the atmosphere” truth and raise you with a more profound truth: the ocean is responsible for the greenhouse effect.

    • Dave, read my post and you’ll see we are in agreement.

    • David Springer

      Great! It’s much better when we find ourselves in agreement through independent investigation. The main reason the CO2 bogeyman ever got enough traction to be accepted by a majority is that the majority didn’t investigate it independently themselves but rather relied on the integrity and expertise of peers who ostensibly did that investigation. Science is built upon the shoulders of giants but you mistake a dwarf for a giant then science suffers. There are no giants in climate science. Only dwarves.

    • Ah well, I’ll beg to differ there. I’m 6′ 8″ whereas Ray Pierrehumbug is only 4′ 3″.

    • David Springer

      Ok, I read the article. And skimmed the comments. In the comments that’s the first time I’ve ever heard gravity properly associated with surface temperature as someone correctly points out that it establishes the boiling point of water. This however is pretty far from N&Z’s crackpot hypothesis which has nothing to do with the boiling point of water as established by the force of gravity on the mass of the air column.

      I would also generally point out that these truisms we are casting about such as the ocean heating the atmosphere and the ocean being responsible for greenhouse effect are only only true in first order effect. The earth isn’t entirely covered by water (although a lot of land is damp enough so that evaporation can’t be ignored) and rocks don’t evaporate or convect so there is indeed a greenhouse role for the atmosphere over land and while land surfaces are in a minority 30% is a large minority which certainly can’t be ignored and especially because we actually live and breathe over land not water.

      But hey, the biggest challenge I’ve run into so far is convincing non-physicist types (and even some physicists) that the difference between the way rocks and water heat and cool are monumentally large and of utmost concern in this debate.

    • I have a disagreement with Ned Nikolov regarding the mechanism by which the ATE they postulate raises Earth’s surface temperature, but this doesn’t affect the validity of their work on grey body temperatures or the primary role of atmospheric mass, so don’t pitch out the babies with the bathwater.

      I agree there is an atmospheric greenhouse effect over land, but the logical deduction is that since the majority of the temperature enhancement over the grey body temperature is down to the ocean, then the primary role of the radiative gases is in cooling the planet not heating it.

      When you consider that the Earth’s climate system is full of negative feedbacks which maintain its stability, you might consider the possibility that the outgassing of co2 from the ocean when the cloud cover diminishes, allowing more solar heating of the ocean’s top layer, is a negative feedback on temperature increase rather than a positive one.

      Just sayin. ;)

    • David Springer

      Dig it.

      Q: What makes a greenhouse gas different from a non-greenhouse gas?

      A: A greenhouse gas is transparenent to shortwave radiation from the sun and opaque to longwave radiation from the earth.

      Q: Is water a greenhouse agent?

      A: Yes. Water is transparent to shortwave radiation from the sun and opaque to longwave radiation from the earth.

      The biggest secret in this whole greenhouse hoax is that the global ocean is what creates the greenhouse effect. The atmosphere’s largest role is in establishing a surface pressure of 14.7psi which allows water to remain it it’s liquid phase through a 100 Kelvin temperature range and little else.

    • Correct. And the important factor in determining the pressure which sets the limit to exaporation is the atmospheric mass rather than its compostion, although gases with radiative properties are essential for the emission of energy to space at altitude.

    • David Springer

      tallbloke | March 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply

      “Correct. And the important factor in determining the pressure which sets the limit to exaporation is the atmospheric mass rather than its compostion, although gases with radiative properties are essential for the emission of energy to space at altitude.”

      I wouldn’t give any special credit to greenhouse gases in moving energy from ocean to space. CO2 might conduct heat a little better than nitrogen due to higher molecular weight but conduction is almost neglible in the big picture. There are three big players – radiation, convection, and evaporation. Nitrogen will pass radiation better than CO2. I’d have to look into it but I don’t believe that CO2 has superior convection ability (just the opposite but not enough to matter much) and possibly if CO2 were far more higher percentage it would assist in the big kahuna of heat transport (evaporation) because water vapor rises due to it being lighter than air and CO2 being heavier than air water vapor would presumably (although I could be wrong) convect faster through the heavier gas. I could be wrong because higher viscosity of the denser gas could work to slow convection. In any case I don’t see much role for greenhouse gases in helping to conduct energy from surface to space faster than non-greenhouse gases. Just the opposite in fact when it comes to radiation but as we both know the ocean cools primarily through evaporation and doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about how fast or slow radiative cooling is when it has evaporative cooling at its disposal.

    • The radiative properties of nitrogen and oxygen are extremely limited (though there’s plenty of N2 and O2 compared to airborn H2O and co2), and the only way energy escapes to space is via radiation.

      If it all came from the surface, the surface would have to be at 255K to be emitting the same 240W/m^2 that was incoming, so the radiative properties of (primarily) airborne H2O are essential to the viability of hot water-bottle Earth.

    • @ tallbloke | March 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

      tallbloke, every H2O or CO2 molecules is surrounded by million oxygen + nitrogen atoms; they are prevented of ”radiating” the heat out, by those millions of atoms. H2O + H2O radiating crap is only crap

      If you were ”proper Skeptic” you would have believed me that: when extra heat than normal; for ANY reason – troposphere expands = ”creates bigger volume” that extra volume is exposed into the unlimited coldness = extra heat wasted instantly by O+N. Nothing to do with H2O + CO2!!!

      Military book says: ”when is a flash of atom bomb exploding in the distance – instantly hit the ground, with your butt towards ground zero. IN THREE minutes; without getting up – turn your head towards ground zero. Because if you get up – the wind will take you to ground zero”

      Here is the IMPORTANT issue: 1] plutonium is not demolishing the buildings. B] plutonium is warming the oxygen + nitrogen to million degrees – that makes O+N to expand INSTANTLY. That INSTANT expansion demolishes the concrete buildings – not plutonium (reason plutonium explosion is useless in outer space, where is no air; it’s like few shotgun pellets effect; apart in Hollywood entertainment)

      Punch line is: ”oxygen + nitrogen wouldn’t have shrunk after THREE MINUTES, if they were not cooled!!!” It takes 3 minutes to waste a MILLION degrees; by O+N expanding!!! You still believe the Swindlers that say: in one decade cannot waste extra 0,135C. Naughty boy! Needs to pull your ears – so you can grow taller

      In that nuclear mushroom you see, it’s O+N expanding the speed of bullet INTO THE STRATOSPHERE. There is some H2O + CO2 in that mushroom, which proves that: those molecules cannot prevent the heroes O+N of expanding. They talk of getting warmer by 3-5C in 100 years. Another shocking truth: oxygen + nitrogen don’t wait to warm up to 2-3C, before start expanding. All your + Vukcevic believe that the planet is warmer now – every year the planet’s temp goes up and down as a yo-yo is shooting yourself in your big mouth.

      Truth: O+N are 998999ppm, in the troposphere; they are regulating the temp by expanding when warmed / shrinking when cooled; overall to be same temperature every day of every year and millenia! Extra heat in the atmosphere is NOT cumulative! If you collect ALL the EXTRA heat accumulated for the last 2000 years – you wouldn’t be able to boil one chicken egg!!! They SAY that 98 was warmer; but from where that comes from? A: from the people that brainwashed you and you are trying to prove wrong. Troposphere can expand INSTANTLY, 1m, or 1km, or 10km, as required by the extra heat – and cools in a jiffy.

      P.s. everything I say; can be proven in experiment, now; no need to wait 100y. But you have to trust me on the extra heat from nuclear explosion. Keep the finger of the button, stick it somewhere, where is already warm.

