Pretense of knowledge

by Judith Curry

I confess that I prefer true but imperfect knowledge, even if it leaves much indetermined and unpredictable, to a pretence of exact knowledge that is likely to be false. – Friedrich von Hayek

While discussing my recent interview with Russ  Roberts, Russ referred me to von Hayek‘s Nobel Prize Lecture in 1974 [link].  While focused on economics, von Hayek provides many insights that are relevant to climate science. Excerpts:

Unlike the position that exists in the physical sciences, in economics and other disciplines that deal with essentially complex phenomena, the aspects of the events to be accounted for about which we can get quantitative data are necessarily limited and may not include the important ones. While in the physical sciences it is generally assumed, probably with good reason, that any important factor which determines the observed events will itself be directly observable and measurable, in the study of such complex phenomena as the market, which depend on the actions of many individuals, all the circumstances which will determine the outcome of a process, for reasons which I shall explain later, will hardly ever be fully known or measurable. 

We know: of course, with regard to the market and similar social structures, a great many facts which we cannot measure and on which indeed we have only some very imprecise and general information. And because the effects of these facts in any particular instance cannot be confirmed by quantitative evidence, they are simply disregarded by those sworn to admit only what they regard as scientific evidence: they thereupon happily proceed on the fiction that the factors which they can measure are the only ones that are relevant.

JC comment: Refer to Fig 8.14 in the AR5.  The only forcing known with very high confidence is greenhouse gases, which has had  very high confidence level since the SAR.  Prior to the AR5, only GHG and ozone were known with high confidence (confidence has increased in AR5 for nearly all of the forcings.)  External forcing is relatively easy to measure, compared with 3-D ocean circulation patterns and the vertical transfer of ocean heat.  Interesting that the only relevant quantity known to very high confidence is judged to the dominant influence on 20th/21st century climate.

The correlation between aggregate demand and total employment, for instance, may only be approximate, but as it is the only one on which we have quantitative data, it is accepted as the only causal connection that counts. On this standard there may thus well exist better “scientific” evidence for a false theory, which will be accepted because it is more “scientific”, than for a valid explanation, which is rejected because there is no sufficient quantitative evidence for it.

JC comment:  This is the argument for rejecting (or at least ignoring) various natural variability arguments.

The reason for this state of affairs is the fact, to which I have already briefly referred, that the social sciences, like much of biology but unlike most fields of the physical sciences, have to deal with structures of essential complexity, i.e. with structures whose characteristic properties can be exhibited only by models made up of relatively large numbers of variables.

JC comment: By these arguments, climate dynamics has more in common with with systems biology and economics than it does with experimental physics.

In some fields, particularly where problems of a similar kind arise in the physical sciences, the difficulties can be overcome by using, instead of specific information about the individual elements, data about the relative frequency, or the probability, of the occurrence of the various distinctive properties of the elements. But this is true only where we have to deal with “phenomena of unorganized complexity,” in contrast to those “phenomena of organized complexity” with which we have to deal in the social sciences. Organized complexity here means that the character of the structures showing it depends not only on the properties of the individual elements of which they are composed, and the relative frequency with which they occur, but also on the manner in which the individual elements are connected with each other. In the explanation of the working of such structures we can for this reason not replace the information about the individual elements by statistical information, but require full information about each element if from our theory we are to derive specific predictions about individual events. Without such specific information about the individual elements we shall be confined to what on another occasion I have called mere pattern predictions – predictions of some of the general attributes of the structures that will form themselves, but not containing specific statements about the individual elements of which the structures will be made up.

JC comment:  I like the framework of organized complexity, and would like to see it applied more to the problem of climate change.  The stadium wave idea arguably falls in this category.

The conflict between what in its present mood the public expects science to achieve in satisfaction of popular hopes and what is really in its power is a serious matter because, even if the true scientists should all recognize the limitations of what they can do in the field of human affairs, so long as the public expects more there will always be some who will pretend, and perhaps honestly believe, that they can do more to meet popular demands than is really in their power. It is often difficult enough for the expert, and certainly in many instances impossible for the layman, to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate claims advanced in the name of science. 

JC comments: This seems an apt description of the IPCC’s efforts to provide information to the UNFCCC.

There are some special problems, however, in connection with those essentially complex phenomena of which social structures are so important an instance, which make me wish to restate in conclusion in more general terms the reasons why in these fields not only are there only absolute obstacles to the prediction of specific events, but why to act as if we possessed scientific knowledge enabling us to transcend them may itself become a serious obstacle to the advance of the human intellect.

JC comment:  Along these lines, the IPCC framing and consenus on the climate change problem is arguably an obstacle to making progress in understanding the dynamics of the climate system (see IPCC diagnosis-paradigm paralysis).

The chief point we must remember is that the great and rapid advance of the physical sciences took place in fields where it proved that explanation and prediction could be based on laws which accounted for the observed phenomena as functions of comparatively few variables – either particular facts or relative frequencies of events. This may even be the ultimate reason why we single out these realms as “physical” in contrast to those more highly organized structures which I have here called essentially complex phenomena. There is no reason why the position must be the same in the latter as in the former fields. The difficulties which we encounter in the latter are not, as one might at first suspect, difficulties about formulating theories for the explanation of the observed events – although they cause also special difficulties about testing proposed explanations and therefore about eliminating bad theories. They are due to the chief problem which arises when we apply our theories to any particular situation in the real world. A theory of essentially complex phenomena must refer to a large number of particular facts; and to derive a prediction from it, or to test it, we have to ascertain all these particular facts. Once we succeeded in this there should be no particular difficulty about deriving testable predictions – with the help of modern computers it should be easy enough to insert these data into the appropriate blanks of the theoretical formulae and to derive a prediction. The real difficulty, to the solution of which science has little to contribute, and which is sometimes indeed insoluble, consists in the ascertainment of the particular facts.

This corresponds to what I have called earlier the mere pattern predictions to which we are increasingly confined as we penetrate from the realm in which relatively simple laws prevail into the range of phenomena where organized complexity rules. As we advance we find more and more frequently that we can in fact ascertain only some but not all the particular circumstances which determine the outcome of a given process; and in consequence we are able to predict only some but not all the properties of the result we have to expect. Often all that we shall be able to predict will be some abstract characteristic of the pattern that will appear – relations between kinds of elements about which individually we know very little. Yet, as I am anxious to repeat, we will still achieve predictions which can be falsified and which therefore are of empirical significance.

To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm. In the physical sciences there may be little objection to trying to do the impossible; one might even feel that one ought not to discourage the over-confident because their experiments may after all produce some new insights. But in the social field the erroneous belief that the exercise of some power would have beneficial consequences is likely to lead to a new power to coerce other men being conferred on some authority. Even if such power is not in itself bad, its exercise is likely to impede the functioning of those spontaneous ordering forces by which, without understanding them, man is in fact so largely assisted in the pursuit of his aims.

If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants. There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will.

JC comment: I find the above bolded text to be a good prescription for climate science and policy.

453 responses to “Pretense of knowledge

  1. Seems to be someone wants to read Hayek both ways.

    The high confidence of our knowledge of GHG forcing appears to be far more due to the collective effect of so many focusing on study of GHG forcing as it appears through every inductive process to be the major forcing. However, it is not the only forcing we have high confidence of. We have more centuries of sunspot observation than of thermometer or of CO2; we rely on recovered proxies for GHG information, and those do not hold exclusively knowledge of GHGs in their data points, but also of temperature and of magnetic shifts and of isotopes associated with solar changes.. one must conclude that Dr. Curry is just making stuff up to force the data to fit Hayek’s framing in a particular way.

    I’d continue my deconstruction, but as Hayek may have recognized about the physical sciences, it is sufficient to cite the first error to stop.

    All the rest is a waste of time to read.

    All the best of the season to you and yours.

    • go look at Table 8.14 in the AR5. until AR5, solar forcing was low confidence; with AR5 it is now medium confidence. Etc.

    • High confidence that the solar perturbations have a low forcing factor.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Climate is ultimately complex. Complexity begs for reductionism. With reductionism, a puzzle is studied by way of its pieces. While this approach illuminates the climate system’s components, climate’s full picture remains elusive. Understanding the pieces does not ensure understanding the collection of pieces. Marcia Wyatt

      Climate and economics belong to the broad class of dynamically complex systems. There is no difference in the fundamental mode of operation of the systems. Hayek – prescient as he was on economic bubbles – and as important as he is as a social thinker – could not be expected to understand the limitations of reductionist science as it applies to climate.

      Wow – it must be discouraging when 7 of the first 8 comments from all the usual suspects say nothing sensible or relevant at all. Merely the tedious and trivial talking points they have rehearsed endlessly. I can’t begin to think what to write after a start like that. I could argue pointless and erroneous detail – but that merely serves to obscure any larger picture.

      Delete them all Judy – ‘not an acceptable standard – please rewrite and resubmit’.

    • Bart nails it.

    • We rely on flawed and inconclusive proxies … and can’t demonstrate H2O is a positive feedback or model clouds, but HEY! we know exactly what we are doing, even if our models don’t jibe with reality. That’s not important. What is important is that we say we are right, therefore we are. So there!

    • Just a note RE fig 8.14.
      If my observations are correct there will soon be two more years of observations that fall more outside of the boundaries of AR 1-4

    • and what am I doing here with my family in the other room—Merry Christmas!

    • Bart’s ‘deconstruction’ is incoherent gibberish. And what he means by saying the rest is a waste of time, is that he has absolutely no counter, but is loathe to admit it.


    • Gail | December 26, 2013 at 1:59 am |

      Bart’s ‘deconstruction’ is incoherent gibberish. And what he means by saying the rest is a waste of time, is that he has absolutely no counter, but is loathe to admit it.

      They don’t come any more ignorant than Gail. Economics is largely game theory and physical sciences such as climate science do not follow game theory [1] http://phys.org/news176978473.html

      [1]C. Daskalakis, P. W. Goldberg, and C. H. Papadimitriou, “The complexity of computing a Nash equilibrium,” SIAM Journal on Computing, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 195–259, 2009.

      Climate science is tractable compared to that. Pretense and pretension. A waste of time.

    • Web’s empty grandstanding shows he too he has absolutely no counter, but is loathe to admit it.

    • Notice how Gail practices projection with the best of them. Never adding any insight, and likely completely ignorant about scientific matters, Gail nevertheless projects the naivete of Gail onto others.

    • On cue, more empty and self-important grandstanding from Web, projecting his own disingenuity onto others. Adding nothing.

    • WHT: “Economics is largely game theory.” Daft. While I’ve read some economics papers involving game theory since I began studying economics in 1961, I’ve never drawn on GT as an economic policy adviser and it hasn’t influenced my posts here.

    • Faustino,

      Game theory as it’s known now cannot explain very much, but economy is a game, and that affects the outcome very much even we lack the theory of that full game.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Individual strategies may be a game – as in Nash equilibrium – but a 100 car pile up in snow and fog is a force of nature.

    • When the turnpike turns ice patch, it’s a clotting mechanism. I’ve got pictures.
      =============

    • Game theory in economics has corollaries such as Goodhart’s Law, Lucas Critique, Campbell’s Law, etc which assert the essential impossibility of modeling human behavioral systems. Once a model is available that portends to predict human behavior, people will use that knowledge to try to subvert the outcome, i.e. gaming

      “As soon as the government attempts to regulate any particular set of financial assets, these become unreliable as indicators of economic trends.”

      I am not the least bit interested in following through on any of this because it’s a tar-pit of pointless human behavior modeling. Gimme climate science any day.

    • curryja

      go look at Table 8.14 in the AR5. until AR5, solar forcing was low confidence; with AR5 it is now medium confidence. Etc.

      Go look at the ‘global warming’ conclusions in AR5. Until AR5, IPCC’s professed belief in their own Bull$#!^ was 95%; with AR5 it is now 97%, despite mounting contrary evidence.

      Assessments of ‘confidence’ tell you nothing about the accuracy of the data or the validity of the analyses. At best, they only measure the psychological state of the person(s) making the assessment, and more often they are simply a measure of the level of their desire to Bull$#!^ you.

    • Well yes, high confidence now, lower confidence earlier, science lurches forward. WRT solar forcing the satellite measurements have been reconciled and we have a better handle on the sunspot proxy, so for someone, not El to be sure to refuse to accept improvement in pursuit of a political position (cause that is what JC has settled on) is somewhere between silly and very silly

    • Season’s greetings, Faustino!

      Yeah, “economics is game theory” is news to me as well, having studied and practised public policy for decades. But, what would we know?

    • WEB,

      You are ignoring the argument and simply stating that modelling climatic systems are more closely related to physical science than social science.

    • Highly confident
      Uncritical.
      Blinkered.
      Rabid.
      Intransigent.
      Sure.

      A certain team comes ter mind.

    • JJ, I am with you. The vested interest of the AGW believers in the continuation of the research grants gravy train has long since defeated their moral sense of purpose. This scam will be with us until a batch of politicians with strong ethics & enquiring minds rises above the pile of doggy doo which seems to have nurtured far too many of the people who make the most noise in our world currently. So far that appears unlikely, sadly.

    • This is a good illustration of how different the applied and basic research parts of a field can be. It’s true that a lot of economics “rocket science” is now game theory and/or decision theory. But vast precincts of the applied, empirical and policy parts of economics are based on simple comparative statics propositions about individual and firm behavior, or on computable general equilibrium models (which are about games of a sort, but with most of the specifically intractable features of a noncooperative game removed, making them much easier to deal with).

      Some of the “laws” mentioned above depend strongly on the assumption of a certain type of agent, a very rational agent with unlimited computing power afflicted by no behavioral biases and with no unusual features of their preferences. When you remove that particular strawman, lots of interesting things happen. Some equilibria become even more complex. Many others become decidedly less complex. Many of the unpredictability theorems (e.g. the efficient markets hypothesis) weaken considerably.

      The Lucas critique is not an impossibility result. Rather, it’s a warning about models that assume Charlie Brown never learns about Lucy’s way with the football. If you want impossibility after Lucas, Chris Sims is your man.

    • Thanks, NW, for making the blog worth reading.

    • Thanks Willard. In grad school, one of my fellow first-year students asked a professor what the Miller-Modigliani Theorem was, and he said “If you cut a pizza into many different pieces, you still have one pizza.” I strive for this level of clarity but it isn’t always possible.

    • Bart, if your statement that GHG is irrefutably established as the primary forcing mechanism is true, then why is, er, traditional climate science unable to nail down climate sensitivity to within less than ±50% (3°C, ±1.5°C)?

      If what you say is true, why is there a “climate sensitivity” measure at all? If T/climate is a function of GHG, “sensitivity” should be a direct function of GHG and not in any question at all, right? The estimated error on sensitivity should be a simple function of the error in temp/[GHG]atm measurements – the instrumental error – which should be quite precise.

      But you know and I know that’s not the case. The variability in T and climate is far larger than the error on the measurement of T or GHG.

      I think the problem for climate science is that it says, in effect, “I see the tree. That’s enough. There is no forest.” Ultimately, climate science will fail if it doesn’t acknowledge the forest. That, my friend, you can bank on.

    • JH | December 27, 2013 at 10:13 am |

      The answer to all your faux questions is, “No.”

      Keeping with the theme of stopping with the first error, however, I stopped with the sophistic, “irrefutably established”.

      It’s the most parsimonious, simple explanation with fewest exceptions, and thus not refuted, on the data available. As such, we ought treat it as accurate or very nearly true until such time as new data requires amendment of the explanation.

      See how easy it is when you think like a Scientist, instead of a propagandist?

      For further adventures in Science, I urge you to begin with Isaac Newton’s Principia, and some reflection on what it contains, and what it does not contain. Notice how few marketing terms Newton uses to obscure and deceive? Try to do as Newton.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      A new theory arises when when the weight of anomalies is too great to bear and a new theory with greater explanatory power emerges. The simple radiative physics of greenhouse gases indeed explains very little of the Earth system – especially the propensity for abrupt shifts. This requires the science of the 21st century.

      Weather has been known to be chaotic since Edward Lorenz discovered the ‘butterfly effect’ in the 1960’s. Abrupt climate change on the other hand was thought to have happened only in the distant past and so climate was expected to evolve steadily over this century in response to ordered climate forcing.

      More recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

      Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

      It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

      Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998/2001 and declining since 2002. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication

      This is the new – parsimonious – theory of climate. As Einstein said – a theory should be as simple as possible and no simpler. But perhaps Bart is an example of the old joke about paradigms proceeding one death at a time.

    • CH, you said “The simple radiative physics of greenhouse gases indeed explains very little of the Earth system”. It explains why the surface average temperature is 15 C when the radiative temperature looking at earth from space is -18 C. I would hardly call that “very little”. There is a greenhouse effect and it is accurately known from radiative physics. No mysteries there. The same physics explains what happens when you double CO2. If you are going to have a climate theory you need to build on this foundation, not start from scratch, which you would prefer to do.

    • Bart R
      Keeping with the theme of stopping with the first error

      Or in this case – given the haughty speaker – the theme of stopping at the first pretense of an error? And then pretending that’s what scientists do.

    • NW: “If you cut a pizza into many different pieces, you still have one pizza.”

      But it isn’t the same pizza it was before being cut.

      In any case, is it really a “high level of clarity” in describing the Modigliani-Miller Theorem if the sum of the value of Individual slices exceeds the value of the whole pizza?

    • Gail | December 28, 2013 at 4:14 am |

      “Haughty” pretense of knowledge would be someone with no background in Economics citing Hayek to support corporatism, which Hayek objected strenuously to.

      You want to burn carbon for your own personal advantage?

      Fine. That takes a share of my air. Compensate me for your individual decision to use my share. Want to pay me efficiently and fairly but with the boot of government — smaller government, less government, to be sure, but still government — on all our necks, then call it a carbon tax; want to avoid government agency at the cost of a bit of mischief, then call it a business-to-consumer arrangement. But if you aren’t just engaging in pretense of capitalism, if you’re really not a thief, you must pay for what you take.

      Want to burn carbon so much that it amounts to pissing in the town water supply for kicks and giggles?

      That parasitic level of filth puts us all at a loss and deserves a stronger response from right-thinking individuals.

      Want to close your eyes and cover your ears and sing la-la-la-la whenever facts make you uncomfortable?

      Fill your boots. Just stop taking tax deductions while secretly funding professional marketers and lobbyists under the guise of public good works, which demeans all who do good works and steals from honest taxpayers already too burdened.

      And look up “hypocrisy” in a dictionary, somewhere along the way.

  2. Yep, looks they bit off a bit more than they can chew.

    • Some here would argue that each side is exhibiting the streetlight effect as they read Hayek’s words and interpret them according to their own beliefs and understandings. One can do this with almost any disagreement. Others might argue that reductionism in the field of climate science causes people to adopt theories based only on the things they understand best like the simplest layer of GHG forcings (not their more complicated feedbacks). All of these can be interpreted with the street lamp analogy. I had forgotten about that story, so thanks for the link.

  3. First: Merry Christmas to all.
    Second: Too often, where knowledge is thin , words are thick.
    Third: I hope this year brings much knowledge .
    Forth:May civility be the rule , not the exception.
    Fifth : Thank you J.C. !

  4. The Hayekian point about complex systems is fine. I believe sophisticated Urgent Mitigationists would argue that the CAGW prediction IS a pattern prediction of the kind Hayek validated. In other words, they would say that we can’t say exactly how much or where or when the weather will be warmer in the future, but we can say that the overall pattern of weather will be skewed toward warmer temperatures than otherwise with more CO2 in the atmosphere. The rub for UMs is that such a pattern prediction by itself is probably not strong enough to convince anyone that costly mitigation efforts should be imposed by law.

  5. Please take the discussion of the greenhouse effect to open thread; not relevant for this thread. Note I am deleting the GHG comments on this thread.

    • Faustino,

      I think we could have a robust discussion about various bits and pieces. In the end, I believe we would find ourselves generally in agreement.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  6. Does the Mandelbrot Set qualify as organised complexity?

    To look at a part of the Set at any iteration level (zooming) shows organisation of a high degree.

    Trying to predict the outcome of an individual iterative step is an exercise in futility. Climatologists are in deep doodoo if their equations are any more complex than Z=Z*Z + C – which generates the presumably infinitely complex and easily recognisable Mandelbrot Set.

    Von Hayek’s lecture seems very apt.

    At the end of the quoted text, the statement ” . . . by providing the appropriate environment . . . ” is used, to suggest a course of action.

    And therein lies the rub. In economics, politics, climatology – if you cannot see into the future, how do you determine the “appropriate environment”. It changes – heat is fine when you are cold, bad when you are too hot. Inflation can be useful at times, deflation at others. And so on.

    Too much for me!

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Does the Mandelbrot Set qualify as organised complexity?

      it describes the role of dissipative structures in geophysical systems.Both the role of aquatic poultry ( canards on the staircase) and the bunching of black and grey swans. eg Watkins

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50103/abstract

      Good analytic review on extremal fluctuations and the mathematical applications.

      http://www.lse.ac.uk/CATS/Publications/Publications%20PDFs/Watkins-2013-Bunched-black-&-grouped-grey-swans-GRL.pdf

    • Mike, you say that “if you cannot see into the future, how do you determine the “appropriate environment”. It changes …,” and suggest that this invalidates Hayek’s comment, which you say “is used, to suggest a course for action.”

      What Hayek says is that (man) “will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment.” I have argued here many, many times that the future will always surprise us, that we can not accurately predict it, and therefore we must pursue policies which help us to make best use of whatever befalls. This is “the appropriate environment” to which Hayek refers. That is, you choose policies which encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, flexibility etc, rather than policies (such as Australia’s IR regulation) which act against those qualities.

      More broadly, you will seek to understand what settings have been shown to encourage growth in changing circumstances, and favour those. For example, in “Institutional Economics: property, competition, policies” (2nd edition, 2012), Wolfgang Kasper, Streit & Boettke note that regions of the world characterised by honesty and courtesy in private dealings, protection of property rights, freedom of contract, monetary stability, low taxes, efficient government spending and streamlined regulations tend to be more prosperous than others which do not respect these institutional standards.

      Julie Novak, in reviewing Kasper’s book, notes that “high taxation represents a more intensive extinguishment of property rights, reducing the rewards associated with productive economic conduct, whereas prescriptive regulations can artificially direct entrepreneurs towards less productive lines of action. Wasteful expenditures by government, particularly for redistribution, reduce opportunities for private sector agents to direct resources for their own priorities and may encourage” non-productive rent-seeking behaviour (IPA Review, 11/2013).

      (I have also argued that, if you favour redistribution policies because you believe that that will assist the well-being of the beneficiaries, then you must adopt policies which ensure that the creators of the wealth which you seek to redistribute flourish rather than wither, otherwise you will over time harm those you seek to help.)

      In short, you will favour policies which allow Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” to work optimally rather than heavily centralised and prescriptive, high-taxing policies.

      I’m sure you can apply the above to the CAGW issue and see failings in how it has been pursued and proposed “remedies.”

