A physicist reflects on the climate debate

by Pierre Darriulat

My interest, or rather curiosity, in climate science has taken me into landscapes that I had never seriously explored before and has opened my eyes and mind on unexpected topics.

The main discovery is the fascinating and incredibly rich world of the related blog literature. I met there all kinds of people. A minority use personal attacks and insults as main argumentation or limit their ambition to entertaining us (mostly successfully) with pleasant posts. Among the majority, I find climate science academics, citizen scientists, politically or sociologically motivated people and people who are simply curious to better understand climate science. The public exposure of their interactions, which Internet has made possible, is an amazing experience.

Climate Science academics

Climate Science, like astrophysics, has recently attracted scientists from many different fields contributing to unprecedented progress. They include mathematicians (in particular for the proper statistical treatment of available data and the conduct of complicated computer simulations), physicists (to understand the Sun contribution in its various forms and the basic phenomena of thermodynamical exchanges in the atmosphere and in the oceans), chemists, geophysicists, etc. and are usually specialized in fields such as oceanography, paleoclimatology, physics of the atmosphere, glaciology, polar ice packs, hydrology, meteorology, clouds, etc. This diversity implies that a particular climate scientist cannot be expected to be fluent in all domains of climate science and may occasionally be quite ignorant of some. The ambiguity of the IPCC terms of reference (a body of scientists addressing politicians) and the resulting controversy (their mixing scientific arguments with statements aimed at conveying what they “consensually” think to be the right message) have thrown much discredit on the community of climate science academics, which is identified with that of IPCC members by the general public. Many climate science academics, as most academics from other branches of natural sciences, do not feel at ease in the blog world, where they avoid expressing themselves. Many of those who do express themselves share the desire of rationalizing a debate that has become notoriously irrational: the role of the influence on the climate of a significant anthropogenic injection of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, this highly respectable motivation, recognized as such by a majority of bloggers, may follow on two different kinds of frustrations: some are frustrated to see the large quantity of work that they have done in full integrity and seriousness for the IPCC review be unjustly criticized and devalorized, others are frustrated to see IPCC having departed from basic scientific ethical practices in writing their report, specifically in the way this report can easily be used (and is being used), even at the price of some distortion, by those who have interests in promoting an alarmist view of the situation. Yet, what seems to me most encouraging, in a domain where the reasons for optimism are rather rare, is the feeling I have that both families aim at a same intellectual and moral integrity and are able to listen to each other and to change their views when necessary. The existence of climate science academics having such an attitude is, in my opinion, the only chance for unscrambling a situation that has reached an embarrassing deadlock. One must recognize, unfortunately, that there exist an important fraction of academic climate scientists who make it difficult for them to make their case and use instead authoritative arguments to impose their own views.

Citizen scientists

As a particle physicist, and later an astrophysicist, I have a long experience in communicating with people who believe that Maxwell or Einstein were wrong and propose a new theory meant to replace electromagnetism or relativity. Communication was not via Internet but by normal mail or, later, simple emails. It has always been a matter of personal pride for me to answer them and take the time to read their theories and explain what was wrong. It was often frustrating when they did not have the basic knowledge necessary for understanding the arguments and stubbornly insisted on the validity of their theory. Such was the picture I had of “citizen scientists” (in spite of the existence of counter-examples, such as Christofilos, the elevator engineer who invented strong focusing, and a host of amateur astronomers who contribute useful observations to astronomy).

In climate science, the exposure of the data to the public and the possibility to address some of the problems without too broad a knowledge of the context, but simply with a good command of basic science, encourages participation from anyone who is willing to contribute. This in itself is remarkable and inspires respect toward all these people who are yearning for a better understanding of nature and are prepared to make an effort to give a contribution; and so much more, as is often the case, when they do so in full humility and awareness of their own limitations. What is even more remarkable, however, is the existence among such citizen scientists of a small minority who are indeed able to contribute usefully either by bringing new original contributions or by shedding new light on questions that had been kept in the shade. Not recognizing the value of their contributions would simply be a demonstration of unacceptable arrogance.

Sociologically or politically motivated people

A third category of posts found in the climate science blogs is from people interested in the economical and political dimension of the debate and from people interested in its social and human dimension. Those having financial, economical or political interests are among the most passionate and biased participants and their contributions are not very constructive – except in a few instances – and usually do not help much in raising the level of the debate.

Those who find an interest in the sociological dimension of the debate are much more interesting to me. It is indeed something new, and likely to be of unprecedented importance, to have a public debate on science-related questions that are of major relevance to our future on such a large scale. It seems to me to be overlooked – or at least insufficiently appreciated ­– by the establishment, such as academies of sciences, learned societies, editorial boards of major science journals, mass media, etc. The so-called “skeptics” often claim that they are better scientifically minded, meaning having a better sense of scientific ethic than the so-called “warmists” and I think that any neutral observer must recognize that they have a point there.

After having sorted the wheat from the chaff – which is relatively easy but obviously considered as criminal by the chaff – one is left with a very respectable and informative set of statements, which simply cannot be ignored. The politization of the debate has undeniably resulted in unscientific practices. The difficulty to publish a case that dissents from orthodoxy is real. I have refereed many articles for several journals and I know that there is always some unconscious subjectivity in our judgement, well-known authors obviously enjoying a favourable prejudice.

I have also experienced myself, when having changed field from a domain where I was well known to a new one where I was unknown, that it takes time to be accepted by the new community and by the referee who evaluates your article – one to two years. The present machinery of our system of social interactions is not prepared to properly handle the new situation. How to depart from the black and white segregation of clans such as warmists, activists, alarmists, deniers, skeptics, etc, some publishing in Internet, some in traditional scientific journals, some in popular mass media? Sociologists are rightly delighted to witness what is happening and to see there a very rich ground for their investigations.

People curious of climate science

 No less impressive than the preceding families, the host of people who are simply curious about the climate and who wish to learn about it command respect. They come from various horizons, with very different backgrounds, but share a common awareness of the importance of the issue at stake and a desire to better understand its ins and outs. Never before, to my knowledge, has there been such a vast popular interest for scientific matters, or rather has such a vast popular interest for scientific matters found a ground on which to explicitly express itself. Equally respectable are the time and effort exerted by those who are knowledgeable to answer the questions and explain in simple terms what climate is about. For now decades the scientific community has been encouraged to better communicate with the general public, has been blamed for not doing it enough, or not well enough, so-called outreach initiatives have vigorously been promoted… but it seems to me that what is achieved in these blogs is at a scale that surpasses most of what has been done previously.

Some comments

The climate science debate is something that matters, it cannot be simply neglected or ignored. Whether or not there are reasons to be alarmed is beyond the point. The point is that many people are getting emotionally alarmed with economical and geopolitical consequences that are enormous. Under such panicking pressure, and the stronger pressure of financial interests, gigantic sums are invested in wind-mill farms and electric cars, just to quote two very controversial initiatives. Decisions are taken on nuclear energy, on fracking, on deep-sea drilling, etc. Not to mention crazy geo-engineering projects that are being contemplated.

I naturally should like to be well informed of the bases on which such decisions are taken. I am prepared to adhere to some precaution principle and accept that we should be careful with injecting CO2 in the atmosphere at the scale of what it already contains when we do not know enough to be sure that it is reasonably harmless; I understand that answering many of the open questions in climate science may require more time than we can afford to wait. But I find it difficult to find a good summary document where I can read what I need. The IPCC report was not written with this in mind and it makes statements on the probability, or level of confidence, of model predictions that are not scientifically acceptable. The way they quantify their ignorance of many parameters and phenomena of relevance, as if they were arguments governed by statistics, or worse by voting, makes no sense to me.

An interesting new fact between AR4 and AR5 is what is usually referred to as the pause. I am not claiming that the pause invalidates the long term model predictions, I do not know, but I expect that it be used to better quantify the uncertainties attached to model predictions. This has not been seriously done. Between AR4 and AR5, our understanding of the complexity of the roles played by clouds and oceans in the regulation of the climate has progressed. I understand how the greenhouse effect works, I understand that CO2  has much less effect than water vapour in this context, I understand how the many interactions between temperatures, at various altitudes and latitudes, and CO2 or water concentrations in the atmosphere imply major correlations that generate important feedbacks, some positive and some negative, a complex system that may amplify the green house effect. I also understand that the thermal capacity of the ocean is enormous at the Earth scale and that small perturbations may play a major role. But I am not an expert to master the details; I need a document that critically discusses all these issues and identifies the major areas of ignorance or insufficient knowledge, either lack of proper understanding or lack of adequate data. AR5 is failing to do so with sufficient clarity.

It seems to me that the IPCC report is the best basis to start from to produce such a document. What is needed is a critical review made by scientists (I do not care whether academics or “citizen scientists” or whatever as long as they accept to adhere to basic scientific ethic and have the necessary competence). A good guide to make such a critical review is the NIPCC report which has the advantage of being structured in a way that parallels that of the IPCC report. The point is not to decide who is wrong and who is right, but to identify the misunderstandings and/or different assumptions that have led to different conclusions, to clarify the issue and to formulate new statements on which one can agree. The scientists who can do so must not be chosen as being advocates of the warmist or skeptic camp, the idea is not to have a debate between warmists and skeptics; instead, they should accept, during the time of their term as reviewers, to forget about which camp they are seen to belong to by outside observers. This excludes explicitly scientists that have been seen to display extreme views or partisan behaviour. Moreover, the participants in such a review should not be asked to address politicians, nor to make new predictions, but to address scientists from other fields and transmit to them the essential elements of their knowledge and ignorance, with particular attention to what may affect the conclusions reached by AR5. I know that many think that this is pure utopia; they may well be right but, reading through the blogs, I got the impression that many climate scientists would be prepared to do such an exercise in good faith.

Something that strikes me is the parallel between the way the climate debate is received by the general public and the way the nuclear debate has been. I am neither pro- nor anti-nuclear but I understand reasonably well the issues that are at stake. In the nuclear case purely emotional and irrational arguments have been exploited by green activists up to a point where several countries have now banned nuclear energy. In the climate case, the green activists are with the establishement rather than being against, as they were in the nuclear case. But this is almost irrelevant.

What I am witnessing is the same arrogance in the establishment, the same irrational and emotional fear in the general public, amplified by a majority of popular media. In both cases, wrong decisions are being taken under the pressure of political and financial interests. What is completely new, however, is the existence, with Internet, of a forum in which the debate is taking place on a very large scale. Obviously, as few people read these blogs as those who read the scientific litterature, the majority relies on newspapers and television for their information. Yet, somehow, it seems to me that the debate that is going on there contains enough popular wisdom to mark a change in our practice of communicating, exerting democracy and taking decisions and deserves serious attention.

Biosketch:  Pierre Darriulat is the former Research Director of CERN and currently Professor of Physics at VATLY in Hanoi, Vietnam.  In 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Andrew Lagarrigue Prize.

 

364 responses to “A physicist reflects on the climate debate

  1. Civil, moi. Mebbe it’s cavil.
    =======

    • David Springer

      Pierre you forgot biology for a specific mention of relevant disciplines. This is probably the most important field because if it weren’t for living things the earth might as be the planet Pluto for all it would matter. Living things both effect the climate and are effected by it. Moreover synthetic biology is almost certainly going to be the cure for the increasingly expensive fossil fuels. Synthetic organisms on non-arable land can directly convert CO2, non-potable water, and sunlight into ready-to-use liquid hydrocarbon fuels in a one-step process and do it more cheaply than any mine/well/refinery ever could with fossil fuels. It’s happening as we speak.

      I encourage you to watch the videos and check out bona fides of the principals in this:

      http://joulefuels.com/

    • David Springer

      You also forgot to mention engineers. Science is about producing explanations for natural phenomena. Engineering is about boiling science down to practical applications. Whenever you use any instruments in your work you can thank an engineer for it. Indeed you can thank engineers for every artifice on the planet.

      You’re welcome.

  2. A good guide to make such a critical review is the NIPCC report which has the advantage of being structured in a way that parallels that of the IPCC report.

    I have several times called for an end to the IPCC, but I’ve never even read the latest NIPCC report. As long as it’s not funded with taxpayer money I have no problem with its existence, but I seriously doubt it represents “Science”.

    • Many cults hate heresy. The AGW cults typically claims to have a monopoly on the truth and heretics should be jailed, sued, forced from their jobs etc.

      Proclaiming it isn’t “Science” while proud that you haven’t read it is typical cult behavior.

      • Proclaiming it isn’t “Science” while proud that you haven’t read it is typical cult behavior.

        I didn’t proclaim ‘it isn’t “Science”‘, I just expressed serious doubts. I started reading the first one, and I can proclaim that one wasn’t “Science”.

      • sunshinehours1

        +1

    • AK, Can you complain about how another country spends its tax money?
      The IPCC is an international effort the last I checked.
      Yes, the USA subsidizes much of the IPCC, but as a comparison, the Swiss have subsidized a good chunk of CERN funding, particularly in the donation of land rights. And that is way below with respect to their fractional contribution to the planetary burden.

      • Yes, I can complain. Taxes are robbed from people who otherwise might be able to spend it on things that might profit me.

        But there seems to be a problem with your reading comprehension, WNUT. My reference to tax-funded had to do with the NIPCC. My opposition to the IPCC has more to do with what it’s doing to science, and its role in the attempt to roll out a socialist revolution under the mask of “Climate Science”.

        Note that I’m not suggesting the IPCC itself is a conspiracy, in other than the primitive sense of “in (the same) spirit” which the word derives from. But there’s almost overwhelming evidence that some conspiracies are involved in supporting it and the use of its reports as propaganda in a political war against capitalism.

      • David Springer

        “Can you complain about how another country spends its tax money?”

        To the extent it detrimentally effects others, you bet. Just to get to a quick ending I’ll invoke Godwin’s Law. For instance I would complain about a country spending its tax money to carry out genocide. Would you not complain? Just sayin’

  3. As a particle physicist, and later an astrophysicist, I have a long experience in communicating with people who believe that Maxwell or Einstein were wrong and propose a new theory meant to replace electromagnetism or relativity. Communication was not via Internet but by normal mail or, later, simple emails. It has always been a matter of personal pride for me to answer them and take the time to read their theories and explain what was wrong.

    I would like for you to read the Climate Theory of Maurice Ewing and William Donn. They had it right, years ago. What they had right is still right.
    Read Tom Wysmuller’s Theory and Pope’s Theory. http://www.colderside.com/Colderside/Home.html

    http://popesclimatetheory.com/index.html

  4. “An interesting new fact between AR4 and AR5 is what is usually referred to as the pause. I am not claiming that the pause invalidates the long term model predictions, I do not know, but I expect that it be used to better quantify the uncertainties attached to model predictions. This has not been seriously done. “

    The pause has been verified as a consequence of natural fluctuation terms that add essentially zero to the overall trend. See the following papers

    [1]S. Rahmstorf, G. Foster, and A. Cazenave, “Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011,” Environmental Research Letters, vol. 7, no. 4, p. 044035, 2012.
    [2]G. Foster and S. Rahmstorf, “Global temperature evolution 1979–2010,” Environmental Research Letters, vol. 6, no. 4, p. 044022, Jan. 2011.
    [3]Y. Kosaka and S.-P. Xie, “Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling,” Nature, vol. 501, no. 7467, pp. 403–407, 2013.
    [4]J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter, “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature,” Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 114, no. D14, Jul. 2009.

    I wrote an explanation in the following link that summarizes what is likely happening, using data and analysis approaches that any “citizen scientist” could do for themselves.

    http://contextearth.com/2013/10/04/climate-variability-and-inferring-global-warming/

    Here is something for other citizen scientists to chew on. Consider that the remaining odd warming spike is one that occurs during the WWII years, during a period of time when gaps existed in the geospatial temperature record

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-2-2-3.html

    From 1939-1944, there was a large Northern Atlantic ocean warming pulse concidental with a lengthy El Nino event centered at 1942. The SOI data was not quite wide enough to compensate for the Atlantic warming.

    • Correct. The trend is zero over 15 years despite massive CO2 growth.

      IPCC Theory has failed.

      • Note the response by assertion, as opposed to reasoning.
        That is denialism in a nutshell.

      • AGW Cult Assertion: CO2 causes catastrophic Global Warming

        Denier: What warming?

        AGW Cult: 1950 – Present

        Denier: But the 50s 60s and 70s were cooler than the 40s.

        AGW Cult:

        Denier: And it stopped warming in 1998.

        AGW Cult: Not it didn’t [Repeat from 1998 to 2013.]

        Denier: It stopped warming in 1998 [Repeat for 15 years]

        AGW Cult [2013] Oh … you mean the Pause.

        Denier: Took you long enough.

        AGW CUlt: Natural Variation.

        Denier: Could 1980 to 1998 be Natural Variation?

        AGW Cult. No!!!!!!

        Denier: Why not?

        AGW Cult: Because I said so.

        Denier: Loser.

      • Scott Basinger

        WHUT just got owned.

      • There is no zero trend from 1998 to 2013, 6 of 7 data sets show warming form 1998 to 2013.

        Trends from 1980 to 2013 are all positive.

        The evidence supports the conclusion that Web is correct and Sunshine is not telling the truth.

      • And all of them are down from 2001.

        PS I accidently used RSS land in previous comment.

        RSS global is still down from 1998.

        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1998/plot/rss/from:1998/trend

      • “Trends from 1980 to 2013 are all positive.”

        So? One third of all man-made CO2 went into the atmosphere from 1998 and all it did was change the trend to flat from 1998 and down,down, down from 2001.

      • Jan 1944 Northern Hemisphere Anomaly = 0.656
        Jan 2013 Northern Hemisphere Anomaly = 0.545

        It was .111C warmer in Jan 1944 than Jan 2013 in the Northern Hemisphere.

        http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/category/hadcrut4/

      • sunshine, have you accounted for ocean heat content or do you prefer to ignore that particular reservoir of energy? Specify why? Thanks.


      • Scott Basinger | October 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

        WHUT just got owned.

        This is not that hard to analyze.
        1. Grab the GISS data stretching back to 1880, call that dT
        2. Get the CO2 estimated data from KNMI explorer, same years
        3. Get the SOI data from NCAR
        4. Get the LOD from the site that Curry referenced in the last paper
        5. Get estimated relative volcanic forcings from the BEST spreadsheet
        6. Get the TSI data from WFT

        Do a multiple regression of factors #2 though #6 against #1 after applying first-order response times on the fast varying components.
        dT = c1 * ln(CO2) + c2 * SOI + c3 * LOD + c4 * volcanic + c5 * TSI

        After you get the values of the scalar coefficients, reconstruct the best fit to dT.

        The underlying trend is due to CO2, the many sub-decadal variations are due to the SOI, the sporadic deeper valleys due to volcanic aerosols, a slight +/- 0.05 multi-decadal modulaton obseved via the LOD proxy, and a slight periodic variation due to SOI.

        Bottom line, the CO2 TCR is a little over 2C per doubling of CO2.

        I do not understand why skeptics and deniers can’t do something this simple. Wait … I think I do know why — because it is not in their interest to do this kind of stuff . It is much easier to take anecdotal potshots instead of actually getting their hands dirty and finding out something that they do not want to see.

        One can convince yourself of anything if the information remains hazily hand-waved out on the horizon.

      • OHC? Barely any pre-2000 data and it still only warms at .066C over 45 years?

        600 years for 1C.

        LOL.

      • Instead of webbys waste of time.

        Graph each month for HADCRUT4 for the last 10 years.

        Compare it to monthly AMO.

        HADCRUT4 = AMO and the AMO will be getting colder.

        http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/hadcrut4-10-years-by-month-amo/

      • sunshine, OK, so you haven’t read about the results of Argo. Sorry to bother you with factual information, but it explains what you said. Thanks.

      • SSH,

        Steven Goddard is the perfect foil for morons like Wubbie prattling about trends and temps!! The US has arguably the best temperature measuring network in the world for the range covered. Here is what has been done to the temps:

        http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/rewriting-history-at-the-ministry-of-truth/

        http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/hansen-was-a-naughty-y2k-boy/

        and the changes are ongoing from NCDC who provides the data to everyone who is official!!

        Now the worst of it is the messing they are doing with the temps are leaving us even STUPIDER about the climate then we were before. Before the adjustments we had an apples to apples comparison and averaging. Now after numerous changes in types of measurements, bad siting, and piles and piles of bull shtatistics to more closely match what the Climatologists KNOW is happening, who knows what has actually been happening?!?!?!

        Think about that for a minute. What would be the results of all those studies based on temps and trends or utilizing the OFFICIAL temps and trends if those adjustments are half bad much less mostly bad??? I believe the sensitivity studies would be even WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT, for the Climatologists that is!!

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        For those wondering about this, it would seem that the models could not backcast the cooling from the 40’s through the 70’s. The models can’t backcast the MWP or the LIA. Don’t even think about the Ice Ages or Venus. In spite of the rhetoric Hansen and the rest have TOTALLY FAILED to get close on any of these real situations. The models were only good for showing a relatively monotonic increase in temps with hand massaged dips and spikes for volcanoes, ENSO and other processes!! When you consider that, the adjustments that bring the temperature record closer to what the models CAN DO becomes obvious.

        Another think about that situation is, remember Hansen declared the end of the world in 1988 at a Senate hearing. Look at that before graph again. He had a 10 year rise in temps no worse than the 30’s!! In other words he was basing his hysterics on his Hypothesis that not only would more CO2 warm, BUT, the COMPLETELY unsupported part that there were positive feedbacks that would cause the climate to go out of control!!!

        After 30 years of listening to the BS and 17 years of NO WARMING, I believe the before graph is closer to reality and Hansen et al are freaks!!!

        Oh, and any of you fan boys out there that think a 1c or even 2c/century is a problem really need to find a good shrink and quit bothering the adults.

      • These are the Southern and Northern Hemisphere Land and SST temperatures, from 1959 to the end of December 2012, plotted against Log(CO2) (Keeling)

        I did slopes for 2000-2012 and 1983 to 1995, plus the whole 1959 to star 2013. From the latter slope one get the relationship between log(CO2) and so I took away the slope suggested in all four data-sets and plotted these residuals.