    • “A: Yes. Water is transparent to shortwave radiation from the sun and opaque to longwave radiation from the earth.”

      It always bugs me to see this over simplification. The atmosphere absorbs about 26% more of its energy from incoming solar that it does from outgoing longwave. What energy is absorbed by what molecule at what altitude is an important part of the puzzle. Since solar provides more of the radiant absorbed energy in the atmosphere and that energy can lead to more or less convection at critical altitudes, that over simplification can lead to a lot of false assumptions. Glactic cosmic ray impact for instance.

      Part of the cloud uncertainty is the impact of mixed phase clouds that would vary with changing rates of convection. Mixed phase clouds tend to vary local emissivity. Changing solar should have more impact on mixed phase clouds than changing CO2 forcing. So I think that over simplification of the GHE should be reconsidered.

    • @ tallbloke | March 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm |

      Finally, you got it correct on that one, 101%. Air doesn’t warm the ocean; air / wind cools the ocean; by increasing evaporation. 2/3 of the sunlight is deposited in the water… well, water has some mirror effect. The warmer water gets => evaporation increases – self regulation. When evaporation increases = more clouds, clouds are the ”sun umbrella for the sea and land” intercept some sunlight up, where cooling is much more efficient.

      But, all water density is greatest at 4C!!! There is plenty of water in the sea below zero. (for other reader this / last sentence will sound out of topic)

    • tallbloke said:

      “Air-sea flux” is a euphemism for pretending that the atmosphere heats the ocean. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Sun heats the ocean, and the ocean heats the atmosphere. It would be hard to misconceive the true situation more completely. This is why we are abandoning all hope of steering mainstream climate science back onto the path of proper scientific enquiry and striking out to build a new paradigm from scratch.

      ______

      This is a perfect example of the over simplification of the true dynamics of a more complex climate system. Generally speaking, most of the energy that enters the ocean comes from the sun, this part is true, but simply saying that, leaves the impression that the atmosphere plays no role in the energy of the ocean, which is false. The amount of energy in the atmosphere can play a huge role in how much energy stays in the ocean by affecting the thermal gradient, and thus affecting the heat flux from ocean to atmosphere. The fact that the ocean heat content can vary so greatly (and has generally been increasing over the past 40 years (by some 23 x 10^22 Joules down to 2000 m) is not because the sun has put more SW energy into the ocean, but rather, the thermal gradient between ocean and atmosphere has changed, such that the ocean is taking up more energy than it releases back to the atmosphere. This change (reduction) in the amount of energy leaving the ocean is exactly the kind of reduction expected due to greater amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

  96. “Patrice,
    IRT to solar power being cheaper to power the planet, can you please clarify exactly which planet you re talking about?”

    Europe, Canada, and Russia are very poor areas for generating electrical power with solar panels. Whereas if one were to change it to using solar energy to generate hot water for such countries as Europe, Canada, and Russia it might be closer to being economical. Solar energy use isn’t THE ANSWER for these countries, or for the rest of the world.

    Your question reminds of a question, where are the boundaries of Earth. It’s a silly and profound question. So, is Geostationary orbit, earth?
    Does Earth end at international definition where space begins?
    “The Kármán line lies at an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 mi) above the Earth’s sea level, and is commonly used to define the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line
    When you think of earth, where are the boundaries.
    Where are our boundaries?

    I tend to think of Earth as part of Earth-Moon system. And for political reasons, if a Space Alien were ask, that is what I would say.
    And the rationalizations I might give for the obvious reply: Why humans are not currently occupying the Moon? Could be amusingly convoluted. Maybe a cute reply would the the Moon serves as park of lost dreams. And humans are overly romantic lot.

    But if we consider the Kármán line as the boundary of Earth. That that then mean Earthlings have some their necessary infrastructure beyond Earth. And we are not a creatures which is planetary bound- except in terms of human travel- which is severely restricted.

    And following this, this planet we would talking about would end 100 km up and could humans creatures get cheaper energy from solar power.
    One problem with this “idea” is the way humans are presently organized.

    We mostly live near rivers and coastal regions- this due to economics related the cheap transport of materials using oceanic ships. And I have hard time imagining a solar powered ship as compared to a sailing boat. Though no doubt the avid solar energy supporters wouldn’t have much objections to using sailboats instead of some weird kind solar energy powered contraption. And if use only sailboats, we get more sailors- so obviously a swell job program type enhancement strategy.

    But even with sailboats, it seems that most people are living in the wrong places. They shouldn’t live in areas which have poor levels of sunlight.
    Raining Seattle needs to have it’s citizens evacate this region. They have hydro dams, so that might meet with approval by the solar energy guys, but this doesn’t justify so many people living there when one wants an economy based on solar energy. One should have large urban centers near places which provide reasonable amount solar energy.

    So, to make brief, humans would have to live differently, and if solar energy was the only option, humans would live differently.
    So changing how people live is expensive, and so such radical transformation interfere which concept of low cost.
    And since one may consider the a radical transformation is required, one should look at other options.

  97. David Springer

    Dr. Curry,

    1000 “attaboys” is cancelled by one “awe sh!t”.

    You climate boffins were still a long way from recovering from the climategate “awe sh!t” when Gleick wiped the slate clean yet again.

    This is how I feel wherein one climate “skeptic” who says backradiation doesn’t exist makes 1000 of us who know enough physics to understand how greenhouse gases work look bad.

    It’s not fun, is it Dr. Curry, when one bad apple spoils the whole barrel. This is life however. Deal with it.

  98. The UK government”s take on the Climategagte emaila brings the following scenario to mind:

    The police are warching a video of a murder emptying his revolver into his victim’s head, and they’ve already tested him for gunpowder residue and found tons of it on him and chemically identical residue on the gun itself, ,and the ballistics of th bullets found in the victim’s head match those of the gun, and his attorney says, There’s no evidence a crtime was committed here, not even that that the victim is dead, let alone that my client shot him.

    The Climategate emails are a smoking gun if ever there was one, with lots of gunpowder residue to boot.

    Some other things to think about here:.

    All iknformation, documents, emails, wires, snail mail and everything else that can contain information of any kind whatsoever relative to a publicly funded activity, such as research, is PUBLIC INFORMATION not subject to claims of privacy, and IS subject to release and disclosure iuder the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

    Under US law at least, the Climategate emails are public property. Also, they are not subject to attorney-client privilege, they do not constitute intellectual property, they were not seized by police in an illegal search,and in any event they were not “hacked” but were doisclosed by insiders with authorized access to them.. Therefore, there is no violation of privacy or search-and-seizure restrictions, and NO THEFT.

    I would have hoped better of the UK government in this than their endorsement of what may well have been criminal acts by AGW scaremongers.

    In fact, if it is found that there hiave been criminal violations of the law concerning false statements made on applications to receive public funding, the people who have tried to keep the emails from being disclosed would presumably be guilty of obstructing justice.

  99. Here’s an example of a Scientist who makes telling the truth look easy.

    DR. DANIEL NOCERA

    and Personalized Energy (research sponsored by the DOE)

  100. Worth noting is that Lemonic’s summary of the science is far from accurate. Here are the four points he dwells on:

    “that the Earth is warming”

    Yes.

    “it’s largely due to us”

    Partially is established, but not “largely”.

    “it’s going to keep warming unless we do something”

    Probably, but it depends on the answer to the previous question. Additionally, note that most people agree that even if we do “something”, it will almost certainly just delay whatever the effects are of a higher CO2 level. There are no serious proposals on the table that will cause CO2 to plateau.

    “there’s a significant chance that the consequences will be disastrous.”

    Hogwash. There’s little scientific basis for this claim. The majority of the effects of a higher temperature are very good for humanity.