    • maksimovich | December 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm |

      Watkins overlooks, it appears, that no one is chasing the foragers, and everyone is burning carbon. He’s not comparing like-to-like, and in so framing his approach, is begging the question.

      You’d think someone who calls Mandelbrot idiosyncratic would be better versed in elementary logic.

    • I’ve finished reading the article linked by maksimovich | December 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm |:

      Watkins, N.W. (2013). Bunched black (and grouped grey) swans: dissipative and non-dissipative models of correlated extreme fluctuations in complex geosystems.
      Geophysical Research Letters 40, 402-410. doi:10.1002/grl.50103, 2013.

      http://www.lse.ac.uk/CATS/Publications/Publications%20PDFs/Watkins-2013-Bunched-black-&-grouped-grey-swans-GRL.pdf

      On the first page, I found this enticing hook:

      “[4] Subsequently, Mandelbrot [1974] focused on intermittent processes exhibiting a third effect, identified in the study of Mandelbrot [1963], which has since come to be known in finance as “volatility clustering,” correlations between the absolute values of a time series.”

      But then the paper failed to deliver the promised goods.

      The quote above describes methods I’ve illustrated at CE, the Talkshop, & wuwt countless times.

      You can lead horses to water, but you can’t(?) make them drink.

      I observe that (so far) those talking the talk aren’t walking the walk.

      This is disappointing, but it isn’t sensible to let that get in the way of practicality:

      I remain hopeful that Judy & A Lacis will eventually complete the exercise I suggested a few months ago (an exercise in detecting solar-cyclic volatility in terrestrial midlatitude westerly winds via law-constrained earth rotation records — the first of 2 steps in a geometric proof explaining Wyatt’s ‘stadium wave’).

      With the Deepest Sincerity

  7. “To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.”
    I love that statement. That is likely the best way to explain the results of the activities environmentalism and AGW alarm-ism in the last two decades.

  8. There are several differences from the economics analog. Unlike economics, the underlying system remains the same, not changing with humanity, Globalization is a game changer there, and continues as more development occurs in the former second and third worlds, and population grows and resources get depleted. Given that the climate physical system stays the same, the past is a clue to the future. Luckily for us, there are periods in the past that bracket our current climate state, so by mere interpolation we have a pretty good constraint on how things may develop. Where we are going in climate is nothing new as far as the earth is concerned, only its speed is unprecedented (except for what an asteroid strike might do). In economics, on the other hand, everything going forwards is a new state, and somewhat less predictable without past analogs.

    • k scott denison

      Interesting the claim: “…the underlying system remains the same, not changing with humanity.” Huh. Thought the argument was that ACO2 was the problem. Plus urbanization and other land use changes. Don’t know how one can claim something doesn’t change with humanity and at the same time that humanity is the problem. Or for that matter, if man takes such and such actions then the problem will be fixed.

    • Humanity is doing nothing that volcanoes didn’t do in the past.

    • Humanity is doing nothing that volcanoes didn’t do in the past.

      Indeed ,if volcanics did nothing then humans have not either.

      http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~jsmerdon/papers/2011_grl_darrigoetal.pdf

    • k scott denison

      Funny Jim, didn’t know volcanoes could built cities just like man. Thanks for the update.

    • The times CO2 rose before, it was volcanoes, and coincidentally it got much warmer as a result. If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

    • To try to keep on topic, what in economics is the equivalent of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere? In nature this has happened before, but in economics, as I said, past analogs are difficult for current-day economics.

    • @Jim D | December 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
      “To try to keep on topic, what in economics is the equivalent of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere?”

      The Fed and QE?

    • OK, and what happened last time it reached these levels, or are we in unknown territory? Do you recommend stopping if it is unknown territory, or just keep doing it until there are more obvious disastrous consequences?

    • We do seem to be in unknown territory. I don’t know if it will turn out badly or not. I’ve seen arguments both ways – I don’t believe anyone knows.

    • The difference in economics is that there is a sizable school of thought that thinks it is a good direction to go deliberately, not so much in climate.

    • The other substantial difference is the tangible nature of CO2.

      It’s good to see Climate Etc taking the lead in introducing more woolly thinking into the physical sciences.

    • Michael, I agree, economics has nothing like the constraints of the physical climate system. Economics is more like trying to predict evolution, because it is an evolving system that responds to its environment, and adjusts to past mistakes, possibly over-adjusting and making more mistakes, all in a changing system. The fittest ideas and economic systems survive, though some judge fitness by GDP, others by national living standards or trade deficits.

    • The word “unprecedented” is a sure sign of a contentious falsehood. Transitions between e.g. glacial and interglacial regimes have sometimes featured changes of several degrees in a few years. The end of the MWP probably featured cooling at about that “speed”, too.

    • “Transitions between e.g. glacial and interglacial regimes have sometimes featured changes of several degrees in a few years. The end of the MWP probably featured cooling at about that “speed”, too.”

      No, just no.

    • Got yourself into trouble with the “not changing with humanity” and then refused to correct yourself and admit you made a mistake. Why?

    • Bill, if you want to make the case that the physics of the climate system is being changed by Man, not just its parameters, then go ahead. I say the physics stays the same, obvious to me at least. The parameters are also nothing new for earth. Similar CO2 levels were seen only a few million years ago, and doubled levels were seen only a few tens of millions of years ago. The case for climate science is that these predicted conditions were seen in pre-historic times, and we are just transitioning from pre-industrial to a pre-historic climate. Economics on the other hand just evolves into new states and new rules that would have been unrecognizable to people just a few decades before. Predicting that based on past behavior is not a good idea because the underlying system is changing.

    • k scott denison

      Jim, what are the physics of clouds? If we know them so well the. Why don’t our models predict climate well? Perhaps, as the topic of this post suggests, we don’t know all the physics well enough to know if the underlying physics are changing or not. My guess is that you jumped on the “climate isn’t economics” theme because you desperately want to believe that climate not only can be well characterized, but already is. Frankly, I see your comments as proof of the “pretense of knowledge”.

    • ksd, the models manage much larger temperature swings with season and latitude than the magnitude of climate change, and can represent temperature ranges. What makes you think that if they can represent a 30 C seasonal or latitudinal variation, they can’t represent a 3 C perturbation to it? No fundamentally different physics occurs from winter to summer or equator to pole, so why should it through climate change?

    • JimD, ” No fundamentally different physics occurs from winter to summer or equator to pole, so why should it through climate change?”

      There is actually some very interesting physics that happen in winter that differs between the poles that is now very well considered in most of the models as far as I can tell. There is a huge transfer of Ozone and energy by the Brewer-Dobson Circulation plus the strongest troposphere to pole transfer both which impact the polar jet streams. A single major NH Sudden Stratospheric Warming event can cause 10^22 Joules of energy to be lost in a matter of months. The models don’t even have a good estimate of the amount of energy that can be lost to space in a single winter season.

      Along with Ozone and energy there is also water vapor and ice transferred along with particulates and chemicals which in the presence of the stronger magnetic field, cold temperatures and sunlight can produce complex atmospheric chemistry puzzles, possibly even scavenging CO2 from the atmosphere. The appearance of an Arctic Ozone hole came as a bit of a surprise after the success of the Montreal Protocol.

      Lots of interesting stuff that I couldn’t even pretend to completely understand.

    • captd, OK, and if you want to talk about numbers, the global latent heat release is 80 times that every day. Impressive, isn’t it? Lots of energy in the system.

    • OK, it may not be right. I will recalculate.

    • 80 times that every year.

    • “To try to keep on topic, what in economics is the equivalent of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere?”
      Diminishing returns. The failure of the system to continue to react in a linear way. The consumers or whatever the mass of humanity is, adapt to stimuli in new ways, not following some textbook example. The resilience of both systems to what may be percieved as a threat or abnormality.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “The models don’t even have a good estimate of the amount of energy that can be lost to space in a single winter season.”
      ——
      It is true that no real calculation exists for the amount if energy lost during a SSW event. It is not inconsequential and I am sure needs to be included in energy balance considerations. Still, on average over the last 40+ years, the climate system has retained around 0.5 x 10^22 joules per year at least, with all SSW events included during that period in that amount. So even SSW’s are not able to balance the system. Such is the forcing strength of a 40% increase in GH gases in a geologically short period.

  9. Chief Hydrologist

    One cause, he (Hayek) said, was increases in the money supply by the central bank. Such increases, he argued in Prices and Production, would drive down interest rates, making credit artificially cheap. Businessmen would then make capital investments that they would not have made had they understood that they were getting a distorted price signal from the credit market. But capital investments are not homogeneous. Long-term investments are more sensitive to interest rates than short-term ones, just as long-term bonds are more interest-sensitive than treasury bills. Therefore, he concluded, artificially low interest rates not only cause investment to be artificially high, but also cause “malinvestment”—too much investment in long-term projects relative to short-term ones, and the boom turns into a bust. Hayek saw the bust as a healthy and necessary readjustment. The way to avoid the busts, he argued, is to avoid the booms that cause them.

    Economies are chaotic – as discussed by Didier Sornette here – http://www.ted.com/talks/didier_sornette_how_we_can_predict_the_next_financial_crisis.html

    As Hayek suggested the way to avoid bubbles and the inevitable feedbacks and crashes was to manage the money supply to set interest rates to control inflation within a narrow target range. This minimises the rate of change of a key control variable in a complex and dynamic system and minimises booms and busts. High inflation or deflation are never useful.

    Same with climate – and as Didier Sornette suggests elsewhere the same principles can be used to predict the timing of climate shifts and economic busts.

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290

    • Chief,

      Macro Analytics do outside the box discussion on areas that economists
      tend to miss.

      Excellent discussion on the current “Retail Implosion” that are causing store closures and products to become inferior through profits at all costs to the deterioration of manufacturing.

    • Don’t have the study to hand, but an analysis of trading patterns and other phenomena lead to the conclusion that commerce is froth, composed of bubbles of all sizes. That’s how the Invisible Hand finds the real prices. But some of the bubbles are uncomfortably large and make much more splatter and subsidence of anything resting on them.

  10. Whenever I happen to encounter this mood of Hayek, I think of that Wittgenstein tautology: “About what one can not speak, one must remain silent.” Of course Hayek had many moods. More later. Time to make the lamb masala.

  11. Merry Christmas to all.

    Few doubt that CO2 contributes to warming. It is natural to focus on what we can see–especially on what we can see is changing.

    I have spent the early part of this Shanghai morning reading Gavin’s post on Real Climate, William Connelly’s posts on Stoat and Neven’s post on his Sea Ice Blog. Yesterday I spent my free time reading Judith’s Econ interview and by fortuitous coincidence Freeman Dyson’s as well.

    The sum result of all this reading leads me pretty much back to my own Lukewarmer stance. CO2 contributes to warming, there is risk involved with that warming, we should act to reduce that risk. However, the risk is not of catastrophe, but expensive outlays of money, degraded lifestyles for some in developing countries and a more tortuous path to where we want to be at the end of this century.

    Overall, not a bad way to spend my leisure reading time over two days.

  12. k scott denison

    Thanks for this. This sums up for me what I observe as the key difference between the two sides of the climate debate. One side believes that CO2 is the smoking gun so forget about those pesky things we can’t characeterize like clouds. The othe instinctually believes that just because a doubling of CO2 will cause warming *all other things being equal* that it won’t because all other things are *never* equal. One thinks we’ve found the smoking gun so act now. The other that we need to understand a lot more before acting.

    • Serfs hav trouble wirh the idea of ‘all bein’ equal’ because we
      jest don’t know wot that means, though we like ‘equality be4 the
      law.’meanin’ as human beans we all merit ‘justice.’ ( Say, wot do
      serfs know? )
      b-t-s

    • “The othe instinctually believes that just because a doubling of CO2 will cause warming *all other things being equal* that it won’t because all other things are *never* equal.”

      Instinctively? Heh, how about using science instead of instinct?

      I notice you don’t instinctively believe that just because an increase in solar output will cause warming *all other things being equal* that it won’t because all other things are *never* equal.

      Your instinct is thus ABCD – Anything But Carbon Dioxide.

    • lolwot, your argument about a change in solar output picks on the worst possible subject to support your argument. Any rational human knows that the yellow ball which rises & falls in the sky every day is the BIGGEST, & most important, influence on our climate. You forget that without the Sun we would not exist. If Earth was 10% closer to, or further from the Sun, life on Earth as we know it probably would not exist. Change the output of the Sun, & you change the conditions for life on Earth, period.

    • My point being that changes in the Sun’s output are routinely dismissed as having no effect on our climate by the AGW believers.

    • Doubling CO2 is like putting the earth half a million miles closer to the sun, all other things being equal.

    • Jim D “Doubling CO2 is like putting the earth half a million miles closer to the sun, all other things being equal.” – have you got any proof of that? The history of Earth shows that, to a large degree, the effect on our climate of changes in the amount of energy received from the Sun is moderated by changes in the amount of water vapour contained in the atmosphere. Have you ever wondered why it is that in the Tropics, when the humidity is high, temperatures never go much above 33 deg C, but when the humidity is low they soar into the 40′s??

    • Ray B, it is just from equating the forcing change at the top of the atmosphere. Earth has very few ways to respond to a forcing increase. From paleoclimate and other observational evidence from more recent history, it does it by warming.

  13. Matthew R Marler

    Prof. Curry: By these arguments, climate dynamics has more in common with with systems biology and economics than it does with experimental physics.

    I think that’s so, but a great deal of relevant systems science has devolved from Lorentz’s modeling of weather, and from Turing’s modeling of reaction-diffusion systems. Studies like that showed that high-dimensional non-linear dissipative systems do not have equilibria, even with uniform input on uniform surfaces.

    To everybody who stops by, I want to express my appreciation. I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a blessed New Year.

    • There’s one very important distinction between economics and those natural science fields also studying complex systems. To properly exploit parallels, it’s important to keep the distinctions firmly in mind. The distinction is really a cluster of inter-related things. I’ll take a stab at defining the cluster, and others can add or modify. “Agent” means any of us, regarded as having stationary and structured “deep goals” and beliefs that can change. Agents also share these features:

      (1) Agents can look forward, make and modify beliefs about future events, and plan forward on the basis of such beliefs.

      (2) Agent evolution of ideas, strategies and anytbhing else can engineer from scratch for purposes that serve deep goals.

      (3) Agent evolution of ideas and strategies is inherently Lamarckian–acquired characteristics are transfered by language and imitation.

      In respects (1), (2) and (3), The “population ecology of Agents”–that’s really what macroeconomics is–will of necessity be fundamentally different from the population ecology of non-Agents–that’s biology. These three features mean that Agent evolution *can* be much more rapid, and less tethered to its immediate past, than biological evolution. I emphasize *can*, *will* is too strong, because there will be many local coordination equilibria amonst Agents that make rapid departures from present circumstances too risky or expensive. But that won’t be a limiting factor everyone, and this high capacity for very rapid change is going to be a special hallmark of complex Agent systems relative to complex biological systems, I suspect.

      I am less sure how to characterize important differences between these two (Agent and biological) and climate. Maybe someone else will take a crack.

    • Matthew R Marler

      NW: In respects (1), (2) and (3), The “population ecology of Agents”–that’s really what macroeconomics is–will of necessity be fundamentally different from the population ecology of non-Agents–that’s biology.

      From the perspective of a modeler, looking at the system from “outside” or “above” and modeling the time series of measured attributes of the system, a population of sentient agents is indistinguishable from a population of molecules or electrons. In a setting defined by a lot of measured attributes, the population will display a distribution of responses, and the responses will have “feedback” and “feed forward” consequences (most of which are unknown to either the molecules or the sentient agents.) The important goals of which you wrote are not knowable to the modeler, and are equivalent to the electrons’ goals of satisfying the laws of thermodynamics, and the molecules’ goals of propagating the organisms in which they react.

      The fundamental distinction of which you wrote can not be maintained in practice. You might try to identify with the sentient agents, try to think like them, but they are all different, more than you can imagine, so your attempt at insight via empathy can’t be successful.

    • … and the responses will have “feedback” and “feed forward” consequences (most of which are unknown to either the molecules or the sentient agents.)

      Raising the fascinating question which consequences are known to the molecules. :)

    • Matthew, a lot depends on the dynamics of individual change. For instance, there are certain things predicted by replicator dynamics that get some facts right about human adaptation in socially stark games right, but they don’t get everything right. Lots of the benefits of being a social species come from success in solving coordination games, which are multiple equilibria games–some notso hotso and others better. When we let laboratory subjects play a symmetric game like stag hunt (I think some fields call that game “assurance”) under conditions meant to approximate a large single-population game (lots of subjects randomly rematched for many plays), and we don’t let them send messages, and their partner has no way of seeing what they did last time, play invariably converges to the low payoff equilibrium. Do the same thing, but allow each subject to see what his partner did in the previous match with someone else, and things are very different: Coordination on the high payoff equilibrium is quite common and doesn’t disappear with experience. So too if you allow the players to send nonbinding messages about intentions.

      The ability to see, understand and communicate the shape of adaptive landscapes, and intentions means that humans are not simply particles with spin.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Richard Drake: Raising the fascinating question which consequences are known to the molecules. :)

      I was amused myself by the way I wrote that. Two ambiguities: (1) how much people actually can be described by what they “know”, given the presence of habits, biases, and such; (2) the informality with which people talk about molecules, electrons and such “knowing” their states and needs (and a whole abstract line of thought attributing “consciousness” to quantum states and such devolving from a book by Schrodinger.)

    • Matthew R Marler

      NW: The ability to see, understand and communicate the shape of adaptive landscapes, and intentions means that humans are not simply particles with spin.

      First of all, there is nothing simple about particles with spin, especially when they are observed in large groups — or even small groups for that matter. Secondly, even bacteria and slime molds display sociality; for slime molds, it is especially prominent when they change their behavior to initiate budding for the purpose of reproducing. Within a setting, people do not all act the same, and an observer is unable to make use of any internal knowledge or intentions of the individuals when modeling their behavior. In practice, the distinction between sentient agents and things like molecules is of no use in predicting how they will act: either you have the evidence needed for modeling from empirical studies or you don’t.

  14. This post is absolute nonsense.

    We’ll asume Judith wrote it under the influence of too much Christmas cheer.

    • Michael weighs in with the definitive proof.

    • jim,

      Looks like you just missed the point. Read the first Hayek excerpt again.

    • Michael
      This post is absolute nonsense

      Credulous CAGW truebeliever Michael doubtless has the gift of seeing the Emperor’s clothes, just like he has the gift of seeing the high levels of certainty professed in the Emperor’s climate science.

      Hence his harsh words for those who deny the Emperor’s clothes.

    • Michael tastes sour grapes.
      ===========

    • Thanks Gail,

      Fascinating.

    • The harsh braying of a talking donkey.

      Merry Christmas to you Michael. I imagine this time of year you are pretty busy being rented out for all those pagents. Hope someone remembered to change out in your stall.

    • tim,

      your interest in the Equidae is commendable.

  15. As an Economics major in the 70′s, I learned that you “could not” have inflation and high unemployment occurring simultaneously. The stagflation of the Carter years proved the original Phillips Curve was too simplistic. Current “mainstream” climate theory which identifies CO2 as Lacis’ (and others) climate control knob is analogous to the Phillips Curve; CO2 has some warming effect on global temperature but it is simplistic to assume that its effects outweigh or overwhelm the effects of other factors such as TSI, volcanoes, ocean cycles, clouds, land use or any other factors that may be identified. Economists have come to realize that the original Phillips Curve was insufficient to explain the relationship between inflation and unemployment, one would hope that climatologists and other scientists come to the same realization about CO2.

    • There’s an interesting (though maybe tenuous) relationship between the subsequent history of economic thought after Chuck’s 70s education, and some of the things I read batted about in climate science.

      Even by 1969 a couple of renegades were saying that the Phillips Curve, that apparently stable tradeoff between inflation and unemployment, only worked to the extent that agents perpetually behaved like economically illiterate rubes–never tumbling to the idea, plain as day if received theory was correct, that they were being repeatedly fooled by monetary policy. A new collection of theories appeared based on the opposite notion–that agents behaved like sophisticated financial wizards (“ho hum… inflation is picking up… fed about to do its tight money thing (picks up phone, sells stocks, buys bonds, falls asleep under WSJ),” with apologies to Dierdre McCloskey). In this instance, a theory of sluggish, reactive agents was replaced by a theory of sharp, proactive agents. The implications of the new thinking was to partially neuter the effectiveness of much government economic policy, at least over relatively long period such that the surprise would wear off and Charlie Brown would stop falling for Lucy’s proffered football.

      That would be an example of the very environment (the agents of the economy) altering its behavior so as to dampen and undo the action taken by the government. In this view, the citizens were like adaptive dampers of policy. Obviously this is NOT the kind of world were positive feedbacks are heaping up heavy tails on top of heavy tails. Still, there were influential thinkers at the time (Fynn Kydland and Ed Prescott come to mind) who spelled out paradoxical ways in which governmental attempts at stabilization could–in the presence of these types of sophisticated agents–actually backfire and cause even greater instability.

      When I read about ideas like Lindzen’s “iris effect” it reminds me of the cases that some (Lucas, Phelps, Friedman) made for a damping effect brought about by other agents, but of course here it is other subsystems doing the (theorized) damping. And I also wonder, what is the equivalent of Kydland and Prescott’s truly pernicious possibility, that attempts at stabilization of a complex system composed of intelligent agents could actually backfire.

      Interesting stuff.

    • Every stock trader or commercial agent is hoping and trying to get an advantage over all the others. Diagnosing their intentions and habits is inherent in the effort. The result is persistently chaotic despite e.g. all government efforts to “stimulate” or “dampen”. Chaos multiplies choices and options, while government economic policy typically attempts to reduce them.

      As someone once famously said, “Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.”

    • Chief Hydrologist

      There is an old market saw to the effect that as soon as a charting method works everyone knows about it and the method stops working. A theory of informed players.

      This is not the same thing – however – as an irrational government keeping interest rates low for far too long while Tom and Jerry leverage granny and jump on every asset bubble that emerges. This is the theory of the animal spirits of the market and the seemingly inevitable Icarus like plunge with feathers smouldering from flying too close to the Sun.

      There is a very old theory – going back to at least both Keynes and Hayek – that the optimum size of government for maximum economic growth is some 25% of GDP. Not something you really want to mess with by having rampant deficits and runaway ‘quantitative easing’.

      There are examples of stable and growing economies and examples where economies are far from stable. Guess what distinguishes them for the most – and by all means compare apples to oranges.

      https://www.google.com.au/#q=finland+gdp+growth

      https://www.google.com.au/#q=australian+gdp+growth

    • NW – there is data-based evidence for a sort of iris effect. See …

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/24/open-thread-3/?replytocom=429132#respond

    • Chief;
      Yes, I concluded once that if you had a chartist or any method of beating the market, you would need to keep it secret, as it necessarily depended on “naive” majority behaviour.

      As for tax receipts, I think the economy revs or sags (or goes “black”) to keep gov’t share at about 19%, regardless of the nominal rate.