        So we see that CO2 driven AGW is quite different over land and ocean, but is also quite different in the two hemisphere, which is odd as CO2 driven photon recycling should work in the same way on both halves of the planet.
        We also have a very unusual statistical property, the Northern land area has the highest measurement density, there are more thermometers per unit area in the Northern Hemisphere than the South, and yet, this is the data-set with the most ‘noise’.
        The most ‘noise’ also translates to highest ‘climate sensitivity’. It is almost as if something else that was happening to the Northern Hemisphere was causing disruption of the sensors.

      • Jim D, Argo only has data for a few years. And essentially zero data exists pre-1950.

        How do we know how warm or cold the deep ocean was in the 1930s.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/09/amazing-the-ipcc-may-have-provided-a-realistic-illustration/

      • So we see that CO2 driven AGW is quite different over land and ocean, but is also quite different in the two hemisphere, which is odd as CO2 driven photon recycling should work in the same way on both halves of the planet.

        A planet of two halves exhibits an asymmetry,that global metrics distort.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3nh/from:1995.6/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3sh/from:1995.6/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3nh/from:1995.6/mean:12/trend/plot/hadcrut3sh/from:1995.6/mean:12/trend

        The problem is.

        Q Is Co2 to blame?

    • Webby

      What this all points out is that Nature is still in charge of the climate – NOT the CO2 climate control knob.

      IPCC just hasn’t gotten the word yet.

      Max

    • Whether or not your linked analysis taking out SOI variation is correct about the pause (which is a separate discussion) you ignore a larger and more important point. We are at the stage where the AGW modelers themselves said such a pause would invalidate the models on which future climate predictions are based. (e.g NASA SoC 2008, Santer et. al. 2011). Especially with respect to ECS, which many new papers suggest now looks to be observationally something like half of what the CMIP3 and AR4, and CMIP5 and AR5, say.
      This is highly nontrivial, because it argues against immediate precautionary mitigation and for getting the science right with only (at least near term) adaptation.

      • Suddenly, after an embarrassing 15 year pause, they have made the momentous discovery that the SOI is of some significance. They have also stumbled upon the sun and the oceans. To their credit, they knew about aerosols before.

      • “The predicted temperature in 2100 by the IPC is simply an extension of the warming trend between 1975 and 2000… As a result, the IPCC prediction during the first decade of the present century has already failed.” ~Syun-Ichi Akasofu

      • The larger and more important point is that the modelers said to do it the way Web said, that is to take out the natural variations.

      • Actually, the only sensible, cost effective, and regretless choice.
        ============

      • Web

        “Take out the natural variations”?

        According to Dr. Sun-Ichi Akasofu these are

        – a 0.05C/decade underlying long-term warming trend since 1850 (long before human GHGs played any perceptible role) as we have recovered from a cooler LIA.
        – a cyclical PDO trend with an amplitude of 0.2ºC.

        IF we apply this to the warming seen since 1970 (around 0.5C), we have:

        underlying “pre-GHG” trend 0.05C/decade*3 decades = 0.15C
        plus PDO natural variation = 0.2Cequals 0.35C out of te observed 0.5C

        leaving 0.15C (or 30%) for everything else, including AGW.

        Max

      • Not only does ‘average temperature’ consist of AGW and ‘white noise’, but the ‘white noise’ in the ‘global temperature’ EXACTLY matches the ratio of air pressure measurements of a manometer in Darwin and a manometer in Tahiti. What are the odds that thermal fluctuations in the global surface temperature would be transmitted to two points in the Pacific, as air pressure changes.

      • Max,
        Here is another paper that does this correction :
        [1] J. L. Lean and D. H. Rind, “How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006,” Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 35, no. 18, 2008.

        They apply multivariate AGW forcing, ENSO, volcanos, and TSI. The fit gets better if one adds in the LOD correction, as the following shows.

        Natural variations have been known to account for the pause for several years. The TSI adds about 0.06 C over the range but negative contributions from SOI and LOD wipe that out so that the entire warming of ~ 0.8C is due to GHGs.


      • DocMartyn | October 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

        Not only does ‘average temperature’ consist of AGW and ‘white noise’, but the ‘white noise’ in the ‘global temperature’ EXACTLY matches the ratio of air pressure measurements of a manometer in Darwin and a manometer in Tahiti. What are the odds that thermal fluctuations in the global surface temperature would be transmitted to two points in the Pacific, as air pressure changes.

        The SOI looks closer to being red noise and yes, it is indeed a measure of a pressure differential between Darwin and Tahiti. This is a proxy for large scale oceanic fluctuations in the Pacific, which then propagate to other arts of the world and are realized as temperature variations. It is an excellent de-fluctuation term as it adds zero long-term bias and appears stationary as it reverts to the mean over the duration of observations

        Even hard-core AGW deniers such as Bob Carter believe that this is the case.
        [1]J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter, “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature,” Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 114, no. D14, Jul. 2009.

      • WHT,

        Global average surface temperature and SOI are two indicators of variability in the Earth system, both are indicators, neither is the cause, in the language of the physical world neither explains the other.

        El Nino / La Nina phenomenon is a step closer to the cause as many physical features of this variability are known. This variability is to a large part short term but there are also longer term phenomena that contribute in some unknown way. Looking at SOI as an indicator of this variability we can see that the latest 40 years appear to show more decadal variability than the earlier part of the available data. Smoothed (5-year smoothing) SOI was high in the first half of 1970s, dropped to a minimum in the first half of 1990s, and is high again. These highs and lows are more extreme than any single one before. It seems likely or at least a distinct possibility that there’s something more here than just the old short term variability.

        It’s wrong to say that SOI explains GST variability except in a formal statistical sense that refers to the correlation between the time series. The strong correlation tells that variabilities of the two indices have a common partial origin. When this observation is extended towards the interpretation of the hiatus, it’s only a hint that may turn out to be useful or not, it’s not an explanation. That’s even more so as the related behavior of SOI is unique in the available data.

      • WHT, one thing you’ve not clarified following your LOD revelations is why you believe the ITCZ would be free to move so far from the equator. It might also be interesting to here A Lacis’ & J Curry’s thoughts on this. You’re not being careful about centennial partitioning. kim take note.


      • It’s wrong to say that SOI explains GST variability except in a formal statistical sense that refers to the correlation between the time series.

        OK, so you agree with me 100%.

        The last 130+ years has demonstrated that the SOI is a time series that follows a red noise process, which means it has a fixed mean and that the process will always revert back to the mean.

        Good enough to base a prediction on, as these kinds of phenomenon always relate to a process stuck in a potential well. No indication that something will unseat this from a well unless a large forcing is applied. And that forcing is GHG.

    • David Springer

      Oh here we go. I was surprised you managed a first comment in this thread that lacked a mention of your latest hobby horse: SOI.

      Ya’ll heard of the God Particle? Well SOI has become like unto the God Index for climate blog troll Paul Pukite (a.k.a. “whut”).

    • I looked at your post. Here’s my thoughts.
      1. You are trying to subtract the SOI which shows no trend to remove the noise. By subtracting the SOI temperature anomaly from the GISS anomaly (which includes SST) you are essentially subtracting the temperature of some of the ocean from the temperature of most of the ocean.

      2. You then plot SOI next to GISS where the SOI anomaly jumps up to to a .8 trend instead of no trend with no explanation why it was plotted this way. It appears you simply bent the curve with no justification.

      3. You then subtract the SOI to remove noise. But this is surely done incorrectly since the trend jumps .2 degrees over the period. If you subtract a trendless line (which you acknowledge) from another line you simply get a different curve with the same trend. Just look at the period after 2000 that has no volcanoes. The SOI increases and then decreases with no trend. The GISS temperature also shows no trend but your adjustments create a trend out of thin air.

      4. You then subtract ENSO events which are already accounted for because the SOI is an indicator of ENSO events. Just looking at the SOI anomaly you can clearly see the ENSO events line up with changes in the SOI so you have subtracted them twice.

      • Sounds like a pretty crappy job. Almost like they knew the result they wanted and then futzed around with the data until it showed what they wanted. Wish I could do that with my data but I’m a non-climate scientist so I would be called out if I did that kind of nonsense. Reminds me of Grant Foster (Tamino) subtracting out all the cooling and then saying if it hadn’t cooled it would have warmed. Complete crap.

      • David Springer

        Nice. Let’s see how long it takes him to find a new hobby horse.

      • “1. You are trying to subtract the SOI which shows no trend to remove the noise. By subtracting the SOI temperature anomaly from the GISS anomaly (which includes SST) you are essentially subtracting the temperature of some of the ocean from the temperature of most of the ocean. ”

        Huh? The surface temperature holds no heat compared to the rest of the ocean. It is very sensitive to surface area heating and cooling. This generates a perturbation that propagates across the earth. This is well understood by everyone that has experienced El Ninos and La Ninas, and climatologists that study this.

        ” You then plot SOI next to GISS where the SOI anomaly jumps up to to a .8 trend instead of no trend with no explanation why it was plotted this way. It appears you simply bent the curve with no justification.”

        Huh? What “jumps up” to 0.8? The underlying trend that is bent upward is a proxy for the piece that is missing, which most likely is caused by the GHG forcing, of which happens to bend upward over the 20th century.

        As an alternative, I work the problem out by using CO2 instead of a power-law acceleration term here.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/12/a-physicist-reflects-on-the-climate-debate/#comment-397683

        The fit is even simpler in that case, because the CO2 does the acceleration for us.

        ” You then subtract the SOI to remove noise. But this is surely done incorrectly since the trend jumps .2 degrees over the period. If you subtract a trendless line (which you acknowledge) from another line you simply get a different curve with the same trend. Just look at the period after 2000 that has no volcanoes. The SOI increases and then decreases with no trend. The GISS temperature also shows no trend but your adjustments create a trend out of thin air.”

        Wrong buddy. The 0.2 is just an offset that is needed to provide a base for the power-law fitting function which starts at zero. I am not the only one that has done this rather simple compensation. Tamino has done this correction, as have a few “ctizen scientists” on the SkS blog here:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/pacific-ocean-global-warming-puzzle-Kosaka-Xie.html

        And of course Kosaka & Xie have done this correction in a highly praised paper.
        Y. Kosaka and S.-P. Xie, “Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling,” Nature, vol. 501, no. 7467, pp. 403–407, 2013.

        What you are probably not seeing is a reversion-to-the-mean of the SOI warming excursion. Once the reversion stops the compensating effects will halt.

        “. You then subtract ENSO events which are already accounted for because the SOI is an indicator of ENSO events. Just looking at the SOI anomaly you can clearly see the ENSO events line up with changes in the SOI so you have subtracted them twice.”

        They are not subtracted twice. You can do the analysis yourself instead of trying to talk it though. You learn by doing, not by aping talking points that you hear.

      • Webster, it still looks like you are over fitting and neglecting that little ice age recovery issue. Why try to remove everything? Go with the flow dude.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/10/quick-note-on-getting-rid-of-climate.html

      • Bill said:


        Bill | October 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

        Sounds like a pretty crappy job. Almost like they knew the result they wanted and then futzed around with the data until it showed what they wanted. Wish I could do that with my data but I’m a non-climate scientist so I would be called out if I did that kind of nonsense. Reminds me of Grant Foster (Tamino) subtracting out all the cooling and then saying if it hadn’t cooled it would have warmed. Complete crap.

        That is pretty funny. Do you understand what a tool like Eureqa can do for you? They call it a <a href="

        “>”robot scientist” for rather obvious reasons.

        All you have to do is input time series for the ocean temperature, CO2, SOI, TSI, LOD, and volcanic disturbances and Eureqa will try to piece together the components as best as it can. And, voila, it figures it out, and it seems to match one’s intuition!

        The big plus is that there is no bias here, because Eureqa has no political leanings and is not obeying some agenda. It doesn’t care if you laugh at it or mock it because it doesn’t care about you.

        Welcome to how science will work in the future.

    • Jim D

      If sunshine is right and we are headed for cooler average temperatures, harsher winters and shorter growing seasons in the (inhabited) northern hemisphere, then it matters very little that ARGO measurements tell us that the top 2000 meters of the oceans may be warming by a few thousandths of a degree per decade.

      Right?

      Max

      • Actually, Max, oceans taking up heat and sequestering it seems like what Martha Stewart would call “a good thing”.

      • It postpones surface temperature changes, but doesn’t affect the final response magnitude to higher CO2 levels. An important fact to note. The ocean is no savior, merely a loan shark.

      • Jim, How do you know scientifically when the ocean is storing heat, when it isn’t and when is it releasing heat?

        Is the lag a few years, a few decades a few centuries?

        Could the heat come from the sun?

        Could the heat come from volcanism?

        Is there really increasing heat or is it an artifact of the poor measurements?

        And finally, isn’t the microscopic amount of heat just a “dog ate my homework” kind of excuse for the lack of atmospheric warming?

      • Jim D:
        “The ocean is no savior, merely a loan shark.”

        What is the interest rate charged?

      • Its a non-recourse loan, the tithe it seems from the so called increase in OHC, is a decrease in the rate of growth in the Co2 fraction in the SH .

  5. Very sensible.

    It may lack a point. Or insistence on a point. We are where we are because of a very ideological commandment. There shall not be a debate. Some are, using their own expression, deniers of a valid scientific debate. It’s very understandable you end having a revolution. And, while at war … irrationality wins.

    Sure, the internet has changed the game. They never dreamed being close to lose.

  6. John DeFayette

    Dear Dr. Darriulat,

    A few names come to mind as lead authors of your hypothetical summary document. The Pielkes, a certain Dr. Curry, maybe Lomborg. It’s hard for us ignorant masses to find experts in this very broad field with the required courage to speak out, the integrity to call a spade a spade, the humility to resist the call of fame, and the self-respect to fend off the corrupting coin. Most names that come to mind are just so hated that your document would never make it out of the press under all the enemy fire. The most notable voices seem to be sitting squarely, sometimes with their families, in the middle of the gravy train.

    I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor to understand and to produce clarity for the rest of us. I fear, however, that the AGW creature that science helped create broke out of its laboratory long ago. Dr. Frankenstein died around 2007 (if not earlier), and we may need pitchforks and fires to bring this monster to bay.

  7. What Pierre has not discussed is the role of the learned scientific societies in this debate; led by the Royal Society and the American Physical Society. These bodies OUGHT to be scientifically neutral, and foster honest scientific debate. Instead ALL these learned bodies have aligned themselves with the “consensus”, and have actively PREVENTED proper scientific debate. This is WHY Pierre finds an absence of what he is looking for.

    Unless and until ALL learned societies and academic institutions return to their traditional role of being neutral and honest brokers, the true science of whether CAGW is real or not will have to await sufficient empirical data.

    • Many if not most of these “learned scientific societies” have been taken over by those who believe science is primarily a profit making business. They have become little more than marketing departments pursuing grants for their members.

    • Progressives are progressives first and everything else, including scientists, second.

  8. The traditional answer for best readable source of information on a field of science is given by well written university textbooks. Now we do have also an alternative in information distributed through internet.

    For all widely studied fields of science several textbooks are available. They compete with each other and some turn out to succeed better in their task than others. Good textbooks are written by one or a few authors, the process that leads to the IPCC reports is very unlikely to ever produce a highly readable result.

    Climate science is not an easy field to write textbooks covering all important issues properly. The basics is not problematic in that way. More general textbooks of atmospheric science and books like that of Pierrehumbert on the physics of planetary atmospheres cover rather well many important issues, but they do not answer the hotly debated questions. Describing in an unbiased and understandable way what can be learned from climate models may be impossible, when it’s not accepted that the conservative approach is chosen, where uncertainties are emphasized and everything is declared unknown, unless the opposite is proven in an unambiguous way.

    While books of climate science may be lacking, the existing books of atmospheric science are a very valuable source of information for everyone with the proper background and genuine interest in learning to improve understanding. Some parts of Pierre Darriulat’s post make me believe that he has taken that task. I do also think that he would express himself differently if he had done that.

    • Well Pekka, your comment is partially correct. You should add, on physical grounds, there is currently no way to determine global temperature. All attempts are based on poorly collected and recorded data. The use of anomaly is even worse and in most instances manipulated nonsense.

    • Pekka,

      “Some parts of Pierre Darriulat’s post make me believe that he has taken that task. I do also think that he would express himself differently if he had done that.”

      Did you mean to say “he has not taken that task”?

      “Describing in an unbiased and understandable way what can be learned from climate models may be impossible, when it’s not accepted that the conservative approach is chosen, where uncertainties are emphasized and everything is declared unknown, unless the opposite is proven in an unambiguous way.”

      Precisely.

      • Don,

        You are right, “not” should be there.

        My impression is that some of the doubts of Pierre Darriulat could be removed through a moderate effort in learning more about atmospheric physics and similarly well established knowledge from sources like good textbooks. That would, however, answer only part of the questions. Many of the issues are too complex to judge based on own understanding by anyone else than the best experts working actively in the field. As in most fields of science there are issues, where experts know more than others but even they make often misjudgements. Others may then use various signs to judge the experts and their conclusions, but not draw directly conclusions from the data. Climate science is not any different from most other sciences in this.

        In pure science it’s a good practice to emphasize uncertainties. Conclusions should be considered strong only when there’s evidence from many independent sources and the totality of evidence makes it extremely unlikely that the conclusion is not basically correct. At the same time even speculative ideas may be worth of publication and further consideration as long as they may lead to further progress.

        When the results of science are used in decision making the division in virtually certain and speculative does not work as well. Decisions should be taken using all evidence, a likely result may be essentially as significant as virtually certain, and less likely alternatives should also be considered.

      • The issue is that those scientists with meta-expertise (such as Darriulat) are right to be suspicious of a science that is heavily politicized, relies heavily on unvalidated models of a complex system, is naive in assessing uncertainty and overconfident in their conclusions.

      • Judith,

        My background has many similarities with that of Pierre Darriulat, although I did basic physics research for a shorter time only before switching to applied research. I have perceived difficulties in making judgments on climate science issues, and I have spent quite a lot of effort in attempts to form a view that I could consider balanced. I write based on that experience.

        In many areas it’s possible to separate pure science from applied science rather well. The people and organizations working in the pure science and in applications may be mostly separate with little overlap. The quality controls and criteria for making judgments are in those cases often quite different. By different I don’t mean that they would necessarily be more strict in one than int the other, only that they are different.

        In the present climate science such a separation is not done. The same scientists do the basic research and present the results to decision makers. The requirements of pure science and applied science get mixed and confused. It’s natural that conflicting conclusions abound, and even more so when the goal is not well specified: Is it advancement of science or best possible immediate advice to decision makers?

        Some of the conflicts among scientists could perhaps be resolved by limiting the discussion to one issue at the time, i.e. discussing separately, what’s best for science, and how to advice decision makers.

      • Judith,

        Pekka’s suggestion that “some of the doubts of Pierre Darriulat could be removed through a moderate effort in learning more about atmospheric physics and similarly well established knowledge from sources like good textbooks.” might be appropriate. He could make that learning effort, if he hasn’t already done so, while maintaining a healthy suspicion.

        Pekka get’s it: “In pure science it’s a good practice to emphasize uncertainties. Conclusions should be considered strong only when there’s evidence from many independent sources and the totality of evidence makes it extremely unlikely that the conclusion is not basically correct. At the same time even speculative ideas may be worth of publication and further consideration as long as they may lead to further progress.”

      • Well, I’ll take Pierre’s State of the Science speech over Pekka’s but they are both mostly right.
        ================

    • “The traditional answer for best readable source of information on a field of science is given by well written university textbooks. ”

      Do these actually exist anymore?!?!?!

      Remember, during every period of time prior to a paradigm change in science, those well written University Textbooks were purveying incorrect thinking and science!!! This is one of those times.

    • Pekka Pirila,

      Describing in an unbiased and understandable way what can be learned from climate models may be impossible, when it’s not accepted that the conservative approach is chosen, …

      This scares the hell out of me. This is exactly why many people are sceptical about what the climate scientists and modellers are doing. They have made a judgement that CO2 emissions are dangerous/catastrophic and it is their role to be conservative with their analyses. They lean towards overstating rather than understating the dangers. Each group involved in providing inputs shares that belief so contingencies add and multiply. The end result is a massive overstatement of the consequences and probabilities. The damages of GHG emissions are overstated. The benefits are under-researched and understated.

      People who have been involved in engineering, project management and other disciplines are aware of the cascading effects of ‘conservative’ estimates. This is why people are cautious and skeptical about what the climate scientists believe. Judith’s recent post “Confidence levels inside and outside an argument” applies http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/06/confidence-levels-inside-and-outside-an-argument/

      • Peter,

        Pekka Pirila,

        Describing in an unbiased and understandable way what can be learned from climate models may be impossible, when it’s not accepted that the conservative approach is chosen, …

        This scares the hell out of me.

        I interpret from your comment that you have understood the quote from my text as the opposite of what’s it was meant to say. Perhaps it was not clear enough, but my impression is that many others did understand it the way I tried to say. Conservative means here accepting only very strong evidence. That’s what I consider right for pure science.

        In decision making all evidence should be considered with a weight determined by the strength of it. Evidence of intermediate strength may get more weight in that than in pure science. The decision-maker has to decide on the evidence to be used and the weight given to each part of evidence.

        A point on which we surely agree is that it’s not good that a scientist tries to push evidence based on its relationship with the policy conclusions that he prefers, i.e. emphasizing those leading to the “right” direction and forgetting those having the opposite effect.

    • Pekka Pirila,

      I’d add that climate science is nearly irrelevant if the scientists cannot provide convincing and quantified information on the damage function. At the moment, we have little information on the damage function, high uncertainty and low confidence. On that basis high cost mitigation policies cannot be justified.

  9. A very thoughtful analysis.

    some are frustrated to see the large quantity of work that they have done in full integrity and seriousness for the IPCC review be unjustly criticized and devalorized, others are frustrated to see IPCC having departed from basic scientific ethical practices in writing their report, specifically in the way this report can easily be used (and is being used), even at the price of some distortion, by those who have interests in promoting an alarmist view of the situation.

    These frustrations certainly must have preceded AR5 – the same ones applied after AR4 (IMO the first summary report that shifted from some modicum of scientific objectivity to outright advocacy for a political agenda).

    The problem is that these reports, in order to be taken seriously by “policymakers” must show increasing alarmism with each report (i.e. “it’s worse than we thought”).