    • “Hogwash. There’s little scientific basis for this claim. The majority of the effects of a higher temperature are very good for humanity.”

      How do you know that unless you are claiming we know what the effects will be? You don’t of course.

      You simply assume a sudden jump in global temperature of a highly unprecedented nature will be “very good for humanity”. So much for uncertainty! You profess none!

      Are you telling me you can predict the impact on stored methane? On the amazon rainforest? On arctic sea ice? Can you predict the impacts from those things and countless others that are affected by temperatures in order to guarantee they won’t change state?

      Everything in nature will be mixed up by a large change in temperature. All the animals and plants are going to have to adapt to new conditions. It’ll trigger a reordering of ecosystems and food chains. How much? We don’t know but you don’t even consider it possible that could go wrong.

      Lemonic is absolutely right there’s a significant chance that the consequences will be disastrous.

      And I haven’t even touched on other large impacts like ocean acidification and plant fertilization.

    • lolwot, well into a doubling of CO2 the CO2 signal in the temperature record is still not found, making your fears of a large, sudden jump in temperature illusory.

      It is not difficult to make the case that a warmer world is better overall. It is also not difficult to make the case that the rate of change of temperature makes a difference in the detriment/benefit ratio.

      Last, in a cooling world, it is difficult for you to make the case that we’re heating up too fast.
      ================

    • Daublin said:

      “The majority of the effects of a higher temperature are very good for humanity.”

      ___
      1) Since the kinds of higher temperatures we are talking about have never been seen by “humanity” (unless you consider Australopithecus to be human), you have no basis to say this. We don’t know if the kinds of higher temperatures that could be ahead will be good or bad for civilization. Civilization is the key here. It is what allows us to keep 7+ billion humans fed, clothed & housed. Higher temperatures might be better for small tribes, but hundreds of large mega-cities that dot the globe, each consuming vast amounts of food, water, and energy, might not benefit from higher temperatures. Point is, your point is not supportable by any data.

      2) Even if you could prove that the “majority” of effects were good for humanity (specifically for complex human civilization that we have), it only takes one negative effect to cause great disruptions…i.e. ocean acidification leading to reduced food supply from the ocean..

  101. In fact when oversimplification is uncovered (e.g. hiding the decline is a case in point), there can be very substantial backlash and loss of trust in the scientists.

    Come on Judith, relight the fire in your belly. “oversimplification” is a good deal less robust than the term you berated Gavin with wrt the ‘hide the decline’ a while back. ;-)

  102. I am not surprised that skeptics on this thread are distorting what Lemonik said to pretend he was advocating lying when in fact he was making a very reasonable statement.

    The kind of journalism climate skeptics want is this kind of trash to match the trash on their blogs:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html

    It aint science. It aint science reporting. It’s agenda driven anti-science spin.

    Lemonik says: “We would never want to pretend the uncertainty isn’t there, since that would be dishonest. But featuring it prominently is dishonest, too”

    In other words overplaying uncertainty is misleading. Yes it is. Yet overplaying uncertainty is bread and butter to climate skeptics.

    Lemonik continues: “So does it make us intellectually dishonest not to be trumpeting this potential challenge to conventional ideas? Not really: it would be dishonest to suppress this argument, but since it’s a long way from being even weakly established, and because abandoning the idea of human-influenced climate change would mean abandoning an awful lot that has been firmly established, the most honest thing to do is not to go into a tizzy about a very preliminary result.”

    In other words don’t overplay a very preliminary result that goes against the weight of science to date.

    Take the experiment that measured neutrinos traveling faster than light as an example. The proper science reporting approach to that is one of caution, skepticism of the result in the face of so much evidence behind the light speed barrier. A science reporter shouldn’t be writing headlines like: “CERN RESULTS DISPROVE RELATIVITY!!!”

    That’s what Lemonik means by going into a “tizzy about a very preliminary result”

    Yet that’s the approach that climate skeptics take. How many times do we see climate skeptics demanding the media report on someones blog post? You only have to read down a couple of comments in WUWT posts to see someone make a sarcastic comment like: “wonder if we will see this reported on BBC/CNN/CBS?”

    Climate skeptics want unverified crap to be reported as news because it helps their overplay-uncertainty agenda. Their agenda is they want the very real prospect of manmade global warming causing disaster erased from public discussion.

    That’s why we see some of them let slip with their keeness to see the IPCC disbanded and climate science defunded.

    Lemonik asks: “So where’s the right balance between telling the whole truth and being truthful in an effective way?”

    Climate skeptics interpret that as Lemonik saying: “When should we lie?”

    Because that’s what they need to read him as saying. If they actually read what he really wrote, they’d have to face the fact he’s outlined all their dishonest behavior.

  103. corporate message

    HI Judith.
    This issue is something I’m struggling with, regarding responses from Dr.Julienne Stroeve.
    Thread at Watts http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/08/climate-change-impacts-in-the-usa-is-already-not-happening/

    The problem I have is with Julienne aiming to get into young minds with a certain message, is that she has not defended and justified her usage of the most extreme of model outputs as her prediction to the children, and given no other supplementary information. She did not outline the range out model projections.

    I personalize this situation, and give a metaphorical Veterinary office visit where they use her scientific art in modeling to predict life expectancies.

    Our 2 year old dog went for a modeled assessment, resulting in an output range from 3 more months of life, to 15 yrs expectancy,

    Our Vet came back and told us “Probably, I think so” ( using Julienne’s words to the children in her “End of Summer Ice” prediction ) that the dog has only 3 more months. The child begins to scream “No…no…it’s not true. I won’t let Fluffy die” ( while hugging Fluffy so tight as to almost choke her).

    No supplementary info given on why the most extreme projection was picked for the prediction.

    Would that be satisfactory experience for all ?

    The Vet just leaves and prints out the bill.

  104. Instead of measuring efficiency with GDP (which augments in traffic jams) per hour
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:OECD_Productivity_levels_2007.svg

    …let’s measure it in GDP per ton of CO2… Then Germany and Japan are twice more efficient than the USA, France, three times…
    http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    • Why should CO2 obsession be part of a rational analysis?

    • Yeah, I’ve been wondering about this 18th century physiocratic obsession with a nonhuman input (land then, energy now), followed by the Marxian obsession with the human input (labor theory of value), followed by the objective theory of value of the moment–the carbon theory of value. See here for the ultimate reductio ad absurdum of this kind of stuff. Ready for it: It’s The Peanut Theory of Value:

      http://rrp.sagepub.com/content/12/4/1.short

  105. bla … bla … bla

  106. One additional thought: it is hard to imagine anything more reprehensoble than the British Parliament’s coverup of what, by any reasonable standard, is criminal activity.

    Do they really want to take trillions of your money and my money and flush it down the toilet of the CO2 bogeyman? For all our sakes I hope not.

    There used to be a word for gouging people out of big chunks of their earnings so someopne else can blow it on frivolities, As I recall, that word was slavery. I earn it and you take it.

  107. Sorry, lobwot, but you have it backwards: what you call “unverified crap” is honest, well-substantiated science, AGW (and the reactionary leftist politics behind it) are the real “unverified crap.”

    • no it’s unverified crap. but perhaps you are too ignorant to be able to tell the difference between good science reporting and “blog science”

  108. Judy writes:

    In principle, yes of course. In practice, many journalists, scientists and government officials are not so certain as to how to balance telling the whole truth and being truthful in an “effective” way.

    Truth is effective.

    Therefore, if you are not being effective, you don’t have the truth.

