Simplicity amidst complexity (?)

by Judith Curry

Isaac Held’s new article in Science raises some interesting questions.

Isaac Held in Science

Isaac Held has published a Perspective in Science entitled Simplicity amid complexity.  Excerpts:

In addition to these challenges, the turbulent and chaotic atmospheric and oceanic flows seemingly limit predictability on various time scales. Is the climate system just too complex for useful prediction?

More fundamentally, an emphasis on complexity in the climate system must be balanced by recognition of emergent simplicity. The seasonal cycle provides a useful counterpoint. An individual year’s temperature record is a consequence of chaotic weather superposed on a relatively simple and smooth underlying cycle. Watching temperatures change during a few weeks in the spring does not affect confidence that typical summer temperatures will eventually emerge. Climate models paint an analogous picture for the evolution of climate over decades to centuries: a superposition of internal variability and an externally forced component containing a natural part (solar variations and volcanoes) and a part due to human activities that, to first approximation, is a linear superposition of responses to different forcing agents such as CO2, methane, and aerosols.

 Thus, the attribution problem—the separation of the forced change from internal variability in observations and the partitioning of this forced component into parts due to different agents such as the well-mixed greenhouse gases or aerosols—is a tough challenge. But attribution leads directly to prediction of the forced response if the case can be made that the response is simple enough for past trends to strongly constrain future evolution.

Any skill in predicting multidecadal internal variability on top of this forced response is icing on the cake.

A creative tension between simulation and understanding, between accepting complexity and searching for simplicity, is present in many challenging scientific problems. Climate science provides an excellent example of this tension. The most advanced comprehensive climate models effectively represent the current ability to simulate the climate system, and it is natural and appropriate to take the output of those models as the basis for predicting the future climate. However, it is the understanding of these responses—an understanding that depends on the presence of an emergent simplicity in the forced response—which provides a level of confidence that justifies advising policy-makers and the public to pay heed to these predictions.

Held’s APS comments

For further insights into Held’s argument, see the transcript from the recent APS Workshop, excerpts starting on p 324:

I don’t like this argument from complexity saying oh, it’s a chaotic system. There is all sorts – you can get a nonlinear system to do anything you want. That just doesn’t tell me anything.

But everything that I looked at on the climate, I look at the forced response of the climate system. It looks linear to me. And what is the best example we have of forced responses? The seasonal cycle. Seasonal cycles are remarkably linear-looking.

There is an awful lot of nonlinear fluid dynamics and cloud formation stuff going on underneath this. My analogy here is the thermodynamics limit, statistical mechanics.

The smaller response, you seem to worry about the fact that the external forcing is so small, but that just makes it more likely to be linear.

The whole language, the whole forcing-feedback language we look at is assuming that this linear picture is useful. Otherwise, what is forcing and what is feedback? I don’t even know where to start.

The models look pretty linear. That observed seasonal cycle that looks linear. Even if in the Ice Age times, things look pretty linear. We don’t know that much about it.

 So, why should I assume that things are, gee, the anthropogenic CO2 pulse is going to interact in some exotic way with internal modes of variability? Well, it’s conceivable. I am not convinced. I don’t think that is particularly relevant.

JC reflections

Held’s article raises a very important issue – whether climate change is predominantly linear and dominated by external forcing, or whether natural internal variability is the intrinsic mode of variability on decadal to century timescales.  In other words, is natural internal variability the icing on the cake, or the cake itself?

While I like Held’s article in the sense that I find it to be provocative, I disagree with much of it.

First, I don’t think the seasonal cycle works very well as an argument for external forcing.  To be used in an analogy for CO2 forcing, you should consider the globally averaged seasonal cycle, which is not very large (NH winter season is globally slightly warmer than SH winter season over differences in distance from the sun), and a key issue in this is the different amount of land vs ocean in the different hemispheres.  If you use a local example (Held used Minnesota in his APS talk), it is very interesting to compare the annual cycle response to the diurnal cycle response.  I don’t think the temperature change per change in W m-2 scales linearly between these two timescales in the mid-latitudes (but I haven’t done the calculation).