    This was (and remains) the big dilemma for IPCC in its AR5 report. The thermometers out there have not followed the models or their predictions. The “pause” – actually a slight cooling over more than a decade, while human GHG emissions continued unabated and concentrations reached record levels – presented a real problem for IPCC (as our hostess commented on an earlier thread).

    The continuum of “it’s worse than we thought” was broken by the facts on the ground, yet IPCC was unwilling to concede that things were not “worse than we thought”, but most likely less alarming than previously reported. Instead of incorporating the results of several independent observation-based studies pointing to a much lower CO2 climate sensitivity than the model-based mean value previously reported in AR4, IPCC chose to ignore these new findings and simply extend the low end of the CS range downward by a half a degree, without changing the mean value (or upper end of the range) – or its projections of future warming.

    This was clearly a “sleight of hand” trick, made in order to keep the “it’s worse than we thought” continuum alive (and, with it, the call for “action”).

    I can see why some scientists could be frustrated.

    Max

  10. The idea of a review of the review is interesting. But in a sense it is already happening in a crowd sourced way. That is probably good, since it is one way to overcome the aggregators selection bias in both AR4 and AR5. It will, however, take some time for the back and forth to produce sufficient quality control (sorting wheat from chaff).
    What is more important, but less clear mechanistically as to how to accomplish it, is how to get the eventual result broadly heard and understood when it is self evident that many possible means of general,public communication (MSM,, NOAA and NASA websites, the APS and the AGU and the Royal Society) have been co-opted by the CAGW crowd.
    I fear it may take some spectacular failures (such as European energy policy re cost and reliability, the Australian carbon tax) to finally turn the tide of general public awareness

    • Rud Istvan

      The “critical review” of AR5 has already started (in the blogosphere), but it is clear that a more structured critique is needed.

      As Pierre Darriulat writes:

      A good guide to make such a critical review is the NIPCC report which has the advantage of being structured in a way that parallels that of the IPCC report. The point is not to decide who is wrong and who is right, but to identify the misunderstandings and/or different assumptions that have led to different conclusions, to clarify the issue and to formulate new statements on which one can agree. The scientists who can do so must not be chosen as being advocates of the warmist or skeptic camp, the idea is not to have a debate between warmists and skeptics; instead, they should accept, during the time of their term as reviewers, to forget about which camp they are seen to belong to by outside observers…

      “Forgetting” one’s own viewpoints on the ongoing debate may be a bit too much to ask, but I think that a more serious problem is that the IPCC crowd to not want any debate whatsoever (because they fear that they can only lose from such a debate).

      It’s better to attack the credibility, for example, of the NIPCC report, by showing links to conservative think tanks, rather than to address the specific points raised in this report.

      Certainly the “spectacular failures” you mention would “turn the tide of public awareness”. As would a continuation of the “pause” with cooler/snowier winters over much of the inhabited northern hemisphere for another ten years.

      But I am more optimistic than you. I believe that, in the long term, truth will win. Those who avoid entering a serious debate on the differences by using diversionary tactics, such as ad hominem attacks or statements that entering a debate only lends undeserved credibility to the skeptical side, will only expose their own fear of openly debating the issues. And one can then only ask why they are afraid to debate the issues.

      And, let’s face it, the public may not understand all the scientific and technical details that are being debated, but it is not stupid (as Abraham Lincoln noted).

      Max

  11. “Yet, somehow, it seems to me that the debate that is going on there contains enough popular wisdom to mark a change in our practice of communicating, exerting democracy and taking decisions and deserves serious attention.”

    I’d hate to think where we’d be without the Internet re what I’ve come to think of as the greatest science blunder in modern history. The Internet is indeed supremely democratizing, among many other important things, giving citizen scientists and statisticians a platform for their work and opinions. There’s very little doubt that the level of AGW skepticism is orders of magnitude greater than it would have been without the ‘net.. This has profound real world policy implications, something for which I’m deeply appreciative and grateful..

    • “Thank you,” Al Gore, for the Internet!

      • ” Hoist with his own petard,” is a phrase that comes to mind.

      • Al Gore blames the media for not getting the publicity he once was used to:

        “It is now like a family with an alcoholic father who flies into a rage whenever the problem is mentioned, so everybody learns to keep the peace by never speaking up,” he said. “The news media, for example, is largely scared to death to say the word ‘climate.’ The coverage has been pathetic.”
        For all these failings of the press and the politicians, Gore offered two solutions: Impose a carbon tax on companies and publicly shame climate change neglecters and deniers.
        “We have to put a price on carbon in the marketplace, and we have to put a price on denial in the political system,” he said.

        The spokesperson for CAGW.

      • Gore should take his tens millions of Middle Eastern petro dollars and waddle off into obscurity.

    • David Springer

      pokerguy | October 12, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply

      “The Internet is indeed supremely democratizing, among many other important things, giving citizen scientists and statisticians a platform for their work and opinions. This has profound real world policy implications, something for which I’m deeply appreciative and grateful.”

      You’re welcome. Sometimes I regret having invented the intertubes due to how it encourages anonymous cowards to behave badly but the rest of the time I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

    • Curious George

      The Internet has dangers as well. It is an ideal medium for Dr. Goebbels’s style of propaganda. It makes it easy to repeat a lie one thousand times. And to continuously revise the history, Orwell’s 1984 nightmare style. It is already happening, e.g. January 1900 temperature records are “adjusted” always downward.

      • “The Internet has dangers as well…It makes it easy to repeat a lie one thousand times.”

        You might as well say, free speech is dangerous. There are very few things in this world that can’t be used for good or ill. As to spreading lies effectively, that hardly requires the Internet. Just pick up the nYT’s…

    • Like the printing press, in time overall, a positive.
      A serf.

  12. I’ve got to recommend physicist Jeffery D. Kooistra’s science fact article for lay readers on anthropogenic global warming, published in the November 2009 edition of Analog magazine but written months in advance.

    At that time, Kooistra didn’t know about Climategate (17 November 2009), and the issue of Analog had hit print – as usual – a month in advance. He was considering the preliminary report of the SurfaceStations.org project, demonstrating the execrable instrumental inaccuracies of the prevailing surface temperature measurement systems upon which the climate catastrophe charlatans had been basing their hysteria. He titled his column “Lessons From the Lab.” His closing paragraphs:

    I have long wondered why most of my fellow physicists haven’t been as skeptical of global warming alarmism as I have been. I think one reason, perhaps even more important than their politics affecting their judgment, is that they naturally assume other scientists are as careful in how they obtain data as physicists are. I’ve been a global warming skeptic for some time now, and it didn’t even occur to me that most of the time the thermometers would be “sited next to a lamp.” What’s really ironic is that, if someone claims to see a flying saucer, which hurts no one and costs nothing, debunkers come out in force. But let a former vice-president claim environmental apocalypse is upon us, and suddenly we’re appropriating billions and changing our lifestyles.

    Cripes.

    • The surfacestations project is a great example of everything wrong with the skeptic version of “citizen science”.

      A project conducted with scientific veneer to smear the actual facts of the science with innuendo and unjustified doubt.

      • Lolwot, you have an amazing ability to ignore the facts that project brought forward, just like NOAA tried to do. Next you will say there is no experimentally determined urban heat island effect. Or that past temperature records have not been adjusted down, and recent records have not been adjusted up. But you would be shown again to be factually wrong, and judgmentally biased.
        The surface stations project is why citizen science and the Internet are vital new tools to keep the game honest. Of course those who were rigging it (Mann, Feely on ocean acidification and oysters) don’t like being caught out. Neither do you. But it’s unavoidable when you are just wrong.

      • At 11:25 AM on 12 October, Rud Istvan had posted:

        “Lolwot, you have an amazing ability to ignore the facts that project [SurfaceStations.org] brought forward, just like NOAA tried to do.”

        Whatever lolwot is, it’s reasonable to infer that he’d never undergone an undergraduate education in any of the “hard” sciences, in which the Freshman matriculant invariably receives formal instruction in the subject of instrumental analysis and the limits of accuracy involved in the measurement of any physical phenomenon.

        As well as how the error bars in the reports of any investigation must reflect a compounding of the inaccuracies to which all utilized measurement methods are subject.

        Mr. Watts and his associates came across a “Gee, that’s funny…” curiosity regarding the Stevenson screens used to house meteorological instruments at surface stations all over these United States – a change in the paint from prescribed legacy regulation whitewash to now-common latex housepaint – and in their investigation thereof, they had discovered that not only had the change in paint imposed a significant artifact on temperature readings (an induced error factor greater in extent than the changes that the Cargo Cult Scientists were claiming to be significant indicators of “global warming”) but also that siting standards had been breached so that hundreds of these stations had become subject to the influence of factitious heat sources added by relatively recent construction and other changes in the land use around them.

        Were that enough, the SurfaceStations.org investigators also discovered that the heritage and present-day readings in the hitherto most reliable datasets were being “cooked” for the purposes of deceit.

        Not only negligence but willful and malicious duplicity. A moral transgression as well as an honest but unpardonable dereliction of duty on the part of the meteorologists – er, “climatologists” – complicit in this excuse for “science.”

        It’s no wonder that mention of the SurfaceStations.org results should get out of lolwot a response like that of any other weasel hit with a sufficient galvanic charge.

      • Hi Rich, its fun to have you back here

      • Thank you, Dr. Curry. While I’ve been attending with pleasure upon your growing prominence in the lay literature (you seem to have developed into one of the legacy media chatterers’ “go-to guys” in the climate field), I’ve been swatting spirochetes in other virtual venues.

      • What facts? All you have is some toss assertion about adjustments and UHI. Just like the toss assertion in Tucci’s comment about thermometers sited “next to a lamp”.

        Actual cold analysis shows your complaints’ to be unfounded.

        For example your claim they adjusted the past down and the present up is refuted by BEST which found the same result. Unless of course you want to jump the shark and accuse them of adjusting the data incorrectly too!

        As a propaganda tool the surfacestation project did spectacularly well, misleading joe public into thinking the global temperature records were all wrong and fraudulently adjusted. As science it only produced the equivalent of a few footnotes of data. Thus in sum I would say surfacestations has been a dark chapter in the history of science.

      • It’s a greater waste of time to look for a human signal in corrupted data. In a sane world, everyone would agree with that. And, that is why global waming alarmism is called a mass mania. Western civilization is as nutty as the pre-WWII Germany population that tried to take over the world and turn its back on wanton murder. It happens. Societies die and usually it is from rotting from within from the head down. That is what’s so bad: academia was supposed to be better than this and it wasn’t in pre-WWII Germany and they’re not now anywhere in the West.

      • “But you would be shown again to be factually wrong, and judgmentally biased.”

        It’s like trying to convince someone in the grips of a delusion. Can’t be done by force of logic or the presentation of evidence. Lolly is still denying the pause.

      • Heh, with a twist of Lyme.
        =======

    • David Springer

      As a long time reader and subscriber to Analog (several decades) it’s a pleasure to see it mentioned here. Kooistra is good but as far as physicists writing science fact articles for Analog none of them beat John G. Cramer.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Cramer

      As of 2007 John unfortunately appears to have drunk the global warming Kool-Aid. He’s not been vocal about and only mentions it in passing a single alternate view column in that year. Given that climategate and widespread recognition of “the pause” occurred later he may have since modified his personal take on the subject.

    • Yet another entry in unending parade of unintentional irony:

      First we have this:

      they naturally assume other scientists are>as careful in how they obtain data as physicists are.

      And then we have this:

      … and suddenly we’re appropriating billions and changing our lifestyles.

      • At 11:39 AM on 12 October, Joshua had posted regarding Kooistra’s November 2009 “Lessons From the Lab”:

        Yet another entry in unending parade of unintentional irony.

        What “unintentional”? Kooistra meant it as scornful irony, and so it was received by the readers for whom he had written it.

        In his column “I Think, Therefore I Question” in the September 2010 edition of Analog, Kooistra continued:

        Some have suggested the number of poorly sited stations is not enough to seriously compromise the data set. This is nonsense. With 80% of stations surveyed, 89% don’t meet the NOAA’s own siting criteria. 58% were rated as class 4, meaning the expected error is greater than 2°C. That’s three times the entire claimed 0.7°C increase for the twentieth century. If this doesn’t matter, why have siting criteria at all?

        Take any arbitrary century-wide slice of Earth history. Ascertain the averages of the statistics considered relevant to AGW — temperature, sea ice extent, glacial increase and recession, animal population densities and extents, hurricane numbers and intensities, and so on. For any of these categories, it would be unusual to find no change whatsoever from one end of the century to the other. Glaciers come and go, hurricane seasons vary greatly, animal populations are far from static whether people are around or not, and some periods are warmer than others. There are no changes now being attributed to AGW that would not have been changing anyway.

        What, you Warmists, is the world supposed to look like if there were no AGW at all? On what grounds do you assert that expectation is valid? You cannot claim to know, and with certainty no less, that the world is warmer than it should be due to AGW if you do not know how warm it would be without it.

        One thing that Climategate has accomplished is the loosening of the tongues of those climate scientists who, even though confident that AGW will ultimately be validated, felt all along that claims were presented with more certainty than the state of the science could provide. Another thing it brought is something no scientist can do without: A healthy dose of hard-earned humility.

      • Burned again Joshua! :)

      • Then how come those so poorly sited stations track these?

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

        Oh look, a squirrel.

      • Joshua’s reason for being is to demonstrate how smart he is by conjuring imagined contradictions then attacking the integrity of the perpetrator, almost always someone who’s shoes he’s not fit to tie. Joshua is always so amused it’s sickening.

        I need another shower.

      • “Burned again Joshua!”
        Joshua lives in a protective bubble made of his own oh so amused superiority. It’s a burn free zone.

      • Steven Mosher

        “With 80% of stations surveyed, 89% don’t meet the NOAA’s own siting criteria. 58% were rated as class 4, meaning the expected error is greater than 2°C. ”

        This is incorrect. There is one and only one actual field study done where the effect of micro site bias was measured. This experiment was conducted by an associate of Dr. LeRoy, the man who came up with the ranking system.

        In that study the measured bias was .1C for class 2,3,4 and 5 was not tested. the 2C figure refers to the PEAK or MAXIMUM disturbance and could be either positive or negative. The average bias was on the order
        of .1C

        To repeat, the CRN 1,2,3,4,5 scale has never been rigrously tested to establish the actual bias. In part because the bias can be either positive or negative. In the SINGLE field experiment conducted, the range of disturbance for a class 2 site was plus or minus 2C ( roughly) and the mean bias was .1C. the same held for class 3 and class 4. Class 5 wasnt tested.

      • At 4:13 PM on 12 October, re-quoting Kooistra’s September 2010 article:

        With 80% of stations surveyed, 89% don’t meet the NOAA’s own siting criteria. 58% were rated as class 4, meaning the expected error is greater than 2°C.

        …Steven Mosher had begun:

        This is incorrect. There is one and only one actual field study done where the effect of micro site bias was measured. This experiment was conducted by an associate of Dr. LeRoy, the man who came up with the ranking system.

        Then by all means please take the matter up with Kooistra. He’s available by way of Analog, in which periodical he’s completing his 15th year as one of the two writers producing the “Alternative View” monthly science fact feature.

        I’m sure he’d welcome your correction, as well as perhaps an opportunity to re-examine the current “Keep up the skeer” noise in the wake of AR5 and the “We’re all gonna die!” noise anticipating publication of Mora et al. grinding garbage in the same allegedly peer-reviewed journal where Dr. Mann had pulled off “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline.”

      • What “unintentional”? Kooistra meant it as scornful irony, and so it was received by the readers for whom he had written it.

        He spoke of careless analysis in contrast to the work of physicists, and then as a physicist, in the very same paragraph, demonstrated careless analysis.

      • At 7:42 PM on 12 October, Joshua had claimed that Kooistra (in “Lessons From the Lab,” Analog November 2009):

        …spoke of careless analysis in contrast to the work of physicists, and then as a physicist, in the very same paragraph, demonstrated careless analysis.

        No, Kooistra had been speaking of observational precision in the article I’d originally quoted, remarking that his colleagues in his own field “…naturally assume other scientists are as careful in how they obtain data as physicists are.”

        He was surprised to learn – by way of the SurfaceStations.org preliminary report released early in 2009 – that the quacks of the “climate consensus” were not.

        Indeed, as Climategate and other insights into their modus operandi have demonstrated, those charlatans’ deviations from congruency with reality have been perpetrated with malice aforethought, in arguable criminal mens rea.

        The analysis of Kooistra’s to which you’d taken exception, Joshua, had appeared in his September 2010 column titled “I Think, Therefore I Question,” where he wrote:

        With 80% of stations surveyed, 89% don’t meet the NOAA’s own siting criteria. 58% were rated as class 4, meaning the expected error is greater than 2°C. That’s three times the entire claimed 0.7°C increase for the twentieth century. If this doesn’t matter, why have siting criteria at all?

        Is his analysis in this instance (or his reflection of the analyses in the SurfaceStations.org reports at the time he’d written that column) inaccurate? Do you know how such might be the case? Can you explain your understanding of that allegedly “careless analysis” with sufficient support to establish the validity of your contention?

      • tucci –

        You seem to keep making the same mistake.

        My point is not related to Kooistra’s views about temperature records.

        It was related to that he first made a statement about the careful nature of how physicists obtain data, and then said:

        … and suddenly we’re appropriating billions and changing our lifestyles.

        Is he a physicist? Was he careful in obtaining his data about “suddenness” of money spent, the amount spent, and lifestyle changes?

      • Of Kooistra’s November 2009 column in Analog, in increasingly contemptible flop-sweaty gropes at something to leverage in his unsupported blather, at 8:53 PM on 12 October we’ve got Joshua spewing:

        My point is not related to Kooistra’s views about temperature records.

        It was related to that he first made a statement about the careful nature of how physicists obtain data, and then said:

        … and suddenly we’re appropriating billions and changing our lifestyles.

        Was he careful in obtaining his data about “suddenness” of money spent, the amount spent, and lifestyle changes?

        In-friggin’-credible. Picking that nit in even some kind of mockery of an expectation that anybody is going to take such Joshuitic pustulence as worthy of anything but a boot in the groin and a double-handed slap upside that knob of solid bone on the rostral end of Joshua‘s notochord.

        Dr. Curry, this is your forum, not mine.

        But it doesn’t belong to this…specimen, either.

      • tucci –

        So now we have you saying that drawing conclusions with a careless approach to data is a “nit.”

        Well, it seems that the unintentional irony aspect is still beyond your grasp (otherwise you wouldn’t have added yet another entry in the unending parade), but at least you seem to now get what I was referring to.

        I guess I’ll have to settle for that as progress, eh?

  13. I guess I fall into none of the above categories. I’m a realist who deals with predictions and the analysis of data as part of the bread and butter of my work – and an amateur historian. What I see is (not a majority but too many) scientists pursuing a line of argument in the face of data and the evidence – and then pushing a social and economic agenda alongside politicians who combined are not remotely able to judge the impact.

    The science that – other things being equal – more CO2 will warm the atmosphere is taken as a given. The key point is that in the real world other things are not equal. However a warmer earth with more CO2 in the atmosphere is likely to be beneficial within the main parameters of predicted temperatures if history is anything to go by.

    What we see is a failure of predictions time and time again – the Arctic was supposed to be ice free this year, by now we should have had millions of climate related deaths and 10s of millions of climate refuges. The temperature should be rising not static or even falling. We see scant evidence of an acceleration in the increase in sea levels and the incidence of extreme weather events is also flat.

    What appears to be the case is that the science is overtaken by the alarmists and politicians who produce obfuscation to hide the evidence. Forget “climategate” and “hide the decline”, the attempt to hide the “pause” is laughable if it were not so serious. “Trust me, I’m a scientist… you are a simple person who cannot possibly understand.” The insults and threats directed towards those who have the temerity to question is frightening – for those that study their history.

    As a realist and a sceptic I need to be shown that previous predictions match outcomes if I am to believe that new predictions have merit. The variance between past predictions what has come to pass means that am not remotely convinced by even the mainstream IPCC scenarios, let alone the alarmist nonsense. In my line of work “character” is also important if I am to believe in forecasts and the evidence so far is that the IPCC has little and many scientists have brought their calling into disrepute.

    • “I’m a realist who deals with predictions and the analysis of data as part of the bread and butter of my work”

      Then how did you manage to misrepresent arctic sea ice predictions?

      The Arctic wasn’t supposed to be ice free this year

      “However a warmer earth with more CO2 in the atmosphere is likely to be beneficial within the main parameters of predicted temperatures if history is anything to go by.”

      What history is that? When was the planet last 3C warmer than today?

      • lolwot

        Yes. There were predictions that the late-summer Arctic sea ice extent would reach the magic 1 million square km level by 2013

        “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to BBC, “So, given that fact, you can argue that maybe our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”

        Ouch!

        Max

      • Exactly, he cherrypicked one prediction and didn’t mention all the others. There’s a far better case that arctic ice has declined faster than predicted.

      • lolwot

        Yes. I cited one specific prediction that Arctic sea ice would be gone by 2013, after you claimed there were no such predictions.

        Now you are stating that this was just one “cherry-picked” prediction.

        Duh!

        Don’t act more stupid than you are, lolwot.

        Max

      • I didn’t claim there were no such predictions. I claimed marcjk had misrepresented the predictions.

      • Max doesn’t know the difference between would and could, and Steve doesn’t know the triple point of water and shouldn’t be trusted on anything.

      • bob droege apparently doesn’t understand

        “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is… maybe already too conservative.”

        Max

      • Max also doesn’t understand what maybe means.

  14. Pierre –

    In the nuclear case purely emotional and irrational arguments have been exploited by green activists up to a point where several countries have now banned nuclear energy.

    This strikes me as a rather condescending attitude towards the general public as well as an inflated view of the power of “green activists.”

    There are multiple factors that explain which countries have what amounts of nuclear energy. As a scientist, you certainly know that a careful examination of those various factors is the appropriate way to examine for a cause-and-effect explanation.

    • Joshua

      It is a very realistic “attitude”, Joshua.

      Green lobby groups used the fear factor against nuclear energy for so long that many people (including many fearful politicians) were frightened out of their wits. Fukushima (not the tsunami that killed thousands, but the nuclear plant destruction, which caused no deaths) was the icing on the cake. As a result, nuclear energy is being phased out in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The same fear mongering plus the crazy US legal system makes it possible for “two housewives plus a lawyer” to delay the construction of a new nuclear plant for decades there. To their credit, the French did not fall for this ruse. They will become the energy suppliers for Europe (and are probably praying for a global carbon tax, so they can jack up the price).