    The truth of the matter is, we don’t know what the ‘Truth’ is. We have a enormous sets of facts and data, and a large number of narratives that attempt to string them all together in an orderly way, but no one can truthfully claim to be able to predict what the state of the Earth’s climate is going to be in fifty or a hundred years. Nobody.

    Judy has written very eloquently about the Uncertainty Monster and exactly how ‘wicked a problem’ we are faced with regarding our changing climate. What that means is we don’t know what ‘The Truth’ is, we have some Scientific Wild-Ass Guesses, but that’s about it.

    As soon a one takes the position that to be “effective” in action requires deviating from [what you believe to be] the truth and engaging in half-truths, fear mongering, and deception you have already moved into the terrain of intellectual bias and away from reason.

    Which brings us to Michael Lemonik:

    So that brings me to climate change. The essential and utterly valid message, based on the best available science, is that the Earth is warming; it’s largely due to us; it’s going to keep warming unless we do something, and there’s a significant chance that the consequences will be disastrous.
    ~Michael Lemonik posted at Climate Central

    If one has taken the position that [my version of] the ‘Truth’ needs to be ‘enhanced’ in some way, how is anyone else ever to trust a statement like the one above or the person who makes it, much less any particular policy proposal he might make? We know about the Uncertainty Monster, we know about the Wicked Problem, we know that we REALLY DO NOT KNOW; therefore, if you encounter someone saying, “The essential and utterly valid message, based on the best available science, is…” you can know with absolute certainty that that person has already fallen off the wagon of reason and has surrendered to bias and presuppositions that originate somewhere lower down in the cerebral cortex than that outer 4mm where most higher [human] reason takes place.

    Once you surrender to the more slope-browed-retro-troglodyte portions of the [sub-human] brain you run the great risk of turning into an Andrew Tobis, a very smart, very well educated person, a scientist who is doing real work in the field, but whose paranoid narrative of ‘the Earth in danger’ has prevented him from updating his view of the issue since AR1, and who’s hysterical emotional rants against his intellectual opponents are evidence prima facie, that his higher cortical functions are under a control of a region of the brain dating back a hundred million year prior to the evolution of the human species, and is not interested in finding out what is really going on, but enforcing his will upon everyone else.

    But then what to do?

    As human beings we are going to just have to suck it up and admit that science really, really can’t help us with this one and that we are going to have to start making decisions [or not] individually, nationally and globally about how to manage our global civilization using OTHER CRITERIA than readouts from a GCM and mass hysteria generated from scary stories about the earth in danger.

    /rant

    W^3

  109. Of course the whole truth needs to be told, as well as how much we don’t know about that “whole” truth. The Uncertainty “Monster” neither needs to be exaggerated, nor minimized, but needs to be sized appropriately for the scope and scale of climate change, with uncertainty being balanced against the worst case scenarios related to climate change. If you had a very large gun with 10,000 chambers in it, and there was a bullet in just one of those chambers, would you risk holding it up to your grandchild’s head an pulling the trigger? Would you? In a sense, that is exactly how we must view climate change. Though the odds of a negative climate change from a human activity “business as usual” approach are probably much higher than 1 in 10,000 (maybe like 1 in 5?), by doing nothing at all, we are putting a collective gun up to the heads of all our future grandchildren.

    To the public at-large, the whole truth would encompass (with related sizes of uncertainty):

    1) Are human activities altering the climate?
    Answer: To a very high degree > 95% of certainty, yes.

    2) What are the likely effects of those changes (without changes in fossil fuel use) over 20 years, 50 years, 100 years?
    20 years – highly variable, but likely >50% higher tropospheric temperatures globally, warmer oceans at greater depth, ocean acidification, less seasonal sea ice, possible ice free summer arctic
    50 years – variable, but very likely >75% chance higher tropospheric temperatures globally, warmer & more acidic oceans, much less seasonal sea ice, likely ice free summer arctic ocean, changes in growing season, species migration, more extreme weather, more intense droughts, more extreme floods, large decreases in Greenland & Antarctic ice sheets.
    100 years – somewhat variable, but highly likely >95% chance of much higher tropospheric temperatures globally, warmer & more acidic oceans, much less seasonal sea ice, ice free summer arctic ocean, changes in growing season, species migration, more extreme weather, more intense droughts, more extreme floods, large decreases in Greenland & Antarctic ice sheets, etc.

    3) What types of things could be done to minimize these effects?
    – Reduction in the burning of fossil fuels, changes in land use

    4) What negative effects could these efforts have?
    – potential economic disruptions and hardships

    5) What other options are there?
    – Humans could simply try to adapt to a changing climate (like we have for the past several tens of thousands of years), This might seem like a reasonable approach considering the potential economic disruption that could result from reductions in fossil fuel use, but there is a possibility that climate change could be so great that large-scale disruption in international social order could result. Note: This last part is the conclusion reached at least twice by different Pentagon studies. Also worrisome are changes to the ocean food chain, which could result in diminished species and food supply from the ocean. Given the large numbers of humans that rely on protein sources from the ocean, a diminished food supply from the ocean combined with weather pattern disruptions affect crops on land could spell increasing international conflict over food and resources in the decades ahead.

    6) Potential Black Swan & White Swan events that could alter future options
    – Some unknown tipping point could be reached which accelerates the change. Given that CO2 and other greenhouse gases aren’t just higher than they been in hundreds of thousands of years, but are rising faster than they have, with subsequent rapid changes already occurring in the biggest CO2 and heat sink, the ocean. The rate of change could be factor in triggering a tipping point as opposed to the actual levels.
    - Conversely, human technology has exploded in parallel to fossil fuel use, and humans are innovating faster than at any time. Some new technology, such as fusion energy, could render the issue of climate change as minor, given that fusion power would allow humans to geoengineer the planet on a vast scale, fine tuning greenhouse gas concentration to whatever level desired, either to prevent future extreme warming, or simply keep things warm enough to forestall another glacial advance. Unlimited fusion power makes geoengineering within the reach of human abilities. Whether we ought to or not, becomes the only issue, and preventing some catastrophic climate event becomes the rationale.

    • Latimer Alder

      @r gates

      ‘Warmer’, ‘higher’, ‘more extreme’ are all nice and emotive terms. But they don’t tell you very much without some quantification. Can you provide any?

      But surely your mist egregious error is to discuss ‘more acidic’ oceans. The oceans are not now acidic, they are alkaline and under no conceivibale circumstances – even the burning of all known fossil fuel resources – will ever make the ocean ‘acidic’ at all. They may become slightly less alkaline, but that is not the same thing as ‘more acidic’ at all

      Taken with your bizarre analogy of the grandkids and the gin, it is difficult to conclude that your essay is not driven far more by the need to gain an emotional response from your readers rather than a rational study of any possible future problems.

      Give us some numbers to discuss and maybe a debate is possible but relying on tear-jerking shows the weakness of your intellectual case.

    • He’d prefer holding a gun with 9,999 chambers full of economic catastrophe to his grandchildren’s heads. Certifiable. Call the SWAT team, this cannot hold.
      =====================================

    • Kim,

      Please describe the exact mechanism economic catastrophe that would result from a shift to renewable and green energy sources.

      You’re probably in the same group that believes that the Keystone pipeline would necessarily lead to lower gas prices for the U.S. consumer. It just ain’t necessarily so:

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46689167/ns/us_news-christian_science_monitor/#.T1upw3nZWSo

    • Latimer,

      You wish to mince words, and I wonder why? If it is getting colder outside, is it not also “less hot”? A more acidic ocean is exactly what is happening however, and happening globally, and the reason this is an accurate description of the dynamics is that there isn’t “less alkaline” substrate being added to the oceans, but rather the creation of more carbonic acid because of increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Thus, with more acid being created in the oceans, it is indeed, becoming more acidic. Your decision to mince words, in an inaccurate manner, and then launch an ad hominem on me by claiming I’m relying on “tear jerking”, simply belies your overall rather distorted view of the situation or perhaps an underlying political motivation, but certainly not accuracy and a complete look at the science.