Second, it is not at all clear to me that natural internal variability and forced variability are easily separable in a linear way.

Third, a truly complex system cannot be understood as a linear superposition of individual elements (discussed in my Uncertainty Monster paper).

Fourth, the climate response to the relatively small greenhouse forcing may well be linear, but this linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability.

And finally, I find this statement to be particularly telling:

The whole language, the whole forcing-feedback language we look at is assuming that this linear picture is useful. Otherwise, what is forcing and what is feedback? I don’t even know where to start.

The linear model of forcing and feedback I think was useful at zeroth order, in context of conceptually thinking about the problem in early days. I think this concept is also useful in comparing the climate of different planets.  But I am increasingly of the opinion that this concept is not all that useful in the interpretation of climate variations on decade to century timescales, and maybe even millennial – the timescales where ocean circulations are a dominant player.  The debate around the sensitivity to CO2 forcing is a symptom of this problem.

So which vision is correct – the linear model whereby climate variations are forced externally (with noise from internal variability), or the complexity model (e.g. climate shifts) whereby natural internal variability is the intrinsic signal, with external forcing projecting onto the internal modes?

To me, this is the heart of the scientific debate on climate change, and why the hiatus (and how long it will last) is so important.

432 responses to “Simplicity amidst complexity (?)

  1. Danley Wolfe

    Judith – was the article in Science, not Nature? (perhaps Held published in both). Here is the Science attribution:
    Science 14 March 2014:
    Vol. 343 no. 6176 pp. 1206-1207
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1248447

    • Greg Goodman

      “So which vision is correct – the linear model whereby climate variations are forced externally (with noise from internal variability)… ”

      There is the fundamental logical flaw in the whole “internal variability” argument. There is an unspoken, implicity assumption that the “internal variability” is net zero in its effect. Therefore “internal variability” creates noise and “external” forcing creates long term change. Yet this assumption is never stated directly nor justified.

      Where is the proof that variations in ENSO processes, for example, do not have a non-zero net effect over several decades? Simply calling it “internal” seems to suffice for most climate scientists.

      There is an farbitrary assumptionf, propagated by simply naming things “oscillations”, that all internal variability is some kind of pendulum swing about a zero mean.

      Consider all the studies of “internal variability”: AMO , AO, PDO, NAO ENSO …..

      Why do these all end in “O” ? It’s because they are all called “oscilations”. We are then lead innocently to idea of some harmonic swinging oscillation that goes nowhere.

      This of course if never proven , it is just assumed from the outset. It is scence by labels. Identify a variation, call it the X Oscillation, hence it’s net-zero “noise” in the system.

      Then to measure the “oscillation” the variable is “detrended” thus ensuring that it does not have any long term effect.

      Thus it’s all net-zero, “internal noise” and whatever is left must be “external”.

      QED.

      As is the case with much of climate science, the conclusion is made at the outset, not as a result of investigation.

  2. Pingback: Simplicity On Complexity | Transterrestrial Musings

  3. The attraction of linearity because it is simple is fatal.
    A creative tension between simulation and understanding, between accepting complexity and searching for simplicity
    Search for simplicity, the trick is recognizing when it’s not there.
    Why does this sound familiar?
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
    Linear superposition, linear superstition, it doesn’t add up.

    • Nicely put Diag,’
      .
      The notion of creative tension between this thing and some other things sounds rather appealing, and surely has applications in say, literary analysis. But here it has the sound of wishful thinking, not what you necessarily want to hear from a scientist.

    • And this (paraphrased):

      “If it’s not linear, I don’t know where to start”

      That is, we will assume linearity so we can look useful … ho hum

    • OT, please delete if want JC.