      Max

      • manacker –

        Please.

        There has been strong advocacy on both sides of the nuclear issue. There are multiple factors that explain why nuclear energy is not more widespread. As just one example, the French have implemented a highly centralized and highly federally subsidized nuclear energy program – something that would not be possible in the U.S. for a variety of reasons.

        The high costs of developing nuclear energy exists for a number of reasons, with the cost of litigation being only one, and of that unreasonable cost of litigation is only one factor. There are reasons for the high cost right there in the errors, missteps, and incompetence within the industry.

        As much as you might seek to be condescending about the concern people have about nuclear energy, the fact that not everyone sees things as you do cannot be explained so simplistically as you seek to do to justify a tribalistic form of reasoning.

        The existence of anti-nuclear advocacy is a simple fact. Attributing a simplistic cause-and-effect between that advocacy and such a complex issues as the prevalence of nuclear energy – and even further doing so selectively by picking and choosing countries to attribute anti-nuke advocacy as explanatory and ignoring it in other countries – is not consistent with rational skepticism.

        “Skepticism,” on the other hand…..

      • Joshua

        Your long-winded rationalization does not change the basic fact that green lobby groups have used fear mongering tactics to frighten the general public and the politicians in many European countries with regard to nuclear power, resulting in some countries deciding to phase out a perfectly safe and functioning nuclear power network without having any viable replacements.

        And that was the point.

        Max

      • let’s break this down manacker. Again.

        green lobby groups have used fear mongering tactics to frighten the general public

        Let’s look beyond how conescending your attitude is towards “the general public” (bunch a’ humps, that “general public,” eh manacker?)

        Yes, green groups have focused on safety concerns related to nuclear power, and that focus has influenced some other members of the public. But other factors have also influenced the public’s concern about nuclear power. And beyond that, the whole notion of risk assessment is thoroughly studied and much can be generalized about how the public views risk from that general study to nuclear power. On what basis do you single out nuclear power as some kind of exception. And in what world you see green activists as so powerful as to not only outweigh any other influences that might shape public opinion, but even further, completely negate the influence of powerful economic, political, and industrial forces that seek to promote nuclear energy?

        … resulting in some countries deciding to phase out a perfectly safe and functioning nuclear power network without having any viable replacements.

        And here again, let’s look past your condescending attitudes about Joe Public, and look how you take one element and establish with that one element a simplistic notion of cause-and-effect. The nuclear power policies of various countries are the product of a complex mixture of factors. Of course anti-nuclear energy is one of those factors.

        Try a more sophisticated approach to determining cause-and-effect, manacker. Start with the most very basic: correlation does not equal causation.

        It’s scientific.

      • Manacker,

        +1.

        It never ceases to amaze me how the ideologues like Joshua such denialists.

    • Josh,

      what you know about nuclear power and what drives opinion about it wouldn’t fill a pisshole in a snow bank.

      • tim –

        The analysis is simplistic, and obviously wrong. The factors that contribute to energy policy are obviously complex, and not reducible to green advocacy only.

        But if attacking me makes you feel better, knock yourself out.

    • Joshua,

      see if you can get your head around this:

      https://theconversation.com/pro-nuclear-greenies-thinking-outside-the-box-with-pandoras-promise-18941#comment_236358

      Note I do not accept the catastrophic climate introduction, but if you leave that out I’d support most of the rest of it. You can join with the extremists beliefs and see if you can find a way through your ideological beliefs to accept the main message.

      • Peter –

        Do you even have any idea what my “ideological beliefs” are w/r/t nuclear power?

        Because you sure seem to think that you do. And from what I can tell, you are incorrect.

        Now maybe I’m wrong about that, but if I’m not, what would lead you to be so sure about something, and be so incorrect?

        Could it be that you formulate your conclusions without sufficient evidence? You might want to research motivated reasoning. It helps to explain why smart and knowledgeable people formulate conclusions w/o sufficient supporting evidence.

      • Well, you certainly didn’t read, understand, digest and consider the link before posting another of your irrelevant comments, did you?

      • Don’t duck, Peter.

        Answer the questions. It sure seemed that you seemed to think that you knew what my “ideological beliefs” were?

        Am I wrong about that?
        And if I am not wrong about that, what was it that you were so sure about w/r/t my “ideological beliefs?”

        What are my beliefs about nuclear energy?

        Show some accountability. Stand behind your conclusions and assertions.

      • Don’t duck Joshua, see if you can get your head around this:

        https://theconversation.com/pro-nuclear-greenies-thinking-outside-the-box-with-pandoras-promise-18941#comment_236358

        Don’t try to divert to the usual drivel you want to argue about. I have no interest in arguing the sort of irrelevant drivel you fill the threads with.

      • Still ducking, eh Peter? Must be congenital.

      • “Peter –

        Do you even have any idea what my “ideological beliefs” are w/r/t nuclear power?”

        It seems you don’t seem promote the use of nuclear power as much as Peter does. But you could be happy someone is bothering to do it.

        But I am interested in what your ideological beliefs are in regard to nuclear power, if you would wish to inform other people.

        Personally, I not sure what my ideological beliefs are regarding nuclear power.
        Though it seems if the idea is to lower CO2 emission, and if you looking at it from the point of view that a government should do something about it.
        And you are aware that government has large amount control given to it, to control nuclear technology in general. And you know that nuclear power has been the only proven means of lower CO2 in a significant degree, then the obvious path to have a government lower CO2 is by government doing things that cause more electrical power to be generated by nuclear energy.
        That would be wise governance.
        In contrast, one could see unwise governance with Germany causing there to be more solar panels used to make electricity particularly when one could easily be aware that Germany is one of the worse regions on Earth to use solar energy. And not if as if Germans are forced to use solar energy, as Germans have access to nuclear technology- and I think the Germans unlike the Russians, are fairly competent with nuclear technology in general.
        The German government is in general proving itseft to be quite inadequate to govern wisely, but I think if they gave some effort towards it, they could manage nuclear energy as well as the French doing it.

  15. Most of the warming since 1950 is very likely to be caused by greenhouse gases.

    Enlightenment comes from investigating why climate skeptics react in such universal hostility to that statement.

    • lolwot

      Most of the warming since 1950 is very likely to be caused by greenhouse gases.

      Enlightenment comes from investigating why climate skeptics react in such universal hostility to that statement

      Maybe because the statement is not supported by empirical scientific evidence.

      Seems like a valid reason to me (check Jim Cripwell, for example)..

      Second reason: because the uncertainties surrounding natural causes for climate change are so great that attributing most of post 1950 warming to AGW is fraught with great uncertainty (check our hostess)

      Third reason: because the pause in warming (i.e. slight cooling) over the past decade or more despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels, seems to directly falsify this statement.

      Need more?

      Max

      • “Maybe because the statement is not supported by empirical scientific evidence.”

        It’s supported by the results of “several independent observation-based studies”.

        That’s your own words.

        If you know the transient climate sensitivity then you can calculate the total warming due to greenhouse gases since 1951.

        Those studies you mentioned constrain TCS to a range that supports the IPCC attribution statement.

    • Iolwot

      I seem to remember you bravely stuck your head above the parapet and said man made warming started around 1880? Is that right?
      tonyb

      • I can’t remember that but yes

      • Iolwot

        I think it was in the context that I suggested a good ‘open’ thread would be for denizens to post their graphs and one paragraph back up that would either confirm or deny the current ‘pause/rise/cooling.’

        Only you and Max were brave enough to say you would do it.
        tonyb

      • I’ll stick my head even higher than that. AGW started with rice cultivation, but detection being another story.

      • tony b

        AGW started with the human invention of fire?

        Max

    • lolwot

      The partially observation-based studies, to which I referred earlier all suggest a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity at equilibrium, which is around half of the previous model-predicted values cited by IPCC in AR4 and AR5.

      Unfortunately all these studies had to make assumptions regarding natural forcing factors and variability.

      So Cripwell is right: there are no empirical scientific data that support a CO2 climate sensitivity in our climate system of 3 (or even 1.5, as the more recent studies suggest).

      Sorry, lolwot, but “them’s the facts, like ‘em er not”.

      Max

      • The same partially observation-based studies, to which you referred earlier also suggest the IPCC attribution statement is correct.

        Either these studies constrain sensitivity or they do not.

        If they do then I trust you will accept the IPCC attribution statement has a basis in observational evidence. If they do not, I trust you will stop mentioning them in future!

      • lolwot

        The (partially) observation-based studies, to which we both refer, conclude that the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity at equilibrium is around half the mean model-predicted value reported by IPCC in AR4 and AR5.

        That is the key point here, because it
        a) raises serious doubts regarding the statement you cited that “most of the warming since 1950 is very likely to be caused by greenhouse gases” and
        b) removes the “C” from the “CAGW” premise (as outlined specifically by IPCC in AR4 and now AR5).

        So rejoice, lolwot.

        You are saved!

        Max

  16. Pierre –

    For your consideration:

    others are frustrated to see IPCC “skeptics” having departed from basic scientific ethical practices in writing their report blog commentary (say, by red-baiting and comparing scientists to Lysenko), specifically in the way [the IPCC] report can easily be used (and is being used) by “skeptics”, even at the price of some distortion, by those who have interests in promoting an alarmist a politicized and tribalistic view of the situation.

  17. This article describes exactly why I became interested in Climate Science. I understand the ramifications of the politics. I know that doing things that effect energy use could have a dramatic impact on already stressed economies. Most people are a paycheck or two away from disaster and depend on a system built on cheap energy. But alas, I feel as with all politics that my opinion or any sense of how to approach the problem is so insignificant that it is a complete waste of time to even spend time thinking about it. Never the less, I am going to try to address energy question in my comments when I can and I wish there was more discussion on all the alternative means of energy and what the future may have in store. However my real reason for being interested in climate science was realizing, from the public debate, that I was ill equipped to even have an opinion based on any understanding or lack thereof.

    I also find that many of the talking heads, politicians, activists and government planners are probably more ignorant than I am. Certainly the sound bites of the media greatly diminish the debate and practice of the use of this science. It is the same ol’ tit for tat useless, superfluous, and uninformed rant that the public is exposed to. This is why I am endeavoring to get to the bottom of the reality of this situation. I have been exposed to a lot of unreliable half truths and spin so I tend to view everything as unreliable.

    I would really like to know what climate science is all about and the ramifications of human activities simply to be informed as compared to being completely ignorant. It is very basic curiosity. I don’t believe it will have an effect on my remaining years. The social and economic redress of the issue may effect me but I’m just a peon waiting to see what the next King will decree. I also hope the internet will allow enough forum to hold to account what the decision makers do but I have my doubts.

    I greatly appreciate that Pierre Darriulat has made his assessment of the situation known to us here. I think it is accurate and I am glad to see a scientist with no apparent bias look at the IPCC report with what seems to me an apt description. Also mentioning the black and white of the activism and a question of departure from that to some rational form of scientific investigation is also an important view. Thanks to him and to Dr. Curry for posting it.

    • ordvic –

      Also mentioning the black and white of the activism and a question of departure from that to some rational form of scientific investigation is also an important view.

      It is important. Which is why it deserves a comprehensive approach, one that systematically addresses those phenomena where they appear throughout the debate. I think the work of Dan Kahan in that regard (at least with respect to the question of the rationality lying beneath scientific debate about climate change), offers interesting insight. While not perfect, IMO, at least it takes a scientific approach, and is not just seat-of-the-pants anecdotal reasoning that lacks any overt effort to control for factors such as observer bias.

      IMO, one-sided analysis that focuses on those phenomena on one side of the debate only does not likely make the situation any worse that it already is, but more importantly, does not advance our understanding of the factors that Pierre speaks to.

      • Yeah, There is such a huge tug of war surrounding the science that rationality and objectiveness seem to get lost in the maze (haha two cliches in one sentence), Looking back on the last twenty years of this climate debate makes me think the next twenty will look very similar.

      • the next twenty will look very similar.

        Same ol’ same ol’, Ordvic. My guess is that nothing particularly significant will change until such time that climatic trends are so unambiguous (one way or the other) that only a tiny% of the public will be outliers. And in that case, the tribalists will just move to another junior high school cafeteria lunch room.

        Buy stock in Jell-0 and leave it to your grandkids.

      • Curious George

        Joshua – let me remind you of Einstein’s reply to a criticism of his work by 100 top Nazi scientists: It does not take 100 scientists to prove me wrong. It takes only one fact.

  18. “It seems to me that the IPCC report is the best basis to start from to produce such a document.”

    It seems the central climate authority being questioned is just too much for the writer. By listing many topics what is essential about the AGW phenomenon is minimized; statist central planning and control mechanisms on a global and national basis. “Sociologically or politically motivated people” section is woefully devoid of the central facts.

    This is a doctors complaint that patients just don’t listen to them “like they use to” and we really should. It’s all an appeal to authority, the honest broker claim. It’s of course nonsense.

  19. David Springer

    re; Citizen Scientists

    May I direct your attention to the prototypical “Citizen Scientist”, my friend and fellow Texan, my inspiration in the 1960’s and 1970’s to embark on a career in electronics and computer science, editor from 2003-2010 of The Citizen Scientist — the journal of the Society for Amateur Scientists, Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, and global warming skeptic, Forrest Mims.

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

  20. I understand that answering many of the open questions in climate science may require more time than we can afford to wait.

    Can we afford not to wait? Applying logic and common sense, supported by knowledge and experience and a proper sense urgency and courage to do nothing under the circumstances, can avoid making a big mistake and that may be the correct answer to a seemingly intractable problem.

    “For the last 10-20 years or more, a few of us have been saying that the IPCC has been ignoring the elephant in the room… that the real climate system is simply not as sensitive to CO2 emissions as they claim. Of course, the lower the climate sensitivity, the less of a problem global warming and climate change becomes.” ~Dr. Roy W. Spencer

  21. I’m deleting extraneous comments on this thread, and no flame wars please. Head to the Open Thread Weekend for such arguments.

    • If you police enough, the tone will improve. If you need volunteer moderators (I think that is what they are called elsewhere), I volunteer to be among those that would gratefully unburden you for much better things.
      Regards

  22. Regarding this goal: “The point is not to decide who is wrong and who is right, but to identify the misunderstandings and/or different assumptions that have led to different conclusions, to clarify the issue and to formulate new statements on which one can agree.”

    An issue tree is one way to do it, probably the best way because each position can formulate its own sub-arguments. Neutrality is thus guaranteed.
    See http://www.stemed.info/reports/Wojick_Issue_Analysis_txt.pdf.

    • For example I once did an issue tree working between coal miners and mine operators, on the issue of wildcat strikes. It forced both sides to take the others side’s arguments seriously because they had to respond to them. Instead of a shouting match we had a reasoning match. Each side has to respond to the other many times in order to actually see the underlying structure of the debate.

  23. ‘Unprecedented progress’

    Really? Did I blink and miss it?

    Thirty years ago we had a wide range of unvalidated estimates for climate sensitivity, no idea of the temperature of the oceans (where the vast majority of the climate’s heat exists) and no useful climate forecasting models beyond Arrhenius and his log paper graph.

    And now – 11,000 days and $100,000,000,000 later – we have a wide range of unvalidated estimates for climate sensitivity, no idea of the temperature of the oceans (where the vast majority of the climate’s heat exists) and no useful climate forecasting models beyond Arrhenius and his log paper graph.

    Forgive me if I wonder what has been actually achieved. It’s true that there’s been a huge amount of scurrying and hurrying and paper writing and data torturing and conference going and lots of the appearance of useful activity.

    But no actual results

    What has Joe Public got for his $100 billion ‘ investment’ in climatology?

    • We know a great deal more about the climate mechanisms then we did 30 years ago. Some of it is being used in weather forecasting.

      • @david wojick

        Would you like to give any more concrete examples of ‘the great deal more’?

        $100,000,000,000 is a lot of dosh and vague generalisations aren’t hugely helpful in explaining where it went.

      • Most of the natural variability we argue about here was unknown 30 years ago. Most of the money you complain about has gone for satellites (and their launches), which have delivered vast amounts of new data. Then there are the Argo floats, surface sensor systems and numerous paleo explorations. We might even figure out why the ice ages started occurring a few million years ago, and when the next is due, a question with great practical import.

      • And like nuclear fusion, it’s just around the corner, and will be indefinitely.

      • Latimer Alder

        @david wojick

        Lots of spend detailed there. And some ideas of stuff that you might one day find.

        But you didn’t mention any actual useful results that have occurred so far.

        Are there any? Or have we just got a lot of hardware that has produced little of value?

      • Weather forecasters are using our new knowledge of the ENSO, AMO, etc. Assuming it improves the forecasts that is a direct benefit. But science is often not about direct benefits, it is about new knowledge and we have lots of that in climate. Mind you I am not defending the budget because we are also buying a lot of unfounded scares. That is a different issue, which does not imply the research is worthless as you claim.

      • Latimer Alder

        @david wojick

        I think you are advancing the ‘space race wasn’t useless because it brought us the non-stick frying pan’ argument.

        We gave $100,000,000,000 to solve the big problems of climatology, not to make marginal improvements in weather forecasting. And though the latter may be ‘nice to have’ as side benefits their existence is not enough to overcome the lack of any real progress on achieving the primary purpose of the funding.

        If all we had wanted was better weather forecasts, these could have been achieved much more quickly and with much less cost without the futile diversion into climatology.

      • Leonard Weinstein

        David,
        Have you ever tracked the accuracy of weather forecasting? They are lucky to get reasonable accuracy 2 to 3 days ahead. With satellite pictures of the entire Earth, and thousands of distributed stations on the surface, and super computers, they do about as well as the farmers almanac does.

  24. I enjoyed the essay. It seems to me that there is one large oversight in the essay. The behavior of the IPCC and the Alarmists is robbing science of the good name it once had. I predict that the number of young people who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a career in the sciences will drop rapidly and steadily for the foreseeable future. The IPCC and the Alarmists have taught young people that the main focus of climate science is PR. Once young people learn that lesson, they will switch to the “big bucks” careers in PR.

  25. Pierre, the problem with the IPCC has always been that it is purely political, not scientific. Look at the email below in WUWT. AR5, which will be finalized sometime in Jan, 2014, will be edited to harmonize with the SPM.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/12/tail-wagging-the-dog-ipcc-to-rework-ar5-to-be-consistent-with-the-spm/#comments

    • Good point, if the good Dr. abhors politics, he should avoid anything associated with the UN like a plague.

    • Twas always thus. In earlier ARs, the policy declaration is issued first, and the “scientific findings” follow months later.

      What’s wrong with this picture?

    • Bob, You are correct that the IPCC is political, but the Royal Society ought NOT to be. So why did the RS organize a discussion of the AR5, and then ensure that not one single solitary scientist who disagreed with the conclusions of the AR5 was invited to be a speaker.

      Surely such behaviour by a supposed SCIENTIFIC society is completely and utterly inexcusable.

      • Jim, what is repulsive about the IPCC, is that they see nothing wrong with editing the WG 1 to match the SPM.

      • Bob, What is even more repulsive of the Royal Society is that they approve of what the IPCC is doing. As does the APS, AGU, WGO, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

  26. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Another physicist review (this time: going straight to the point) from IPCC’s climate change:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2VHpYemRBV3FQRjA

  27. Well said Pierre Darriulat

  28. Pierre,

    An excellent article. I think what you are talking about is in engineering terms “Due Diligence”. My father, who is an engineer, was the one who challenged my understanding about the cause for alarm in anthropogenic global warming, and in order to respond I was forced to research his arguments. After a while, I began to realise that the issue was far more complicated than I first thought and my position started to change.

    One of the things that made my father skeptical, was the lack of due diligence of an engineering quality. He describes like this:

    You need to get the protagonists – those who claim we have a severe, looming problem – to assemble their best arguments and evidence to support their case. They should only offer papers which have been published with full public disclosure of all the data and computer codes so that the claims made within the paper can be reproduced by others. Then you appoint a Due Diligence Team (DDT) and give it a proper briefing (a Scope of Work). In the commercial world DDTs are usually independent disinterested contractors. They will need to see all of the things that peer reviewers usually don’t see as described above. In fact for proposals which will cost the community billions, the DDT will want to see a lot more. For example, many academic papers cite other previously published papers. These citations may have to be examined too. They will want to see the ‘bad’ data as well as the ‘good’. Also, published papers and other evidence may be invited for positions purporting to be contrary to the protagonists case. There is plenty of evidence which appears to throw doubt on many aspects of the IPCC case for climate change (the politically acceptable expression for AGW) and this will need to be subjected to DDT examination too.

    The IPCC is an assessment, not a due diligence study. Your somewhat similar proposal that the evidence be assessed in the way you describe is routinely carried out in the commercial sector, where large sums of money may be at stake – they have duty to their shareholders, in many cases a legal duty. Considering the scale of what is proposed to mitigate climate change, the very least a proper engineering level of due diligence should be carried out in the interests of the taxpayer – and the citizen.

    • A good italicized comment, although a statement of the obvious. I have been searching fruitlessly for such a DD for over a decade now. One of the best commentaters here, CH, has helped with his well-presented evidence on the chaotic, non-linear, unpredictable complexity of climate. I am of the view (open to further empirical evidence), that the “positive feedback” hypothesis of AGW mis-weights the various inputs and outputs (and ignores some completely), hence the inability for anything approaching accurate predictions

      To her credit, Judith Curry has moved halfway to this since Climategate. The “stadium wave” paper is interesting but as yet lacks a convincing mechanism for the transfer of the ADO oscillation through NH sea ice. I am of the view (again, open to empirical evidence) that the primary causes of the ADO and PDO are Coriolis effects

      • ianl8888,

        Yes, and Wyatt and Curry haven’t even got to the longer period stadium waves yet, such as the ~900 year cycle represented by the Minoan, Roman, Medieval and Recent warm periods and the cold periods between them.