    • In a different blog, Sceptical Wombat weighed in on this. The principle he enunciated was that we should be accurate for both ocean pH and geography. Since ocean pH is greater than 7, we shouldn’t say that the oceans are become “more acidic” but only less basic. Similarly, because New York and Miami are both in the Northern Hemisphere, we shouldn’t say that Miami is further South than New York, but that it is “less North”. If we head in that direction, we aren’t “going South”, but “going anti-North”.

      It’s hard to argue with that logic if we want to be consistent.

    • Perhaps to keep the analogy chemically appropriate we might say that downtown is less north than midtown. Critters adapt and live both places.
      =========================

    • On a more serious note, RG, I have to criticize Latimer for suggesting that with rising CO2, the oceans might become less alkaline. In fact, CO2 increases ocean alkalinity by causing some solid CaCO3 to dissolve, with the final effect being a net increase in the ocean’s bicarbonate ion concentration unmatched by a commensurate net increase in hydrogen ion.

    • Latimer Alder

      @fred

      I hope you are not trying to have your cake and eat it on acidity/alkalinity?

      Or are you confusing two different definitions and muddling them up?

    • @ Fred Moolten | March 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm |said: sea more alkaline; alkalinity not even distribution

      FRED!!! What they have done to you? You are actually supporting my proofs; not even secular Warmist want to hear that the sea is getting more alkaline / pH is not evenly in the sea / most rivers are acidic – especially the ones from rain-forest. Is it the biggest back-flip; or are you unexpectedly allowed to tell some truth? Com-on Fred, truth is painful only for short time – lies must be giving you constant insomnia. Just let it out – stop seating on the truth / constipating. ”If you hold it back => it stinks much more, after.”

      Small corrections: The sea is getting more alkaline, much more from other compounds, human discharges in the water. 2] water cannot get over-saturated by CO2 – ”You see those baubles coming out of ruff seawater as from good beer (just a hint). 3] all the fossil fuel remaining can fit in one lake, or as I said: in Sydney harbor – compare Sydney harbor with the size of the ”seven seas” Fred, if the truth is known, real damages can be minimized, even prevented. But sticking with; the sea is getting ‘acidic” is a double crime, committed by your camp.

      Next step, you and others have to help me inform the public that: even olive oil / fats are very, very detrimental for the sea. They spread on the surface – takes too long for UV + alkalinity do destroy the fatty acids = as a plastic foil on the surface of the water A] Prevents the water of replenishing itself with oxygen by splashing = big part of the seawater, for big part of the year has no enough oxygen to sustain many varieties of fish – instead, the Green People blame the fishermen. It’s all on record. Avoiding the proofs and facts from me doesn’t change the truth

      B] oils / fats prevent evaporation = decreases moisture in the air – that moisture is the raw material for replenishing the glaciers and ice on polar caps… rain on dry lands. PLUS: evaporation is cooling process for the oceans. PLUS: humidity in the air is in contact with lots of oxygen / as clouds more absorbing oxygen = rain cools the sea AND REPLENISHES THE SEA WITH OXYGEN. With increasing population and economic standards => much more pork / beef / chicken fat into the sea from sewage plants and direct, untreated + more and more industrial oils get on the surface of the sea all as invisible foil; but very damaging. Green idiots are visible where is oil slick – cash issue – buy no cash in preventing oils / fats from sewage. Getting stuck into the CO2 + CH2 for the last 20y, is the mother of all crimes. . Those goodies an MUCH more are on my website and much more of it in my book. Fred, if you can tell truth, but are covering up and avoiding; in the name of the real god Al Gore… is a double crime. The truth will win. O+N control the temperature, not CO2 and the shonky ”Climatologist” – CO2 + CH4 are the most misrepresented gases ++++++++

    • Latimer Alder

      @r gates

      I fear that you are still mistaken, and need to learn a little acid-base chemistry before you opine so much. The temperature and geography analogies are not correct in this one. North/south and hot/cold are not the same idea.

      An easy way to think of it is that acids and bases/alkalis are equal and opposite, and when they meet, they annihilate each other to form pure water.

      The ocean is currently a solution of predominantly alkaline ions. Technically this is referred to as having a pH greater than 7.0. In fact the pH of the oceans varies considerably with all sorts of variables (geographic position, temperature etc) but about 8.0 is not a bad guess.

      Now we add some very small amount of Co2 from the atmosphere (recall that 400 ppm is still only 1 part in 2,500). It dissolves to form carbonic acid hwhich immediately reacts with the overwhelming preponderance of alkaline ions and forms, once again, pure water.

      Net result…the concentration of alkaline ions has decreased in proportion to the small amount of carbonic acid produced. A little water has been produced. The overall concentration of alkaline ions has decreased a little. But there is still no increase in the overall concentration of acid ions.

      The solution is not ‘more acidic’, it is more neutral. And the correct term to describe the reaction of carbonic acid with seawater is ‘neutralisation’ for exactly that reason.

      For the ocean to truly become more acidic, there would need to be enough CO2 around to neutralise all the preexisting alkali. Once it had gone, you would be correct and adding more carbonic acid would indeed acidify the ocean. But carbonic acid is a pretty weak acid and CO2 is a pretty rare gas, so that just ain’t going to happen. There isn’t enough stored carbon to make it so.

      I hope this explains why arguing by analogy with other quatities that you are familair with is – in this case – wrong. Chemistry would be a lot less intersting a subject if it was all just simple. It ain’t :-)

    • The overall concentration of alkaline ions has decreased a little.

      That’s incorrect. The concentration of alkaline ions actually increases slightly due to the dissolution of some solid CaCO3. The acidity also increases (i.e, the pH goes down), but the increase in hydrogen ions is less than the increase in “alkaline ions” (mainly bicarbonate).

    • Latimer Alder

      Here’s a worked example. The numbers are not intended to be precise, but the principle they illustrate the principle in a way that is easy to understand,

      We start with a solution of 10,000 alkaline ions in 1,000,000 molecules of water. (Seawater). It shows alkaline charateristics at a concentration of 1 in 100.

      We add 10 acid ions from atmospheric CO2 (carbonic acid) They immediately react with 10 alkaline ions to form pure water.

      Net result. Our new solution now has 9,990 alkaline ions in 1,000,010 molecules of water . It is still alkaline, but marginally less so (990 in 10,001 parts). It is not acidic, it is less alkaline.

      Only when you have added a total of 10,000 acid ions do you get to pure neutral water – no acid or alkaline ions present. Adding subsequent acidic ions would indeed cause the solution to become acidic, since all the alakli has gone.

      the lesson here is that ‘less alkaline’ does not necessarily mean ‘more acidic’ nor vice versa. It is unscientific and emotive to pretend that it does.

    • No matter how you view it, adding CO2 to the ocean increases total alkalinity (as usually defined). CO2 takes up a water molecule to become carbonic acid. The hydrogen ions from carbonic acid ionization are responsible for some dissolution of CaCO3, with a net result that bicarbonate is added to the water. Total anions capable of neutralizing H+ increase rather than decline.

      The overall net reaction is CO2 + H2O + CaCO3 -> Ca2+ + 2 HCO3-.

      This can be found in standard sources on ocean carbonate chemistry.