  16. Seems to me a lot of the uncertainty in AGW theory remains from the convective response. 1-D models, a la Manabe used a simple moist-adiabat limited scheme. GCMs use more complex parameterizations. But is there ANY validation of grid scale parameterizations on the actual total sub grid convection? How large an amount of radiative forcing could be reversed by convection?

  17. Economics, politics, and social sciences are mainly governed by human behavior, which is very complex. Climate on the other hand is natural, and governed by orderly laws, and the two cannot be compared. The climate appears to be complex because we have not tired hard enough.

    • False. As Hayek notes, it is in principle impossible to know all that the economics equations require. Guesses and parameterizations won’t cut it. Then there’s the unknown unknowns …

    • Nabil, it is clear that “mainstream” climate science research is being governed or at least affected by human behavior. The plentiful money still available from the government, universities and NGO’s to study greenhouse gas driven climate change is causing a misallocation of resources since researchers are motivated to provide research to “prove” that greenhouse gases are the main factor in climate change in order to keep receiving money. This is not dissimilar to what is happening in the US economy as low interest rates and easy money from the Fed are causing a misallocation of resources due to artificially low interest rates. One of the results is that companies are “investing” in stock buybacks rather than hiring new workers or increasing research and development.

    • Did you live thru the early ’80s? When interest rates went to about 20%? I worked for a 50+ yr-old profitable company that got on the wrong side of capital commitments, attempting to out-grow that burden. It failed, of course.

      Chickens and real costs come home to roost.

  18. On from Socrates, recognising the limits of ‘knowledge’,
    Henri Poincarre, ref Taleb’s ‘Black Swan’, was the kind of
    philosopher of science who recognised the limits of the subject
    itself.He recognised the problems that non-linearities put on
    future prediction, later recognised by Lorenz.

    Poincarre showed this with his ‘three body problem’ ie if you
    have only two planets in a solar style system you may be able
    to predict indefinitely the behavior of these planets. Introduce
    a third planet, however small. and in time it’s effects on the
    others becomes enormous. The economist. Hayek was one of
    the rare members of his profession to focus on the problem of
    unknowns and limits of knowledge in economics. Hayek attacked
    managed economics, usually associated with Socialism, as a
    product of what Nassim Taleb calls ‘nerd knowledge or Platonicity.’

    Owing to the growth of scientific advances in knowledge, we
    overestimate our ability to understand the subtle changes that
    constitute our world and what weight needs to be imparted to
    such change, the misplaced confidence of ‘scientism.’
    (Taleb, Chapter 11, The Black Swan.’)

    Faustino, Climate Etc, 16/05/13 made this comment that relates
    to the above:

    ‘As a policy economist, I’ve often said that we can’t sensibly make long-term economic forecasts or projections, and that it is not
    sensible to base policy on them.

    A speech by Bank of England economist, Ben Broadbent, a former Treasury forecaster, strongly supports this stance. Ben Broadbent
    notes that’even when we look only a year ahead, the unpredicted component in annual GDP growth – the ‘noise’ has been
    significantly greater than the signal – the economy has always been volatile.’

  19. “shape the results”

    The ‘consensus’ in a nutshell.

  20. JC comment: “By these arguments, climate dynamics has more in common with with systems biology and economics than it does with experimental physics.”

    Amen. But scientists in systems biology aren’t campaigning to restructure the economy of the whole world. Or at least none that I’ve ever met or heard of. They’re generally more interested in learning about the world, not ruling it.


    • JC comment: “By these arguments, climate dynamics has more in common with with systems biology and economics than it does with experimental physics.”

      michael hart : … scientists in systems biology aren’t campaigning to restructure the economy of the whole world.

      That’s probably because – unlike in climate science – government has no obvious vested interest in the biologists on its payroll saying one thing or another. Biology just doesn’t seem to offer new excuses for more taxes and state control over citizens.

    • Biology is an infinite number of orders of magnitude more complex than climate.

    • … As regards his Nobel prize, this could just as easily be a debased one similar to the IPCC/Gore case – ie for political rather than actual correctness.

      Gates : Wow. Frightful ignorance.

      Yes – rewarded with a Nobel Prize into the bargain.

      And yet again you go on to doggedly ignore the$billions of politically-funded politically-motivated investment in tainted science we know as CAGW alarmist dogma (the fraud-ridden “consensus”), while ignoring the pennies that go to questioning it.

  21. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    This part highlighted by Judith:

    “There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will.”
    ——
    To do harm unintentionally, either through ignorance or hubris or both seems to be the issue. And this harm can be through both inaction or acting without all the consideration or knowledge of full effects. What would have happened has we not banned CFC’s?

    • Cheaper and less toxic refrigeration and A/C for sure. Other consequences are more speculative.

    • If we hadn’t banned CFCs … the rationale seemed to be about exposure to radiation. The impact of the CFC ban in terms of reducing the particular radiation was equivalent to moving about 150 miles further from the Equator, e.g. from London to Manchester. People constantly move far closer to the Equator in the US, Europe and Australia and internationally. I think (no cite) that I’ve recently read that the longer term impact on the ozone hole has been negligible. There have been some cost-benefit analyses of the ban, my memory is that they had negative outcomes.

      I’m not an expert on this, Gates – perhaps you can show the necessity of the ban and the net benefits resulting from it? The biggest dis-benefit might have been paving the way for the CAGW scare.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Without the CFC ban, initiated by a scientist turned advocate we all would have been in very serious jeopardy. Read the story of the scientist who saved the world:

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/mar/12/ozone-layer-scientist-dies

      Sometimes you just need to take a stance. And remember who the ignorant and greedy were who fought this. Yep…you know. The same folks who have been supporting Heartland.

    • R. Gates
      Without the CFC ban, initiated by a scientist turned advocate we all would have been in very serious jeopardy. Read the story of the scientist who saved the world:

      The story of his life you proffer, says nothing about whether he was right or not. As regards his Nobel prize, this could just as easily be a debased one similar to the IPCC/Gore case – ie for political rather than actual correctness.

      Heartland. So while governments pour billions of all taxpayers’ money into trying to find excuses for more green taxes via CAGW propaganda science, you begrudge the private pennies Heartland gets to ask questions about this politically-funded science?

    • No worries, Gail, only tenuous authority fears dissent, almost by tautological definition.
      ==========

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “The story of his life you proffer, says nothing about whether he was right or not. As regards his Nobel prize, this could just as easily be a debased one similar to the IPCC/Gore case – ie for political rather than actual correctness.”
      —–
      Wow. Frightful ignorance.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “…you begrudge the private pennies Heartland gets to ask questions about this politically-funded science?”
      —-
      The millions that have funded the politically motivated anti- science of Heartland? Anyone with even a modicum of honest understanding knows exactly what Heartland is and who funds them and why. Any scientist associated with Heartland gets tainted for life, and unfortunate are the ones that unknowingly do so, though I’m not sure it is possible to unknowingly do so.

    • ” What would have happened has we not banned CFC’s?”

      stevepostrel beat me to it: Cheaper, less toxic A/C; otherwise, nothing.

    • R Gates

      You said;

      “What would have happened has we not banned CFC’s?” What indeed? Anything?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/wordsinthenews/2013/12/131213_witn_ozone_layer.shtml

      I asked Cambridge University and the Max Planck institute whether the ozone hole might have always have been there, prior to the start of instrumental measurements in the 1950′s. They said they didn’t know but it was possible. Similarly arctic ice variation has always existed but our snapshot of instrumental measurements only started in 1979 so we relate back to that date.

      So, how much of the ozone hole, ice variation and climate change is due to man, and how much is related to the start date of measurements for that item?
      tonyb

    • From the article:
      Oxidation of aqueous bromide into reactive, gas-phase bromine species has been of interest since the 1980’s, when the presence of bromine in the Arctic boundary layer was linked to ozone depletion events. We have
      investigated two different mechanisms for Br2 release from sea ice. We have shown that nitrate in sea ice can photolyze to produce OH,which can go on to form gas-phase Br2. This reaction is analogous to a known reaction that occurs in the aqueous phase. We have also investigated Br2 production from a heterogeneous reaction between gas-phase ozone and sea ice/seawater. We have determined ozone’s reactive uptake coefficient, and have shown how it varies with temperature, bromide concentration, ozone concentration and acidity. We have been able to decouple the bulk aqueous chemistry that occurs from the Langmuir-Hinshelwood surface chemistry, and quantify the relative contribution of each.

      https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/18970/1/Oldridge_T_N_W_200911_MSc_Thesis.pdf

    • Tony, did they mention how big a natural ozone hole would be, or for how long it lasted? Did they recommend reintroducing CFC’s?

    • JCH

      It would be a worldwide sensation if either of those August institutions suggested reintroducing CFC’s!

      My point, as you well know, was that our knowledge of the past is often limited. In this case to the mid 1950′s when the first instruments capable of measuring the ‘hole’ were introduced.

      Who is to say whether or not a hole existed prior to this or if we created it through the use of CFC’s? I don’t know the answer, but its intriguing that neither do Cambridge or the Max Planck Institute .
      tonyb

    • Tony,

      I would be really surprised if either one of those institutes would give you an answer of the institute.

      It’s much more likely that one person in the institute gave an answer that was not considered very thoroughly even by that person. An answer “I don’t know” tells then very little on the actual state of scientific knowledge.

    • Pekka

      It was just over three years ago I asked the question so this time scale precedes the emails held on my current computer.

      The person at Max Planck was certainly speaking on behalf of the relevant department at the institute. The scientist at Cambridge was the one responsible for their research in this field. He said it was hoped that in the next few years research would be able to hind cast previous ozone levels.

      I did not pursue this avenue as my son was just starting at Cambridge University and I deemed it wise not to burden him with a sceptic father in case the scientist concerned became his tutor!

      Do YOU know of any credible research that demonstrates the historic size of the Hole?

      tonyb

    • Tony,

      You may have got good answers, but I have worked enough at various universities and research institutes to make it impossible to believe that you got really answers on behalf of the institutes. That would be difficult for a government, impossible for most individuals.

      No I don’t know much of ozone hole, or on the depth of scientific knowledge on that.

    • Pekka

      You are right of course.

      My answers came from knowledgeable persons with the relevant expertise and of considerable seniority, but whether it was the ‘official’ position is another matter.

      I know from my experiences with the Met office that there are many views within it (including sceptical ones) but the only thing that matters in the end is the ‘official’ position, normally made known through press releases.
      tonyb

    • Pekka
      re: ozone hole
      I have worked enough at various universities and research institutes to make it impossible to believe that you got really answers on behalf of the institutes. That would be difficult for a government, impossible for most individuals.

      So much for the Nobel prize in the 1950s for the guy that “proved” what caused the ozone hole then. So it must have just been pretense and political correctness that motivated the ban then. Blazing a trail of politically funded and motivated science fraud for the present crop of science pretenders. Thanks a lot.

    • Gail

      Scientific knowledge is seldom distributed through formally approved opinions of scientific institutes. Universities are mostly unwilling to present official opinions, other research organizations do that more commonly.

      A more typical approach is forming an expert group. Universities may propose members to such groups, but even then they present usually their views as an individual, not as an official representative of the university.

      The traditional ideal of academic freedom does not really allow for anything else, but sometimes the traditional ideals are superseded by other considerations.

      As an example, I have been nominated several times by my university to present views for a parliamentary committee on issues close to my expertize, but never as a representative of the views of the university.

      The university would be likely to have an official opinion on legislation that affects its status or operation, but not on issues in a field of science.

    • Pekka,
      Ok, so what Tony should look for then is an Ozone Hole expert group?

      I can understand that principle being applied to something new. But for some science “settled” in the 1950s ??

    • Gail

      Here is the Guy I contacted.

      http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/person/nrh1000

      If anyone is interested I will ask him for an update into the likelihood of the ozone hole existing prior to the 1950′s.

      tonyby

    • RG,

      Good question on what would have happened.

      Do you know the answer?

      Not much.

      As Faustino points out, the biggest publicized threat from the ozone hole was increased exposure to radiation. Those doing the publicizing never liked to mention the degree of that threat – i.e. the same increase as moving from Minneapolis to New Orleans. They also down played attention to the fact of the “hole” being situated over Antarctica. With the possible exception of the Internation Association of Penguins Against Sunburn, who can argue that anyone is threatened by the ozone hole.

      Then there is the small matter of the “hole” not shrinking since the ban.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      Tony, the “guy” you contacted said on his website that “arctic winters have been getting colder”. I questioned this, since I didn’t believe that was true. Not sure what he is an expert on, but it is not Arctic winters, as shown in this graph:

    • RGates

      I think you may have misunderstood what ‘my guy’ said about Arctic winters. He actually said this;

      ‘Since the cold Arctic winters are getting colder, it is important to understand its relation to climate change.’

      Ozone depletion is (partly) a consequence of very cold winter temperatures . An ‘ordinary’ arctic winter might not be cold enough to precipitate an ozone hole, but exceptionally cold ones might. The number of very cold arctic winters has increased (although ‘ordinary’ winters might be getting warmer)

      This relates back to my original point. If they started measuring the ozone hole during a warm period and found nothing, but a hole appeared once temperatures started dropping, it perhaps illustrates that holes have existed (when the conditions were right) PRIOR to the mid 1950′s when measurements were first taken.

      tonyb

    • Climatereason,

      I am led to believe that ozone is created mainly by short wave UV containing sufficient energy to break the bond binding two oxygen atoms. The net result is ozone, which oxidises pretty much anything it comes into contact with.

      No ionising radiation, no ozone. Given the Earth’s axial inclination to the plane of the ecliptic, the winter season at each pole results in around six months of close to zero ionising UV interacting with the upper atmosphere. If no ozone forms, there will be an ozone “hole”. The theory that CFCs destroy ozone is true. Unfortunately, ozone reacts with things like nitrogen in the absence of CFCs anyway. Ozone is slightly less reactive than fluorine, but not by much.

      In any case, ozone is continuously forming as long as there is oxygen to ionise.

      I am wondering if the “ozone hole” scare had as much foundation as the “global warming” scare.

      Notwithstanding the rather complicated additional reactions occurring in the upper atmosphere, is my understanding correct?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • mike said

      ‘I am wondering if the “ozone hole” scare had as much foundation as the “global warming” scare.’

      There are enough people throwing the word ‘denier’ around without opening up a second front.:) But its an interesting question

      Through my historical investigations I believe that several of the pillars on which co2 rest are somewhat shaky, for example SST’s, sea level rise and ‘global’ temperatures.

      Consequently when first becoming vaguely curious about the origins of the ozone hole I asked two of the leading institutions the basic question as to whether the ozone hole couldn’t always have existed and modern day concerns are because we can now measure something that appears to fluctuate.

      Cambridge University in particular are of interest as it was the British Antarctic survey team-operating out of that city which first identified the hole.

      There are other analogies. The jet stream was only discovered in 1945. Did it exist before? Of course. Is it changing since we first recorded it? Yes. . Is that due to CAGW? Probably not, its presumably always existed and moved and strengthened. Similarly with arctic ice. It varies and just because we can measure it to 1979 doesn’t mean that current changes are unprecedented.

      So to get back to your question. I suspect that, as with AGW, we know far less about the causes of the ozone hole and its fluctuating size than we think we do.

      tonyb.

  22. What would have happened has we not banned CFC’s?

    A much simpler scenario perhaps ? Where there was honest rather than politically engineered certainty ?

  23. The similarity between economics and climate science have always been obvious. And the precautionary principle works in exactly the same way. You know they understand some of the simple parts of the system. Why? Because they can predict them … sometimes. And you know they don’t understand the whole system for the very same reason.

    You may have some doubts on what to do in an intermediate level. When they advise about something that is not the whole system, but it is not a simple part of the system either. And you may end buying a whole lot of toxic assets. But, not a single sensible person cares about economic model’s predictions in – say – 50 years. The “precautionary principle” here says: don’t even listen.

  24. Hmmm, rather climate science be dismal than climate.
    ===========

  25. Michael Larkin

    A beautiful post, Judith, and I’m with you on what you say. The Global warming farrago is definitely an instance of human arrogance in action: of focussing on a few variables and claiming great certainty about the nature of a highly complex system over which human activity may be about as significant as a flea bite for an elephant.

    IMO, a succinct image applies here: that of the mischievous boy who pulled off the legs, antennae and wings of a fly and then couldn’t figure out where the fly had gone. The fly is more than the sum of its parts, and one will never fully understand it as a biological system by looking at its components.

    To the possible objection that we know what will happen if we remove specific parts of the fly, my response is that, in the climate system, we aren’t even able to identify the analogues of wings, legs and antennae. We can’t see the whole fly, don’t even know what all the parts of it are, or how each functions in the context of the whole.

    • You ignore the weight of evidence. You use the old trick – that if we don’t know everything therefore we know nothing. Thus you state “human activity may be about as significant as a flea bite for an elephant”

      Well that simply isn’t true. The weight of evidence is strongly in favor of humans having a dominant effect on global temperature.

      The idea that solar forcing, for example, will turn out to compete with a 3.7wm-2 forcing from a doubling of CO2 is sheer wishful thinking.

      What we don’t know cannot be used to ignore and deny what we do know.

      Tom Fuller above admits the strength of human GHGs. A rare admission by skeptics. One that is sadly uncommon. It’s a shame skeptics cannot bring themselves to admit the strength of what we do know more often.

    • “Tom Fuller above admits the strength of human GHGs. A rare admission by skeptics.”

      Tom Fuller is not a “skeptic.” He’s a “Warmer.”

      Andrew

    • Meh, Tom’s Tom, and shouldn’t be spoken for. I’m a lukewarming cooler, a term which drives lucia to distraction, a rare thing indeed. I’m of course, speaking of two things at once, a. that CO2 warms and b. that Nature is now cooling us.

      Face it, most skeptics accept radiative physics, and from whatever other perspective, also reject the most catastrophic implications. Simples, really.

      Don’t have too punchdrunk a Boxing Day.
      =================

    • Organized complexity.

      …ending like 2013, not with a whimper but with a bang!

    • Wonderful, Beth. I crawled onto the couch with my Delafield, and the cat crawled onto the cover and we all had a perfectly delightful ten minutes. I wish I could’ve reached the replay button without disturbing the cat.
      =========================

    • lolwot, you write “Well that simply isn’t true. The weight of evidence is strongly in favor of humans having a dominant effect on global temperature.”

      I am not quite sure how one measures the “weight” of evidence, but there is no empirical data which shows that as you add more and more CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels, it causes either global temperatures or ocean heat content to rise. None whatsoever. All that exists, are hypothetical speculations and the outputs of non-validated models, to support the idea that as CO2 concentrations rise from current levels, it causes a significant change of climate.

      I defy you to produce any empirical data that measures a CO2 signal in either a modern temperature/time graph, or a modern ocean heat content/time graph.

    • “All that exists, are hypothetical speculations and the outputs of non-validated models”

      Indeed. And these are constructed assume the answer to the C02 question. Not science.

      Andrew

    • Michael Larkin

      Lolwot, your reading comprehension is lamentable.

    • Lolwat, you keep invoking the weight of evidence as though it were an objective property of the evidence but it is not. Nowhere in logic is there a formula that takes, say, all the journal articles relative to a scientific hypothesis and generates a weight. Weight of evidence is a personal matter and that is why we are here. Please stop claiming that the weight of evidence is for others as you see it. It is not so your implicit claim is false.

      In fact I see the weight of evidence as virtually the opposite of what you see. As I see it AGW has been falsified and we are both looking at the same evidence.

  26. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    JC bolded: “There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will.”
    I am only an MSc in physics: no PhD, no climatologist, no metheorologist … but, at least, I can notice when physical science has stablished a “truth”, i.e., when it has observational evidences.
    Instead; in climate science, there are no observational evidences for many IPCC’s claims. Why?, because politicians are responsible of manipulating physics in order to get some kind of “solid” support to their policies. Some of these manipulations can be seen in the RC# points in:

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

    A spetial mention to RC3, as it clarifies the manipulation based in figs: 8.14, 8.15 and in 8.16. And of RC5, as it sets appropriate timescales for climatic observation.

  27. Judith,

    Economics is a running theory…unfortunately for us, they ONLY looked at forward GDP and did not stop to think of any possibility of a backward slide.
    Much of the data governments “announce” are manipulated numbers to keep trying to attract investors.
    There is a HUGE disconnect between the media/government and reality.

    • +1 Joe Lalonde

      If anyone doubts the truth of Joe’s statement, check out Shadowstats.com.

      By the way, trying to discredit Hayek is laughable. Dude was an intellectual giant. Those on this board (Web?) who make dismissive and silly statements like “economics is mostly game theory” are not engaging at all. Economics has been around far longer than Climate Science T.M. and just because there may be much game theory involved in modern economics as currently taught at universities, doesn’t limit the entire field.

      Robert Mugabe is a graduate of the London School of Economics, but the ideas of economics he learned there have only served to destroy his country. I can guarantee that he never learned anything from Hayek, whose ideas are rarely if ever taught anymore, outside of the rare oddity like the George Mason U. econ dept.

      To dismiss Hayek is really to dismiss yourself as a credible economic commentator

  28. Our hostess write “Refer to Fig 8.14 in the AR5. The only forcing known with very high confidence is greenhouse gases, which has had very high confidence level since the SAR.”

    What I write does not carry much weight; the opposite is true of our hostess. I wonder why she refers to “forcings”, and not the effects on climate that these forcings supposedly produce; the alleged increases in global temperatures and ocean heat content. There may or may not be high confidence in what the forcings are, but my appreciation is that there is zero confidence in what effects the changes in these forcings make on climate.

    As I have noted before, I suspect Judith’s “uncertainty monster” refers to the magnitude of the effect of CAGW, not on the idea as whether CAGW is a hoax or not. I suspect Dr. Curry is still convinced that adding CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels has a significant effect on climate.

  29. Pretense of lack of knowledge.

  30. lolwot
    The weight of evidence is strongly in favor of humans having a dominant effect on global temperature.

    Precisely the pretense of knowledge being discussed here, another Fatal Conceit.

    A pretense lolwot tirelessly urges everyone to share.

  31. Judith

    In view of your last emboldened sentence in the referenced article I thought this from Hubert Lamb was especially apposite;

    “The idea of climate change has at last taken on with the public after generations which assumed that climate could be taken as constant. But it is easy to notice the common assumption that mans science and modern industry and technology are now so powerful that any change of climate or the environnment must be due to us. It is good for us to be more alert and responsible in our treatment of the environment, but not to have a distorted view of our own importance. Above all, we need more knowledge, education and understanding in these matters.”
    Hubert Lamb December 1994

    tonyb

  32. I think I’ll stick to reading the daily reports from ‘climate depot’ at least all sides get an airing.

  33. I agree with this statement by Hayek.”…in the physical sciences it is generally assumed, probably with good reason, that any important factor which determines the observed events will itself be directly observable and measurable…” Improving observations is a central piece of climate science going forwards, and these already constrain the theories much more than the “skeptics” would like, which leads to the high level of certainty that a combination of GHG, solar and aerosol forcing changes account for the observed surface temperature and OHC record.