        And the ~700 year period

        A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds that sea surface temperatures [SSTs] in the Southern Okinawa Trough off the coast of China were warmer than the present during the Minoan Warm Period 2700 years ago, the Roman Warm Period 2000 years ago, and the Sui-Tang dynasty Warm Period 1400 years ago. According to the authors, “Despite an increase since 1850 AD, the mean [sea surface temperature] in the 20th century is still within the range of natural variability during the past 2700 years.” In addition, the paper shows the rate of warming in the Minoan, Roman, Medieval, and Sui-Tang dynasty warm periods was much faster than in the current warming period since the Little Ice Age.

    • Agnostic,

      Excellent comment. I’ve seen your father’s statement before, as you know, and I quoted his full letter to the Australian Prime Minister in my submission to the Australian Parliamentary inquiry on Australia’s Clean Energy Future Legislation
      Inquiry into Australia’s Clean Energy Future

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/07/06/carbon-tax-australia-2011/#comment-136435

  29. Pierre Darriulat,

    ” I need a document that critically discusses all these issues and identifies the major areas of ignorance or insufficient knowledge, either lack of proper understanding or lack of adequate data. AR5 is failing to do so with sufficient clarity.”

    Could you give a few examples of the issues you think could be clarified for you, for which you do not find sufficient information or discussion already available to make your own judgment?

    I happen to think this raucous, uncontrolled debate is exactly the right way to decide the political issue at the heart of the “climate debate”, ie. is the risk of adverse consequences that might result from ACO2 emissions sufficiently great, and sufficiently certain, to justify decarbonizing the global economy, or any other massive government involvement in the energy economy?

    The “warmists” publish their findings, and opinions, with regularity in the peer reviewed literature. They have the mainstream media as their comrades in arms. And they have their own blogs. Their views seem crystal clear to me.

    Skeptics of all types, from Lindzen to McIntyre to Watts to lowly blog commenters have numerous outlets for their views. The internet, talk radio, alternative-conservative media. I think they have “identifie[d] the major areas of ignorance or insufficient knowledge, either lack of proper understanding or lack of adequate data” quite well already.

    It is messy. It can be seriously annoying. But this is how democracies work. And CAGW is a decision that must be decided democratically because it is inherently political.

    It bears repeating, take the demands for massive government policies off the table, and the academics can do what they like with the debate. Most of the rest of humanity won’t even pay attention. But demand the closing of coal power plants, the cessation of burning of fossil fuels in general, and the attendant consequences, and the rest of us are going to pay attention.

    I genuinely do not see what use there is for another NIPCC, or mediator or frankly anyone, to somehow synthesize all the areas of science, economics and policy that go into the decision. Nor do I think any small group of “experts” would be competent to do so.

    No group of “independent, objective” scientists (even if there were such a thing) is going to change the substance of what the climate establishment scientists are reporting. Nor are they going to make skeptics accept any appeal to this new authority.

    The way resolve these important issues may be loud, ungainly and often rude. But it is better than any alternative.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Pierre Darriulat requests and GaryM concurs “I need a document that critically discusses all these issues and identifies the major areas of ignorance or insufficient knowledge, either lack of proper understanding or lack of adequate data.”

      Your wish is answered, Pierre Darriulat and GaryM!

      The climate-change science (critically reviewed)  James Hansen et al., Climate Sensitivity, Sea Level and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (2013)

      The climate-change options (critically summarized)  The Vatican, Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility (2014)

      What’s that? You say the conclusions are repugnant, and therefore you reject the science?

      The climate-change sociology (critically summarized)  Andrew Dressler and Gerald North, Climate change is real and denial is not about the science (2013)

      Pierre Darriulat and GaryM, it is a pleasure to satisfy your curiosity with climate-change science that openly, verifiably, politely, rationally, and fearlessly lets the chips fall where they may!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • fan,

        If you’re going to use my comment as a platform to post more of your silliness, you could at least take the time to read it. Concurs? Really?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        GaryM concurs “It bears repeating, take the demands for massive government policies off the table, and the academics can do what they like with the debate. Most of the rest of humanity won’t even pay attention.”

        Yes this bears repeating GaryM!

        For this common-sense reason: when the portion of the electorate that embraces denialist ideologies drops below 24%, then denialism ceases to restrain rational climate-change policies, because voters appreciate that climate change is real and denial is not about the science.

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • fan,

        The poster, Pierre Darriulat, said nothing of the kind. Do you know what concur means? I can give you a link to a good online dictionary if you like. Anything to help your dismal reading comprehension.

        If you’re embarrassed by the fact that your comment showed you hadn’t read what you were commenting about, don’t worry about it. You do that all the time. We’re used to it.

      • The alarmists on this blog all seem to subscribe to the unshakable belief that they’re intellectually and morally superior. None of them seem to have the slightest capacity for admitting mistakes of any kind. Thus they appear immune to shame and embarrassment.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        BREAKING NEWS!
        Roy Spencer and James Hansen agree with GaryM!

        GaryM is adamament “No group of “independent, objective” scientists (even if there were such a thing) is going to change the substance of what the climate establishment scientists are reporting. Nor are they going to make skeptics accept any appeal to this new authority. “

        Here’s an idea GaryM! Let’s unite Roy Spencer’s climate-change worldview together with James Hansen’s climate-change worldview

        Roy Spencer appreciates that AGW is real: “I would remind folks that the NASA AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite has actually measured the small decrease in IR emission in the infrared bands affected by CO2 absorption, which they use to “retrieve” CO2 concentration from the data. Less energy leaving the climate system means warming under almost any scenario you can think of. Conservation of energy, folks. It’s the law.

        James Hansen calibrates the CO2 control knob: “Cenozoic temperature, sea level and CO2 covariations provide insights into climate sensitivity to external forcings and sea-level sensitivity to climate change. We use a global model, simplified to essential processes, to investigate state dependence of climate sensitivity. Burning all fossil fuels, we conclude, would make most of the planet uninhabitable by humans, thus calling into question strategies that emphasize adaptation to climate change.

        It’s mighty good that (what Judith Curry calls) “the best available climate-change science” now is telling us that Roy Spencer’s and James Hansen’s scientific worldviews are strongly converging.

        The result is an ever-strengthening and ever-more-unified scientific foundation for appreciating that climate change is real and denial is not about the science, eh GaryM?

        Thank you for helping Climate Etc readers to appreciate the implications of this ever-strengthening convergence, GaryM!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Gary M,

      Excellent comment.

      This paragraph is worth repeating:

      I happen to think this raucous, uncontrolled debate is exactly the right way to decide the political issue at the heart of the “climate debate”, ie. is the risk of adverse consequences that might result from ACO2 emissions sufficiently great, and sufficiently certain, to justify decarbonizing the global economy, or any other massive government involvement in the energy economy?

      From my perspective the inability of climate scientists to provide persuasive evidence of catastrophic or dangerous consequences is the major weakness in their advocacy for policies that would be seriously damaging to human well being. This is the crux of the issue they seem incapable of addressing.

  30. True, true, the government-education complex has been the problem not he solution.

  31. Loved reading this post. Can our leaders please read it too? There’s so much that one needs to learn. As an engineer during the last ten years I have managed to understand most of the science behind both the alarmist and skeptical views and arrived at the concluzion that there’s more to climate than CO2 levels.
    Thank you Dr. Darruliat. Thank you Dr. Curry

    • The only time the “left” in mentioned in the post it’s about what you’re “left” after separating the wheat from the chaff. The author is missing the elephant in the room. The ‘new approach to environmentalism,’ according to Dr. Patrick Moore (co-founder of Greenpeace who authored Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout) ‘requires embracing humans as a positive element in evolution rather than viewing us as some kind of mistake.’ It means giving up a lot of donations from old women with Alzheimers who survived their rich industrialist spouses; but, the Left must stop itself from conflating global warming with environmentalism even if it takes a come to Jesus moment to deal with the withdrawal pains.

  32. Lauri Heimonen

    by Pierre Darriulat; an excerpt:

    ”I naturally should like to be well informed of the bases on which such decisions are taken. I am prepared to adhere to some precaution principle and accept that we should be careful with injecting CO2 in the atmosphere at the scale of what it already contains when we do not know enough to be sure that it is reasonably harmless; I understand that answering many of the open questions in climate science may require more time than we can afford to wait. But I find it difficult to find a good summary document where I can read what I need. The IPCC report was not written with this in mind and it makes statements on the probability, or level of confidence, of model predictions that are not scientifically acceptable. The way they quantify their ignorance of many parameters and phenomena of relevance, as if they were arguments governed by statistics, or worse by voting, makes no sense to me.”

    In my comment http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/02/spinning-the-climate-model-observation-comparison-part-ii/#comment-391877 I have written:

    ”On the basis of climate model calculations IPCC states only what kind of assumptions are needed by means of which the recent warming is made seem probably to be caused by antropogenic CO2 emissions, without any proper, empiric evidence.”

    Judith Curry: http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/10/the-stadium-wave ; an excerpt/Wyatt:

    “How external forcing projects onto the stadium wave, and whether it influences signal tempo or affects timing or magnitude of regime shifts, is unknown and requires further investigation,” Wyatt said. “While the results of this study appear to have implications regarding the hiatus in warming, the stadium wave signal does not support or refute anthropogenic global warming. The stadium wave hypothesis seeks to explain the natural multi-decadal component of climate variability.”

    On the basis of observations, in the comment of mine above I conclude:

    ”This all proves that the influence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on the global temperature is so minimal that it can not be empirically observed.”

    The increasing trend of CO2 content in atmosphere is dominated by warming and not vice versa. With lag rising temperature of global sea surface is then dominating. In addition, the share of anthropogenic CO2 emissions to recent total increase of CO2 content in atmosphere has been only about 4 % at most.
    (Look e.g. at comment http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions/#comment-198992 ;
    Tom V Segalstad says, http://www.co2web.info/Segalstad_CO2-Science_090805.pdf : ”The rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 in the last century is not consistent with supply from anthropogenic sources. Such anthropogenic sources account for less than 5% of the present atmosphere, compared to the major input/output from natural sources (~95%)”; and
    Tom V Segalstad; http://www.co2web.info/ESEF3VO2.htm : ”Carbon isotopic trends agree qualitatively with fossil fuel CO2 emissions like stated by IPCC, but show quantitatively a fossil fuel CO2 component of maximum 4 % versus the 21% claimed by IPCC.”)

    • Best comment so far. You really know how to stick it to them. I offer the educated guess that no one will engage your argument, at least not in the very straightforward (pardon my archaic language) way that you present it.

      I cannot see how your argument fails to blow the modelers out of the water. The modelers, you know, the “without CO2 forcing in the model we cannot reproduce temperature change from 1979 to 1998″ people.

  33. I see that I am accused of cherry picking. Nothing like concentrating on the odd detail to obscure the big picture. Standard tactics it seems in climate science (on many sides of the debate) but also in my sphere of expertise. The big picture is the AGW (CAGW?) folk have almost certainly to date got it wrong on most predictions and measures. So please tell me – after 15- 20 years of them getting it wrong – why I should listen anymore? Or indeed anyone else?

    To use the vernacular ” put up or shut up”. Show me some unequivocal evidence that has not been smoothed, tampered with, homogenised or created by a computer model. And please don’t show me pictures of baby polar bears sitting on small bits of ice…

    Until this is the case I am left feeling that a number of very highly qualified people don’t want their world view distorted by the facts.

  34. marcjf

    +1

  35. @PierreDarriulat
    As an astrophysicist and particle physicist, perhaps you might like to comment on the papers of Joseph Postma describing an alternative perspective on the magnitude of the theoreticla gap between predicted and real earth temperature, the video presentation of Murry Salby arguing manmade CO2 has done nothing, the paper by Gerlich and Tscheuschner falsifying the “greenhouse efect”, the blog of Claes Johnson on mulitple topics of climate science and mathematics, the blog of Lubos Motl particle physicist who is unconvinced of IPCC science?

    As far as I can see, where there is a difference of understanding of real science, the scientific method holds the key the truth. The truth I think lies in the physics lab. Particle physicists would be familiar with the paradigm. The debate between the IPCC and the NIPCC or warmists and skeptics or whatever kind of adversarial groupings one might like to name can be properly settled scientifically.

    There are many climate scientists who have written for IPCC who understand scientific truth and uncertainty. This has been glossed over by the IPCC writers with more political motivations. Who will bring back the experimentally founded science which can properly settle the debate?

  36. David Springer, Joule seems to have a counting problem. Production of EtOH and then separation = 2 steps, not one. Further, ethanol must be blended with gasoline, even if it can be produced economically. However, Joule does not present a heat and material balance.

    If it is really “happening as we speak,” where can one purchase Joule fuels?

    • R. Shearer, I have not seen what David wrote, but we need to distinguish between food ethanol and cellulose ethanol, which could be in substantial production next year.

    • R. S. hasn’t watched the video – obviously. But, well, he has to comment on Joule anyway. Tsk tsk.

    • You also have to distinguish between food ethanol, cellulose ethanol, and CO2 ethanol. Joule does the last.

    • “”Though many technological paths are being pursued to help supplant fossil
      fuels, the majority have followed the same direction – beginning with biomass
      feedstocks and facing the well-known challenges of cost and scale along the way.
      Joule`s solar technology is bypassing these challenges while converting a waste
      stream into cost-competitive hydrocarbon fuels, which will have far greater and
      faster impact than low-percentage blendstocks or transportation alternatives
      that require major infrastructure overhaul,” said William J. Sims, President and
      CEO of Joule. “Today`s news marks another significant accomplishment in this
      regard, enabling production of renewable fuels that can supplant meaningful
      amounts – not small fractions – of fossil-derived gasoline and jet fuel.”

      Joule`s hydrocarbon fuels have the additional benefit of being inherently
      sulfur-free. For the diesel and gasoline markets, this gives refiners the
      ability to meet sulfur content requirements without raising production costs or
      fuel prices. As just announced on March 29, 2013, the US Environmental
      Protection Agency is seeking to further reduce the sulfur content of gasoline by
      more than 60% beginning in 2017, requiring significant capital cost of $10
      billion and additional annual operating cost of $2.4 billion for refiners,
      according to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). Instead,
      Joule Sunflow-G would seamlessly cut sulfur content by comprising a substantial
      portion of the final product.

      Joule is now commercializing its first product, Sunflow-E, for global
      availability in early 2015. Construction of the company`s first commercial
      plants is planned to begin in 2014 in multiple locations worldwide, requiring
      only adequate sunlight, access to waste CO2 and non-potable water.

      Mr. Sims will present Joule`s latest developments at the Advanced Biofuels
      Leadership Conference, taking place today through Wednesday in Washington DC.
      Additional information about the conference is available at

      http://www.advancedbiofuelssummit.com.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/15/dc-joule-idUSnBw2FRvB0a+134+BSW20130415

    • David Springer

      Seems like you’re picking nits. The single-step refers to direct conversion of sunlight, water, and CO2 into ethanol. Yes the output is a water/ethanol blend the requires dehydration prior to use as a fuel but that’s the easy part of the ethanol production process. The hard part in gen-1 and gen-2 ethanol production is farming the feedstocks, breaking down cellulose into starch (for gen-2), breaking down starch into sugar (for starch feedstocks like corn), extracting sugars (for feedstocks like beets or sugar cane), fermentation, and finally distillation and dehydration. Blending to make gasohol is a step in gasohol production not ethanol production.

      Personally I think diesel will be the major fuel going forward. It’s already the preferred fuel for commercial ground transportation and with the new clean high-efficiency Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engines it’s increasingly displacing gasoline/ethanol engines in personal ground transportation vehicles.

      In that case Joule Sunflow-D is the more exciting product IMO.

      Sustainable Diesel from Sunlight

      Diesel is the world’s fastest-growing transportation fuel, conventionally derived from petroleum in a process with many known environmental and economic consequences. Many alternatives are being explored to reduce petroleum dependence, but they require tremendous scale at economical costs to meet global demand. To date, the complex processes used to convert biomass to oils that are refined into diesel are cost prohibitive at large scale. Moreover, biodiesel that is derived from algae can only be blended into the diesel pool in small concentrations without further chemical upgrading.

      Joule Sunflow-D is the world’s first hydrocarbon diesel fuel – not biodiesel – produced directly from sunlight and waste CO2. It is uniquely capable of displacing petroleum-derived diesel in larger concentrations than biodiesel, and in a much more efficient process at highly competitive costs.

      •Renewable and sustainable, derived solely from sunlight and waste CO2
      •Infrastructure-ready, forms 50% or more of the diesel blend (unlike biodiesel)
      •Inherently free of sulfur and aromatics
      •Very high cetane content
      •High quality, meets industry specs
      •Easily refined to make jet fuel
      •Available in high volumes – targeting up to 15,000 gal/acre/year
      •High areal efficiency – 5X that of algal oil to biodiesel
      •Stable, competitive costs – targeting $50/bbl without subsidies
      •Avoids use of crops, arable land and fresh water
      •Amenable to localized production around the world for energy security

      Sunflow-D is secreted by genetically modified (GM) cyanobacteria as opposed to biodiesel which is made from an oil that must be extracted from an oily feedstock like algae or Jathropha seed. Secreted into the working fluid extraction is done via simple fuel/water separator (centrifugal in this case) that leverages the different density of diesel and water.

    • Two Carbon Two Can Carry.
      ===================

  37. Global warming alarmism is like a disease that only infects Western hypocrites; the rest of the world’s population is immune.

    “The President, the World Bank, and the Export-Import Bank have accepted the ideology of Climatism, the belief that mankind is causing dangerous climate change. By restricting loans to poor nations, they hope to stop the planet from warming. But what is certain is that their new policies will raise the cost of electricity in poor nations and prolong global poverty…

    “China and Germany are huge coal users and usage is increasing in both nations. More than 50 percent of German electricity now comes from coal as coal fills the gap from closing nuclear plants. Today, China consumes more than 45 percent of the world’s total coal production.”

    ~Climate Policies Lock Chains on Developing Nations By Steve Goreham

  38. Pierre misses and needs to see some quantification that would put the path we are on into some perspective. For example 700 ppm of CO2 could happen by 2100, and hasn’t been seen before for 35 million years, so we need to look at the Eocene for a comparison, prior to Antarctic freezing and with thick vegetation far into the polar latitudes and obviously higher sea levels. 700 ppm goes with 5 W/m2 of forcing above pre-industrial levels, about 25 times the difference between solar 11-year cycle maxima and minima that are resolvable in the temperature record, ten times the deviation of a Maunder Minimum, and generally considered capable of producing about 4 C of warming. Having these quantifications mean you don’t just dismiss the effect of this much CO2.

    • You are looking out to 2100 and if the last 100 years is any guide there be World Wars and worldwide pandemics along the way and… you’ll be dead.

      • That doesn’t mean I don’t care. Perhaps you don’t, and that is up to you, but don’t criticize those who care about the future.

      • That is hilarious. What if I wanted to believe you? Can you propose some scientific test for that? Behavioral psychology looks at what people do not what they say. Depriving poor nations the benefits of modernity is in many instances an death sentence.

      • Where did I say anything about depriving poor nations of anything. Your politicization has colored your whole view of whether the world could possibly get that much warmer. It’s the science, not the politics. Untangle these in your mind and you might progress beyond this type of moronic comment.

      • Again, your behavior… it is that of reflexive ad hom commie dog attack propagandists that offer only proof that global warming not about science at all.

      • Look into the Eocene, Wagathon.

      • Now you want to add the effect of the impacts of a couple of major aerolites to the world wars and various pandemics humanity may will face leading up to 2100?

    • Jim D

      Pierre does not “miss the point” you are making. He simply states that the no attempts have been made to seriously quantify the “uncertainties attached to model predictions”.

      You write about 700 ppm CO2 by 2100 “capable of producing about 4 C of warming”, as if this were the perspective that Pierre is missing.

      But leaving whether or not we reach 700 ppmv CO2 by 2100 aside, the impact of doing so is anything but certain.

      If we accept the findings of several recent independent (partly) observation-based studies, rather than the earlier IPCC model-predicted values, then ECS is around 1.6C for 2xCO2.

      And the warming at equilibrium that would result from reaching 700 ppmv CO2 would be:

      1.6C * ln(700/394) / ln(2) = 1.3C

      Yawn!

      So, if these recent studies are correct, there is nothing to worry about in reaching 700 ppmv CO2 by year 2100.

      And Pierre is completely right is writing that there have been no serious attempts to quantify the “uncertainties attached to model predictions” in order to resolve whether or not there really is an AGW problem or not..

      Max

      • manacker, even in the unlikely event of 1.6 C sensitivity, it is over 2 degrees since pre-industrial, and your method ignores the part that is committed already from past emissions. You don’t start from equilibrium with today’s level, so you can’t just count from today and add on the remaining CO2 effect. The formula doesn’t work unless you start from something near equilibrium.
        From the text, Pierre has not considered the paleo data at all, nor the effective CO2 ppm from continued unmitigated burning of all fossil fuels in the ground. He seems to have just joined the debate and not seen anything except the part the skeptics want to talk about. You look for a thread on paleo or future atmospheric CO2 levels here, and you don’t find them. It is very myopic.

  39. Climate clown,
    Please stick around,
    Let’s wait and see,
    If temps go down.

  40. Pierre
    “The difficulty to publish a case that dissents from orthodoxy is real. I have refereed many articles for several journals and I know that there is always some unconscious subjectivity in our judgement, well-known authors obviously enjoying a favourable prejudice.”

    And probably deservingly do. The orthodox view has survived the test of time, so is worth defending (by what ever means!)

    The orthodox view has strong elements (CO2 is a GHG), and weak elements (Climate sensitivity). While there have been challenges to the theory such as negative feedback due to clouds, etc, these studies have not significantly impacted the weak orthodox elements. That’s because many new ideas are weak themselves, and this is where you will see the most intensive ‘gatekeeping’ and appeals to consensus. Perhaps this is why orthodox scientists are keeping a close eye on blogs……fear.

    Thanks for the post

    • Sure, sure your warmist religion is worth defending but… by whatever means?

      • A weak argument negated by a weak argument? To the skeptics credit, highlighting the uncertainty regarding feedbacks has improved debate, perhaps if skeptics had a better argument rather than the analogous:

        “El Ninos warm the climate system, there have been some El Ninos, therefore global warming maybe due to El Nino..”