    • Captain Kangaroo

      ‘Alkalinity, total hardness, carbonate hardness, pH, carbon dioxide, the carbonate-bicarbonate system, and calcium carbonate are all terms used to describe some component or process that is part of the buffering system present in seawater. – Seawater contains many mineral salts. These salts are present as ions of the elements that compose the salt, such as positive ions (cations) of sodium and negative ions (anions) of chlorine that form the salt, sodium chloride. Seawater also contains carbon dioxide gas. When dissoved in water, carbon dioxide reacts with the hydrogen of water to form a weak acid, carbonic acid (H2CO3). if excess carbon dixoide is in the water, carbonic acid levels increase beyond the point where it can be quickly utilized in the carbonate-bicarbonate system, and pH levels drop. if too much carbon dioxide is taken from the water, carbonic acid decreases and pH levels quickly rise. Addition or deletion of carbon dioxide beyond atmospheric equilibrium temporarily changes pH but does not change the alkalinity (carbonate composition) of the water. Carbonic acid forms negatively charged carbonate (CO3 to 2nd -) and bicarbonate (HCO3-) ions. Carbonate in turn joins with calcium to form calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The chemical reactions that form bicarbonate, carbonate, and calcium carbonate are equilibrium reactions; that is they can go back and forth depending on conditions such as increase or decrease of carbon dioxide, pressure, and temperature. Under normal physical and biological conditions, the carbonate-bicarbonate ions act as a bank that automatically takes up excess carbonic or other acids, or forms more carbonic acid if carbon dioxide is lost. This is the buffer system that maintains the normal pH of seawater at about 8.2.’

      So the ocean is a buffered solution – where pH changes little until the supply of carbonates and bicarbonates are exhausted and pH changes. The supply of calcium in fresh water is critical to the preservation of the buffer capacity. Warmth and rainwater pH influence this.

    • Latimer Alder

      @fred

      I tried to make my example easy to understand without bringing in too much about equilibria and buffering

      But perhaps you’d care to rework my example with real figures to illustrate your point.

      Its late here and it’s been a long day, but I think you’re point is that every solution no matter how alkaline actually has some very small trace concentration of acid ions. And in the same way even the most acid solution still has a trace concentration of alkali.

      But to put this in context, the residual acidity of seawater, even after you’ve added all the carbonic acid you could dream of will still be about one million times less strong than lemon juice. Or, interestingly, the acid in your stomach that you ‘neutralise’ with alkaline indigestion pills like Milk of Magnesia.

      .

    • Latimer Alder

      Hi Fred

      Thanks for going into the next level of real life detail to help our correspondent R Gates.

      Hi will note, no doubt, that in the example you give the nett result remains that there is no overall increase in H+ ions.

      Some calcium bicarbonate has been produced, but the H+ concentration has not increased. The ‘acidity’ is unchanged. The ocean has not been ‘acidified’. The litmus paper will stay resolutely blue.

    • Latimer,

      Your approach is wrong. Explaining what happens by such narrative doesn’t work. The correct approach is checking what happens for the equilibrium. The equilibrium is rather complex as the comment of CK told. It involves H+ and OH- ions, H2CO3, HCO3-, and CO3- -, and it involves other anions like Na+ and Ca both as Ca++ and in non-dissolved CaCO3. All these ions and molecules are essentially in equilibrium, which has also a strong link to the pH value, i.e. to the acidity. I use the word acidity both for acid and for basic states, because alkalinity as another use. (It’s total non-sense to claim that acidity is not a valid word, when pH > 7).

      When the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere increases the concentration of dissolved CO2 in the surface ocean increases by the same percentage according to the Henry’s law. Dissolved CO2 is the same thing as non-ionized H2CO3 (there is no real difference between them in liquid water).

      One of the balances relates the concentrations of H2CO3, CO3- -, and HCO3- in the way that an increase in the concentration of H2CO3 leads to a small increase in the concentration of HCO3- and a larger decrease in the concentration of CO3- -. That involves also a small decrease of the pH value, i.e. the water becomes more acidic (while pH remains safely above 7). The amount of HCO3- is much larger than that of H2CO3 and CO3- – over the whole pH range that’s relevant. It’s relative change is much smaller than the relative change of the H2CO3 concentration, but the absolute change is still dominant. The Revelle factor tells about these phenomena.

      The decrease in CO3- – leads to dissolving of some CaCO3 until the Ca++ ion concentration has reached the value needed for restoring the equilibrium with the new lower CO3- – concentration.

      H+ and OH- ions will also find a new balance as they can with H2CO3, HCO3-, and CO3- – and OH-. These changes are another way of stating that pH changes.

      The sea water is strongly buffered. Therefore the change in pH remains small, but the new balance cannot be reached without some change in pH. There are many more salts and other substances that also react, but those discussed above are the most important.

      Some comments about alkalinity defined as the capacity to buffer strong acids. Adding CO2 to seawater does not by itself change the alkalinity, but when non-dissolved CaCO3 is available the additional dissolving of that does indeed increase alkalinity defined leaving the non-dissolved CaCO3 out of the calculation of buffering capacity as is normally done. The availability of CaCO3 means, however, that the total buffering capacity is increased beyond the alkalinity and the influence on pH reduced.

    • Latimer Alder

      @pekka, @fred, @r gates

      Thanks for all your input. I think tat together we have all demonstrated that whichever we look at it, the actual important chemistry going is that the carbon dioxide goes to neutralise some of the alkalinity of the sea water.

      The correct term is, therefore, neutralisation.

      One has to speculate, therefore, why you are so wedded to the term ‘acidification’? And the only reason I can come up with is that it carries far greater negative connotations in the public mind than ‘neutralisation’.

      If I am wrong, please explain why you believe ‘ocean acidification’ is a better term than ‘ocean neutralisation’. Both scientifically and popularly.

    • Fight about the term appears to have become a fight about impression.

      The term acidification was certainly picked because it appeared the natural term to use. We have an axis with strong acids at one end and strong bases at the other. Moving towards the acidic end is acidification. It’s also movement towards neutral in this case, but neutral has many other meanings that pH=7 and neutralization has common use in totally different connections. (I’m sure, skeptics would have protested much more vehemently against ocean neutralization as that would sound really bad.)

      Concerning what’s important chemistry in this connection, the risks are seen in the influence on the solubility of CaCO3 and of that on the marine life. I only point out that this is the issue without claiming knowledge on the severity of the risks.

    • Latimer Alder

      @pekka

      Compared with ‘acidification’ which conjures up all sorts of unpleasant images (there are very few usages of the term ‘acid’ or ‘acidic’ that are meant to be complimentary*), neutralisation is exactly the right term to use.

      I cannot speak for all my fellow sceptics, but I find it a pretty value-free term. And as a one-time chemist, it is correct scientifically as you point out.

      Seems to me that it is the obvious term to use to describe the very minor process that is going on. And that anything else is deliberately including negative values to the detriment of objectivity.

      I invite others to disagree if they do indeed find ‘neutralisation’ to be a value-laden term.

      * ‘Acid rain’ was supposed to kill all the trees. An ‘acid stomach’ is unpleasant and you take antacid to relieve it. Wine that has oxidised tastes acidic. Numerous occasions of Acid Bath Murders. Many remember acids from schooldays as dangerous liquids kept under lock and key. Acids burn holes in people and their clothes. Criminals throw acid in people’s faces to scar and blind them….and so it goes. ‘Acid’ is a pretty pejorative term.