    • Jim D
      ,,,observations…already constrain the theories much more than the “skeptics” would like

      Far from it. Indeed the models going further and further off the rails confounds the “scientists”/truebelievers.

      … high level of certainty that a combination of GHG, solar and aerosol forcing changes

      Ah, so the official pretend confidence excludes any role for clouds now I see.
      It’s quite a job keeping up these days.

    • For example, take the “pause” that is often mentioned. During this, the ocean heat content continues to rise, and what is predicted by AGW is the sum of the OHC change and surface temperature, not the individual components that are determined partly by internal variability. This subtle point is not often picked up, and it is a pretense of ignorance to not always weigh these changes together.

    • Jim D
      what is predicted by AGW is the sum of the OHC change and surface temperature, not the individual components that are determined partly by internal variability. This subtle point is not often picked up, and it is a pretense of ignorance to not always weigh these changes together.

      The only people who do this, are alarmists trying to misrepresent skeptics. They should stop.

    • I call it pretense of ignorance because the skeptical scientists are fully aware that the OHC is still rising consistent with AGW, but from what they tell the public in their interviews or blogs about the pause, you would think they did not know this.

    • Jim D,
      Can you give actual examples, or are you just pretending this happens ?

    • This is just an example of the pause being used to discredit climate models without even mentioning the continuing rise of the ocean heat content.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2485772/Global-warming-pause-20-years-Arctic-sea-ice-started-recover.html

    • Jim D. writes “I call it pretense of ignorance because the skeptical scientists are fully aware that the OHC is still rising consistent with AGW,”

      I always get interested when I see the weasel-word “consistent”. Sure the rise of OHC is consistent with CAGW. It is also consistent with dozens of other possibilities, including that the rise is entirely due to natural causes.

      What is missing from the arguments of the warmists, like Jim D., is any empirical data at all, that actually measures a CO2 signal in the OHC/time graph. Show me that measured data, and similar data for global temperatures, and I will convert to being a warmist. But please don’t play these silly games of claiming that when something is consistent with something or other, this constitutes some form of scientific basis in physics. It does not.

    • Does though say “‘The stadium wave forecasts that sea ice will recover from its recent minimum.’.

    • JimD

      The article says;

      ‘The pause means there has been no statistically significant increase in world average surface temperatures since the beginning of 1997, despite the models’ projection of a steeply rising trend.’

      They are referring primarily to the surface temperature where people lived not the abyssal oceans where people don’t. There may or may not be a trivial warming of the abyssal waters but as it seems to have skipped neatly past the sst instruments we cant be sure. Our knowledge of the oceans is very rudimentary and recent (with apologies to Purkey et al)

      Jim, exactly how much do you think this abyssal warming (should it exist) will warm the atmosphere by should it suddenly leap out at us?
      tonyb

    • I mention that article as the first I found about the pause. You can count on Rose for these. Natural variations can cause a pause while AGW predicts that in this case the OHC has to rise. If it didn’t, that would be a problem for AGW that only leaves an albedo rise (e.g. increased clouds and aerosols) as a way out that could be observationally proved or disproved. To use the pause to discredit climate models without considering that climate models don’t predict specific natural variation events is not telling it as it is.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “I mention that article as the first I found about the pause. You can count on Rose for these. Natural variations can cause a pause while AGW predicts that in this case the OHC has to rise”

      How long a pause, is the question for Jim D to answer now.
      Where was this prediction of that pause given, Jim D?

    • Jimd

      Here is an article from NASA about the energy budget

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

      Exactly how much of this is going into the ocean compared to other sources such as radiation to space?

      I repeat my question as to how much the trivial warming of the abyssal waters,should it be happening, will actually warm the atmoshere by should it leap out at us at some unspecified time in the future?
      Tonyb

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “During this, the ocean heat content continues to rise, and what is predicted by AGW is the sum of the OHC change and surface temperature, not the individual components that are determined partly by internal variability.”
      ____
      It is true that the total energy of the Earth climate system must be considered when looking at the overall effect of increasing GH gases and their alteration of the energy balance of the system. The primary way that energy is stored in the system is of course ocean heat content, so to exclude this would be to exclude maybe 80 to 90% of the energy. The other big category that is overlooked by those who’d like to dwell only on tropospheric sensible heat is the changes to the cryosphere. The net glacial ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica (nothing to do with sea ice) is substantial and this change of state from ice to water represents another portion of increased energy in the climate system. But by far, the energy being accumulated in the oceans is the vast majority.

    • Also, it should be added that when the OHC rises at the expense of the surface temperature, it just delays the eventual surface temperature rise, but does not affect the magnitude of that eventual rise according to AGW. The ocean doesn’t mitigate the equilibrium effect of increased CO2, but only modulates the transient effect. I know this is off topic again, and this thread could get deleted, so I will reiterate that pretense of ignorance is a problem on the skeptical side when it comes to the OHC. They either ignore it or say (as we see in comments) that we don’t really know what we know from Argo.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “I repeat my question as to how much the trivial warming of the abyssal waters,should it be happening, will actually warm the atmoshere by should it leap out at us at some unspecified time in the future?”
      _____
      The warming oceans are already affecting the climate of the planet, and in particular the ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica. It is an incorrect notion to think this energy is going to “leap out at us” at some unspecified time in the future. This energy is constantly being advected to the polar regions, and those unfamiliar with the glacial ice loss fail to realize that the majority of it is melting from warmer waters underneath the tongues of ice flows riding on top of the ocean.

    • Jimd

      Both you and my good friend R Gates are now here so perhaps your combined expertise can come up with a proper answer to my question

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/25/pretense-of-knowledge/#comment-429248

      Tonyb

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “They either ignore it or say (as we see in comments) that we don’t really know what we know from Argo.”
      ____
      Exactly. Some would like to pretend that we were still in the early 2000′s before Argo and that we didn’t have some 3600 operational floats around the planet giving us data, and set to expand greatly in the years ahead. Some would like to pretend that the oceans weren’t the major climate energy storage repository of the planet. Do we know everything we’d like to know about how much energy the oceans have been storing? Nope. Do we know enough with a reasonable degree of confidence that we can asert that the oceans have been warming over the past 4 decades at least? Absolutely. Is the TOA imbalance and the range of estimated ocean heat content increases now coming into much closer agreement. Yep.

    • Rgates

      Here are the SST anomalies which very neatly reflect the pause of the last decade

      http://www.climate4you.com/SeaTemperatures.htm

      If the warming has bypassed this layer and is in the abyss how exactly does it get out to affect us as self evidently it is not affecting the surface layer the glaciers may be resting on

      Tonyb

    • From what I have read, virtually none of the warming of the abyssal waters will ever effect the atmosphere for a very very very long time.

      It’s really not much of a question. Silly.

      The mechanism that caused the warming of abyssal waters is likely effecting the atmosphere right now. 0 to 700 meters is warming, which likely means less warming 700 to 2000 meters, and likely even less below that.

    • Tonyb, the rate of change of ocean heat content is proportional to the radiative imbalance between the forcing change and the temperature change. That is, the surface temperature is presently not changing fast enough to cancel the forcing change, and while that is the case, the OHC has to rise. This imbalance is of order 1 W/m2, while the forcing change in the last couple of centuries is near 2 W/m2. The temperature change has accounted for half of it, but we still have the other half, plus whatever more forcing we put into the system possibly raising the forcing to 5 W/m2 by 2100 (8.5 W/m2 in the extreme scenario).

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “Here are the SST anomalies which very neatly reflect the pause of the last decade

      http://www.climate4you.com/SeaTemperatures.htm

      If the warming has bypassed this layer and is in the abyss how exactly does it get out to affect us as self evidently it is not affecting the surface layer the glaciers may be resting on.”

      ______
      Considering that 50% of the energy in the atmosphere comes from sensible and latent heat flux from the ocean, we should expect the atmosphere to follow sea surface temperature very closely as the sea surface is quite literally the last stop for energy before it enters the atmosphere. Remember, oceans warm the atmosphere, so therefore atmospheric temperatures also spike just a bit after SST’s do. What the atmosphere does to the ocean is controls the sensible and latent heat flux from the ocean through the concentration of noncondensing GH gases in the atmosphere.

      Related to the warmth of the water in the Arctic regions, warmer overall water has been observed in both the NH and SH, and this has a 2-fold direct effect. It melts the glaciers from underneath, but also brings more energy to the higher latitudes to be released from the ocean in the form of sensible and latent heat flux. The positive feedback from this is that as the glaciers (and permafrost) melt, more open ground is exposed, altering the both the ground albedo and biosphere, further enhancing the warming.

    • Matthew R Marler

      R. Gates, skeptical warmist: Remember, oceans warm the atmosphere, so therefore atmospheric temperatures also spike just a bit after SST’s do.

      Remember that the hypothesis of AGW is that added CO2 in the atmosphere leads to more outgoing radiation absorbed in the atmosphere, hence higher temps in the atmosphere, before there is warming of the surface. The subsequent warming of the surface follows from the increased downwelling radiation consequent on the increased atmospheric temperature. So while it is true that the surface warms the atmosphere, the effect of adding CO2 to the atmosphere ought first to be detectable in the troposphere.

      The argument is dependent on rates: if the atmosphere warms quickly following the warming of the surface, and if the surface warms rapidly (or cools more slowly) in response to the increase in the downwelling radiation, there may be no discernible difference between the atmospheric increase in temperature and the subsequent surface increase in temperature.; in that case, there is little lag between TCR and ECR, no “warming in the pipeline”.

      The question is not “How can the abyssal water warm up?” The question is “How can an increase in downwelling radiation caused by increased atmospheric temperature warm the abyssal water without warming the surface anywhere?” If the atmosphere has record amounts of CO2, and if the atmosphere has shown no change in temperature for 17 years, what is the mechanism by which the increased CO2 was warmed abyssal ocean?

    • Matthew Marler, that is not the correct sequence. Added CO2 increases the downwelling radiation just due to the increased number of CO2 molecules at the same temperature. The atmosphere doesn’t have to, and can’t, warm before the surface does.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: Added CO2 increases the downwelling radiation just due to the increased number of CO2 molecules at the same temperature. The atmosphere doesn’t have to, and can’t, warm before the surface does.

      If that is true, then there is a slight cooling of the troposphere, as it increases the rate of radiation of energy both toward the surface and toward space. that’s something I wrote as a conjecture in response to the Graeme Stephen energy flow diagram.

      Granting your argument (which I think is “nonstandard”), how does the increase in atmospheric CO2 warm the abyssal ocean without warming the surface?

    • Matthew Marler, yes, IR radiation has a cooling effect, but convection from the surface keeps the atmosphere warm and enforces the lapse rate. Higher in the stratosphere above the convection, cooling is what you get. Increased downwelling IR adds to the solar energy on the plus side of the ocean budget, so it is like increased warming, and the ocean has to warm to return to equilibrium.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Tonyb, SST (sea surface temperature) and the rate of ocean warming are inversely correlated for the same reason that a hot bowl of soup left on the counter cools at a faster rate than a lukewarm one. The top of atmosphere imbalance regulates the rate of ocean warming. This imbalance is mainly a function of total forcing *and* surface temperature. When the surface warms, then the imbalance is reduced because the warmer surface radiates more heat to space through the atmospheric radiative window. Conversely, when the surface cools — because of cool water upwelling, say — then the imbalance increases and the rate of ocean warming also increases. There is no need for heat to “bypass” the surface layer since, as R. Gates never tires to repeat (to little effect, it seems) the net flow of heat always is from Sun to ocean to atmosphere and never from atmosphere to ocean. So, oceans gain more heat from the sun when the surface is cooler (due to internal variability) because their ability to radiate to space is thereby reduced and they retain more incoming solar energy.

    • Pierre – Normand – … There is no need for heat to “bypass” the surface layer since, as R. Gates never tires to repeat (to little effect, it seems) the net flow of heat always is from Sun to ocean to atmosphere and never from atmosphere to ocean. …

      We are talking here about the amount of energy needed to warm the surface air temperature .2C per decade (IPCC) minus .06C (Von Storch number for rate of increase of the SAT during the pause), or ~.14C per decade.

      For much of the Pause the surface of the Eastern Pacific has been anomalously cold because of upwelling and the Western Pacific hot because of mounding and downwelling. As an example, October 2011 to January 2012, La Nina conditions

      What would that ocean look like to ARGO’s Pacific buoys?

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “The top of atmosphere imbalance regulates the rate of ocean warming.”
      —-
      No, no, no….and oh, did I mention…NO!

      TOA imbalance is a proxy measurement for energy retention in the Earth climate system, the majority of which is retained in the ocean. But in no way, and no physical possible way does the TOA imbalance “regulate” this rate of energy retention. It is simply a measure of the difference between energy in and energy out…not a physical regulatory mechanism.

    • Pierre Normand,

      The supposed TOA is indistinguishable from a vacuum, by definition.

      Saying that the TOA regulates anything at all, is almost equivalent to saying that a vacuum “regulates” that same thing.

      Pictures taken from satellites show that the TOA, as would be expected, allows visible light, infrared, the longer UV waves, and all radio frequencies to pass without impediment from the surface. It appears the atmospheric window is not only very large, but also open all the time.

      Your explanation of ocean warming is odd. To say that an atmosphere warmer than the sea surface cannot warm the sea, but apparently is capable of warming both a boat and the people sitting in it, seems strange.

      As to surface cooling, the surface will cool in the absence of sufficient sunlight. No mysterious or actual upwelling required. The denser water, strangely, sinks.

      Nature seems to be proceeding as usual, Warmist incantations notwithstanding.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Jim D
      To use the pause to discredit climate models without considering that climate models don’t predict specific natural variation events is not telling it as it is.

      So we are not to use the Pause to show that the models fail to represent reality by failing to include natural variation. Got it.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The top of atmosphere radiative flux imbalance results in warming or cooling of the planet – this is the central concept in climate science. Beyond toa – there is only radiated energy – in and out – and these must balance at some time.

      Conceptually from first principles:

      d(W&H)/dt (J/S) = power in (J/s) – power out (J/s)

      where W&H is planetary heat and work. Do I need to say again that very minor terms of heat from combustion and geothermal energy are neglected quite deliberately in this context.

      So the rate of warming or cooling is equal to the difference in the average energy in and out in a period.

      Simple? Does this need a breakthrough moment?

    • Is the TOA imbalance and the range of estimated ocean heat content increases now coming into much closer agreement. Yep.

      Enough to satisfy who? Committed truebelievers like yourself?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Well perhaps it does Gail – but the biggest trend in the period was cloud cover – so the implied attribution is all wrong.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_MODIS-1.gif.html?sort=3&o=125

    • Pierre-Normand

      “No, no, no….and oh, did I mention…NO!”
      You are quibbling over the word “regulate”. All I mean to say is that the rate of energy accumulation — which by and large is stored into the oceans — is a function of the TOA and the TOA is a function of total forcing *and* surface temperature — and not just of total forcing, as I know you well understand. Of course the surface temperature isn’t an independent variable when it can also changes as a result of a forcing change. But the only point was that surface temperature can also change as a result of internal variability and, when this occurs, a cooler ocean surface temporarily causes the rate of ocean heat content accumulation to increase (until, eventually, the surface will warm the the TOA balance will be restored). I merely used “regulate” to indicate the direction of this causal relationship. La Nina events, or the negative PDO phase, cause *both* surface temperatures to stall despite the enhanced greenhouse effect and, as a result, oceans to gain heat at a higher rate.

    • Jim D
      Added CO2 increases the downwelling radiation just due to the increased number of CO2 molecules at the same temperature. The atmosphere doesn’t have to, and can’t, warm before the surface does.

      So you flatly contradict the view often pushed by Gates, namely that upwelling IR warms the atmosphere (via warming the CO2), which then slows the rate at which the oceans cool into the atmosphere.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “The supposed TOA is indistinguishable from a vacuum, by definition.”
      This sentence doesn’t make sense. The TOA is a power, measured in watts. A vaccuum is an entity, located somewhere.
      For some given forcing, if the Earth surface is cooler then it radiates less net power to space. If the TOA increases, because the forcing does, then the Earth gains energy until the surface has warmed enough for the power that goes out through the infrared window to neutralize the TOA (or until there would occurs some positive albedo change — which seems unlikely). This is dictated by the law of conservation of energy.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      So we have 2 more ideas that are utterly out of keeping with greenhouse gas theory.

      1. You can add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere without it warming. The surface has to warm first. There is an animation here – http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/greenhouse – that I found most amusing. Perhaps it might help Jim? You can’t really have photons hittng more molecules without some of it translating into kinetic energy. So more greenhouse gases ipso facto result in higher atmosphere temperature and it all proceeds from there.

      2. The tortured rationalisations of Pierre attempting to reconcile forcing with internal variation leaves me boggling. Regardless of what is happening internally in redistributing heat around the place – the only significant source of additional or reduced energy on a whole planet scale is the difference between incoming and outgoing energy in a period. 1st law of thermodynamics it is.

      You are letting the team down boys. You could at least try to get the basics right.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “So we have 2 more ideas that are utterly out of keeping with greenhouse gas theory.”
      What I have been describing just is the Plank response, which is at the core of the greenhouse warming theory and hardly out of keeping with it. And I noted that internal variability modulates this response because it has an independent effect (independent from the rate of energy gain in the whole climate system) on surface temperatures. There ought not to be anything remotely controversial here.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      “The supposed TOA is indistinguishable from a vacuum, by definition.”

      This sentence doesn’t make sense. The TOA is a power, measured in watts. A vaccuum is an entity, located somewhere.
      For some given forcing, if the Earth surface is cooler then it radiates less net power to space. If the TOA increases, because the forcing does, then the Earth gains energy until the surface has warmed enough for the power that goes out through the infrared window to neutralize the TOA (or until there would occurs some positive albedo change — which seems unlikely). This is dictated by the law of conservation of energy.

      Now let’s see if I can make head or tail of this. TOA is by definition at the top of the atmosphere where conduction and convection and energy is only of the radiated variety. So this makes it very simple. We have only radiated energy in and radiated energy out. So we can balance the budget at that actual location where there is only etc. etc.

      d(W&H)/dt = power in (J/s) – power out (J/s)

      IR emissions are almost proportionate to T^4 by Stefan-Boltzmann. This is the so-called Planck response. A warmer planet and the emissions increase exponentially and vice versa.

      Imagine that the rate of change – d(W&H)/dt is zero at some point – i.e. the planet is not warming or cooling. If the TOA radiant balance changes – power in increase or power out decreases – the planet will warm. This is the source of warming of the planet as a whole – of the coupled ocean/atmosphere/cryosphere/biosphere system that is the Earth climate system. The planet warms and tends (exponentially by the Planck response) towards energy equilibrium. Actual sustained energy equilibrium is quite unlikely as everything is changing all the time. Very dynamic.

      The top-of-atmosphere (TOA) Earth radiation budget (ERB) is determined from the difference between how much energy is absorbed and emitted by the planet. Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.

      http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

      Albedo seems to change substantially all the time – despite Pierre’s considered opinion that it is unlikely.

      e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=54

    • Chief Hydrologist

      … conduction and convection cease…

      And in that case you won’t object to some more formal and correct description of these fundamental concepts. Besides – you confuse the surface temperature with the whole planet energy content by trying to isolate internal variability and TOA imbalances in the same breath.

      It is not true either that internal variations don’t change cloud cover an therefore cloud radiative forcing.

    • Pierre Normand,

      So sorry. The Book of Warm led me to believe that TOA stands for Top Of Atmosphere. I apologise. You say:

      “The TOA is a power, measured in watts. A vaccuum is an entity, located somewhere.”

      I find it hard to believe that there is a TOA measured in watts. Perhaps you can point me to a definition of a TOA , supporting your assertion. I cannot.

      A vacuum would seem to me to be the absence of an entity. As far as I understand, a vacuum is what results when matter is absent. If you decide that a vacuum has an independent existence, then good for you! Maybe you can sell bottles of something that doesn’t exist. Possibly in concentrated form?

      You may care to define where this entity you call a vacuum exists.

      At the same time, you might care to tell me how many watts the TOA is. Or maybe not.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist | December 27, 2013 at 1:26 am |

      “The top of atmosphere imbalance regulates the rate of ocean warming.”
      —-
      No, no, no….and oh, did I mention…NO!

      TOA imbalance is a proxy measurement for energy retention in the Earth climate system, the majority of which is retained in the ocean. But in no way, and no physical possible way does the TOA imbalance “regulate” this rate of energy retention. It is simply a measure of the difference between energy in and energy out…not a physical regulatory mechanism.

      Take ten people who have basically the same understanding of physics of atmosphere and oceans. Ask them for the best way of characterizing in simple terms what’s the most fundamental phenomena in that. You are likely to get ten quite different proposals, some of them may first seem contradictory.

      On this site I have this problem very often with the way R.Gates wants to express things. I see him arguing strongly against the ways others describe the situation, while I think that those descriptions are as correct as any simplifying presentation, and while I consider them more natural than Gates’ way of describing the same physics.

      When we get to equations, or when we try to be very precise and comprehensive, then right and wrong start to be valid expressions, but when we discuss different ways of describing in simple terms the same physics, or when we pick from several essential subprocesses the one we consider the most fundamental, then we move to the area of legitimately different opinions, to matters of taste.

      What’s a natural picture and easy to understand approach for one may not be that for another even when both agree on the full physics. Trying to explain the correct physics from different angles and trying to see, why the explanations are consistent may be way of getting more and more people agree on the actual physics behind all these descriptions.

      Don’t say “Wrong!” unless you are discussing something that really leads to wrong conclusions. We have enough of those cases as well, in this subthread alone.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Albedo seems to change substantially all the time – despite Pierre’s considered opinion that it is unlikely.”
      I didn’t say that it is unlikely albedo would change at all. I said it’s unlikely the response to an increased forcing would be an abedo increase *instead of* and increase in surface temperature. The snow/ice albedo feedback is positive. The cloud albedo feedback might possibly be negative but still is a feedback and hence a response to a temperature increase and not just an alternate mechanism to restore TOA balance without surface warming. Also, if the albedo change could substitute to surface warming (or the cloud feedback be vary strongly negative) then it would be a mystery how Milankovitch forcing resulted in the large glacial/inter/glacial temperature changes that occurred in the past.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Mike Flynn, I originally wrote “The top of atmosphere imbalance” in my original explanation and then proceeded to write “TOA” instead of “TOA imbalance” as I should have. Apologies to the confusions this may have engendered.

    • David Springer

      Pierre-Normand | December 27, 2013 at 4:23 am |

      “I didn’t say that it is unlikely albedo would change at all. I said it’s unlikely the response to an increased forcing would be an abedo increase *instead of* and increase in surface temperature. The snow/ice albedo feedback is positive. The cloud albedo feedback might possibly be negative but still is a feedback and hence a response to a temperature increase and not just an alternate mechanism to restore TOA balance without surface warming.”