        Such a ground breaking revelation is unlikely to impact science, or the bias inherent in Journal editors and reviewers. The concept of climate sensitivity has been around for over a hundred years. If some over zealous editor refused a publication which showed all this global warming mumbo jumbo to be wrong, I think we’d know about.

      • The scientific method has become that which AGW alarmists dare not speak. It cannot get better after that. The null hypothesis of AGW is not that El Ninos exist.

      • It’s not a wheat experiment.

      • AGW theory is essentially, ‘science’ without mathematics. Christopher Booker (The Telegraph) nailed it: “Climate change scientists,” are “just another pressure group.”

      • Yes, they can be intimidating. So perhaps there is an argument that not enough graduates are challenging the orthodox, I’d tend to agree with that. Then again, maybe all this intimidating talk about ‘deniers’, etc. will drive someone to make a huge discovery/ paradigm shift. Make AGWers look like a bunch of turkeys. Either way.

      • You mean, just like we discovered a fiery horse-drawn chariot is not driven across the skies every day by Helios the Sun God, we also may discover that school teachers cannot predict what the weather will be in 2100 nor can they prevent harsh weather or choose what the average temperature of the globe will be?

  41. Dr. Darriulat, thanks for that well balanced essay and all of what you said needed to be said. And I am also glad you have a base in physics that understands the physical world we all live in at its more core level.

    I also noticed you mentioned “NIPCC” in your dialogue. You do realize that by your merely mentioning those five letters with out immediate derogatory words following you have been labeled a no-doubt “skeptic” scientist don’t you? I say that lightly, don’t read too much into it, unfortunately however this is the ‘environment’ many here live within today. I find skeptical scientists never label some one as ‘warmist’ merely because some mention of any single term associated with climate science but opposite is definitely not true. This is the sad state we find ourselves embedded.

    So if you have some insight how such labels can be removed (I once was a “warmist” that has advanced in the last few years) maybe you can write another essay to help move this debate on a more sane path.

    Kudos. I agree with so many things you have highlighted.

  42. Professor Darriulat,

    I appreciate your article, and understand your viewpoint vis-à-vis climate science. I think that all our opinions are rendered moot because we cannot influence the eventual condition of the climate, not even the direction of change.

    Thank you for your informed opinion.

  43. Pierre, Richard Lindzen, Professor at MIT, gives a thoughtful essay on the IPCC and its corruption.

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf

    • Thank you, Pierre, for an interesting analysis.
      It’s also worth going back to an earlier (1992!) article by Lindzen entitled ‘Global warming: the origin and nature of the alleged scientific consensus’. See http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv15n2/reg15n2g.html
      With regard to the first big IPCC report (1990), Lindzen already found that “…a number of the participants have testified to the pressures placed on them to emphasize results supportive of the current scenario and to suppress other results”; and ” …the policymakers’ summary….largely ignores the uncertainty in the report and attempts to present the expectation of substantial warming as firmly based science.” More than 20 years on, it’s still happening.
      Lindzen also mentions an article by a Senator Gore referring to the hot summer of 1988 as ´the Kristallnacht before the warming holocaust’. If correct, that was a nice turn of phrase by the senator, anticipating the introduction of the term ‘denier’ to refer to critics of the climate orthodoxy.

  44. I was thoroughly enjoying and feeling very positive about this post until I got to this statement:

    Those having financial, economical or political interests are among the most passionate and biased participants and their contributions are not very constructive – except in a few instances – and usually do not help much in raising the level of the debate.

    I think that is a sign of your own bias resulting from your ignorance about an important discipline you are not familiar with – economics and finances. A major reason for scepticism about climate science and criticisms of climate scientists is that they have been strongly advocating ridiculously uneconomic policies to mitigate GHG emissions. If the policies they have been advocating were implemented they would do enormous harm to human wellbeing and deliver no climate benefits.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/08/why-the-ets-will-not-succeed-peter-lang/

    • Peter, as an economist, I also reacted to that comment, but Dr D does say that there are a few exceptions. Commentators such as you and I have less to contribute to scientific understanding, but the aspect we bring is in identifying and assessing real world impacts and the costs and benefits of policy responses to any warming. Ultimately, the impact on people individually and en masse is critical, and it is important for economists and policy-makers to be involved in this debate, and to help identify what information the scientists etc need to supply for sensible decisions to be made. I admit to at times being passionate, I hope I don’t bring too much bias.

      • Good point Faustino. The statement just jumped right out at me and seem way out of character with the rest of his post, which was brilliantly written, happy, very positive and generally excellent.

        So, I stand by my assertion that his statement about those who provide economic contributions demonstrates his bias (probably due to lack of interest and lack of understanding of the critical issue of economic and financial matters in the policy debate).

        Faustino, your contributions are as unbiased as anyone’s I’ve seen. And that is my unbiased opinion!! :)

      • No, your input is very important.

        I took that a bit different. He seems to mean just personal gains and not those here more worried about the drastic harm to humanity financially and economically if such draconic taxes and regulations were put in place. I agree with the later.

        Maybe add a word:
        “Those having [personal] financial, economical or political interests …”

    • PS: given the evidence of political involvement and intent in the origin and promotion of the CAGW scare and the IPCC, it seems necessary to have politically aware commentators included in these discussions.

    • Thanks guys, my reaction was the same. I think what has been missed in this statement is that billions of people around the world have “financial, economical or political interests” in this issue, and disenfranchising them en masse as “not very constructive” is profoundly undemocratic.

      In fairness, he may have been referring to the minority who stand to gain a great deal from being on one side or the other – but most of us plebs in the West are involuntary contributors to the various slush funds. People in poor countries (excluding the elite) certainly have a dog in the fight, but unfortunately it is usually a chihuahua.

      • Ah, I see that this point was addressed (very reasonably) by the author further down. Thanks, Dr D.

  45. Dr Darriulat, thanks for that excellent assessment. Among the good replies here, thanks to Agnostic @ 2.17 and GaryM @ 2.19.

  46. Pierre,
    You say that your interest has taken you now to landscapes never seriously explored before – welcome to global warming and climate change.

    “The main discovery is the fascinating and incredibly rich world of the related blog literature.” Have you examined the fascinating and incredibly rich world of the related realm of decades of scientific publications on the topics of climate, paleoclimate, climate change, and global warming?

    I would agree that among the majority there are “climate science academics, citizen scientists, politically or sociologically motivated people and people who are simply curious to better understand climate science”. And that climate science “attracted scientists from many different fields contributing to unprecedented progress”. Virtually all of my colleagues at GISS received their formal education in fields other than meteorology and climate science.

    As you note, the debate on climate change and global warming has indeed become ‘notoriously irrational’. But I don’t see that this ‘irrationality in debate’ is coming from the climate science direction.

    As a particle physicist, what did you think of those who “knew” that the world would end when the LHC was turned on and created black holes that would go on to swallow the Earth?

    Clearly, crackpots exist in every field. The one significant difference between particle physics and climate science that is most relevant to the present ‘debate irrationality’, is that there was no significant activist group with financial interest to prevent LHC from operating.

    Meanwhile, climate science has been stepping on the toes of financially powerful fossil fuel interests who are rightfully fearful of eventual government action to counteract global warming and thus harm their profitability. These fossil fuel interests are conducting a deliberate campaign to dupe, deceive, and bamboozle the public about the causes and consequences of global warming. They have been conducting their campaigns of disinformation though privately funded institutes such as the George C. Marshall Institute, Cato Institute, and Heartland Institute. So, when you seen material coming from these sources, be forewarned – they do have an agenda, and it is not to inform the public about climate change.

    As a concerned citizen, how is one to tell who is presenting real information, and who is presenting disinformation. As the joke goes, on the internet, they can never tell if you are a dog.

    Too often, the approach that is taken is to jump to the conclusion that ‘you can’t trust established science’. That is fine by me. Science does not get established by endorsement, or lack thereof. Anyone inclined to seek their own ‘truth’ can go and reinvent climate science all over again. But be sure not to introduce new errors in the analysis.

    Sorting the wheat from the chaff, that is indeed the problem. Being new to the climate science field, have you really gotten to the point where you can unequivocally identify the ‘wheat’ and separate if from the ‘chaff’? The climate system is, as you know, quite complex.

    When you equate the NIPCC report with the IPCC report, I can see immediately that you are not yet in a position to distinguish between the ‘wheat’ and the ‘chaff’. In coming to a new field, it is perfectly natural that you would assume that everybody is operating in good faith. But that is not the case. The NIPCC report is a product of the Heartland Institute. Funded by the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel interests, they have an agenda to sow disinformation about climate change. Their intent is to show, by whatever means necessary, that global warming is of no consequence.

    What this means is that if you want to arrive at the truth about global warming, you will need to understand the relevant climate physics yourself. You state that you understand how the greenhouse effect works, and that CO2 has a much lesser effect than water vapor in this context. That is a good start, and suggests to me that you would not dispute our radiative transfer modeling analysis of the greenhouse effect that finds CO2 contributing 20%, other non-condensing GHGs 5%, water vapor 50%, and clouds 25% of the total global annual-mean greenhouse effect. But you seem to be more uncertain about the feedback interactions, which operate with significantly greater complexity than the radiative effects.

    The above numbers are of course model generated results. But they could be calculated for any observed temperature, water vapor, and cloud fields, if such global space-time measurements were available. Such calculations could well yield the water vapor contribution as 45% or 55%, and clouds as 30% or 20%. The precise values are not important. It is the relative values that matter. Despite all the water vapor feedback complexity in the GCM modeling, and in the real world (evaporation dependence on wind speed, water temperature, relative humidity, vertical and horizontal transport, condensation, rainout, re-evaporation), why is the water vapor contribution to the greenhouse effect at the 50% level, and not 80%, or 30%. Water vapor is a feedback, why does the climate system want water vapor to be at the 50% contribution level?

    The short answer is: that is what model physics dictate – the principal constraint being the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, which is the exponential temperature dependence of the saturation level of water vapor in air. When the relative humidity hits 100%, water vapor condenses, forms clouds, and precipitates from the atmosphere. Locally, the feedback processes may be very complex and variable, but the global aggregate is stable and robust. Basically, water vapor and clouds have and equilibrium distribution (set by atmospheric temperature and dynamics) that they strive to achieve.

    It is in this context that it is the non-condensing greenhouse gases that set the global equilibrium surface temperature and strength of the greenhouse effect, with water vapor and cloud feedback changes acting to magnify the effect. This is why we can refer to atmospheric CO2 as being the control knob that governs the climate of Earth. The geological record over the past 800,000 years supports this concept quite forcefully.

    As you note, the ocean has an enormous heat capacity, and heat flowing into the ocean is what determines the time evolution of the climate system approach to equilibrium in response to all of the radiative forcings that impact the climate system. Ocean circulation patterns are not as well understood, or modeled, as the atmosphere. This produces the substantial natural variability of the climate system. But these ‘internally forced’ variations are fluctuations about a zero reference point, and thus do not impact the long-term global warming trend that is driven by the increase in the non-condensing greenhouse gases, most notably CO2.

    I would suggest that the IPCC report is a good starting point to understand the principal issues of global climate change, and of global warming in particular. It is after all an assessment by climate scientists who are actively pursuing research in climate. They are most up-to-date on most of the issues, despite also having address some of the political sensitivities of some participating countries that have strong fossil fuel interests.

    The bottom line to reach a more accurate and reliable understanding of what is happening with the global climate of Earth is to be studying and understanding the basic climate science physics yourself.

    • Steven Mosher

      “But I don’t see that this ‘irrationality in debate’ is coming from the climate science direction.”

      “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

      There is plenty of irrationality to go around. The First irrationality is your irrational belief that the irrationality is all on one side.

      • Mosher, I agree.

      • Steven,
        What data is it that you were trying to get that wasn’t made available to you?

      • The First irrationality is your irrational belief that the irrationality is all on one side.

        indeed the irrational belief that climate sensitivity has a higher probability of a rational solution ,then an irrational solution is beyond belief.

      • I think the human control knobs are the skeptics that can take what we know as natural fluctuations and scale those to whatever value they want, including suggesting that they account for all of the modern AGW signal. They do this to create FUD and to drown out the sane scientific voices. These are the true nuts behind the wheel.

        In the political world, the metaphor is that of an echo chamber and the mighty wurlitzer that can orchestrate multiple voices into a crescendo that eventually has an impact. The talk of the pause or hiatus is one such meme that has been control knobbed to 11 on the spinal tap console.

        Alas, this is a fantasy control knob in comparison to the actual physics-based control exerted by CO2 as Lacis has described.

      • Steven Mosher | October 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply

        “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

        A Lacis | October 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm |

        “Steven,
        What data is it that you were trying to get that wasn’t made available to you?”

        Dr Lacis, I think Steven Mosher is referring to the request made in 2005 by independent researcher Warwick Hughes for access to the data used by Phil Jones of the CRU (Climate Research Unit) of UEA (Univ. of East Anglia) in his 1990 paper which concluded that the UHI (urban heat island) effect was negligible. Jones replied: “Even if WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

    • Pierre,
      A Lacis is one of the extreme alarmists in the academic community. He is from Texas A&M where his own department posts an agenda driven mission statement on their website. By any measure Professor Lindzen of MIT is a proper scientist and I caution you to read his view of the IPCC first. (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf ).

      Have a look at the alarmist article Lacis penned just the other day in a local Texas newspaper (http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/commentary/article/Climate-change-is-real-and-denial-is-not-about-4866529.php). Obviously CO2 is a GHG, but Lacis’s view of it being the climate control knob is without merit. If you are truly looking for high quality, independent views, look no further than Judith Curry. Somehow, I suspect you know that already.

    • “Virtually all of my colleagues at GISS received their formal education in fields other than meteorology and climate science.”

      Follow the money. If you are a fairly intelligent Phd. in the backwater of botany, for example, it doesn’t take you long to figure out where the funding and fame are to be had. Even dumb clowns in the BS soft social sciences have caught on. Hype the global warming threat. It’s a sure thing. Right, Dr. Angie?

      • It is physics and mathematics that is needed. If you can’t do either, there is little hope that you will ever understand anything about climate change.

      • Why won’t you engage the alleged fossil fuel interest funded mis-informers in public debate, like the NPR gig, Andy? Isn’t that the best way to discredit them? You can’t do it by running and hiding.

    • With all due respect, Andy, your comment here shows signs of conspiratorial thinking. The Koch brothers also funded the BEST work and the fossil fuel industry has in fact made by far the biggest contribution to reducing CO2 emissions of any group, including climate scientists. The abundance of natural gas as a fuel has had a significant impact on emissions. What I see in most fossil fuel advertising is a rather balanced approach that emphasizes their interest in alternative fuels and renewables, and their desire to develop natural gas.

      The real point here is that green groups are in fact more inaccurate and have been engaged in a coordinated campaign to convince people that the end is near and that we need to impose stifling taxes and government enforced green energy. There is a lot of corruption here too. You remember Solyndra don’t you? The reason for this is obvious, green energy companies are totally dependent on government subsidies and intervention for their existence.

      Your cause is not helped by these obviously self serving assertions. In a democracy, people can and will say whatever they want. Against Al Gore, green groups, the IPCC and governments with their “sovereign” power, “fossil fuel” interests are relatively powerless and not as evil as you seem to think.

      • I guess you have never looked at the NIPCC report, or any of the stuff regarding global climate change that comes from the Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute or the George C. Marshall Institute.

      • I guess you have never looked at the NIPCC report, or any of the stuff regarding global climate change that comes from the Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute or the George C. Marshall Institute.

        So I googled [“cato institute” climate] and the first entry said:

        Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975. But global warming is also a very complicated and difficult issue that can provoke very unwise policy in response to political pressure. Although there are many different legislative proposals for substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, there is no operational or tested suite of technologies that can accomplish the goals of such legislation.

        Fortunately, and contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding climate change, there is ample time to develop such technologies, which will require substantial capital investment by individuals.

        Which sounds a good deal more sensible (if somewhat ideological) than A Lacis’ hysterical conspiracy theories.

      • Andy, NIPCC is out there but is a sideshow. IPCC wields the brute force of the state which makes it far more important. We can debate whether its useful or not to even have the NIPCC reports. They probably serve a function to highlight issues, but I don’t take it particularly seriously since its done on a shoestring and not reviewed extensively. I’m far more concerned about IPCC and climate science itself which is supposed to constitute the grown ups in this debate. All too often, the green agenda has infected these institutions because Big Green has become something of a pagan religion in some academic quarters.

        And of course what is a total distraction are web sites who simply pick fleas off the carcasses of other web sites that are equally irrelevant. One could name the climate short tailed weasel, WUWT, and others. Judy’s web site is not irrelevant however and you can tell because the weasels of the internet pile on so unfairly and blatantly.

    • A Lacis,

      But I don’t see that this ‘irrationality in debate’ is coming from the climate science direction.

      I do. You are an example. You are so concerned with the physics to the exclusion of all else, you don’t realise that physics is of little relevance to the policy debate. A 1% increase in average global temperature is not relevant unless you can explain, convincingly and quantitatively, the costs and benefits of such a small change. Arm-waving and scare mongering doesn’t cut it. I’ve asked you previously about the impacts and the damage function and you avoided answering the question.

      Therefore, I categorise you as providing an example of “this ‘irrationality in debate’ is coming from the climate science direction.

      Meanwhile, climate science has been stepping on the toes of financially powerful fossil fuel interests who are rightfully fearful of eventual government action to counteract global warming and thus harm their profitability. These fossil fuel interests are conducting a deliberate campaign to dupe, deceive, and bamboozle the public about the causes and consequences of global warming. They have been conducting their campaigns of disinformation though privately funded institutes such as the George C. Marshall Institute, Cato Institute, and Heartland Institute. So, when you seen material coming from these sources, be forewarned – they do have an agenda, and it is not to inform the public about climate change.

      That is a statement of hysteria. It is biased, hypocritical and conspiracy theory stuff.

      The fossil fuel industries are doing what all industries do in a free market environment. They are doing what is best for their investors. But they are also helping to do due diligence. They are doing what the climate scientists have not done but should have done– challenge the consensus. And their funding contribution is insignificant compared with the $100 billion spent so far on climate research and policies to fix the climate.

      You give the impression you think greenie, eco-warriors, like James Hansen, have a conscience but the people who lead our largest companies do not. I totally disagree. I think the leaders of industry have the high integrity and, as well, are far better informed about the real world realities and the consequences of the mitigation policies the climate scientists advocate.

      I interpret from your writing you hate the Cato Institute. Yet you seem to accept the beliefs expressed by the politically driven IPCC and organisations like Royal Society and NAS which also have become politically motivated.

      Since you are a scientist, you should be able to put your own biases aside and read this article, review it and provide unbiased comments: http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/humanity-unbound-how-fossil-fuels-saved-humanity-nature-nature-humanity

      I hope you will. If you do, it may open your mind to the importance and value of cheap energy (fossil fuels until now, nuclear in the future). We cannot trash that just because you have a belief about catastrophic climate change that, so far, you have been unwilling or unable to support.

      • Excellent post, Peter. The NIPCC states that:

        “The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) is what its name suggests: an international panel of nongovernment scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change. Because we are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, we are able to look at evidence the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ignores. Because we do not work for any governments, we are not biased toward the assumption that greater government activity is necessary.

        “The NIPCC traces its roots to a meeting in Milan in 2003 organized by the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), a nonprofit research and education organization based in Arlington, Virginia. SEPP, in turn, was founded in 1990 by Dr. S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist, and incorporated in 1992 following Dr. Singer’s retirement from the University of Virginia.

        “Originally called “Team B,” NIPCC was created to provide an independent “second opinion” on the topics addressed by the initial drafts of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. When the Summary for Policymakers of that report was released in February 2007, “Team B” met again, this time in Vienna, changed its name to NIPCC, and started work on what would become this report. A score of independent scientists from around the world began to share their research and ideas with Dr. Singer, as they continue to do. Some of these scientists have asked not to be named in NIPCC reports for fear of losing research grants and being blacklisted by professional journals.” http://www.nipccreport.org/about/about.html

        Clearly, nothing but a Heartland Institute-driven conspiracy with devious and malicious intent. I’m sure that Dr. Darriulat can make up his own mind without “guidance” from Lacis.

      • On the skeptic side there are organizations that are very clearly built to promote the view that AGW is not a serious threat. NIPCC is part of that organized effort. So far I agree fully with Andy.

        Where my thinking seems to deviate from that of Andy is in the dominance of such organized activities as the cause of widely spread skepticism. Having followed the discussion for a while, I don’t believe that the role of such organized activities is dominating, not even indirectly. There are many other reasons for the spread of the skepticism.

        The most fundamental reason is that unambiguously linked detrimental effects are not visible now, and most likely will not be visible for many years to come. Many scientists fight against this obstacle in various ways including both educational efforts limited to fully objective knowledge, and various approaches created to make the message more effective. In the latter case they make also errors which can be used by the other side as proof of unacceptable behavior.

        The combination of impossibility to present foolproof evidence understandable to most and the unpleasantness of the conclusions is the fundamental reason for the power of the skepticism, organized activities just add to that. Peoples views are affected strongly also by their earlier perceptions of global environmental scares, and the operation of environmental groups.

      • Pekka

        You write:

        On the skeptic side there are organizations that are very clearly built to promote the view that AGW is not a serious threat. NIPCC is part of that organized effort. So far I agree fully with Andy.

        Yes, Pekka.

        But I am sure that you can understand that this was a natural reaction to the fact that prior to the existence of NIPCC:

        On the skeptic alarmist side there are organizations that are very clearly built to promote the view that AGW is not a serious threat. NIPCC is part of that organized effort. So far I agree fully with Andy Peter Lang.

        In this case, the “chicken” (IPCC) definitely came before the “egg” (NIPCC). In fact, it laid it.

        Max

      • Manacker,

        Well put.
        +1

      • Pekka Pirila,

        On the skeptic side there are organizations that are very clearly built to promote the view that AGW is not a serious threat.

        You are clearly a CAGW believer. But what is the evidence that AGW is a serious threat? This is the question you and the other alarmists have continually failed to answer convincingly and provide persuasive evidence to support your arguments. In fact, you and the other warmists, such as Lacis, usually dodge the question when asked.

        When you, Lacis and other warmists dodge this central question it damages your credibility and the credibility of the whole warmist brigade.