    • @ Latimer Alder | March 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |

      Latimer, here is more reality: higher alkalinity is more harmful to fish / coral, than lower!!! 2] the seawater is getting more alkaline, not acidic. Lots of lime, salt, magnesium, potassium, bleach and bleach products are getting washed into the sea from farms / hills. 3] Amazon, Congo rivers contribute much more acidity into the ocean, than anybody can imagine; but nobody listens to me; greens not to appear hypocrites. Extra acidity is ESSENTIAL, to soften the water pH – otherwise high alkalinity would blind the fish and BLEACH THE CORAL. Bleach = bleaching. Bleach is pH13.

      Another shocking truth from Stefan to the world: water in most of the rivers is acidic B] neutral pH in the water would have devastated all the fish!!! Because: in neutral pH water, EVERY VIRUS AND BACTERIA GROWS!!! Needs to be acidic, or alkaline; in moderation. Latimer, only I have the truth, because I haven’t being affected by the misleading from both camps. I don’t believe in any phony GLOBAL warming = golden middle. Warmist believe 90% chance of GLOBAL warming in 100y, Skeptics believe in truckloads of phony GLOBAL warmings in the past, (which were ALWAYS localized, NOT GLOBAL) and 101% in a ”smaller” one in 100y. Same with Ice Ages, were NEVER GLOBAL!!!!

    • Latimer Alder

      @r gates

      BTW

      I stand by my remark about ‘tear jerking’. The argument ‘will nobody think of the (grand) children?’ is a sure fire warning that it is the emotions, not the reason, being appealed to.

    • Fact of the matter is we put a gun to our grandkids’ heads every time we put them in the car, take them out to the park, send them to school, make all of the dozens of seemingly inconsequential decisions about their lives that we do every day. Decide to invest with Bernie Madoff [a very sure thing], oops there goes the grandkids’ college.

      The point is that the “business as usual” that needs to change MOST is our apparent preference for a decision making processes based on half-truths, deceit and fear because we cannot trust other people [to act like human beings].

      As a species we are only now beginning to be able to grapple with the long term consequences of how we run our societies on the global environment. It will be sometime before we’ve gotten it right. In the mean time it is important that we learn to use OTHER CRITERIA that we can agree upon, when there is so much uncertainty in the science. The starting point for that process has to be an absolute commitment to honesty in the process and a real openness to seeing where our own internal biases and assumptions are steering our thought processes.

      At least that’s how I see it.

      W^3

  110. Akasofu, Syun. “Why Has ‘global warming’ Become Such a Passionate Subject?” Essay. International Arctic Research Center, March 15, 2007. http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/pdf/Why_has_global_warming.pdf

    We must restore respectability – by that I mean scientific rigor – to the basic science of climatology.

  111. On this subject, it might be helpful for some folks to take a look at S.I. Hayakawa’s “Language in Thought and Action”. The Climate non-debate is filled with strategic choice of language intended skew meaning and understanding and which drives participants to the world of emotion rather than reason.

  112. Judith Curry still writes saying humans are causing global warming.

    This is not the case, but to show why we need some “physics talk.”

    In short, we need to talk heat transfer theory as in radiation, conduction, diffusion, convection and evaporative cooling.

    There has been much discussion about what happens when radiation meets radiation with the surface and atmosphere radiating at each other. Yes, the radiation does exist, but radiation from cooler sources merely resonates and gets immediately emitted again without being converted to thermal energy and thus not violating the Second Law.

    However, every physicist knows than one blackbody close to another can in fact slow the rate of radiative cooling. This is where the proponents of the greenhouse effect stop and claim victory.

    But should they? First of all, we are primarily concerned with carbon dioxide. But carbon dioxide gas does not radiate like a true blackbody, because quantum mechanics tells us it can only radiate at certain frequencies, and spectroscopy confirms this.

    Hence, when it comes to carbon dioxide having any slowing effect on the rate of cooling due to radiation from the surface, all it is doing is holding up a few cricket stumps against a full blown flood of radiation from the surface which is not only warmer, but also far more complete in its spread of frequencies right across the relevant Planck curve.

    Water vapour molecules do quite a bit better than carbon dioxide molecules because they have more frequencies. And they outnumber carbon dioxide molecules even 50 times or more when the relative humidity is high. So, just because the surface cools more slowly on moist nights, does not mean that carbon dioxide is having any significant effect – clearly water vapour is doing more than 99% of the job, and that’s why we notice a difference when relative humidity is high. Carbon dioxide may well have to be hundreds of times more prevalent to bring about a similar effect.

    But, even when the radiative cooling is slowed down, then, perhaps later in the night or even the next morning, the cooling by evaporation will be faster because of the greater temperature gap at the interface of the surface and atmosphere. Likewise diffusion (molecular collision) processes may step up their rate of transfer. Radiation from the atmosphere can have no effect on these other transfer processes, because there is no additional thermal energy transferred to the surface – just a resonating effect which reduces outward radiation.

    There are also processes whereby water vapour and carbon dioxide can, and do, absorb some of the high energy infra-red radiation from the Sun, all of which carries more energy per photon than the lower frequency and thus lower energy IR radiation from the surface. Some of this solar radiation will then be radiated back to space in SW-IR upwelling backradiation, thus cooling.

    Hence the overall effect of carbon dioxide is almost certainly a cooling one, but we do need to concede a GHE for water vapour, which has been around since the formation of the Earth.

    Make it enough, folks, to debunk AGW, and avoid fighting unwinnable fights over GHE, other planets and temperature trends.

  113. Does anyone recall how AGW believers get agitated when the historical similarities between the AGW movement and eugenics is pointed out?
    Now that agitation may be more difficult to justify:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/how-engineering-the-human-body-could-combat-climate-change/253981/
    Too many entrusted with things like bioethics have stopped critically thinking.

  114. FYI – don’t try to tell the truth at TallBloke’s Talkshop. I think he’s having a contest with Gavin Schmidt over who’s the most tribal. Gavin is winning but not by much.

  115. P.S.

    At least one thing you’re doing better than anyone else, Dr. Curry, on either side of the debate, is fostering open dialog. Good for you.

  116. I accept that, technically, “points” are dimensionless and I used the term colloquially in the Abstract for the paper, but I would also say that what I am talking about can be physically a very small volume of matter. I suggest, some such volume with only perhaps a million molecules would be quite sufficient for the Second Law of Thermodynamics to be applicable.

    Wikipedia puts it this way: In classical thermodynamics, the second law is a basic postulate applicable to any system involving measurable heat transfer …

    It is all based on probabilities, of course, but we just need radiation with the full range of frequencies indicated by the Planck curve in order for temperature information to be conveyed. In reality, molecules react to frequencies and it is all to do with frequency distributions, not any characteristic of an individual photon or molecule.

    At the outset, let me be honest and say that I too do not necessarily agree with everything that every author in Slaying the Sky Dragon has written. There are some subtle contradictions in fact between authors. I do however, agree with Prof Claes Johnson’s general concept that radiation from a cooler blackbody merely resonates with molecules in a warmer blackbody, without any of its energy being converted to thermal energy. And Claes also read my paper prior to publication and commented that I was one of only a few who understood his Computational Blackbody Radiation and that he fully endorsed my paper. (I understand that Claes is not a member of the Slayers.) But I chose Principia Scientific International because they have a growing number of scientists joining their ranks who participate in “open review” of the papers they publish on their site – six in total now. PSI comprises many more scientists than the few authors of the book.

    May I ask that people do in fact read the paper before commenting. You will find, for example, that I explain why lasers, microwave ovens and microbolometers do not disprove the hypothesis. Whilst I don’t mention it, I anticipate that there will be experiments published later this year using spectrometers to demonstrate that warm gases do not absorb emission from cooler sources.