      You mistakenly conflate temperature increase with energy increase at the surface. There are two kinds of heat you must consider: sensible and insensible. When surface forcing increases it may go into either or both of sensible or insensible heat. Sensible, like the term implies, can be measured with a thermometer while insensible cannot be detected with a thermometer. Insensible, commonly called latent energy, is that which drives a phase change in H2O from liquid to vapor. It is exceedingly large. It takes enough energy to raise the temperature of a pound of water 1000 degrees F to change that same pound of water from liquid at 32F to vapor at 32F. It’s called latent heat of vaporization. This hidden energy is released as sensible energy upon condensation.

      Therefore a surface forcing of some number of Watts may go partially or completely into latent heat of vaporization which is then insensibly convected away from the surface until adiabatic cooling of the vapor causes it to condense and form a warm cloud. The cloud, aside from being a mechanism to efficiently and insensibly move excess energy from the surface to thousands of feet above the surface, also radically changes albedo. So the very act of insensibly removing heat from the ocean (where and over which most of the action takes place) throttles the amount of energy available to evaporate even more water. This is a strong negative feedback that kicks in with increasing strength as ocean temperature rises. In point of fact we can see it happen in the ice core record of previous interglacial cycles. When an interglacial period begins the atmosphere warms rapidly then hits a hard ceiling temperature which is essentially the same temperature on each and every interglacial epoch. It also happens to be the highest temperature achieved during the interglacial.

      The most recent interglacial was different. The melt was interrupted by an event called the Younger Dryas. This took the wind out of the meltdown sails and the thermal maximum, once the melting resumed, fell a few degrees short of the peak in previous interglacials. This spared the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) and thus sea level rise in the Holocene interglacial fell (so far) about 30 feet short of the maximum achieved in other interglacials.

      Now it is supposed by some (which I find to be substantial arguments) that “global warming” is simply a continuation of the interrupted Holocene meltdown and before another glacial epic can begin GIS must finish melting, the ocean must finish rising, and global average temperature rise by 3C to the maxima in other interglacial periods.

      Anyhow, whether the above paragraph is true or not, the ceiling temperature achieved during interglacial periods I strongly believe is set by negative feedback from clouds where the mechanism is the cloud changing the albedo and starving the ocean of shortwave energy from the sun. In effect clouds act like a thermostat to keep the ocean temperature relatively constant. This thermostat only works when the ocean surface is mostly liquid though so if events conspire to generate an excessive amount of sea ice then all bets are off and a glacial age takes over where again albedo is what drives it but this time it is a positive feedback where high albedo from snow/ice begets even more snow and ice until such time as it gets so cold and the atmosphere so dry that snowfall is no longer sufficient to maintain the glaciers and then another rapid melt begins. Later, rinse, and repeat. The tempo of the cycle of ice rule and then cloud rule is set by orbital mechanics called Milankovich cycles.

      That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Thanks for listening.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      ““No, no, no….and oh, did I mention…NO!”

      You are quibbling over the word “regulate”.

      ——-
      In this case yes. Regulate implies a very specific physical dynamic control. TOA does not control anything, but is a metric or proxy for measuring while other things are actually doing the control. Word choice matters greatly when trying to understand or describe the physical dynamics of a system.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “Don’t say “Wrong!” unless you are discussing something that really leads to wrong conclusions. We have enough of those cases as well, in this subthread alone.”
      —–
      Thinking that the TOA imbalance will “regulate” anything does lead to the wrong conclusions. It is just as bad as those (some scientists included) who keep saying the “extra heat from greenhouse warming is going into the oceans” which implies a physical dynamic that is against basic laws of thermodynamics. Both of these seemingly simple errors lead to seriously muddled thinking about the dynamics.

    • R. Gates,

      That’s your view of the meaning of the words or concepts. Don’t expect everyone share that view even when they agree on the actual physics.

      In the most strict interpretation, I don’t think that any single factor regulates the climate. Therefore the concept must be relaxed a bit, and when that’s done different people do it differently.

      It’s better to try to understand that different people have different mental models and use the words as they best fit their mental models. Arguing against that is productive only when the models are really wrong. Knowing whether the mental model of another person is strictly wrong requires first a good understanding of the whole model.

      I have seen also in “real life”, how counterproductive it is to fight only because people have different mental models or use words somewhat differently. Those fights are resolved only when someone gets both to realize that they didn’t disagree on anything substantive.

      Short net comments are even more prone to such misunderstandings.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “In the most strict interpretation, I don’t think that any single factor regulates the climate. Therefore the concept must be relaxed a bit, and when that’s done different people do it differently.”
      ——
      I agree to a point, and that point is where we relax things so much that we call something that it is not that makes a true difference in understanding. In a system, there are regulatory controls and there are gauges for measuring. Calling a gauge a regulatory control seems to be relaxing things a bit too much, just like calling a gas pedal a speedometer.

    • Rgates

      Elsewhere I responded to your comment about ‘my’ ozone hole guy not knowing about arctic winters. For your comfort, convenience and safety I have repeated it below;
      ——- ——– ——–

      I think you may have misunderstood what ‘my guy’ said about Arctic winters. He actually said this;

      ‘Since the cold Arctic winters are getting colder, it is important to understand its relation to climate change.’

      Ozone depletion is (partly) a consequence of very cold winter temperatures . An ‘ordinary’ arctic winter might not be cold enough to precipitate an ozone hole, but exceptionally cold ones might. The number of very cold arctic winters has increased (although ‘ordinary’ winters might be getting warmer)

      This relates back to my original point. If they started measuring the ozone hole during a warm period and found nothing, but a hole appeared once temperatures started dropping, it perhaps illustrates that holes have existed (when the conditions were right) PRIOR to the mid 1950′s when measurements were first taken.’

      tonyb

    • Net energy balance at TOA is not just an indicator, it’s a very real physical quantity. It’s exactly the total energy flow that determines, whether Earth is gaining or loosing energy. That’s perhaps the most real of all summary quantities.

      Even the total heat content of the Earth is less real, because it’s never what its name says, because it misses almost all of the full energy content including the interior of the Earth, and because that makes it’s definition imprecise.

    • RG,
      These “regulator” enthusiasts are fakes — especially the guys who say “The top of atmosphere imbalance regulates the rate of ocean warming.”

      If they were truly serious about demonstrating the controller or regulator aspects of the climate they would show some math. Even perhaps a control diagram showing the feedback loops of the system. As it is, they are just tossing off platitudes.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “If they were truly serious about demonstrating the controller or regulator aspects of the climate they would show some math. Even perhaps a control diagram showing the feedback loops of the system. As it is, they are just tossing off platitudes.”

      Yes, there certainly is some of that tossing going on, though I think some are just confused as well, and may even fall into the “anything but CO2″ crowd intentionally or unintentionally.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “Net energy balance at TOA is not just an indicator, it’s a very real physical quantity. It’s exactly the total energy flow that determines, whether Earth is gaining or loosing energy.”
      —-
      Muddled thinking Pekka. My speedometer goes up and down as I accelerate and decelerate, but it does not determine the rate of that acceleration or deceleration nor the speed at which I am traveling at any given instant. It is a gauge, not a control and does not “determine” anything, as in being a causal or regulatory factor.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: Matthew Marler, yes, IR radiation has a cooling effect, but convection from the surface keeps the atmosphere warm and enforces the lapse rate. Higher in the stratosphere above the convection, cooling is what you get. Increased downwelling IR adds to the solar energy on the plus side of the ocean budget, so it is like increased warming, and the ocean has to warm to return to equilibrium.

      I agree with all that, or most of that. But you have not answered my question: What is the mechanism by which increased downwelling IR from increased tropospheric CO2 can raise the temperature of the abyssal ocean without raising the temperature of either the surface or the troposphere?

      The claim has been made that increased CO2 is somehow raising ocean heat content, only in the deeps, but no mechanism by which that can happen has been described.

    • There is only one person who has proposed a mechanism that fully accounts for what is happening in both the oceans and the atmosphere in the 21st Century, and it is Peter Minnett.

      All the rest, at some point, have to deny direct observations of reality of reality in the 21st Century.

      Or:

      Ocean Heat Content 0 to 700 meters through September 2013

      The oceans warm in years when the atmosphere cools. The ocean warms in years when the atmosphere warms. The oceans are warming regardless. Basically the only time the oceans have not gained energy annually in the last decades is the 1998 El Nino and a few volcanic eruptions.

    • Matthew R Marler

      R Gates: My speedometer goes up and down as I accelerate and decelerate, but it does not determine the rate of that acceleration or deceleration nor the speed at which I am traveling at any given instant. It is a gauge, not a control and does not “determine” anything, as in being a causal or regulatory factor.

      That is only true if the driver completely ignores the speedometer; if the driver responds to the speedometer, then the speedometer is a link in the regulatory mechanism. More importantly, the TOA measurements are measurements of the flow of energy, whereas the speedometer measures the result of the energy flow, and is not a very good measure of energy flow because of the effects of wind speed, terrain, slope, transmission setting, air conditioner, windowsand such; it’s more like measuring a temperature series at a point in the climate system..

    • JCH, “There is only one person who has proposed a mechanism that fully accounts for what is happening in both the oceans and the atmosphere in the 21st Century, and it is Peter Minnett.”

      I think you should add J. R. Toggwieler to your list.

      http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/jrt0901.pdf

      Shifting of the westerly winds related to the shift in the Thermal Equator aka ITCZ changes the rate of energy transport to the poles and the ratio of energy transported to the respective poles. A northern hemisphere dominate thermal equator increases heat transport to the NH both in the atmosphere and the oceans since they are coupled via Ekman transport. You get a warmer NH with greater Arctic sea ice reduction and a cooling SH with increased Antarctic sea Ice. If the land distribution was symmetrical there would be no shifting of the thermal equator.

      The shift also changes the rate of ocean heat uptake. Ocean heat uptake can increase even with a cooling surface temperature since the shift of the surface winds change the location and efficiency of turbulent mixing near the surface impacting the rate of deep water formation which impact the deeper ocean while the surface can remain near constant or cool.

      Toggwieler works with the GFDL and is very well cited but generally ignored by the more vocal of the catastrophic warming proponents even with comments like CO2 impact pales in comparison to the potential impact of the shifting westerlies. Without figuring out the real range of natural variability, climate “sensitivity” is pretty much a useless concept along with “global” average temperature anomaly that neglects regional energy transfer.

      Modeling climate on a water world should have started with the water.

    • David Springer

      Pierre-Normand | December 27, 2013 at 4:23 am |

      Ha. I talked about latent heat of vaporization and gave the example as liquid at 32F to gas at 32F. Technically still correct at around 1000 BTU per pound but the action really happens at around 25C – 30C at the tropical ocean surface. Mibad.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “Modeling climate on a water world should have started with the water.”
      _____
      Yep. It is the dog that wags the atmospheric and climate tail.

    • David Springer

      captdallas 0.8 or less | December 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

      “Modeling climate on a water world should have started with the water.”

      There’s something that bears repeating. At least once. Maybe a hundred times on the blackboard for some people.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “The oceans warm in years when the atmosphere cools. The ocean warms in years when the atmosphere warms. The oceans are warming regardless. Basically the only time the oceans have not gained energy annually in the last decades is the 1998 El Nino and a few volcanic eruptions.”
      _____
      Yep. When the control valve (mainly noncondensing GH gases) is set to accumulate, the accumulate is what you do.

    • David Springer

      captdallas 0.8 or less | December 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

      “Modeling climate on a water world should have started with the water.”

      You get 70% of the surface accounted for through it, eh? And severe weather is mostly driven by the energy in water vapor. The only exception I can think offhand are sandstorms.

    • David Springer

      R.Gates

      You realize that in the big picture the atmosphere is heated by the condensing greenhouse gas, right? The atmosphere is heated by rain not CO2.

      http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/oceansandclimate.htm

      The ocean drives the atmospheric circulation by heating the atmosphere, mostly in the tropics.
      1.Most of the sunlight absorbed by earth is absorbed at the top of the tropical ocean. The atmosphere does not absorb much sunlight. It is too transparent. Think of a cold, sunny, winter day at your school. All day long, the sun shines on the outside, but the air stays cold. But if you wear a black coat outside and stand out of the wind, the sun will quickly warm up your coat. Sunlight passes through the air and warms the surface of the ocean, just as it warms the surface of your coat. Most of the ocean is a deep navy blue, almost black. It absorbs 98% of the solar radiation when the sun is high in the sky.

      2.The ocean loses heat by evaporation (the technical term is latent heat release). Think of this as the ocean sweating. Trade winds carry the evaporated water vapor to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone where it condenses as rain. Condensation releases the latent heat and warms the air. Warm air rises, further drawing in warm wet air, releasing more heat. Large areas of the tropical ocean get more than 3 m (115 inches) of rain each year (8 mm/day in the figure below). a. So much heat is released by rain in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone that it drives much of the atmospheric circulation. This circulation is called the Hadley circulation.
      b.Heat released by rain in higher latitudes drives storms and winds.
      c.Heat released by rain in hurricanes and thunderstorms drives these storms.

      Figures and illustrations and lots more important stuff to know at link above.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “You realize that in the big picture the atmosphere is heated by the condensing greenhouse gas, right? ”
      _____
      Latent heat flux from ocean to atmosphere is a major source of energy in the atmosphere, but not the only source. But as A. Lacis has well explained many times, here, and other places, the noncondensing GH gases, of which CO2 is the main one, really are the control mechanisms for energy staying in the system. If they were suddenly removed from the atmosphere, we’d go back to Ice Planet Earth in fairly short order as all the water vapor would be condensed out of the atmosphere. Hard for water vapor to warm the atmosphere when it is frozen into ice.

    • springer, “You get 70% of the surface accounted for through it, eh? ”

      About 70% of the surface and about 85% of the lower troposphere energy.

  34. Berényi Péter

    But this is true only where we have to deal with “phenomena of unorganized complexity,” in contrast to those “phenomena of organized complexity” with which we have to deal in the social sciences.

    JC comment: I like the framework of organized complexity, and would like to see it applied more to the problem of climate change.

    Organized complexity related to climate has a specific nature. As far as we know there are no information storage devices attached to the climate system, so any organized complexity we may observe should be an emergent phenomenon, created de novo as free energy makes its way through it. This gives us hope to find additional general constraints for the behavior of such systems.

    It is quite clear the terrestrial climate system is a heat engine that converts some of the incoming energy flux to mechanical motion, but heat engines can’t be understood correctly with no adequate picture of their entropy processes. Unfortunately climate is an irreproducible system, that is, microstates belonging to the same macrostate can evolve into different macrostates in a short time due to its chaotic nature. Therefore not even the usual definition of Jaynes entropy makes sense.

    It makes application of MEPP (Maximum Entropy Production Principle) and self-organized criticality fishy, although terrestrial albedo is clearly regulated in some way, which property is not captured by any theory current computational climate models are based on.

    I do not think much progress can be made with no general understanding of irreproducible quasi stationary nonequilibrium thermodynamic systems, to which class climate belongs to. However, this class has members that can fit happily into a lab setup and can be studied experimentally, so IMHO that’s the way forward.

    True, the hubris related to the flawed meme of the science being settled constitutes a grave obstacle to progress in this respect, however, it has to be overcome eventually in order to grasp the very physical principles underlying climate processes. Until such times no computational model makes sense whatsoever, but in a proper theoretical framework I hope much of the observed complexity could be captured in a simple conceptual model.

    • While microstates belonging to the same macrostate can evolve into different macrostates in a short time due to its chaotic nature those different macrosates are not so far from each other that it makes a tit’s worth of difference. Climate is controlled by such things as the first law setting up strong attractors. The butterfly can have a very microeffect, about a wingspan’s worth, dissipation is strong, but not much else.

      We are not so much interested in the properties of any individual macrostate, but rather that of the ensemble of macrostates clustered about the attractor and the evolution of the properties of that ensemble with time and forcings.

    • As far as we know there are no information storage devices attached to the climate system, so [...]

      Wouldn’t the size/depth/extent(/temperature) of the warm water pool in the Western Pacific constitute an “information storage device”?

      Just as an example. I’m sure even a casual search would find many more.

    • Peter, can I just say that as English is presumably not your first language, your writing in English is exceptional. Better than most natives. Hope you had a great Christmas!

    • BP is just spewing opinion. The perturbations of a degree or two in global temperature on top of the 3ooK global average temperature makes it conducive to first-order explorations about a potential energy well (a common strong attractor), apropos to what Elli is saying here and elsewhere.

    • Webster, “BP is just spewing opinion. The perturbations of a degree or two in global temperature on top of the 3ooK global average temperature makes it conducive to first-order explorations about a potential energy well (a common strong attractor), apropos to what Elli is saying here and elsewhere.”

      If you stay in a range close to 300K. Once you start moving 200K ranges at the poles you have shot your assumption in the ass. This is the area where C&W screwed the pooch kriging to the polar stratosphere. You have your current strongest attractor at 4C – 334 Wm-2 and response changes above and below that attractor. You have a second attractor at ~0C for obvious reasons.

    • Berényi Péter

      Eli Rabett | December 26, 2013 at 11:30 am |
      While microstates belonging to the same macrostate can evolve into different macrostates in a short time due to its chaotic nature those different macrosates are not so far from each other that it makes a tit’s worth of difference.

      Not so. It is a proven fact reproducible systems operate at a MEP point. However, we could easily raise rate of entropy production in the terrestrial climate system by lowering the albedo, because most of entropy production occurs when incoming shortwave radiation gets absorbed and thermalized.

      It is not what is observed though, Earth is not black. Its rather high albedo is mainly due to clouds, whose distribution may look like utterly complex and fractal-like, but it is strictly regulated, as annual average albedo of the two hemispheres is identical, in spite of the huge difference in their clear sky albedoes.

      This phenomenon alone is inexplicable in a reproducible approximation, so it is not a second order difference. Chaos does show up at the most fundamental level, not only in the details of dynamics governing climate.

    • Berényi Péter

      johanna | December 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      Peter, can I just say that as English is presumably not your first language, your writing in English is exceptional. Better than most natives.

      Of course not, thanks for the nice xmas compliment, Johanna. However, I can only hope to make myself understood, because some jumps to every possible occasion to pretend lack of comprehension.

      The message itself should be crystal clear. Computational models of high Kolmogorov complexity are useless until underlying physics is improved.

    • BP, within the lat 200 years people have changed the albedo of the earth with the European settlement of the Americas and Australia involving the introduction of large farms (and in Africa in the same time period). The warming of the Arctic, with reduced summer ice and northern movement of the tree line are also major perturbations of the albedo.

      if there is a flawed meme it is your and JC;s Sqt Schulz act that is throwing sand in people’s eyes

    • Berényi Péter

      Eli Rabett | December 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
      BP, within the lat 200 years people have changed the albedo of the earth with the European settlement of the Americas and Australia involving the introduction of large farms (and in Africa in the same time period). The warming of the Arctic, with reduced summer ice and northern movement of the tree line are also major perturbations of the albedo.

      Eli, you need not be overtly sloppy, I am talking about hard facts.

      Journal of Climate, Volume 26, Issue 2 (January 2013)
      doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00132.1
      The Observed Hemispheric Symmetry in Reflected Shortwave Irradiance
      Aiko Voigt, Bjorn Stevens, Jürgen Bader and Thorsten Mauritsen

      Check it yourself. Reflected shortwave radiation is measured by satellites, you can get data from NASA for free. Currently it is available from March 2000 to June 2013.

    • What, that we have altered the albedo of the surface by large scale farming and cutting down forests. Talk to Roger Pielke Sr. about that. Eli’s only difference with him on that point is degree. The land use forcing is not a large as he thinks. AR5 WGI has it as about 0.2 W/m^2 compared to a CO2 forcing of 1.7.

      More speculative in that regard would be an albedo forcing associated with the oil slick on the oceans, but that humans have contributed to the warming of the Arctic is not speculative for anyone but Sgt. Schultz.

    • Eli Rabbet, “What, that we have altered the albedo of the surface by large scale farming and cutting down forests. Talk to Roger Pielke Sr. about that. Eli’s only difference with him on that point is degree. The land use forcing is not a large as he thinks.”
      Radiant forcing with respect to albedo is not much but the hydrological and soil temperature impacts are more significant. That is one of the reasons that Sr. typical emphasizes specific heat capacity. There is also the carbon sink impact that is not all that well quantified.

    • @Eli Rabett…

      Like many of the socialists here, you’re confusing the surface with TOA.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “BP, within the lat 200 years people have changed the albedo of the earth with the European settlement of the Americas and Australia involving the introduction of large farms (and in Africa in the same time period). The warming of the Arctic, with reduced summer ice and northern movement of the tree line are also major perturbations of the albedo.”
      —-
      If you follow Ruddiman, you see that the anthropogenic effects on albedo and the climate may go much further back than 200 years:

      http://www.whoi.edu/pclift/Ruddiman.pdf

    • Berényi Péter

      Guys, now, that you have beaten the strawman senseless, which it was anyway to begin with, you may want to start addressing the real issue, that is, the remarkable match of albedoes between the two hemispheres at ToA (Top of Atmosphere) in spite of the Southern one being inherently darker due to abundance of oceans there and all the anthropogenic modification of surface during the last two centuries or more, predominantly hitting the Northern hemisphere, of course. While at it, you can also enlighten us why no computational climate model can reproduce this observation.

      I am waiting patiently until you regain your wits.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Peter, please clarify this:

      “…the remarkable match of albedoes between the two hemispheres at ToA (Top of Atmosphere) in spite of the Southern one being inherently darker due to abundance of oceans there…”
      ______
      The two most important features on the planet regarding OLW on a seasonal basis is the fluctuation of the ITCZ north and south and the great NH deserts of Northern Africa and the Middle East. Unlike the polar ice caps and Greenland ice sheet (which play a role in surface albedo) and mainly reflect SW solar right back into space, the great deserts in N. Africa and the Middle East convert some of that SW solar to LW solar, that is then measured as OLR and dominates the seasonal OLR measurements on the planet.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      I said:

      “the great deserts in N. Africa and the Middle East convert some of that SW solar to LW solar,..”

      ____
      Of course that is not correct. It should have read: “…convert some of the SW solar to LW radiation…”

    • Berényi Péter

      R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist | December 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm |

      Peter, please clarify this:

      “…the remarkable match of albedoes between the two hemispheres at ToA (Top of Atmosphere) in spite of the Southern one being inherently darker due to abundance of oceans there…”

      I will not. Read the paper specified above. As soon as it is done, come back with your questions, please.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Symmetrical albedo?

      Although I do think that reflection from surfaces is a bit overrated – it is about 7% of the total energy input.

    • Berényi Péter

      Chief Hydrologist | December 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      Symmetrical albedo?

      High Speed Weather — Satellite Infrared of the entire globe

      Yep. The video linked, however marvelous it is, has nothing to do with it though.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘We believe that any such mechanism must involve clouds because clouds are the largest contributor to planetary albedo (e.g., Ramanathan et al. 1989; Donohoe and
      Battisti 2011) and are required to level the observed 6Wm2 hemispheric difference in clear-sky reflected shortwave irradiance caused by hemispheric asymmetries in landmasses and aerosol loading.’