        When the warmists do attempt to answer the question, the answer is often given in units of degrees of temperature increase, followed about arm-waving and scaremongering adjectives trying to suggest how bad that would be. But a 1% increase in temperature is trivial as is 0.5 m sea level rise, or a 1 m rise, over 87 years.

        Until the warmists can answer this important policy question, skepticism will continue to increase. The trend in loss of faith in CAGW is shown in this chart (showing the level of interest in CAGW): http://climatechange.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?#activitytimeline. Release of AR5 WG1 hardly made a bump on the downward trend. [The trend is best seen with only ‘news articles’ and ‘news stories’ selected.]

      • Peter Lang

        +100

        You’ve hit the nail on the head.

        But I’, afraid Andy’s not listening. He’s got his own agenda (keep the “CO2 control knob” hysteria alive).

        Max

      • Max,

        That NIPCC is created for a partisan task is a simple fact, the claim that IPCC is created to be partisan is only a claim of one side in the debate, not supportable by more objective evidence.

        IPCC does have it’s political dimension, but that’s controlled by the governments of participating countries. Democratically elected governments have clearly the strongest say in the outcome of that political part.

        There are some loose groupings that have been created to promote strong climate policies, but I’m not aware of a single one that’s comparable to the organized opposition.

      • Pekka Pirila,

        I don’t see this the same as you do. I see NIPCC as fulfilling an important role that the IPCC and the orthodoxy have not done and cannot do. NIPCC is contributing to the due diligence that climate scientists cannot do. They cannot do it because they suffer from group think and heard mentality. They are funded by governments whose political interest is to prolong the CAGW scare. The US Democrats, UK Labour Party and Australian Labor Party are clear examples of the ‘progressive side of politics milking CAGW for political purposes.

        NIPCC brings skills to the due diligence that climate scientists cannot provide. The Republicans also tend to have these skills more strongly than the Democrats. They are business and financial skills and knowledge. And a better understanding of the consequences of the policies the ‘progressives’ and IPCC have been advocating for the past quarter century or more.

        Your attempt to disparage and shut down scepticism is typical of the ‘progressives’ approach to try to control the debate because you believe in CAGW. But shutting down or controlling the debate is not in our best interest. I want due diligence. The more you and other warmists try to shut down and control the debate the more strongly I will resist it and support the efforts of industry to do due diligence.

      • Pekka:

        There are some loose groupings that have been created to promote strong climate policies, but I’m not aware of a single one that’s comparable to the organized opposition.

        Doesn’t matter who’s responsible, the end-result is the same.

      • Pekka

        Aw, c’mon.

        Yes. The NIPCC was created to debunk the claims of the IPCC.

        But it is also clear that the IPCC (with its forced consensus process) was created to provide a fear-based “scientific” justification for a preconceived political agenda – namely to control energy by taxing carbon.

        BOTH organizations started with an agenda.

        To deny this is simply sticking one’s head in the sand, Pekka.

        Max

      • Heh, ‘Undue negligence’.

        There was a duty to do due diligence, there has been dereliction of the duty, there are damages and there is a direct connection between the dereliction and the damages.

        The class of those damaged is all of us. This tort against civilization will be cured, but not probably in the courts.
        ======================

      • Pekka, I find some truth in what you said.

        “Peoples views are affected strongly also by their earlier perceptions of global environmental scares, and the operation of environmental groups.”

        I know I’ve disliked green groups ever since the spotted owl Green Movement destroyed the lumber industry in Eugene/Springfield Or.

        Also, How serious is the threat on a scale of 1 to 10? Excellent question.

    • A few points Andy:

      “The geological record over the past 800,000 years supports this concept quite forcefully.”

      That’s rubbish. An example of a truly atrocious model that has zero predictive capacity can be found here:

      http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/archer.2005.trigger.pdf

      “But these ‘internally forced’ variations are fluctuations about a zero reference point, and thus do not impact the long-term global warming trend that is driven by the increase in the non-condensing greenhouse gases, most notably CO2.”

      That’s quite a claim to be making. If global warming was a natural cycle, how many thousands of years of high quality instrumental data would be required to detect such a long term cycle in the absence of a physical explanation? Sure, there’s no credible physical explanation (as we are often told). Red herring alert! There’s no data anyway. lol

      • “But these ‘internally forced’ variations are fluctuations about a zero reference point, and thus do not impact the long-term global warming trend that is driven by the increase in the non-condensing greenhouse gases, most notably CO2.”

        This is absolutely true. Over the past 130+ years, the major variability indices of SOI, volcanic activity, TSI, and LOD have added about -0.05C, -0.002C, 0.06C, and -0.05C to the trend, which sums to -0.04C. These are indeed ” fluctuations about a zero reference point”.

        Yet linearly composing these indices along with the GHG forcing, allows one to account the fluctuations with high fidelity. This is so straightforward that anyone can reproduce the results of Lean & Rind [1] as an example

        [1]J. L. Lean and D. H. Rind, “How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006,” Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 35, no. 18, Sep. 2008.

      • This is so straightforward that anyone can reproduce the results of Lean & Rind as an example

        Well maybe not Lean and Rind apparently.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009GL038932/abstract

    • Lacis makes the point subtly here, but has more strongly in the past, that even the IPCC reports, especially their summaries for policymakers, are not freely written by the climate scientists. They are a compromise to not upset some political factions among the UN nations’ representatives, mostly those with a financial interest in the status quo. If the IPCC can improve their process, it would be to take the diplomats out of it and leave it to the scientists to summarize it for policymakers. This kind of report would be better done outside of the UN diplomatic control.

      • You have that bass ackwards.
        The SPMs are far less scientific, and far more alarmist and certain than the IPCC reports.

    • Lacis-
      “They have been conducting their campaigns of disinformation though privately funded institutes such as the George C. Marshall Institute, Cato Institute, and Heartland Institute. So, when you seen material coming from these sources, be forewarned – they do have an agenda, and it is not to inform the public about climate change.”
      And you dont have an agenda? Give me a break. Are you sure you didnt write some material for the Seinfeld Show?

    • Dr Lacis writes “…we can refer to atmospheric CO2 as being the control knob that governs the climate of Earth. The geological record over the past 800,000 years supports this concept quite forcefully.”
      Goodness, that’s quite a sweeping statement which goes well beyond the question of how much humans have affected earth’s climate. I know Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth made much of the correspondence between the ups and downs of stable isotopes (representing paleotemperatures) and the ups and downs of CO2 in 4 x 10^5 years worth of ice cores from the Vostok borehole; however Gore skated over the inconvenient fact that the Vostok isotope record tends to lead rather than follow the CO2 record – by roughly 10^3 years. It would be nice to have more and better long ice cores to confirm (or refute) this observed pattern, but in their absence one has little option but to conclude provisionally that atmospheric CO2 has not been a primary cause of global temperature fluctuations between glacials and interglacials. It is much easier to explain the Vostok CO2 fluctuations as being themselves caused by ocean water temperature fluctuations, with warming oceans outgassing into the atmosphere and cooling oceans absorbing gases from the atmosphere. I’m not aware of any other process which could give rise to the substantial CO2 variation observed at Vostok.
      There would of course be some positive feedback as the temperature-driven CO2 changes in their turn gave rise to further temperature changes. But for CO2 to be assigned a major role in the transitions between glacials and interglacials would require this feedback effect to exceed the initial temperature change – an unstable situation and a process which would seem to be continually at risk of going out of control. Is there any literature that supports the existence of such a process?
      The global ice volume and temperature fluctuations between glacials and interglacials have on the other hand since the work of Milankovich been fairly convincingly correlated with and attributed to orbital and axial-tilt driven variation in summer insolation (and thus perennial snow cover and albedo) in the medium to high latitudes of the northern (land-rich) hemisphere. This still leaves room for CO2 to play a role, albeit a minor and secondary one, in the last 800,000 years of earth’s history.
      Anyway I’m sure that Pierre Dariullat understands more about the earth’s orbital cycles and axial tilt than I do.
      But perhaps Dr Lacis has another explanation for the CO2 fluctuations? If so, could he enlighten us?

      • Coldish, you may not be aware that AGW goes with the Milankovitch idea that the Ice Ages are forced by fluctuations in orbit and tilt that change ice extent, which changes albedo, which changes global temperature, and CO2 *follows* the global temperature under the Milankovitch mechanism. CO2 in that case is just a positive feedback to the albedo forcing changes.

      • Thanks, Jim D. I was merely responding to the comment by Dr Lacis, whose understanding of this matter appears to differ from yours and mine.

  47. “The NIPCC report is a product of the Heartland Institute. Funded by the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel interests, they have an agenda to sow disinformation about climate change. Their intent is to show, by whatever means necessary, that global warming is of no consequence.”

    Take them on in public debate, if you have the guts and the science to back up your mouth. Or have you all learned your lesson? You know you got big problems, when your homies at NPR recognize that you got your butts kicked:

    http://www.npr.org/2007/03/22/9082151/global-warming-is-not-a-crisis

    “In this debate, the proposition was: “Global Warming Is Not a Crisis.” In a vote before the debate, about 30 percent of the audience agreed with the motion, while 57 percent were against and 13 percent undecided. The debate seemed to affect a number of people: Afterward, about 46 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 42 percent were opposed and about 12 percent were undecided.”

    • snake oils salesmen do great in debates.

      You see qualified experts tend to be no match for sneaky lawyer types when it comes to convincing an audience.

    • The public can’t tell the difference between real facts and bunkum in a real-time debate. Carry the debates out over time with actual fact-checking at each stage to keep it honest and you would get a better picture. The same should happen with congressional testimonies. It does to some extent in blogosphere postmortems, but by then the congressional members have moved on to the next thing and won’t pay attention to the replays.

  48. A fan of *MORE* discourse
    A Lacis asserts “Fossil fuel interests are conducting a deliberate campaign to dupe, deceive, and bamboozle the public about the causes and consequences of global warming.

    They have been conducting their campaigns of disinformation though privately funded institutes such as the George C. Marshall Institute, Cato Institute, and Heartland Institute.

    So, when you seen material coming from these sources, be forewarned – they do have an agenda, and it is not to inform the public about climate change.”

    Peter Lang responds “That is a statement of hysteria. It is biased, hypocritical and conspiracy theory stuff.”

    Here is a three-step Climate Etc program for regaining climate-change sanity:

    Step 1  Read for yourself the scrupulously polite, well-reasoned essay by Andrew Dressler and Gerald North titled Climate change is real and denial is not about the science.

    Step 2  Read for yourself the abusive demagogic response of Robert Bradley/WUWT titled Political Scientists: Gerald North and Andrew Dessler Double Down on Climate Alarmism.

    Step 3  Read for yourself about Robert Bradley’s career history as speechwriter for Enron CEO Kenneth Lay, who was the architect of the largest Big Carbon financial swindle in history (against tough competition).

    Conclusion  Purely on the evidence, A Lacis is entirely right and Peter Lang is utterly wrong.

    It is a pleasure to broaden your perspective, Peter Lang and Climate Etc readers!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • De Nile is about De Science Eg Ruzmaiken. Feynman Yung.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2006JD007462/abstract

    • Dessler and co fail to distinguish between
      “an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence.” and ” assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma..”
      -Science Magazine
      How does one interpret Dessler? Is he saying no one is skeptical?

      “if you are skeptical of the science of climate change, then you almost certainly oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and support gun rights.”

      Perhaps if Dessler spent more time on his cloud correlations rather than meaningless diatribe, the correlations wouldn’t be so insignificant and meaningless….

  49. A nice thing about living on the other side of the planet than most of you is that I can write when you sleep and sleep when you write.
    I am amazed by the number of reactions to my post (a mail I had sent to Judith Curry “just for her”, without the intention to have it posted, but that I have been happy to -and agreed to- have posted by her).
    I will try to clarify a few points.
    Thank you to those who direct me to various links, some of which I knew about, some of which I did not. I was delighted to learn about Forrest Mims and his Screwdriver Programmable Read Only Memory. I am now working in a field, radio astronomy, that owes its existence to two “citizen scientists”, Karl Jansky and Grote Reber, two fascinating figures.
    A first comment for Theo Goodwin (at 12:47) who mentions the bad influence of the climate debate on the image it gives of science to the young generation. Not only do I agree with him but this concern has been my main motivation in expressing myself on such matters.
    On being condescending when I summarize the irrationality of the nuclear debate, I wish to clarify what I mean. Manacker (at 12:31) already said very well most of it in his answer to Joshua (10:58). It is not the place to debate on nuclear here, it is only interesting to notice the parallel with the climate debate. When Angela Merkel decides, the day after Fukushima, to shutdown nuclear energy in Germany, I understand that it is a political decision, based on political arguments; I do not say, nor think, that she is wrong. In our democratic regimes, the leaders are not supposed to decide for their people what is good for them. If Germans in majority do not want nuclear plants, Angela Merkel has no other choice than take the decision she took. But I am not condescending toward what people think. What I say is that what makes them think this way is an irrational fear that has been generated and amplified by green activists that used for this wrong arguments and distorted facts. There, it is true that I am condescending and arrogant but what I say is so undeniable that I have no problem standing up in front of anyone who disagrees. However, I recognize that one reason for the way things have evolved the (bad) way they have is also because the nuclear establishment, in particular the private nuclear industry, have often behaved in an arrogant way toward criticisms emanating from the green activists. The result has been sad. Nuclear energy is a high tech requiring continuity, seriousness and hard work in its management. It requires continued R&D to progress on open questions such as waste management, development of breeders, safety and decommissioning issues, proliferation, etc. I think that the anti-nuclear camp has been harmful to its serene development, at the end against its own interests: India, China, and soon other emergent south asian countries are now developing nuclear energy, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY NEED IT (Asian countries typically consume between 1/2 and 1/10 of electrical energy per capita compared with what western countries do), in conditions of safety that are worse that they could have been if nuclear energy had been better accepted in the west. Exploitation of the irrational popular fear in domains where one cannot expect the man in the street to understand the scientific arguments of relevance and arrogance of the establishment in response to such fear have characterized the nuclear debate in a financially and politically heavy context. I just note that the same seems to be happening for the climate.
    A comment in answer to those who tell me that I should read climate textbooks and the scientific litterature. I am sorry, I cannot; I am an astrophysicist engaged in promoting astrophysics in Vietnam, in teaching it at the university and in running a small research lab that I have created there. Believe me, it takes me more than full time. I know enough of basic physics to understand seminars or conferences on climate that I may attend. It so happens that I write (often am asked to write) articles in the journal of the Vietnamese ministry of sciences and technology (there is no private press in Vietnam) with the aim of triggering interest of the reader on scientific issues. Obviously, the IPCC report is one of these. I feel that it is not up to me to do the critical review that I am mentioning, I expect other people (who?) to do it for me.
    When I mention NIPCC, it is just because its structure makes it easy to tackle one point at a time, it does not mean that I put IPCC and NIPCC on the same level. What strikes me is the fact that statements such as made by Judith Curry in her testimony to the House in April this year sound to me serious enough to deserve as serious a reaction from the community of climate scientists. Most of them work, one way or another, for the IPCC but they should have a chance to express themselves outside the IPCC framework, namely not talking to politicians but to other scientists, without being asked to convey “consensually” what they think is the right message. I disagree with those of them who refuse to do so, arguing that there is a lot of crap in the skeptic blogosphere. My recent experience with the blogosphere – two months ago I did not even know who Judith Curry, to mention just one name, was – has tought me a very clear lesson: most people in these blogs are highly respectable, care about important issues, are curious and eager to be better informed, in a word display many virtues that are usually considered as typical of a scientific attitude. Splitting the world in two clans, warmists and skeptics, is very harmful. I know that many climate scientists would be happy to forget about such labels and cold-headedly analyse the various controversial points that Judith Curry reviews in her testimony. Obviously, the vast majority of people working for IPCC are not ill-motivated. They simply prefer to keep out of a debate that has become too emotional, if not irrational, for their taste.
    A last point for those who might think that I am an obtuse anti-green. I am not. I have been sensitized to the importance of preserving the planet, of protecting the fragility of its equilibrium, of limiting our growth from the very beginning at the time of Amadeo Peccei and the Rome Club.
    But green activists have now overdone it, up to a point where they act against their own interests.
    Kind regards
    Pierre

    • One more point I forgot. Concerning my statement
      “Those having financial, economical or political interests are among the most passionate and biased participants and their contributions are not very constructive – except in a few instances – and usually do not help much in raising the level of the debate”
      I regret to have said so, I did not really mean that. What I really meant is that such arguments are of course very important and relevant to the whole issue but, in some sense, come downstream the scientific debate. Mixing them does not help. I think that complexity is one of the difficulty and mixing political and financial/economic arguments with scientific arguments does not help clarity. But I am prepared to accept that this is not a very useful comment, I am happy to withdraw it; it was just for me an easy way to dispose quickly of an issue – the mixing of economic arguments with science-that I was not prepared nor wishing to address. Sorry for that and apologies to the economists who have seen an insult in these lines.
      Pierre

      • Thank you, Pierre, no insult taken, but many who have been drawn to examine claims of CAGW have done so because of concerns about the economic and policy implications. And many, on this blog and elsewhere, have done so on the basis of accepting that CAGW was of serious concern, and have become increasingly sceptical the more they learned. The same is true of many from other disciplines and backgrounds too. The harsh light of bloggery has shown that not all was as it had been presented, the alleged certainty was not so certain.

      • Thank you Pierre. I endorse Faustino’s response.

        Mixing them does not help. I think that complexity is one of the difficulty and mixing political and financial/economic arguments with scientific arguments does not help clarity.

        But they cannot be separated. The climate scientists have been advocating expensive policies for decades, and greenie activists have been advocating ridiculous policies with the full support of IPCC and many leading climate scientists.

        Even if all climate scientists stuck rigorously to science and did no advocacy for policies, the economic consequences of policies to mitigate climate change would require we do rigorous due diligence of the science that is the justification for implementing such policies. This means, we must do rigorous due diligence of climate science. So, it cannot escape due diligence if economically damaging policies will be needed to mitigate climate change.

      • For 19 years I worked at an institute doing research on nuclear power. From that experience I know that a great majority of people working professionally with nuclear power believe genuinely that nuclear power is safe enough for being used as a major source of energy. The level of worry does certainly vary at the level of details.

        This situation has a close parallel in climate research (but also significant differences). The great majority of professional climate scientists believes that AGW is a threat but on the level of detail personal thoughts differ.

        Both issues are complex as seen by the general public. In both cases there are also strong lobbies that try to influence the public. The large skeptical fraction of the public has distrust in the professional experts of the fields and the opposing lobbies do their best to convince that the specialists are not really specialists, and that they have been bought to present their nearly unanimous views (as far as the fields are uniform).

      • Pekka Pirila,

        The facts are undeniable in the case of nuclear power. It is the safest way to generate electricity. Blocking it, or damning is with faint praise as you do frequently, is causing millions of avoidable fatalities per year. That is the effect that anti nukes and people like you in positions of influence are having.

        The situation with scepticism about catastrophic climate change is entirely different. The case has not been made that ACO2 emissions are dangerous or catastrophic. The case is weak to nonexistent. There is no convincing justification for the high cost, near useless, GHG mitigation policies advocated by many climate scientists, environmental NGOs, those with ‘progressive’ political agendas and other groups with various agendas.

      • Thanks for your clarifications, Pierre – and for your lead post. A quiet voice of reason midst the din of the debate.

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        Whether or not “blocking nuclear power” is “costing lives”, I cannot argue, Peter.

        But there is absolutely no question in my mind that nuclear power is a safe, economically competitive and sustainable method of generating the increased electrical energy our society needs in order to maintain and further improve its quality of life.

        Over six decades there has been one real mishap, Chernobyl, and that was caused by antiquated technology that should have been replaced long before, but was not, because of the failure of the Soviet socialist system.. Even that case was blown up totally out of proportion by the media and anti-nuke lobby, especially in Europe.

        Three Mile Island was a non-event, mostly exploited by the media and anti-nuke lobby in the USA..

        Fukushima was the result of a massive tsunami (which, itself, killed thousands) and of “going cheap” on standby systems – but there were no resulting fatalities. Yet today, when someone speaks of the “Fukushima disaster” it’s not about the thousands of people who died from the tsunami, but about the damaged nuclear power station.

        The much-ballyhooed “spent fuel” problem can largely be solved by existing technology, so even this objection to nuclear power is misplaced.

        The same people who lobbied against nuclear power are now lobbying against coal. Problem is, these folks do not have an economically viable alternate.

        Max

      • Manacker,

        I agree with all of your comment, and would like to offer an explanation and ask if you agree or disagree regarding your opening paragraph:

        Whether or not “blocking nuclear power” is “costing lives”, I cannot argue, Peter.

        Hundreds of authoritative studies over the past 30 years or more have shown that nuclear power causes in the order of 10 to 100 times less fatalities per MWh of electricity supplied than coal fired generation. This summary of recent authoritative studies http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html gives the average fatalities per TWh as:
        – coal (elect, heat cook) (world average) = 100
        – coal electricity generation (world average) = 60
        – coal electricity generation (USA) = 15
        – Nuclear electricity generation (world average) = 0.04

        Therefore, replacing coal fired electricity generation with nuclear would reduce fatalities from fossil fuels by a factor of 60 / 0.04 = 1500, or about 60 fatalities per TWh. If nuclear generated electricity is supplied to households that use coal for heating and cooking, it would avoid about 100 fatalites per TWh

        World electricity generation by coal and peat is about 10,000 TWh per year. Replacing this with nuclear would avoid about 10,000 x 60 = 600,000 fatalities per year.

      • Peter Lang

        Thanks for response.

        I had not seen those statistics on relative safety of various energy sources – they are, indeed, impressive.

        The problem, as I see it, is not a rational one – it is purely driven by the most basic of all emotions: fear.

        The general public has been systematically sensitized to fear nuclear power, by a well-orchestrated fear mongering campaign of various anti-nuke lobby groups, supported by a media, which needs scary disaster scenarios for ratings, circulation (and profits).

        I live in Europe where this campaign was carried out in full force. We see the results in Germany, where a frightened general public and fearful politicians have brought the country’s energy policy to a dead end with the mandated exodus from nuclear power with the grandiose name, “die Energiewende” (meaning as much as the “energy paradigm shift”).