    It is not appropriate to assume, for example, that I am discussing thermal energy accumulating in the atmosphere somehow warming the whole Earth system. That concept, I understand, has been dismissed by the IPCC who now argue that it is all about “backradiation” slowing the rate of cooling of the surface. Thermal energy is not transferred from a cold atmosphere to a warmer surface (nor to warmer layers of the lower atmosphere where we live) by any physical process. Thus the slowing of the cooling process is not due to the addition of thermal energy to the surface. Rather, it is due to resonance of the radiation itself, which does not involve absorption in the usual sense involving conversion of radiated energy to thermal energy.

    Radiation from a cooler source merely undergoes what I call “resonant scattering” when it strikes a warmer target. As I have said, there is no conversion of its radiated energy into thermal energy, which is quite a different thing. If the radiation from the cooler (macro) source is (close to) that of a blackbody it will have frequencies across the appropriate Planck curve. Most radiation from the atmosphere will not have all these frequencies, but it will (to some extent) oppose equivalent radiation from the warmer surface while it experiences resonant scattering by the surface.

    When it is scattered by the surface, it becomes a part of the emission of the surface, but, because it already has its own energy, it does not need energy from the surface itself. Thus it slows the rate of cooling of the surface because it “uses up” some of the potential radiation frequencies which the surface would otherwise have used to dispose of its own energy.

    However, carbon dioxide does not radiate like a blackbody, so its few spectral lines are relatively ineffective compared with even water vapour radiation, let alone a blackbody.

    So water vapour is the major contributor, having probably at least 100 times the effect of carbon dioxide when you take into account its greater presence and greater effectiveness per molecule.

    Even so, only the radiative cooling process is affected by radiation from the atmosphere, not all of which is actually “backradiation” as such, because it may have originated from energy carried up by convection.

    Now, there are other processes, mostly evaporative cooling and diffusion (sometimes called conduction) which involves molecular collision between surface and atmospheric molecules.

    These other processes are not affected by radiation from the atmosphere. Yet they probably account for more than half the thermal energy transfer between surface and atmosphere, and they will tend to compensate by increasing their rate if the radiation rate decreases.

    There are reasons for this explained in the Appendix.

    Now, some don’t realise just how much of the incident solar radiation is actually in the near infra-red. Some of this is absorbed by water vapour and, to a small extent, also by carbon dioxide. This SW-IR radiation has much more energy per photon than does the LW-IR radiation from the surface. Some will be absorbed and this helps explain why the thermosphere gets very hot, often well above 400 degrees K in fact. By sending backradiation to space a cooling effect results, which is almost certainly greater than any warming effect due to carbon dioxide.

    Temperatures on the Moon (without an atmosphere) vary from about -153°C at night to +107°C during the lunar day. Over 40% of solar insolation is either reflected or absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, so our atmosphere keeps the surface cooler than the Moon’s in daylight hours, by reducing incident solar radiation. Then, both day and night, the atmosphere slows the rate at which solar radiation (which was absorbed by the surface) then exits back to into the atmosphere and to space.

    What does not happen is any transfer of thermal energy from cooler regions of the atmosphere to warmer regions on the surface, for any such heat transfer would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. For example, radiation from the atmosphere does not penetrate even 1cm below the surface of warmer water and add thermal energy to that sub-surface water. If it did, such warmer water could then rise to the surface by convection and its thermal energy could then get back into the atmosphere by evaporative cooling. Hence we would have had a stand-alone process transferring thermal energy from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer sub-surface layer of the water and warming it even more. Such a process would violate the Second Law.

    Over the course of 4 billion years an approximate equilibrium point has been reached at any particular location on the Earth’s surface. Even though the atmosphere is roughly similar at the South Pole, the equilibrium temperature is very different from that at the Equator, due to different mean solar radiative flux over the course of each year. This clearly indicates that the temperature is mostly determined by the Sun’s radiation, not so much the properties of the atmosphere.

    In regard to experiments, some are being arranged. My own “backyard” experiments with sand and soil in wide necked vacuum flasks indicated no difference in cooling rates between the contents of the flask which was shielded from backradiation at night, and that which was not. Try it yourself using a digital meat thermometer and a sheet of plate glass with an additional shield on top of it, all about 20cm above one flask and at a 10 degree angle to the horizontal to allow convection.

    I suggest the onus should have been upon the IPCC to produce evidence to the contrary with a similar obvious experiment. I suspect it has been tried and failed, thus never being published. Correct me if I’m wrong anyone, and link me to any experiment showing backradiation warms anything.

    I am the first to agree that it can slow that component of the surface cooling which is by radiation. However, in the context of anthropogenic effects, the role of carbon dioxide is minuscule because of its limited radiation frequencies and the fact that it is only one molecule in over 2,500 other molecules. Because it also has a cooling effect radiating energy to space, it is highly improbable that it causes any net warming at all.

    It would be appreciated if people would actually read the paper and this comment in full.

    Even though many clearly believe what has been the “usual” explanation involving heat transfer in both directions, it should be apparent that Prof Claes Johnson and myself disagree with this and are putting forward a hypothesis that there is another mechanism that explains what actually happens and yet still gives the same quantitative result as does application of SBL.

    I really do not need to hear again the “standard” explanation of photons supposedly transferring thermal energy to everything they collide with – and “not knowing” the temperature of the source. You will find all these matters are addressed in the paper.

    But, as I politely asked above, either please read the paper and all of this comment before commenting, or otherwise consider refraining from joining the discussion herein. I believe the paper itself, (perhaps with the additional explanation in this comment which may help some to understand) covers all the objections anyone has thus far raised, both here and on other forums as well.

    My paper will now be subjected to “open peer review” by dozens of members of Principia Scientific International (PSI) who will shortly receive an email from the organisation.

    http://principia-scientific.org/publications/psi_radiated_energy.pdf

  117. There has been much discussion about what happens when radiation meets radiation with the surface and atmosphere radiating at each other. Yes, the radiation does exist, but radiation from cooler sources merely resonates and gets immediately emitted again without being converted to thermal energy and thus not violating the Second Law.

    Which just shows you wandered into the wrong bar Dougie. Over here, where the good stuff is, we talk about radiation interacting with matter, the radiation never interacts with other radiation (this actually can happen, but pretty much only in high energy Feynman diagrams, you know the kind that real physicalists use to analyze the greenhouse effect [go google photon-photon interactions]).

    So let us review. Thermal radiation from hot solar matter strikes the Earth, where it interacts with atmosphere (gas), ocean (liquid) and the surface (solid). Each of these scatters** (as in albedo) absorbs and emits radiation characteristic of its composition and temperature. Some of the emitted or scattered radiation is reabsorbed or scattered in the same phase, or transferred to the others. A portion escapes to space.

    When the light is absorbed it is either transformed to thermal energy (a short discussion of the characteristics thereof) or does work. The balance is strongly on the thermal energy side. Some of the thermal energy is then converted into thermal radiation and emitted, consistent with the temperature and composition of the body emitting it.

  118. ceteris non paribus


    Whilst I don’t mention it, I anticipate that there will be experiments published later this year using spectrometers to demonstrate that warm gases do not absorb emission from cooler sources.

    Of course, it goes without saying that these experiments will disprove the existence of the microwave oven.

  119. ceteris The issues of microwave ovens is explained in the Appendix. Tell me why you think radio waves can actually travel as far as they do without getting absorbed very much by either the atmosphere of the surface. You couldn’t shine a car headlight that far, for example.

    Bart What are you implying? Do you honestly believe that visible light has lower frequencies than IR emitted at body temperature?

    Maybe you should read here about the comprehensive peer-review system my paper has had to go through to be one of only 6 published on PSI at the time ….

    http://www.webcommentary.com/docs/jo120314.pdf

  120. “Extended Peer Community” at work.

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