      Is this really a surprise? Do I have to spell it out? Obviously. And what have models to do with reality?

    • Berényi Péter

      Chief Hydrologist | December 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm |

      Is this really a surprise? Do I have to spell it out?

      Yes, it is and please do.

      Anyone who has studied physics knows symmetries, especially non trivial ones are of the utmost importance.

    • BP – thanks for the cloud/albedo/hemisphere paper. I hate to say it, but we REALLY don’t know clouds at all. Awesome!

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I thought I had spelt it out. Perhaps we need to take a step back from the original video I linked to.

      North/south symmetry in atmospheric processes (and therefore cloud) is just a fact of life – as anyone who has studied oceanography or hydrology understands. I have studied physics as well – at least to some and physics is overrated when it comes to the Earth sciences.

    • Chief, I believe that BP is more concerned with the northward shift of the ITCZ which compensates for the expansion of SH sea ice and reduction in NH sea ice along with the more tropical land albedo. This is basically the same as the Toggweiler shifting westerlies which can have a large >0.6 C impact on “global” surface temperature. With the northward shift the “thermal equator” is at roughly 10-15 degrees north instead of at the equator even with SH solar being the highest.

      One of the co-authors is Bjorn Stevens that wrote the rather scathing review of the K&T attempted Earth Energy Budgets. I even notice that there is a new paper discussed at science of doom on the “Atmospheric Window”. http://scienceofdoom.com/2013/02/02/kiehl-trenberth-and-the-atmospheric-window/

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Except that the reference ascribes it to cloud – as in the quote I provided.

      The ITCZ follows the Sun of course – with orbital eccentricity pushing the ‘thermal equator’ to the south. But it seems quite a minor issue when it comes to SW reflection. As does land albedo as I suggested earlier – and which does seems to be going in the other direction in recent decades.

      ‘In findings based on satellite observations, CSIRO, in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), found that this CO2 fertilisation correlated with an 11 per cent increase in foliage cover from 1982-2010 across parts of the arid areas studied in Australia, North America, the Middle East and Africa, according to CSIRO research scientist, Dr Randall Donohue…

      If elevated CO2 causes the water use of individual leaves to drop, plants in arid environments will respond by increasing their total numbers of leaves. These changes in leaf cover can be detected by satellite, particularly in deserts and savannas where the cover is less complete than in wet locations, according to Dr Donohue.’

      http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Deserts-greening-from-rising-CO2.aspx

    • R. Gates
      … please clarify this …..

      Berényi Péter
      I will not. Read the paper specified above. As soon as it is done, come back with your questions, please.

      A singularly useless approach, Berenyi. If you can’t give at least a taster of an answer, your argument will just fall by the wayside. “Go away and read xyz” may be good enough in academia, but doesn’t cut the mustard here. Here you need to be able to explain and justify yourself.

    • Berényi Péter

      captdallas 0.8 or less | December 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
      Chief, I believe that BP is more concerned with the northward shift of the ITCZ which compensates for the expansion of SH sea ice and reduction in NH sea ice along with the more tropical land albedo. This is basically the same as the Toggweiler shifting westerlies which can have a large >0.6 C impact on “global” surface temperature. With the northward shift the “thermal equator” is at roughly 10-15 degrees north instead of at the equator even with SH solar being the highest.

      First of all annual average of “SH solar” (or more accurately, average annual SH incoming solar radiation at ToA) is the same as that of NH, provided the solar constant is in fact unchanged. This is a property of Keplerian orbits, followed closely by Earth as it makes its journey around the Sun. In this epoch perihelion occurs in early January, pretty close to the winter solstice. Which means SH summer is inherently more sunny than the NH one. However, it is compensated for by NH summer (the interval between spring and fall equinoxes) being about a week longer. The match is exact if the year is divided into two (generally unequal) halves by any line in the plane of its orbit going through the center of the sun, specifically by the intersection of the orbital and equatorial planes.

      Together with the observation average reflected shortwave radiation flux is the same between hemispheres within measurement error, it implies absorbed and thermalized radiation is also the same. That is, thermal loading is symmetric. If outgoing thermal radiation would also be the same, it would imply no net heat transport whatsoever across the equator. However, the Northern hemisphere emits considerably more thermal radiation to space than the Southern one, exacerbated by the fact the average position of ITCZ is located north of the equator, meaning additional heat export from the Northern hemisphere, in this case by atmospheric flows across the equator though asymmetric Hadley cells. This imbalance is compensated for by northward oceanic heat transport, mainly in the Atlantic.

      Interannual fluctuations in average global reflected shortwave radiation are considerably larger than differences between the two hemispheres, while ocean surface, predominant in the South, is much darker as seen from space than any land surface.

      Therefore this weird symmetry in the midst of symmetry breaking processes is significant, indicates strict regulation of albedo. This property does not follow from basic physical constraints generally considered when implementing computational climate models, and indeed, it is not exhibited by them. Looks like a genuine emergent phenomenon it is.

      As far as I can see this is the first light at the end of tunnel, as such, should be pursued relentlessly. I think it is connected to the rate of entropy production in the climate system, which is dominated by absorption and thermalization of high color temperature shortwave radiation, a much larger temperature drop than in any other weather process. The conjecture is observed albedo effects are only secondary consequences of entropy production rates regulated by as yet unknown processes, most likely mediated by the water cycle in an utterly chaotic and pretty scale invariant manner, which can never be captured on a coarse grid used by current computational models.

      The first thing to understand is how irreproducibility of the climate system can keep rate of entropy production well below its theoretical maximum value, while maintaining it in a narrow range nevertheless. This is a general issue, our lack of comprehension spawning from the fact we have no theory of irreproducible quasi stationary nonequilibrium thermodynamic systems whatsoever, which is one of the last gaping holes in (semi)classical physics. However, I can see no reason it could not be addressed experimentally on other members of this wide class, that could fit into a lab setup.

  35. Curious George

    Names of sciences:
    Physics
    Chemistry
    Biology
    Geology
    Medicine
    Political Science
    Climate Science

    • Climate science is a subset of Geophysics.

    • Not so, Jim D, because some of the major processes are biological and chemical. The physics is overemphasized in my view.

    • Note to that as one of the primary inputs to climate models is emission scenarios there is also sociology, innovation theory and economics.

    • Climastrology is a subset of climate science. The former is settled, the latter ain’t.

    • Don Monfort,

      Climastrology. I like it!

      Cross your local climastrologist’s palm with Taxpayers’ silver, and he’ll read the future for you.

      “No warranty expressed or implied, just keep my funding flowing!”

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  36. Hayek is not talking about what we have with AGW, i.e., the purposeful and knowing manipulation of data. Additionally, we have specific information about a key element, an independent variable over which we have zero control, that nominally is the cause of all global warming and cooling –i.e., the Sun. With AGW we’re talking about scientific fraud not human ignorance by ‘official’ government-finders of truth.

  37. “And because the effects of these facts in any particular instance cannot be confirmed by quantitative evidence, they are simply disregarded by those sworn to admit only what they regard as scientific evidence: they thereupon happily proceed on the fiction that the factors which they can measure are the only ones that are relevant.”

    But the reality is that factors that we can measure are being disregarded, such as the solar wind.

    • Also ignored are the underlying political motives. No one can be unaware that global warming is a Left versus right issue. Should just being a Eurocommie be considered a legitimate physical forcing factor when arriving at a ‘scientific’ consensus of opinion about the effect of human-CO2 on global warming?

  38. Some people hope that theories of chaos or principles like Maximum Entropy Production could help essentially in understanding the Earth System and climate. I’m not optimistic on that. They may give some hints and they may explain qualitatively some phenomena. My view is, however, that the Earth System is a complex and unique system where such details as continents and depth profiles of oceans influence essentially the behavior. For such a system generic results are of relatively little value and only calculations that take are based on a full description of such details gives quantitatively interesting results.

    If my view is correct those more generic arguments will be obeyed by all good models as well as they are followed by the real Earth System, but they alone are not nearly sufficient for most purposes. This would mean also that there are no good alternatives for developing the models further. That development may include some major changes to the present models. Simply making the cells and time steps smaller may be a dead end. Some more fundamental changes in the way discretization is done might be valuable. Better understanding and description of cloud formation is surely one important field of study and model development.

    The above means that there would be some similarities with modeling other complex systems like economy, but as stated already by others, the Earth System will follow in the future the same laws of physics it follows now. The solution may change, the laws not.

    • You mean you don’t know why summer is warmer than winter? That, if you wish is the simplest first order model.

    • Of course not.

      I’m not discussing what to learn from basic energy balance considerations or comparable. What I was talking about is the idea like that we could shortcut the need of a GCM through the use of Maximum Entropy Production Principle, or that some generic results of chaos theory could tell quantitatively, how state shifts affect climate variability.

    • Pekka, ” I’m not optimistic on that.”

      I am not particularly optimistic that much of the initial GCM work will end up being of any use other than an example of what not to do. I mean really, having a 3 C degree spread in absolute temperature is not exactly confidence inspiring especially with the assumption that water vapor will track surface temperature which the models can’t accurately estimate.

      Then on top of that aerosols impact Tmax more strongly that Tmin initially with Tmin impact lagged with the SST impact that depends on the current status of the MOC and THC that the models cannot even get the proper direction of flow.

      There may be some first principals involved somewhere but they got lost in the simplification shuffle.

    • Eli has a point, that the seasonal changes essentially swamp any natural fluctuations.

      Furthermore, the likely resonance points between specific latitudinal seasons and orbital (i.e. luni-solar) cycles will likely also induce measurable temperature fluctuations.
      These are the constituent energy factors that go into the CSALT model. Note that the CO2 control knob still overrides any of these natural fluctuating factors

      The components include
      1. SOI from ENSO
      2. LOD stadium wave for long term
      3. Volcanic aerosols largely from VEI 5 and 6 events
      4. Atmospheric angular momentum capturing wind
      5. TSI for solar forcing
      6. Barycentric velocity of the sun favored by Scafetta
      7. The atmospheric CO2 concentration
      8. A small 2 year fluctuation detectable
      9. The 22y Hale cycle and associated harmonics
      10. The 11.86y Jupiter sidereal cycle mentioned by Scafetta
      11. The 18.03y Saros cycle and harmonic
      12. The 18.6y lunar standstill or Kola cycle and 1/3 harmonic
      13. The 8.85y lunar absidal

      Which leads to this fit between model and data.

      For explaining the main forcing, there is little else needed. For research, the less well understood aspects are the LOD stadium wave component, what actually drives the SOI and AAM, and the mechanisms in the harmonics. All the GCMs won’t help that much if in fact the forcings as identified are able to capture the temperature profile this well.

      Fun stuff, not boring.

    • I remain very intrigued by these possibilities:

      Some people hope that theories of chaos or principles like Maximum Entropy Production could help essentially in understanding the Earth System and climate.

      I think network approaches have potential for improving understanding and linking this all together without the full Earth System Model framework

    • I would not exclude phenomena that can be considered manifestations of some such factors, but what makes me skeptical of the practical value of that in quantitative analysis is basically the importance that I give on the features like the locations and shapes of continents and oceans. My intuition tells that the interconnection from local phenomena to global is made fundamentally complex by the geography.

      As an example the dynamics of ocean currents is likely to be important, but understanding ocean currents quantitatively without description of the complex boundary conditions seems unlikely to succeed, and taking the boundary conditions into account in any other way than through ocean circulation models seems to be a remote possibility.

      • This is why I think the network approach can work that can deal with spatio temporal chaos; e.g. the stadium wave approach (a very simple form of this) has geographical variations in the loci of activity as the key feature

    • “importance that I give on the features like the locations and shapes of continents and oceans.”

      Geospatial locations are temporally invariant on the time-scale we are talking about, obviously.

      That’s why using temperature anomalies work so well.

    • Judith,

      I see such network studies as an intermediary step between raw observations and that kind of quantitative understanding I had in mind. In that view network studies may reveal real phenomena, but not explain them.

      One practical problem is the signal to noise ratio. Are the signals that tell about network connections really strong enough, or is the noise such that it produces too often spurious signals on interconnections.

      Knowing more an the dynamic phenomena may be valuable for development of more realistic models. Various dissipative processes are one of the most difficult issues in modeling. The discretized model may have both excessive dissipation that originates in the numerical methods, and lack essential parts of the dissipative processes of the real Earth System. Even, if the overall level of dissipation happens to be right, it may influence wrong subprocesses.

    • Geospatial locations are temporally invariant on the time-scale we are talking about, obviously.

      Not necessarily. It’s a well-known feature of “chaotic” systems that the size of an effect doesn’t predict its importance. A single rock-slide on a mountain could well be as important as whether or not the whole mountain is present in the system.

      That’s why using temperature anomalies work so well.

      What they seem to work best for is blinding people to most of the possibilities inherent in the real system.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.

      I quote this from Wally Broecker frequently – it succinctly describes multiple climate equilibria – from the immensely respected ‘father’ of climate science. Wally Broecker famously described climate as a wild and angry beast at which we are poking sticks.

      The ‘chaos’ approach to predicting future tipping point revolves around understanding common properties of the broad class of complex dynamical systems – of which both climate and macro-economies are members. As an aside – macro-economies are the sum of human actions but the whole is much more than the parts and cannot be considered rational in any sense. It more resembles nerve impulses or brain function which can themselves be considered as chaotic systems with multiple feedbacks, multiple equilibria and tipping points.

      The multiple equilibria and abrupt transitions in the climate system described by Wally Broecker – strange attractors that result from emergent properties in the system – may be predictable using the diagnostic properties of deterministic chaotic systems. ‘Slowing down’ and ‘noisy bifurcation’ especially.

      e.g. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucess21/00%20Thompson2010%20off%20JS%20web.pdf

      Noisy bifurcations are more poetically dubbed dragon-kings in the Didier Sornette video and paper I linked to above.

      We develop the concept of “dragon-kings” corresponding to meaningful outliers, which are found to coexist with power laws in the distributions of event sizes under a broad range of conditions in a large variety of systems. These dragon-kings reveal the existence of mechanisms of self-organization that are not apparent otherwise from the distribution of their smaller siblings. We present a generic phase diagram to explain the generation of dragon-kings and document their presence in six different examples (distribution of city sizes, distribution of acoustic emissions associated with material failure, distribution of velocity increments in hydrodynamic turbulence, distribution of financial drawdowns, distribution of the energies of epileptic seizures in humans and in model animals, distribution of the earthquake energies). We emphasize the importance of understanding dragon-kings as being often associated with a neighborhood of what can be called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point. The presence of a phase transition is crucial to learn how to diagnose in advance the symptoms associated with a coming dragon-king. Didier Sornette

      The other approach to climate shifts is to use initialised atmospheric and ocean simulations to model strange attractors. It is of course possible to induce shifts in climate models – they are themselves deterministic chaotic systems – but in the prediction mode it is no more accurate than tossing a coin just yet.

      e.g. http://www.geomar.de/en/news/article/klimavorhersagen-ueber-mehrere-jahre-moeglich/

      Linking ideas of maximum entropy in a thermodynamically non-equilibrium system with chaos is misleading. One misses the extensive properties of climate that are the most significant aspects of climate change. The other provides clues as to the nature and cause of emergent properties – strange attractors – in climate.

      Btw – AMOC does appear to be slowing – and the origin of this change and the potential for further change – or indeed abrupt shifts – is on the cards.

      http://www.geomar.de/en/news/article/klimavorhersagen-ueber-mehrere-jahre-moeglich/

    • PP, more handwaving. Perhaps you might recall when GCM stood for General Circulation Model. Even the simpler early models captured the patterns of atmospheric circulation.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Finally, Lorenz’s theory of the atmosphere (and ocean) as a chaotic system raises fundamental, but unanswered questions about how much the uncertainties in climate-change projections can be reduced. In 1969, Lorenz [30] wrote: ‘Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer. We must therefore express the pertinent statistical properties of turbulent eddies as functions of the larger-scale motions. We do not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions exist’. Thirty years later, this problem remains unsolved, and may possibly be unsolvable.’

      http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

      Oh dear – Eli of the touching (or perhaps touched) faith.

    • We do not need a complete closed solution for useful purposes, as for example weather forcasting. The Drang nach Sgt. Scultzism here is quite amusing.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘ Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.long

      I quote Tim Palmer and Julia Slingo and now James McWilliams. Both papers propose approaches to the problem of irreducible imprecision – something still in it’s infancy.

      Of course – it is impossible to do justice to entire careers with a little quote – a footnote in the case of McWilliams. Of course some of us aspire to be a footnote in history – eh Eli?

      Here’s a quote that comes close to encapsulating the problem. Straight from Tim Palmer’s Lorenzian Meteorological Office.

      ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

  39. At first, I thought this might be yet another post on a tangential idea woven back to show how a seemingly unrelated idea from another field reflects badly on climate scientists (IPCC), again. Then it struck me that this post might be about showing how the Gaia hypothesis (with its posited self-interested organisms) links the complexity of Earth climate science together with that of the irrational human beings studied in economics.

  40. The global warming debate has changed from discovering a fiery horse- drawn chariot is not driven across the skies every day by Helios the Sun God to where we are now: a belief that Western school teachers cannot predict what the weather next year will be but they know what the climate will be in 2100.

    • “they know what the climate will be in 2100″

      Not only that, but they know Man with his Magic C02 will have made it that way, whatever the climate turns out to be.

      Andrew

    • @ Bad Andrew

      “Not only that, but they know Man with his Magic C02 will have made it that way, whatever the climate turns out to be.”

      And that it will be BAD. Or worse.

  41. The comments about economics “the dismal science” and climate science are interesting. Here’s an interesting take on the modern argument between followers of Adam Smith and those of Malthus. And in the spirit of Christmas, a discussion of Dickens taking sides in A Christmas Carol

    For the record, in my youth I read and completely accepted Ehrlich’s book, Population Bomb.

    I repent.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jerrybowyer/2012/12/24/malthus-and-scrooge-how-charles-dickens-put-holly-branch-through-the-heart-of-the-worst-economics-ever/2/

    • Charles Dickens lived during the LIA. From all we’ve learned about economics, where did it all come to an end? As a society the productive paid the bill for Western academia to create the GCMs that paint this amazing story about America being responsible for global warming. It cost us billions to pass this fiction off as the God’s truth. Nature, however, has been telling a different story for 10,000 years and has pretty much had the last say over the last seventeen years of no global warming whatsoever despite increased atmospheric CO2 levels.

    • Ron C: Thanks for pointing to a really interesting article. Dickens taking aim at Malthus with Scrooge. Great stuff.

  42. Jim D
    [we are] aware that the OHC is still rising consistent with AGW

    And I presume, the planet’s radiation budget.

    A good argument in principle, but are we really “aware” of this, or are some of us just pretending we are “aware” of it? Pretending the data is more robust than it actually is, pretending confidence and certainty is higher than it actually is)?

    • If the skeptics are questioning the rise of the OHC, they are being very ineffective at it, because no one has heard them. The Argo data shows a robust trend even accounting for the error limits. A complete discussion of the pause should include the OHC, and typically for skeptics it doesn’t, or maybe I just missed it and they do this all the time. Give an example if you can find it.

    • David Springer

      Correctamundo Gail!

      ARGO misses measuring the temperature of way over 50% of the ocean since it doesn’t dive under ice nor deeper than 2000 meters while the average depth of the global ocean is 4000 meters.

      Morever ARGO data initially showed the ocean cooling and when the primary researcher published that contrary finding his colleagues quickly ganged up on him to show him the error of his ways and the data then showed warming instead of cooling. When the data for change in OHC is so very close to zero then reasonable choices in data processing algorithms can swing the polarity of the change either way. Presumably the initial choices made by young Josh Willis and the ARGO instrument designers were unbiased but as soon senior scientists got wind of the contrary-to-the-consensus cooling they stepped in and made some different data processing choices to swing the polarity the other way.

      The sordid story straight from the horse’s mouth is right here:

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/

      The TOA energy imbalance is similarly balanced on a zero knife edge. Our satellites can’t even come close to 0.5W/m2 accuracy and precision in energy in vs. energy out. They lack the precision by an order of magnitude. Energy out is the problem as determining albedo all over the planet at once and at all times is simply impossible with current instruments. It changes too rapidly (clouds) outside the range of direct measurement (off to the sides of the satellite view).

      OHC change plus or minus and TOA energy in/out change plus or minus is a joke. It’s too close to zero and our instruments too crude. Period. End of story!

    • JimD:

      “The Argo data shows a robust trend even accounting for the error limits…”

      That sounds interesting, could you eleborate a little on that ?. I had a look at the ARGO page and there are thousands of these devices, they are quite accurate and have been running for many years. That is, the data should be very good and if it shows a trend, then it should be believable.

      However, even if the heat content is increasing, that doesn’t show that mankind is to blame, only that more heat is going into the oceans, which could be natural variations in solar input, for example ?…

      Chris

    • Skeptics also ignore sea level rise, another independent indicator of rise in OHC.

      If you are a skeptic the climate just doesn’t make any sense, which I think they want because it makes it easier for them to claim their astrology-cycle explanations are just as good.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      Yep, pretty sordid:

      “According to the float data on his computer screen, almost the entire Atlantic Ocean had gone cold. Unless you believe The Day After Tomorrow, Willis jokes, impossibly cold.

      “Oh, no,” he remembers saying.
      “What’s wrong?” his wife asked.
      “I think ocean cooling isn’t real.”
      _____

      And the ocean cooling wasn’t real, and was not much different than the famous embarassing error that Spencer made years ago with his satellite measurments showing cooling in the troposphere when it was actually warming.

    • “However, even if the heat content is increasing, that doesn’t show that mankind is to blame, only that more heat is going into the oceans, which could be natural variations in solar input, for example ?”

      There are loads of skeptics on record predicting the Sun is cooling the Earth. There’s no chance now of turning round and blaming the Sun for continued warming, that horse has bolted. I don’t know what other explanation they’ll be able to muster, maybe they’ll just have to finally admit it’s man doing the warming.

    • Chris Quayle, yes the increase of the ocean heat content only shows an imbalance in the earth’s top-of-atmosphere energy budget. Since Man has added about 2 W/m2 of forcing and global surface warming has only canceled half of that so far, AGW would say that is why there is an imbalance. Other ideas would also be welcome.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “Skeptics also ignore sea level rise, another independent indicator of rise in OHC.”
      ___
      Yep, and there are numerous forms of other proxy data in the ocean biosphere as well that show the warming all the way down to abyssal levels. But all this corroborating evidence falls on very deaf ears. The Uncertainty Monster can sometimes hold his big fat hands over your ears simply because you ask him to.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist

      “However, even if the heat content is increasing, that doesn’t show that mankind is to blame, only that more heat is going into the oceans, which could be natural variations in solar input, for example ?”
      ____
      This is great thinking, and fortunately we have pretty good data on what the solar SW has been into the ocean over the past 10 to 15 years. It’s declined a bit– mainly from increased natural aerosols from a modest uptick in global volcanic activity, but also from a somewhat sleepy sun giving a bit less solar output. So while the input to the oceans has decreased a bit, the output FROM the ocean has declined even more, still leading to a net increase in ocean heat content. Again, great thinking, but the actual data probably doesn’t please certain memeplexes.