        Some are calling it the “Energie-Ende”, instead, because there is no viable alternate (other than going back to coal, which the same green lobby groups are trying to kill with the climate scare).

        The Swiss are a bit more pragmatic than the Germans, even though politicians have also pandered to post-Fukushima fears and pressure from Green parties to announce a nuclear moratorium (some day in the future). But the Swiss are also slowly coming to the realization that there is no alternate to nuclear power. [The Swiss do not have much wind or sunshine; nor do they have any coal – and the expansion possibilities for hydroelectric power generation are limited.]

        IMO it will, indeed, need a “paradigm shift” in many European countries for nuclear power to be accepted emotionally and politically, despite the impressive safety record of this alternate versus all others, which you cited.

        The alternate, of course, is that nations like France, whose populations (and politicians) do not suffer from this fear-based anti-nuke hysteria, simply continue to expand their nuclear plants and act as the electrical power suppliers for the rest of Europe.

        Max

      • Note, now, that in the case of catastrophic climate alarmism, guilt has been added to fear, adding exponents to the effect of fear alone.
        =============================

      • PS As they say, “Vive la France!”

      • PS As they say, “Vive la France!”

        (comment ended up in wrong place before)

      • kim

        Yes. “Fear” is the most basic (and strongest) emotion of all.

        But in our Judeo-Christian mindset, there is also a big place for “guilt”.

        Combining the two, as the purveyors of CAGW have adroitly done, results in a “double whammy”.

        Tossing in the gravitas of “science” makes it a “triple threat”.

        Max

    • Pierre,

      I understood that you must be busy with your academic and research activities. That was one reason for daring to guess that you have not read relevant textbooks. But that’s also a reason for me to think that you have been too willing to accept erroneous information from the skeptical side and to draw conclusions based on that, and perhaps on your generic doubts of environmental movements.

      Part of what you write can be written on general ground, based on understanding what science should be, but you went on to conclusions that are dependent on information that you don’t have as you have not had time to study it.

      How can you complain that good information is not available, when you have not used the best information that is available and very accessible for a physicist?

      How can you think that you can present strong views on a science, when you know as a scientist, how much effort it takes to reach the level of understanding of best scientists of a field?

      • [previously posted in wring place]

        Pekka Pirila,

        Your comment to Pierre is a pile of baseless assertions and mumbo jumbo. You’ve said nothing. You haven’t given a single example to support any of your baseless assertions.

      • Dear Pekka,
        I hate to keep repeating myself, so let me make it short. I have no time to read the scientific litterature. I have no time to read all the blog litterature. This is why I need a reasonable summary report. The IPCC report is not such a report, even if it is not very far from being one. I have enough scientific knowledge and judgement to make this statement. The single criticism of their sloppy way of dealing with uncertainties is sufficient to authorize any one to say so. I love reading Judith Curry’s testimony because it does address precisely questions that come naturally to my mind when I read the IPCC report. But, of course, I cannot claim or trust that whatever she writes is uncontroversial truth. This is why I am asking for bona fide climate scientists, and I believe that there are many of them, to consider the needs of someone like me, and we are many of this kind I am sure, to have access to a summary document other than the IPCC report.
        You may find that they will loose their time in doing so, that they have better things to do. I do not think so, it is part of our duties as scientists to respond to the need of the public for being well informed differently than by saying: read the scientific litterature.
        Kind regards,
        Pierre

      • Pierre,

        I’m trying to tell that you ask for impossible, and present a condemnation when the impossible is not done.

        Uncertainties of climate science have many dimensions. The evidence is sparse, but there’s a lot of it. No objective approach can provide a good simple description of it. Scientists who spend the issues seriously can gain a better understanding of the uncertainties, but even they reach different conclusions, Judith has a different view of the situation than some other climate scientists, but neither can proof that their view is better, still they both have their justifications.

      • spend should be study.

      • Pekka,

        I’m trying to tell that you ask for impossible, and present a condemnation when the impossible is not done.

        Your comment demonstrates ignorance of the policy development process. On one hand, in other comments on other threads, you argue we must implement policies to mitigate GHG emissions. here you admit scientists cannot provide the information needed for policy analysis. You are in effect arguing for policy analysists to simply believe the authority of climate scientists. You must be joking!!

    • Pierre, Let me repeat what I have already written ad nauseum. What you are
      looking for in the way of a scientific debate SHOULD be the role of academic and learned scientific societies. These institutions have PRECISELY the mandate and resources to do exactly what you looking for.

      What has happened that ALL these institutions, led by the Royal Society, and the American Physical Societies, have, with malice aforethought, deliberately supported the “science” presented by the IPCC. They have PREVENTED the sort of discussion the sort of discussion that you seek, instead of encouraging it. At a recent 2 day meeting of the RS to discuss the AR5, ALL skeptics were deliberately excluded from the discussions.

      I am sorry, but until at least one academic institution, or learned society which a status similar to the RS and APS, the situation will not change. I dont mean to belittle what you doing, but no-one, quite rightly, listens to what I think or write. It needs some sort of person like yourself, or our hostess to shout from the rooftops, that science being abused.

      You may be aware that the IPCC REWRITES their scientific reports so that they agree with the political statements. If that is not a direct insult to yourself, I dont know what is.

    • Pierre –

      There is an extensive literature on risk assessment. For example, I think that if you study the issue you will find that risk assessment, for everyone, is highly influenced by culture, politics, ideology and economics – to name just a few influences. Even people who have developed expertise in analyzing complex issues, such as yourself, are prone to being influenced by many factors in how they asses risk (you may want to read Kahneman). The mechanism for how people view risk is not easily identified in the manner in which you have done.

      Again, I would suggest that if you haven’t really studied the issue (of how people assess risk), then your (inconsistently) simplistic cause-and-effect analysis based on your own personal and anecdotal observations is very likely subject to some biases. In fact, I would say the inconsistency in the arguments you have presented (w/r/t nuclear energy, sometimes acknowledging the complex assortment of influences and at other times simplistically finding the “cause” in the advocacy of greens) suggests that you haven’t even really worked out your own analysis, let alone carefully examined the issues involved.

      • Joshua,
        I started as a nuclear physicist, 53 years ago. I followed closely the development of nuclear energy since that time. I think I know what I am talking about. But this is not the issue being discussed here, I am sorry; I do not feel the courage to undertake a discussion with you on that point, even less to try to convince you of anything, please accept my apologies,
        Pierre

      • Pierre –

        I think I know what I am talking about.

        Please understand, I don’t doubt your expertise in nuclear energy, nor your background for evaluating the risks involved. Others here might see your statement as an “appeal to (self-) authority,” but I consider your expertise and experience to be quite relevant.

        What I am saying is that for you to opine on the factors related to how other people have assessed risk, you should engage in a more comprehensive analysis than simply reflecting on your personal experiences. That you would first promote a simplistic cause-and-effect analysis, and then intermittently refer to a more complex dynamic, suggests to me that in fact, you have not: (1) studied how people assess risk and, (2) with that general background in hand, studied how the public has assessed the risk of nuclear energy.

      • Josh-
        For once would you just spare us

      • And Pierre – BTW

        No apologies necessary. Of course you are free to discuss whatever you want to discuss (contingent on Judith’s use of her hammer).

        However, I am sure that you can understand that if you’re going to present simplistic cause-and-effect explanations for extremely complex dynamics, you should expect to be questioned on the topic.

      • Knows absolutely nothing Joshua would argue the theory of relativity with Einstein.

      • i beseech thee, in the vowels of Christ, consider that you might be wrong.
        ===========

  50. Don’t you love how physicists think they know everything?

    • Well, I don’t think physicists know everything, _but_: I have mostly a physics background, and have not studied climate science in detail, I just read a little of what different people say about it. So, someone like me needs help in sorting out the conflicting claims made in the field. I tend to take statements by prominent physicists pretty seriously. I know they know what they are doing.
      When Feynman writes that he spent some time working with education studies and concluded that there wasn’t really any much science there, that affects my view of the field. When Dyson says that climate science is not yet in a position to be making the claims it does, that affects my view of that field. When really foolish climate scientists respond by attacking Dyson, that affects my view as well: If they don’t have the sense to know when they’re _way_ outmatched, they can’t be taken seriously. Same with Richard Muller, and same with Darriulat.
      This may seem unfair, but it’s true nonetheless: Don’t expect to impress me with claims that “real climate scientists” all feel a certain way, and scientists who don’t are “mostly from other disciplines”. Sorry, that’s backwards. I start with the fields I know are done carefully, and work my way over. If you can’t convince top physicists, expect me to treat your field like Voodoo Science.

      • ” If you can’t convince top physicists, expect me to treat your field like Voodoo Science.” Quite so.

      • mike –

        Is it your contention that there are no top physicists that disagree with Dyson or with Darriulat? Have you not seen how Muller has been attacked by “skeptics” (when he isn’t being attacked by “realists?”)

        Assuming that’s not the case, what is your approach when Dyson says that claims by climate scientists are unfounded and other top physicists disagree with him?

        What do you do when “skeptics” line up to attack top physicists who feel that adding ACO2 has significant potential to negatively impact out climate?

      • Mike613: Neither you, nor I, are Richard Feynman.

      • When Dyson says that climate science is not yet in a position to be making the claims it does, that affects my view of that field.

        Why? Dyson has never contributed to climate science. Why is his opinion more valuable than the thousands of scientists who DO study climate science, are an currently developing it?

        You are just trying to ride on a big name, and take his word for it, instead of doing the hard work of confronting the evidence yourself and deciding for yourself.

        That is especially un-physicist-like.

      • David Appell

        The difference between Dyson and the “thousands of scientists who DO study climate science” is that they are on the payroll.

        Simple.

        Max

      • Amongst the mists, there are lians.
        ===============

      • “Have you not seen how Muller has been attacked by “skeptics” (when he isn’t being attacked by “realists?”)”
        Don’t see how this is relevant. I don’t care what “skeptics” think, I’m explaining how I make my own judgments.

        “Is it your contention that there are no top physicists that disagree with Dyson or with Darriulat?”
        “Why? Dyson has never contributed to climate science. Why is his opinion more valuable than the thousands of scientists who DO study climate science, are currently developing it?” I explained that. One impression I got very clear while I was doing my PhD is that most of us were not “top scientists”, were not going to be, and didn’t belong in the same ballpark with them. Most scientists aren’t geniuses and aren’t going to make the really deep discoveries; they’re going to fill in the gaps left by the geniuses. They just don’t have the power to change the conventional wisdom. One Dyson outranks all those “thousands of scientists”. Could be some climate scientists are on that level – probably there are. I don’t know which ones they are, or how to know what they think – and I don’t care what the rest think.

        What I do know is that Dyson said he spent time studying the fundamentals of climate science and drew certain conclusions. That means a lot to me. Richard Muller was one of the panel that studied the Hockey Stick, and concluded that McIntyre’s and McKitrick’s conclusions were correct. He also concluded that Hide the Decline was a travesty that disqualifies the ones who are responsible. That means a lot to me.
        Furthermore, it means to me that all the investigations that exonerated them and all the climate scientists and publicists who have been jabbering the opposite prove that climate science is pretty corrupt and mostly doesn’t care about following the standards of real scientists. Sorry if that’s not the conclusion you think I should be drawing. I think that anyone who cares about climate science should have tarred and feathered the Climategate scientists; they have ruined your brand, not some basically irrelevant operatives working for Exxon, if there are any.

    • Appell, you’ve completely convinced me with your insightful comment, thanks!

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David Appell is gratified  “Don’t you love how physicists think they know everything?”

      Peter Lang froths “Pekka Pirila, your comment to Pierre is a pile of baseless assertions and mumbo jumbo. You’ve said nothing. You haven’t given a single example to support any of your baseless assertions.”

      Yeah! Climate Etc readers should trust the demagogic smears of Robert Bradley, former speechwriter for Enron CEO Kenneth Lay, the architect of the largest Big Carbon financial swindle in history.

      A Serious Question  How is it that climate-change denialists repose so *much* trust in Big Carbon demagogues (like Robert Bradley), and so *little* trust in responsible scientists (like Pekka Pirila)?

      Is that *really* good judgment, Peter Lang and David Appell?

      The world wonders. And Climate Etc readers wonder too.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • David Appell

      Maybe physicists know (almost) everything about physics

      But, of course, one should avoid the “argument from authority”, especially when it comes to a topic as hairy-fairy as the physics of our planet’s climate – right?

      As a rational skeptic, I’d prefer to rely on the “argument from empirical evidence” in this case. Wouldn’t you?

      Max

      • It’s plain to see the authority inherent in observations must emerge, as the challenged, shall we say crippled, models lag. Who you gonna believe? My models or your lying eyes?
        ================

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      manacker’s rationality requires  “As a rational skeptic, I’d prefer to rely on the “argument from empirical evidence” in this case. Wouldn’t you?”

      Your question is excellent manacker!

      Answer Part I  The empirical evidence is overwhelmingly strong that energy is conserved, and therefore, that AGW is real. As Roy Spencer says:

      Less energy leaving the climate system means warming under almost any scenario you can think of.

      Conservation of energy, folks. It’s the law.

      Answer Part II  The empirical evidence is overwhelmingly strong that climate sensitivity is high, and therefore, that AGW is serious. As James Hansen says:

      Cenozoic temperature, sea level and CO2 covariations provide insights into climate sensitivity to external forcings and sea-level sensitivity to climate change

      Burning all fossil fuels, we conclude, would make most of the planet uninhabitable by humans.

      Conclusion  The “best available climate-change science” (as Judith Curry calls it), building upon “arguments from empirical evidence” (as manacker-style rational skepticism requires) robustly affirms that AGW is real and serious.

      Thank you for asking such thought-provoking scientific questions, manacker!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fanny

        “Empirical evidence” exists that H2O, CO2 and some other gases, which exist in our atmosphere, absorb LW radiation. This evidence supports the basic mechanism behind the greenhouse hypothesis.

        Model simulations attempt to quantify how this mechanism could possibly work in our atmosphere.

        But there is, as yet NO “empirical evidence” (based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation) to validate the model outputs.

        Once such “empirical evidence” exists, Hansen et al. may have a valid case for their doomsday projections. But today that is not the case

        It’s just that simple, Fanny.

        Max

      • LOL! I thought we settled this already FOMTrolling. I guess you’re a real slow learner ; )

        The Hansen paper you obstinately keep referring to is a pile of garbage. Why?

        Because, for starters, it begins with “Humanity is now the dominant force driving changes in the Earth’s atmospheric composition and climate” the source for which is none other than a politicized, outdated. long-discredited 2007 IPCC report.

        Secondly, it talks about burning all the worlds fossil fuels, which is not even remotely possible, and stupid to even talk about because the vast majority of those fuels are in places that we can’t get to them and won’t for hundreds if not thousands of years because we don’t have anywhere near the technology to get to them.

        Thirdly, the “paper” uses nonsensical and unscientific terminology such as “potential fossil fuel reserves” which is a contradiction in terms, because anything that is a potential source cannot be a reserve. Reserves do not exist until they have been defined by a systematic program of drilling and seismic analysis to determine exactly how much is there, and that it can be feasibly extracted. The technically accurate term isn’t reserve anyway, it’s “measured resource.”

        As I said, the Hansen paper is complete politicized garbage. Sorry to burst your little bubble; but I guess you can still post a copy of it in your scrapbook, and light a candle in your Hansen Shrine in honor of your hero’s latest embarrassment, eh?

        Glad to have improved your knowledge of basic resource extraction terminology FOMTrolling!

        Good on Yah!

  51. Berényi Péter

    Dr. Darriulat,

    you may want to reflect on the physics of the climate system, as it is supposed to be your field of expertise. Namely on quasi stationary states of non reproducible nonequilibrium systems, to which class terrestrial climate belongs to. We do have a theory for the reproducible case (see Dewar 2003), but none for chaotic ones, where microstates belonging to the same macrostate can develop into different macrostates in a short time, defying reproducibility.

    In this case not even a straightforward definition of Jaynes entropy is available, so no wonder MaxEnt does not apply to climate as a whole, for in spite of most of entropy being produced when incomig SW radiation gets thermalized, Earth is not pitch black. That is, its albedo is pretty high, rate of entropy production could easily be made higher by lowering it a bit. Still, it does not happen.

    This brings us to the regulation of albedo, which is got utterly wrong by computational climate models. They fail to reproduce observed (rather precise) hemispheric symmetry, which is clearly an emergent phenomenon, missed by models. And a non trivial one at that, because primary (clear sky) albedo of the two hemispheres are very different.

    What might be the piece of physics missed by all computational models so far?

    Journal of Climate, Volume 26, Issue 2 (January 2013)
    The Observed Hemispheric Symmetry in Reflected Shortwave Irradiance
    Aiko Voigt, Bjorn Stevens, Jürgen Bader and Thorsten Mauritsen

    “Climate models generally do not reproduce the observed hemispheric symmetry, which the authors interpret as further evidence that the symmetry is nontrivial.”

    see RealClimate – On mismatches between models and observations – comment #167

    Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General Volume 36 Number 3
    2003 J. Phys. A: Math. Gen. 36 631
    doi:10.1088/0305-4470/36/3/303
    Information theory explanation of the fluctuation theorem, maximum entropy production and self-organized criticality in non-equilibrium stationary states
    Roderick Dewar

  52. If we run any GCM over a couple of centuries or paleoclimate timescales, will it project any cyclical temperature change or simply escalate exponentially forever?

    Is the math underpinning any GCM correct?

    Res ipsa loquitur.

    • They suck on all time scales. Every few years when they come up with a new IPCC report they start over from the current year and the models match reality for a few years until the exponential begins to kick in.

      At least that is how some see it. Whether Bill sees it that way, even Eli doesn’t know.

      • Bill

        Over the IPCC “poster period” (starting in the mid 1970s and going a bit past 2000) the models were doing “jes’ fine”. This period was ballyhooed in AR4 (Ch.3):

        “The 1976 divide is the date of a widely acknowledged ‘climate shift’ (e.g. Trenberth, 1990) and seems to mark a time…when global mean temperatures began a discernible upward trend that has been at least partly attributed to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere”

        In Ch.9 it was emphasized that models could only reproduce this warming when they are forced with “anthropogenic forcings”.

        The same models could, however, not “explain” the statistically indistinguishable early 20thC warming period, before there was an appreciable increase in GHG concentrations.

        The models also had problems with the mid-century period of slight cooling, which also lasted about 30 years and occurred as human GHG emissions were beginning to accelerate; various rationalizations were proposed, but the models could not really “explain” this cooling.

        We are now back to a period of slight cooling, which has lasted over a decade, despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels. Again the models cannot “explain” this – but various rationalizations are being offered: from Chinese aerosols to (invisible) warming of the ocean, to “natural variability”, etc.

        The earliest recorded warming period of the late 19thC occurred before there were any human GHG emissions at all; the models cannot explain this period, either.

        So, out of a 160+ year record, we have a 30-year period (or not even 20% of the time period) that can be “explained” by the models.

        Looks pretty poor to me. A grade of 20% would be a clear “F” in high school physics.

        Max

    • I believe the GCMs are fed with input parameters of random events like volcanic eruptions up to the present. So when they have historical data, they will follow historical temperetures in the general trend. But they don’t individually predict such parameters, so the longer they run, the farther they will deviate from reality, especially with no built in cycles and incorrectly modelled negative feedback. Part of why the GCM output wanders is because of random number input, which has zero predictive skill.

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  54. “In the early 1970s, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which drastically improved air quality, yielding benefits that exceed the cost by more than 30 times (www.epa.gov/air/sect812/prospective2.html).

    And the Montreal Protocol, which phased out ozone-depleting chemicals, was a profoundly cost-effective policy that saved the ozone layer.

    Prior to implementation of both policies, it was argued that these regulations would bankrupt us and cause a litany of other terrible consequences — for example, forcing middle-class families to give up their air conditioners.

    These predictions obviously turned out to be wrong. And today, many of those same people are arguing that regulations on greenhouse gases will bankrupt us and force us to give up cheap energy.

    These people are, in fact, the true alarmists in the climate debate.”

      • Hey Lolwot,

        I’ve been to Thailand, Bangkok in particular, and the air was really nasty, and people put on masks when they go out on the city streets to go to work.

        I’m wondering, do you think that they could solve their air pollution problem by passing their own equivalent of the Clean Air Act? And, if they did solve it exclusively through legislation, what effect do you think that solution would have on their economy?

        I await your reasoned analysis…

    • Curious George

      The Aztecs of Tenochtitlan had to sacrifice a noble human every day to make the Sun rise the next day. And it worked for centuries! Just imagine a horrible cost of the Sun not rising any more! Almost any cost was negligible.

      Please make sure that you are addressing a real concern. I have a real issue with climate modelers who refuse to plug an obvious hole in their model. Why should I trust their results?

    • Iolwot,
      This reminds me of the demonstration that all odd numbers are prime:
      1 is prime
      3 is prime
      5 is prime
      7 is prime
      etc…
      Sorry to be jokking, you are right to make this point. Yet, this should not prevent us from being critical,
      Kind regards
      Pierre

  55. Even if you accept the premise of moderate temperature increase, Bjorn Lomborg lays out the cost benefit analysis that suggests that improving poor people’s access to energy is more beneficial than to their standard of living than raising the cost of energy forever out of their reach.
    All of those in favor of shutting down all the fossil fuel plants should also voluntarily scrap their cars, turn in their electronics devices, hook up their homes to solar panels and a wind turbine and then experience how difficult it is to keep from freezing to death without cheap consistent fossil fuel generated energy. If you are not willing to pay that price why would you inflict that on the poorest of our brothers on this planet?

  56. I’m not convinced climate scientists or their acolytes can ever be dispassionate about the subject; they are only employed in such large numbers in the first place because of the alarming scenarios produced by inadequate models. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas!

    The scientific group that needs to assess the evidence must be totally separate from the debate with no dog in the fight – and they need input from skeptics as well as believers. The inevitable consequence of that would be that most of what is routinely called “evidence” will be found to be institutionalised pessimism based on speculation, myths and often outright lies.

    Alas any such sober report would still all be ignored because only the loudest voices ever seem to be listened to by politicians. Truth won’t start to emerge I fear until we all suffer blackouts from the energy crisis; ie far too late. Every country needs a Tony Abbott – prepared to sack all of these hubristic underachievers.

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