    • R gates

      Your 2.18

      What are these ‘numerous forms of proxy data’ that show the warming goes all the wat to the bottom of the ocean?

      We have one imperfect paper from purkey et al. It’s Christmas so I don’t want to be unreasonable by holding you to ‘ numerous.’ ten independent forms of proxy data will do

      Tonyb

    • No paper is perfect, so you’ve said nothing.

    • Jch

      That is why we need ten papers and not just the one.

      Tonyb

    • David:

      “ARGO misses measuring the temperature of way over 50% of the ocean since it doesn’t dive under ice nor deeper than 2000 meters while the average depth of the global ocean is 4000 meters.”

      Argo floats don’t go under the ice, but common sense might suggest that temperatures under the ice would be slightly lower (how to calculate this ?) and have a longer time constant due to being shielded. They don’t reach the lower depths either, but there must be some law that relates depth to temperature gradient, so does this matter ?.

      For other inputs, what is known about ocean floor volcanos and the amount of heat introduced into the system by these ?. Finally, pushing my luck, just how does the heat get into the ocean in the first place, other than from solar input, volcanos and perhaps heating from the earth’s core ?. Even for single possibly useful parameter, the more you look at this stuff, the more dragons that appear.

      Really crap tv here in the uk. Endless wall to wall repeats and trash culture with neer a decent movie or documentary in sight. Even from the BBC, which we all have to pay for, like it or not. Hence a load of time on hands on Boxing day to browse the web. Thankfully, stuff like this is is much more absorbing anyway J…

      Chris

    • Chris

      I always think that our tv is much worse at Christmas. Most days I can find one or two interesting programmes but at Christmas there is very little of interest for anyone with an iq higher than a Brussels sprout. Still, on more 4 at 10 is ‘ is our weather getting worse’ and at 11.o5 is ‘worlds weirdest weather.’ both repeats of course. The answer to the first is ,no its not getting worse . Reading through hundreds of years of records at the met office I can confirm that we currently live in a very benign climatic period. Quite why warmists want to cool us back down by a degree and plunge us back into the little ice age is one of the worlds great mysteries.

      Tonyb

    • Tony, I’m totally with you on the TV :-(

    • I can’t quite tell if you want ten papers because it would do some good, I don’t think it would, or because they would make for more interesting TV. If so, your TV is really terrible.

      I have the most channels money can buy. On Christmas Eve we could not find a channel. So we rented a movie. About halfway through we were all asleep and could just as well have been watching this

    • Jch

      It was not that long ago that we only had four tv channels but invariably there was something good on each one at some point in the evening.

      I think quality programmes are far too stretched between too many channels compounded by the seeming desire for 24 hour tv.

      Bring back four channels operating from 4pm to midnight!

      What was that chart you Iinked to, it looked like a test card but not not i have ever seen before.

      Tonyb

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Tony,

      As much as you might find it convenient for me to be your errand boy for you and cut and paste research links to foraminifera, corals, and numerous other proxies they have for ocean temperature, I do have better things to do. However, since I like you (really), I did at least provide a Google Scholar link for you that has found some 17,000 results for research on proxy measurements for ocean heat content. I’m sure somewhere in that 17,000 you can find your 10:

      http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2009&q=PROXY+OCEAN+TEMPERATURE+MEASUREMENTS&hl=en&as_sdt=0,6

      And one paper in the 17,000 links peaked my interest based on other conversations we’d had. This one on the rapid onset of the LIA and its relationship to volcanic activity:

      http://nldr.library.ucar.edu/repository/assets/osgc/OSGC-000-000-010-465.pdf

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Related to the last paper I cited for Tony, others who have been following the LIA discussions related to volcanism versus sleepy sun/Maunder/Dalton might be interested in this quote from the paper:

      “A transient climate model simulation shows that explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times, and that cold summers can be maintained by sea-ice/ ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols are removed. Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg. The persistence of cold summers is best explained by conse- quent sea-ice/ocean feedbacks during a hemispheric summer insolation minimum; large changes in solar irradiance are not required.”

      Since this paper was published, high resolution ice core samples have confirmed the sulfate loading during this period. Yes, the 1257 AD mega volcano was the largest, but there was period of 50 years which saw increased volcanic activity and this cooling was reinforced by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks. Very interesting…

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I posted this on the next topic – but something is happening.

      Clouds change both the SW and IR components. There are large changes in TOA radiant flux related to changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation. Do I need to quote Loeb et al 2012 again?

      Here’s the CERES anomaly data.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed27_anom_TOA_Shortwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toJune-20131_zpsd3c5a965.png.html?sort=3&o=2

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed27_anom_TOA_Longwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toJune-2013_zps64e01a6c.png.html?sort=3&o=3

      Positive in both these is increased planetary energy loss. The significant trends are in shortwave. Changes in sulphate forcing has been estimated at 0.1 /m2 – insignificant in the scheme of things.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Can’t post three links anymore?

      The net of these should have the same sign and similar magnitude as ocean heat content. Give or take changes in TSI.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERESvARGO_zps9451b91b.png.html?sort=3&o=1

      It works for the early years of ARGO – given declining TSI and less reflected SW. The later years diverge – presumably related to the increase to the current peak of solar cycle 24.

    • Rgates

      I was joking,as you surely realised. I would have been quite happy with just nine papers, provided they were convincing…

      Ah, corals. The tree rings of the aqua world
      Tonyb

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Ocean cooling was a bit of an early AGO glitch – as indeed was the non warming in the 0-700m level for other reasons.

      I have postef these a number of times without any obvious understanding or acknowledgment from the usual suspects.

      First the Palle and Laken (2013) cloud chart. There are a couple of significant insights to be found in this – especially the 1998/2001 climate shift.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=52

      The Palle Earthshine results also capture this shift.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Earthshine-1.jpg.html?sort=3&o=84

      ‘Earthshine changes in albedo shown in blue, ISCCP-FD shown in black and CERES in red. A climatologically significant change before CERES followed by a long period of insignificant change.’

      It all suggests an energy peak late last century or early this century.

    • Gates, “A transient climate model simulation shows that explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times, and that cold summers can be maintained by sea-ice/ ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols are removed. ”

      In reference to that you can compare Tmin and Tmax for the NH, there is a noticeable difference in the initial volcanic forcing (Tmax) and the longer term OHC lagged forcing (Tmin). So if you try to estimate actual volcanic forcing using Tave you would underestimate the longer term ~ 15 year lag. That makes removing volcanic, ENSO and solar from “global” surface temperature a bit trickier than some seem to believe.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      That’s ARGO of course.

      A recent ocean heat anomaly paper (Lyman and Johnson 2013) shows a peak in ocean het in 2003 – although with totally inadequte coverage prior to ARGO.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/LymnaandJohnson2013OHCA_zps703732d0.png.html?sort=3&o=25

    • R gates

      Thanks for the interesting link to the paper on rapid lia cooling.

      Their glacier chart closely maches the one I produced and referenced to you some months ago. Also they acknowledge the length and extent of the mwp and consequently put the short modern warming period into its proper context. Good paper.

      Tonyb

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The most significant advance in temperature reconstruction of Kaufman et al

      http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/04/21/blogs/dotkaufman.html

      The most comprehensive evaluation of temperature change on Earth’s continents over the past 1,000 to 2,000 years indicates that a long-term cooling trend–caused by factors including fluctuations in the amount and distribution of heat from the sun, and increases in volcanic activity–ended late in the 19th century.

      http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=127658&org=NSF&from=news

      Yes we pretty much knew that – but the detail is impressive. Note the much lower temp in the LIA than both earlier and later periods – and the regional differences.

    • The Purkey and Johnson paper was awarded PMEL outstanding paper of 2009 and 2010.

    • jch

      Purkey et al were competing in a highly specialised and small pool

      http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/outstanding.shtml

      However, it is a good achievement of course

      tonyb

    • Chief Hydrologist

      So Lyman and Johnson (2013) should be pretty good?

    • Chief

      Here is a PDF of the paper in question.

      http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/OHCA_1950_2011_final.pdf

      No doubt it is good but it is based on very sparse information that gets sparser even by just stepping back a few decades.

      Tonyb

    • Purkey and Johnson – 2010 (award winning)

      Lyman and Johnson – 2013 (through 2011) (no warming in the upper ocean since 2004)

      Abraham and Lyman and Johnson – 2013 (through {I believe} 2012)

      And it is not going to get better the water chef when it’s through 2013, or 2014.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Thanks Tony – I have read the paper but I suspect that many other people don’t – and supply the link only when people whine about disembodied graphics.

      We have seen the alternative interpretation JCH. All the contradiction shows shows is the inadequacy of the pre-ARGO data.

      See ocean basin coverage here – http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/OceanHeatCoverage_zps6cb294af.png.html?sort=3&o=32

      We are on much firmer ground with energy and strange attractor considerations – and the pause is very much with us for another decade to three. As you as you may wriggle and cherry pick and laugh your arse off.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “It all suggests an energy peak late last century or early this century.”
      —-
      Yep. Increased aerosols and a slightly lower output from the sun will do just that. But combine that with a cool PDO that represents an even greater negative forcing on the troposphere and what do you get? The so-called “pause” even though the overall OHC and thus energy in the climate system continues to increase.

    • First a repeak, then a twopeak, then a threepeak, and so on and so on.

      The earth is accumulating energy.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Because of the resultant increase in anthropogenic sulfur emissions, there is a 0.06 W∕m2 (absolute) increase in their cooling effect since 2002 (Fig. 1). This increase partly reverses a period of declining sulfur emissions that had a warming effect of 0.19 W∕m2 between 1990 and 2002. http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/pnas-201102467.pdf

      TSI?

      Hark! An echo heard around the blogosphere. The pause – not that there is any such thing – is caused by – da da – sulphates and a lazy Sun. Non-quantified but it must be so as an article of faith – and those damned to hell and crimes against humanity trails skeptics refuse to see the eternal truth of the Antropocene.

      The big thing is actually the shift to a cooler Pacific in 1998/2001 and more cooling cloud – at least that’s what the data actually says. This is with us for another decade to three at least.

    • The Argo data shows a robust trend

      A real fact, or a political/pretend/Jim D one ?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      It seems real enough Gail – but it is so short a record and there are so many other factors involved that the implied attribution is nonsense.

    • lolwot
      There are loads of skeptics on record predicting the Sun is cooling the Earth.

      There are indeed various handfuls of skeptics with various views differing from each other. Daring to think for themselves. For a sheep like lolwot moving thoughtlessly with, and dependent on comfort from, the main flock, this must indeed be difficult to grasp.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The Sun is at a 100 year grand maxima – and TSI will decline. Potentially to a Dalton or Maunder minima this century – the effects amplified through the climate system – similar to the late 1600′s or early 1800′s.

      http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/sorce/data/tsi-data/#historical

      We presume – naughty of us – that there are other sources of potential coolth.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/26/seasonal-radiative-response/#comment-429508

    • Chief Hydrologist

      … whoops… 1000 year Grand Maxima…

    • David Springer

      R.Gates

      Funny you should mention Spencer. Remarkably enough Josh Willis initial finding of ocean cooling matches the timing of the ‘pause’ found in UAH satellite temperature series, RSS satellite series, HadCRUT, and all the others. I guess they’re all making more of those embarrassing mistakes too. When do you expect the pause to be “corrected”?

    • David Springer

      Chris Quayle | December 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm |

      ” Finally, pushing my luck, just how does the heat get into the ocean in the first place, other than from solar input, volcanos and perhaps heating from the earth’s core ?”

      You overlooked river runoff from the continents. Interestingly ARGO buoys, which don’t dive the continental shelves, would miss this source on the way in. In the spring when runoff is greatest from winter ice melt the river water entering the ocean is colder and denser thus it hugs the bottom until it reaches deep water with equal density. ARGO would thus observe ocean heat increasing at depth but never passing through the mixed layer.

      In fact that is exactly what ARGO has observed and everyone (except me it seems) is scratching their heads wondering how ARGO could see heat accumulating at depth without passing through the surface. Continental runoff in the spring that’s a bit warmer than it was in the pre-industrial era, natch. Anthropogenic warming from CO2 works as advertised over dry land and in the winter over the continents at high latitudes it is very dry until spring comes along and starts melting the ice and snow.

    • David Springer

      Chief Hydrologist re; grand maxima

      Queue Steven Mosher quoting Lief Svalgaard “there is no modern maximum”. According to Lief, solar blog physicist extraordinaire, sunspot counting the past is simply wrong. They overcounted in the second half of the twentieth century so there’s really nothing different there.

      I keep asking if sunspot counting methodology changed yet again in the year 2000 and hence there’s really no change in solar activity in the past decade. Otherwise, regardless of whether sunspots were overcounted from 1950-2000 compared to 1850-1950 there is still a very large drop in solar activity that occurred contemporaneously with the pause in tropospheric warming. Unfortunately I’ve been met with silence from Mosher each time I point out that the recent decline in solar activity must either be real or the people doing the counting are wrong yet again. LOL

    • David Springer

      Chief Hydrologist

      re; OHC sampling coverage

      Thanks for the link to the excellent study which shows the historical increase in areal coverage of different ocean layers. It is however underplayed in the paper that the sampling of the total ocean basin is still, even today, much less than 50% because ARGO dives to a maximum depth of 2000 meters while the average depth of the ocean is 4000 meters. Given half the ocean lies deeper than 4000 meters and we routinely sample only to 2000 meters in reality less than 25% of the global ocean’s volume has its temperature measured. Whether there are any surprises lurking in that other 75% or not is unknown. I’d guess there are plenty of surprises lurking down there. Heck it was just recently discovered that there are lakes of liquid CO2 at the bottom of the ocean. Below a mile deep (75% of the ocean IOW) is vast undiscovered country.

    • David:

      “You overlooked river runoff from the continents. Interestingly ARGO buoys…”

      Thanks. I had also failed to consider rainfall into the oceans, which would gather heat on it’s way down through the atmosphere. Don’t know how significant that would be, nor know how significant the river outflow contribution, but what this does show is just how difficult it must be to build up an accurate picture due to limitations in the data from all sources. However, using ocean heat content to justify something else is gigo without knowing all the contributing factors and their amplitudes.

      Perhaps a simple software change to the ARGO floats could fill in some of the gaps. For example: Sample temperature at say, 100 metre intervals as the float sinks, rather than at the limits. Memory is cheap. There would be more data across the sat link, but that could be compressed.

      I dug a bit more after the op and found quite a bit on undersea volcanics. For example, this discussion from 2012:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/do-underwater-volcanoes-have-an-effect-on-enso/

      I don’t see the connection between ocean heat and your last paragraph’s assertion about warming, but i’m still trying to build up a picture of the overall processes at work. Not easy to put hard numbers on even for ocean heat, never mind the overall climate system, which must be orders of magnitude more complex…

      Chris

  43. While I don’t agree with Hayek about everything, he was a great and incisive thinker, and thanks to Judith for this post. Like Weber, he understood the limitations of both science and sociology, while acknowledging the contributions that they could make.

    In another venue I have been arguing with people about the NSA metadata scans. Leaving aside the civil rights issues (which are significant, IMO), my point has been that they have been sold a pup by sleek IT salespeople. As Hayek says, you can’t glean useful information out of a chaotic system just by getting better or faster at crunching the numbers. You need a starting point.

    So, Google is pretty good at predicting your preferences, and there are fancy algorithms that do a fine job at mapping and predicting your shopping habits. But that’s just maths, very well executed.

    Real human behaviour, including economics and terrorism, is a different ball game. Climate is in the same category. It is possible to gather data and make short-term predictions which are often right, but that’s where it ends.

    • About Hegel’s philosophy, Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that it is: “. . . a colossal piece of mystification, which will yet provide posterity with an inexhaustible theme for laughter at our times, that it is a pseudo-philosophy paralyzing all mental powers, stifling all real thinking, and, by the most outrageous misuse of language, putting in its place the hollowest, most senseless, thoughtless, and, as is confirmed by its success, most stupefying verbiage. . . .” (wiki)

    • @ johanna

      “In another venue I have been arguing with people about the NSA metadata scans.”

      ALL electronic data these days is transmitted digitally. Phone meta data, phone conversations, faxes, email, tweets, twits, text messages, internet searches, internet views, phone location, bank transactions, medical records, ad infinitum.

      I can buy a 4TB backup from Costco for under $200. Guessing that the ‘metadata’ for a phone conversation is 1kb, max, that would be enough to store the metadata for 4e9 phone calls. Actual phone conversations proceed at 8kb/sec, so my little $200 system could store around 1.5e6 six minute phone calls.

      Never mind NSA HQ (or GCHQ or ASD) or all its other collection sites, each with thousands of TB of storage, just look at the new billion dollar plus Utah Data Center, with its 1.2 million square feet of floor space and a million dollar/month electric bill and please tell me that you don’t believe that it is only being used to store ‘metadata’.

      “As Hayek says, you can’t glean useful information out of a chaotic system just by getting better or faster at crunching the numbers. You need a starting point.”

      Define useful. Do you not think that the Obama administration would find every electronic transaction from, to, or about its political opponents to be ‘useful’ (see IRS activities)? And do you think that NSA cannot–or will not–provide them? As for a ‘starting point’, how about pointing a few super computers with performance beyond anything commercially available, even to Google, at a yottabyte or so of archived electronic transactions, provide them with the name, address, social security number, phone number, email address, bank account numbers (and the appropriate decryption algorithms), etc of your political opponents/potential future opponents, standing back, and seeing if anything ‘useful’ turns up.

      Nah, never happen.

    • Bob I suspect joanna is talking out of her ass WRT to metadata the same way she talks out of her ass WRT analytics.

    • Steven Mosher,

      How hypocrtitical of you to assert Johanna is talking out of her arse. What a joke you, who knows zilch about policy, trying to big note yourself by criticising Johanna on policy. The two people two people who contribute here that I would take most notice of about policy are Johanna and Faustino. If you don’t know what you don’t know, when to listen and when to just ask questions or shut up, you’re not as smart As you think you are.

    • Peter, I don’t see where policy comes into it: Mosh refers here to metadata and analytics. Not the most generous comment I’ve seen on CE I’ll grant you but hypocrisy as a result of going head-to-head on policy with an ‘expert’ in that (very wide) field I just don’t see.

      Your comment also made me wonder who my top five or ten posters here on policy would be. Answer: I don’t have a clue. Mileage as always varies.

    • David Springer

      @Peter Lang

      Mosher and Ludwick are correct in this case. You, on the other hand, almost never are.

    • Wow, Mosher’s raised-in-a-barn manners on show again.

      You and Bob have misconstrued my point. It is that analysing metadata of itself is meaningless, no matter how many fancy algorithms you apply. You need to know what you are looking for.

      Given all the controversy, if the NSA program had any significant successes to boast about, I rather think we would have heard about them by now. The silence has been deafening, and the failures have been in the news for all to see.

      The trouble is, targeted analysis does not require every single communication and transaction in the US to be monitored and analysed. That’s what I mean by the NSA having been (like many other organisations) been sold yet another overpromised system by slick IT vendors.

      Having been a purchaser of IT systems in a previous life, I learned to treat their claims with at least as much scepticism as those of “the Team.”

    • @ Johanna (again)

      “You and Bob have misconstrued my point. It is that analysing metadata of itself is meaningless, no matter how many fancy algorithms you apply. You need to know what you are looking for.”

      Hi Johanna,

      Actually, I didn’t misconstrue your point at all and don’t disagree with anything you said in either of your posts.

      My point was that with NSA, with the cooperation of all major carriers, now having the ability to monitor–and ARCHIVE–essentially ALL electronic traffic, metadata AND content, and with the US bureaucracy (intel agencies included) and judicial system having evolved into an arm of the DNC no matter which party is nominally ‘in power’, the ‘usefulness’ of SIGINT has evolved far beyond the old, traditional traffic analysis where you indeed need to have a pretty good idea what you are looking for. As a political juggernaut whose Patron Saint is apparently Saul Alinsky, they DEFINITELY know what they are looking for. And have the entire bureaucratic might of the US government, including NSA, doing the looking. The recently revealed ability to PLANT info on any computer hooked to the net, supported by a staff of at least a thousand, is just a plus.

    • I agree with what I think you’re saying here Johanna. I have often said that there is a segment of our population that is data-entranced, or if you like, data-processing ability entranced. They love centralizing and they love big data. Grasping onto a lot of data points is not the same as knowing what they mean together. Sometimes not only do you not know more, but you can be materially misled into doing worse and more stupid things that you would have done had you known nothing.

      Thinking that just because you are collecting more data, and have the ability to crunch it, that you are making the world a better place – automatically is…

      a fatal conceit. (See how I did that?)

  44. Hayek’s Nobel lecture should, of course, be read in its historical context. This was 1974, and the “physics” approach to economics was riding high, with Tinbergen, Samuelson and Koopmans in the vanguard. Hayek preferred a different method (but was ultimately sidelined).

    Judith is correct that climate science and economics have much in common. Both are historical sciences; there is one experiment only, which is uncontrolled and progresses at its own pace. Both systems are complex; reasoning from first principles will get you only so far.

    That said, economists and climate scientists tend to take very different approach to similar problems.

    • An important difference between economics and climate is reflexivity, specifically in reference to efforts at control.

    • AK and Richard Tol,

      Thanks for the link. Excerpt:

      Reflexivity asserts that prices do in fact influence the fundamentals and that these newly-influenced set of fundamentals then proceed to change expectations, thus influencing prices; the process continues in a self-reinforcing pattern. Because the pattern is self-reinforcing, markets tend towards disequilibrium. Sooner or later they reach a point where the sentiment is reversed and negative expectations become self-reinforcing in the downward direction, thereby explaining the familiar pattern of boom and bust cycles.

      Is there a parallel with climate? I am thinking of tipping points and the glacial-interglacial cycles. William Nordhaus has an interesting discussion on these and the economic analyses of them in his recent book “The Climate Casino“.

    • Positive feedback.

    • People who imagine runaway feedback in the climate system are certainly imagining what I see called “reflexivity” on Wikipedia, that is “A reflexive relationship is bidirectional with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a situation that does not render both functions causes and effects.”

      Also, in economics we normally call this simultaneity, and it has been a central preoccupation in econometric thinking at least since the early days of the Cowles Commission researchers in the 1940s (most non-economists have never heard of these people). The issue of potentially explosive non-equilibrium cycles has been around in microeconomics at least since the “cobweb model” appeared in the 1930s, and there has been experimental research on those. Even Samuelson was well aware that plenty of equilibria couldn’t be stable without extra assumptions, and his “correspondence principle” was a theorist’s way of exploiting that fact to be able to characterize stable equilibria.

      To me, reflexivity is the property of the weak preference binary relation P, that xPx (that x is at least as good as x), one of those stupid-sounding technical assumptions you need to get any sort of preference measurement off the ground. This is the first time I’ve ever heard the word “reflexivity” used in this way, but then again George Soros can buy any words he wants.

    • Golly, how could I overlook Edgeworth’s 1925 classic response to Bertrand. Hence the Edgeworth price cycle, and Edgeworth’s assertion that no equilibrium would exist. We had to wait for Nash to straighten that out.

    • … the first time I’ve ever heard the word “reflexivity” used in this way, but then again George Soros can buy any words he wants.

      Ha. Thanks for an unbought historical perspective.

    • NW,

      Thank you for your comment. I am not sure if it was intended as an answer to my question. I was not intending to suggest unlimited runaway warming, but rather the climate cycles that, once initiated, accelerate and continue to an upper or lower limit. The glacial-interglacial cycles on 41,000 and 100,000 year periods are one example. The 900 year cycles shown by the Roman, Middle Ages and recent warm periods are another. And the ‘stadium waves’ are others. The very rapid warmings from glacial temperatures to near current temperatures in 7 and 9 years (14,500 and 11,500 years ago) in Greenland, Iceland and Ireland are excellent examples of the rapid climate changes that occured since the last glaciatial maxumum. Such rapid changes could not have been caused by changes in global CO2 concentrations in such a short time. Something initiated them. They accelerated and continued until the new relatively ‘stable’ state. So my question was about whether or not this should be considered a sort of parallel with the economics as Russ Roberts and Richard Tol were suggesting.

    • Rapid warming from glacial temperatures to near current temperatures in 7 years and 9 years, 14,700 and 11,600 years ago (Figure 15:21 here: http://eprints.nuim.ie/1983/1/McCarron.pdf )

    • Peter, I was more responding to AK, because it appeared to me that co2 begets temp begets clathrates begets temp etc. would fit the Wikipedia definition of reflexivity. Of course your point is well taken and all these processes have to be bounded by something, at some time. Mainly, I wanted to make the point that as far as I can tell, there is much that is good in George Soros’ economic thought and, on the other hand, there is much that is new.

    • Reflexivity is not the most common or clearest term.

      Unlike the climate system, the economic system is self-aware. That is, as soon as we discover a “law of economics”, economic agents use that to their advantage to change that very law.

      Clouds, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about what we find out about them.

      Economic research is therefore subject to “Lucas uncertainty”: You cannot observe a law without changing it.

      Lucas uncertainty is quite a bit more awkward than Heisenberg uncertainty.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I’m not sure that laws mean very much when the markets are bursting with animal spirits. There is only programmed trading and lemmings tumbling of the cliff.

    • Thank you NW and Richard Tol.

    • @NW…I wasn’t suggesting that reflexivity of some sort doesn’t exist in the climate system, that’s why I added the qualifier. But the fact that the agents of “control” in the economic system are in an identical class to the agents of activity makes it different. At least for purposes of deliberate human control.

  45. It is not pretence of knowledge that is of concern, it has always existed, in past, as will in future the true scientific endeavour has shown it for what it is.
    Scientists need to be more courageous in stepping out of their comfort zone and deal with known unknowns, here is my short illustrated list of examples:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Known-unknowns.htm

  46. David Springer

    Bart R | December 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply

    I’d continue my deconstruction, but as Hayek may have recognized about the physical sciences, it is sufficient to cite the first error to stop.

    All the rest is a waste of time to read.

    I quite agree. Given a pause of 17 years and climate models mistakenly predicting 0.2C/decade temp increase during that time further talk about global warming is just a waste of time.

    • GISTEMP shows a trend of 0.104C +- 0.111C/decade over the last 17 years.

      You might notice that 0.2C/decade fits inside that range.

    • “You might notice that 0.2C/decade fits inside that range.”

      So does zero/decade. And your point?

    • Real simple. The pause is going paws up.

      Dead enders should do what they do best. Go down for the cause.

    • Bob,

      Bob says Lolwot says you can’t tell between the two.

      the inconclusiveness of short time periods is telling.

      Longer periods lead to the warming conculsion.

    • @ Bob Droege

      “Longer periods lead to the warming conculsion.”

      Define ‘longer period’.

      As a non-scientist who gets his ‘climate change’ information by reading commentary and looking at graphs on web sites such as Dr. Curry’s, it seems apparent to me (though possibly in error) that the actual slope of the TOE trend line depends almost entirely on the choice of start/stop times. The ‘warmists’ like to start at some time like the ‘Little Ice Age’ or, more recently, the mid-70′s, when Catastrophic Global Cooling was all the rage, while the ‘commie-progressive plotists’ (like me) like to choose a start time at the peak of the MWP, or some such. Having the Climate Experts repeatedly adjust the instrumental records to move old temps down and/or new temps up doesn’t do much to improve my confidence in the ‘long term warming conclusion’, either.

      The other fact (opinion?) that drives much of my opinion about CAGW/Climate Scientists is that as near as I can determine climate has changed continuously throughout recorded history, absent any arguable ACO2 signature. Over that time it has remained stable, plus or minus a few degrees The current climate (TOE) is well within the bounds of recorded historical extremes and therefore doesn’t seem to pose much of a problem requiring ‘climate change policies’. Yet the experts insist that not only is it a problem, it is an existential problem, and it is all OUR fault.

      As a consequence, when someone (almost exclusively progressive) tells me that we face catastrophe if we do not drastically curtail ACO2, which, except for ex cathedra pronouncements from the Climate Science hierarchy, has had no measurable effect on climate, and proposes (DEMANDS) ‘solutions’ which are for all practical purposes identical to their proposed solution to every other ongoing problem (again, almost exclusively identified by progressives)–more taxes, more (progressive) government control of more aspects of our lives, and less personal autonomy, my suspicions are raised.

      It also doesn’t help when they provide zero evidence that their ‘solutions’ will have any measurable efficacy in ‘solving’ the problem and ‘Alinsky’ anyone who suggests that they should.

  47. Pingback: Hayek On Climate Science | Transterrestrial Musings

  48. David Springer | December 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

    In your case, I stopped at the word ‘pause’, which of course is an error, as Cowtan and Way clearly demonstrate.

    Say, speaking of competent studies relevant to dispelling pretended knowledge, http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/other-reports-on-climate-change/2013-2/abrupt-impacts-of-climate-change/ seems to more properly frame what Hayek was talking about than most of the references cited in this topic.

    Well worth a topic of its own.

  49. Dr. Curry ==> Love your ability to read across fields of knowledge and see the broader implications for your own field. I think your analysis has the potential to turn out to be found to have been spot on — years from now, when all the squabbling is done and the hard reconciling part of the science is done (like that done recently on multi-vitamin supplements in the medical field).

    Stay the course — Dr. Curry. In my book, you’re on the right heading.

  50. I enjoyed the article and noticed the denizens were pretty serious in discussing this. I did as take it serious as well and got plenty of reflection out of it. That being said I couldn’t help but to laugh at the final highlighted section of the last paragraph. It may well be very prescient or at least constructive. However the reason it made me laugh is that it reminded me of the movie ‘Being There’ with Peter Sellers.

    Here is a section from the script:

    President “Bobby”: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
    [Long pause]
    Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
    President “Bobby”: In the garden.
    Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
    President “Bobby”: Spring and summer.
    Chance the Gardener: Yes.
    President “Bobby”: Then fall and winter.
    Chance the Gardener: Yes.
    Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we’re upset by the seasons of our economy.
    Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
    Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
    Chance the Gardener: Hmm!
    President “Bobby”: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I’ve heard in a very, very long time.
    [Benjamin Rand applauds]
    President “Bobby”: I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

    If you haven’t seen the movie and want a good laugh you might want to watch it. Then that last section of this blog should become funny to you as well.

    • Yes, good movie. While Chance really was only talking about gardening, others were interpreting a wisdom into his sparse simple phrases. We see a lot of that kind of interpretation from one subject to another here. Reading selectively from one topic to support your own view in another.

    • Excellent. Didja ever notice that whenever the economy is down, the government does something and it improves? Whereas, when the economy is up, the government does nothing and it gets worse?

      • Yes but I always wondered about lag time as far as cure. Is the economy recovering (finally) due to the previous inaction and is the economy faltering due to the previous prescribed cures? CO2 lagging temperature also comes to mind.

      • Ordvic, actually my tongue was firmly in cheek. I was thinking about regression to the mean.

      • Oh, I kind thought that from what I’ve read from you previously. I believe Jim D was responding to you as well.

    • I guess that is a gardening analogy, but I can’t see how to stretch it to climate.

    • the climate analogy is the wasserstein metric ie the constant distance in the two holes in the garden despite an increase in the tithe by the earthmovers and an increase in the movement of earth.

    • Governments are the weeds; they need constant pruning, occasionally poison, or violent revolution of the earth, or they take over.
      =================

    • Or, CO2 is the fertilizer. Too much and it kills instead.

  51. F. A. Hayek’s worldview applies to a number of energy issues (in addition to being instructive, somewhat surprisingly, to the physical science climate debate). Here are some applications: http://www.masterresource.org/category/hayek-f-a/

  52. Yes, Jim D’s notion that you can add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere without it warming is a real boat-rocker. Is he a skeptic or what !?

  53. David Springer

    NW | December 27, 2013 at 12:06 am |

    Excellent. Didja ever notice that whenever the economy is down, the government does something and it improves? Whereas, when the economy is up, the government does nothing and it gets worse?

    I never noticed the government not doing something in either case.

    What I did notice was that when the economy is down oil price is up and vice versa. It’s almost like economic activity is throttled by the price of it and some like cartel or something is like violating international trade laws to control the price and our government does like nothing to stop this illegal collusion.

  54. What I did notice was that when the economy is down oil price is up and vice versa.

    The food price index jumped 25% in the wake of the GFC They reinvest in the commodities market.

  55. Chief Hydrologist

    Springer – you are not currently personally abusing me – so I will deign to answer.

    I vaguely recall the discussion on sunspot counts – which go back 400 years since the invention of the telescope. This is one of the great scientific achievements of the enlightenment. An army of patient toilers in the vineyard of knowledge over centuries.

    You have seen the ‘official’ reconstruction over that 400 years.

    Cosmogenic isotopes give another and longer record.

    e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cosmogenicisotopes-1.gif.html?sort=3&o=153

    http://www.iceandclimate.nbi.ku.dk/research/past_atmos/cosmogenic_isotopes/

    • David Springer

      Yes, I also pointed out to Mosher that the historic record of sunspot counts is corroborated by isotope proxies. One of the carbon isotopes, if I recall correctly is, generated high in the atmosphere by collision with high energy cosmic ray particles which are throttled, more or less, by the strength of the solar magnetic field. Sunspot count is a proxy for solar magnetic field strength.

      re personal abuse; it is my policy to give back what I receive. You’ve made an effort to stop using terms like Jabberwock and dickwad directed at me so I’ve made an effort to act in kind. It’s not complicated.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Oh dear. You seem frequently in out moderation – you are aggressive and abusive – and you are self opinionated. To be fair I didn’t call you a dickwad – just said that you had the smartest dickwad in the room syndrome. It was Pratt who called you Davewad. You were being quite insulting to him at the time I recall – and Vaughan old buddy is a very mild mannered academic only slightly acerbic and usually in good humour. Vaughan actually went to school in Sydney – a stones throw and a world away from the mean streets I grew up in. A stret fightin’ boy from the slums of Sydney – never backs down but I ma working on it.

      Jabberwock is of course a literary allusion. Still quite funny I think.

      Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
      All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

      “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
      Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

      He took his vorpal sword in hand:
      Long time the manxome foe he sought –
      So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
      And stood awhile in thought.

      And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
      Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came! ”

      Lewis Carroll

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Excuse the spellin mistooks – I claim to be lexicographically challenged.

  56. Tony B said:
    This relates back to my original point. If they started measuring the ozone hole during a warm period and found nothing, but a hole appeared once temperatures started dropping, it perhaps illustrates that holes have existed (when the conditions were right) PRIOR to the mid 1950′s when measurements were first taken.’

    I would suggest that the Arctic warming/cooling has not much to do with the ozone hole, and it is all to do with inflow of the warmer/cooler N. Atlantic currents, with temperature anomaly known as the AMO.
    What makes the AMO oscillate?
    There is a strong correlation of the AMO to the decadal tectonics events in the N. A.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/AMO-NAT.htm

    however, proving causal link is another matter.

  57. The nesting has got s little long, so let me bring this out as a new part.
    @@@@@
    R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist | December 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm |

    But as A. Lacis has well explained many times, here, and other places, the noncondensing GH gases, of which CO2 is the main one, really are the control mechanisms for energy staying in the system. If they were suddenly removed from the atmosphere, we’d go back to Ice Planet Earth in fairly short order as all the water vapor would be condensed out of the atmosphere. Hard for water vapor to warm the atmosphere when it is frozen into ice.
    @@@@@

    Yes and no. The fact that if all the CO2 were to be removed from the atmosphere, we would return to an ice age, does not mean that CO2 is currently the main green house gas. This appears to assume that the climate sensitivity of CO2 does not vary with the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. If some form of saturation takes place, it could be that at low concentrations, CO2 has a significant effect. But at current concentrations, the effect could be insignificant. So, there is no evidence that CO2 is, currently, the main greenhouse gas. The fact that no CO2 signal has been measured in either a modern temperature/time graph, or OHC/time graph, indicates that, at current concentrations CO2 is an insignificant greenhouse gas.

    • The saturation argument went the way of the dodo bird Jim when Operations Research guys in the US Airforce had to study the effects of C02 at high altitude.

      Nobody argues C02 is the main GHG. water vapor is. Thats what the science says.

      And its effect can be seen and measured in temperature graphs.

    • CO2 is the pilot light for the main greenhouse gas, water vapor. CO2 keeps the atmosphere and land warm since it won’t condense and become inoperative.

    • Nobody argues C02 is the main GHG. water vapor is. Thats what the science says.
      And its effect can be seen and measured in temperature graphs.

      What are your expectations,ie would RH increase/decrease under forcing?

    • Steven, you write “And its effect can be seen and measured in temperature graphs.”

      Fair enough. Where are the references which detail the measured signal of CO2 in modern temperature/time graphs, or OHC/time graphs?

    • Jim

      You can readily see the dramatic effects of rapidly rising co2 here

      Or perhaps you can’t…..our anomaly is now down to 0.3c

      Tonyb

    • Tony, you write “Or perhaps you can’t…..”

      No, I can’t. It is not there. My point is that the warmists claim that adding CO2 to the atmosphere has a significant effect on temperature or OHC. If this is true, then there ought to be a measured signal in a modern graph by this time. I keep getting remarks from Steven Mosher that measured signals are there, but he never comes up with a reference of an actual measured value for the CO2 signal. My guess is he wont this time. It will be interesting to see how he tries to weasel out of not producing a reference.

    • Jim

      If you can’t see the effect in a record stretching back nearly 500 years , during which extremes at both ends of the temperature scale have been experienced, it does beggar the question as to whether co2 stops having a noticeable effect after say 280ppm.

      Tonyb

    • I agree Tony. When it comes to CAGW “something is rotten in the state of Demark ” Shakespeare.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The observed global-warming rate has been nonuniform, and the
      cause of each episode of slowing in the expected warming rte is the
      subject of intense debate. To explain this, nonrecurrent events have
      commonly been invoked for each episode separately. After reviewing
      evidence in both the latest global data (HadCRUT4) and the longest
      instrumental record, Central England Temperature, a revised picture
      is emerging that gives a consistent attribution for each multidecadal
      episode of warming and cooling in recent history, and suggests that
      the anthropogenic global warming trends might have been overestimated by a factor of two in the second half of the 20th century. A recurrent multidecadal oscillation is found to extend to the preindustrial era in the 353-y Central England Temperature and is likely an internal variability related to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), possibly caused by the thermohaline circulation variability. The perspective of a long record helps in quantifying the contribution from internal variability, especially one with a period so long that it is often confused with secular trends in shorter records. Solar contribution is found to be minimal for the second half of the 20th century and less than 10% for the first half. The underlying net anthropogenic warming rate in the industrial era is found to have been steady since 1910 at 0.07–0.08 °C/decade, with superimposed AMO-re-
      lated ups and downs that included the early 20th century warming, the cooling of the 1960s and 1970s, the accelerated warming of the 1980s and 1990s, and the recent slowing of the warming rates. Quantitatively, the recurrent multidecadal internal variability, often underestimated in attribution studies, accounts for 40% of the observed recent 50-y warming trend.

      Ka-Kit Tung and Jiansong Zhou (2012), Using data to attribute episodes of warming and cooling in instrumental records.

      I am virtually (>99%) certain that they have underestimated natural variability. But the fact remains that the rational hypothesis (from first principles) is that there is a greenhouse effect and it should be discernible. Not from such as webby’s nonsense – but perhaps the above is closer to the mark. It at least provides a rational starting point – and uses the CET. Tony should be happy. This would allow the rest of us to get onto something more interesting.

      No arguments will be entered into about someone’s pet peeve – although I reserve to mock with acerbic wit – assuming I can manage it at the time and that the denizens have the wits to appreciate it if I did. Both seem at long odds.

    • Chief

      Thanks for that. Here is CET graphed against paleo proxies.

      There has been a dramatic drop in temperatures over the last decade. So I wouldn’t call that a ‘Slowing in the warming rates’ I’d call it a fall, or aren’t we allowed to use that word?

      Now if I can jus copyright CET and charge a royalty each time it is used we can, as you say, move on and I WILL be happy
      Tonyb

    • Chief, you write “I am virtually (>99%) certain that they have underestimated natural variability.”

      I think you are being too kind to the warmists. As I read the IPCC reports, the claim is that there are two types of natural variability. The first is a forcing, and the only forcing is a small change in the solar constant, which has a negligible effect. I doubt that this is true, but I cannot prove that it is not. The second is noise, which averages out to zero, and so cannot hide the CO2 signal. The latter is just plain nonsense. The noise only averages out to zero, if the period of the noise oscillations are short with respect to the integration time over which a signal is being measured. Since the PDO has a period of 60 years, and there are longer periods for known natural variations, this idea that noise averages to zero is clearly untrue, on the timescales that we are dealing with.

    • Jim Cripwell.

      Its easy to see the signal.

      Just take the temperature. use the whole globe. if you just use a single location you’ll learn nothing. Again. A single location like CET will not
      and can not show you a global signal.
      Then take the C02 records
      Then apply the standard tools we use in operations research. you know them. use them.

    • Steven, you write “Its easy to see the signal.”

      Again, you misquote me. I am not interested in seeing a signal. I want to read where someone has measured a signal, as you have claimed. Either you are wrong, and no-one has measured a signal. Or someone has measured a signal, and there is a reference which gives the details. Which is it?

    • David Springer

      Steven Mosher | December 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

      ” A single location like CET will not and can not show you a global signal.”

      Vostok doesn’t show a global signal? GIS cores? Wow. You have your work cut out for you correcting textbooks that extrapolate global signals from ice core data.

      Your buddy Zeke posted a comparison and it looks like about a 10 year smoothing on CET will make it look a whole lot like GHCN global from 1800 to present:

      http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/central-england-temperature/

      Then take the C02 records
      Then apply the standard tools we use in operations research. you know them. use them.

  58. “a global signal”

    There is no such thing.

    Andrew

    • Where has Steven Mosher gone?
      Long time between comments
      Where has Steven Mosher gone?
      Last comment was a long time ago
      Where has Steven Mosher gone?
      Cat got his tongue, everyone
      When will he ever learn?
      When will he eeeeeeever learn?

      Andrew

    • It’s easy to see the CO2 global warming signal. All it takes is a little practice. Why, I can see seven CO2 global warming signals before breakfast.
      ==================

  59. curryja = Judy Curry wrote:
    | December 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    “go look at Table 8.14 in the AR5. until AR5, solar forcing was low confidence; with AR5 it is now medium confidence. Etc.”

    Another CE commentator added a statement patently inconsistent with law-constrained observations:
    “High confidence that the solar perturbations have a low forcing factor.”

    – — –

    I don’t usually comment about the IPCC, but on this issue I feel a moral imperative to speak up, stating the truth.

    If the IPCC were being honest about this, they would truthfully and transparently show their level of confidence in their knowledge of sun-climate relations as a long grey bar indicating “no estimate”.

    Their narrative is patently inconsistent with law-constrained observations (in the same sense that 1+1=2 and that black is not white — i.e. no shades of grey here).

    The level of mainstream science sun-climate-narrative corruption is severe and this has been tolerated. An incisive question I recommend to sensible parties who stand for the truth: Why is this being tolerated? (There may be good reasons — if they exist, I have not seen them explained anywhere, convincingly or otherwise.)

    Important Note: Cross-disciplinary language barriers may be a fatal impediment to understanding one another here.

    Sincerely

  60. captdallas
    Modeling climate on a water world should have started with the water.

    David Springer
    There’s something that bears repeating. At least once. Maybe a hundred times on the blackboard for some people

    Guys guys guys … don’t you know that proppa sceptics must ignore OHC?
    - ‘cos Jim D sez so.

  61. BFJ Cricklewood

    Steven Mosher > Its easy to see the signal. Just take the temperature. use the whole globe … Then take the C02 records. Then apply the standard tools we use in operations research.

    For the benefit of those of us not in operations research, what does seeing a CO2 signal mean? Understanding and subtracting out all known non-CO2 factors, and taking whatever remains to to be down to CO2 ?

    • @BFJ Cricklewood: Perfect!

      Of course even THAT spots them the assumption that they HAVE an exhaustive list of all non-CO2 factors that affect climate, that they are able to measure them precisely, and understand how, magnitude and sign, that they do the affecting.

  62. What is the mechanism by which increased downwelling IR from increased tropospheric CO2 can raise the temperature of the abyssal ocean without raising the temperature of either the surface or the troposphere?

    Matthew’s question to Jim D, still unanswered.

  63. JCH
    The oceans warm in years when the atmosphere cools.

    Quite surprised to see no challenge to this. Game over for the AGW Control Valve theory?

  64. Bart R : Keeping with the theme of stopping with the first error …

    Gail : Or in this case – given the haughty speaker – the theme of stopping at the first pretense of an error? And then pretending that’s what scientists do.

    Bart R : “Haughty” pretense of knowledge would be someone with no background in Economics citing Hayek to support corporatism, which Hayek objected strenuously to.

    Eh ? Continuity … ??

    Buy yes that too would be haughty. If you know of someone who has done this, why not quote their examples and direct your comments to them – instead of randomly selecting someone else ?

  65. Pingback: Pretense of knowledge | Climate Etc. | The Daily Squawk

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  68. Pingback: My Favorite Quote from Friedrich Hayek | Hamsterdam Economics

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  70. ” “The conflict between what in its present mood the public expects science to achieve in satisfaction of popular hopes and what is really in its power is a serious matter because, ” ”
    ———————————-
    Words of Wisdom!!!

  71. Pingback: Still No Warming: When Prophecy Fails | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)