      “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”

      I prefer changing the last sentence to:
      “And the wisdom to hide the bodies of all the people I had to kill because they really p***ed me off!”

      ;-)

    • “God grant me the courage to accept reality,
      The courage to change my illusion of control,
      And wisdom to know illusions do NOT change reality.”

  4. “The most advanced comprehensive climate models effectively represent the current ability to simulate the climate system, and it is natural and appropriate to take the output of those models as the basis for predicting the future climate.”

    Natural? Appropriate?

    All in the eye of the beholder, bub.

  5. “Watching temperatures change during a few weeks in the spring does not affect confidence that typical summer temperatures will eventually emerge. Climate models paint an analogous picture for the evolution of climate over decades to centuries”

    Man, can you get any more facile?

  6. The paper by Shaun Lovejoy conflicts with Isaac’s perspective.

    Lovejoy, S. , D. Schertzer, D. Varon, 2013: Do GCM’s predict the climate… or macroweather?, Earth Syst. Dynam., 4, 1–16, doi:10.5194/esd-4-1-2013.

    http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~gang/eprints/eprintLovejoy/neweprint/esd-2012-45-typeset.final.pdf

    They write

    “The picture that emerges from our analyses of temperatures, reconstructed forcings and model outputs is that of fast weather–ocean processes becoming successively weaker at longer and longer timescales being eventually dominated by new climate processes that become stronger and stronger. These processes presumably include both the responses to
    external climate forcings (often nonlinearly amplified) as well as low frequency variability generated by new slow climate processes. Elsewhere (Lovejoy and Schertzer, 2012b,c) with the help of palaeotemperature analyses (e.g. Fig. 3), we argued these new responses and processes are apparently dominant from the end of the macroweather regime until scales of ten or more millennia, beyond which orbital forcings are important.”

    Roger Sr.

    • So here is what I don’t get: the long-term climate sensitivity is dependent on positive feedbacks. Given that, how can anybody remotely competent claim that the problem tends toward simplicity?

      If the climate response is taken to be exactly the CO2 response, without any feedbacks at all, it might make sense to claim that it gets simpler on longer timescales. But positive feedback is by its very nature nonlinear and prone to chaotic behavior. So making claims based on it based on a linear long-term response cannot be correct.

    • Fizzymagic: many geologists are skeptical of the claims of positive feedbacks in climate, because they are pretty much non-existent in the geological record, and seem to have been dreamed up as a theoretical way of making the carbon-dioxide threat look worse…..

      OK, I should assume good faith, but sfaik there is *zero* empirical evidence for positive climate feedback, and the empirical climate sensitivity numbers seem to be converging on the no-feedback warming by carbon dioxide itself — if not lower, from negative feedback from clouds and the water-vapor cycle. Water vapor, as you know, is by far the dominant GHG.

      If you give positive climate feedback a bit of thought, if it continues indefinitely you get Venus, or Snowball Earth. And the latter does eventually melt again. You *need* negative feedback to get a stable climate.

      Cheers — Pete Tillman
      Professional geologist, amateur climatologist

  7. Curry v Held. Now that is worth watching.

  8. Judith, the two are not necessarily incompatible. But Held’s choice of seasonality is poor support for his linear forcings hypothesis. It could equally be two lobes (Summer and winter) of a strange attractor in N-1 Poincare space of a chaotic climate system. Lorenz himself showed such macro bi-stability despite sensitive dependence back in the 1960s.
    From first principles, Since almost none of fluid dynamics is linear, I personally find his article unpersuasive. Both the atmosphere and the oceans are fluids in that sense. That forcing responses might be approximately linear for small differences is irrelevant for significant forcing changes such as AGW postulates.
    Again from first principles, linear systems do not display emergent behavior. Yet it would appear that things like possible thermoregulation (e.g. Negative lapse rate humidity feedback, perhaps via a more sophisticated analog to Lindzens adaptive iris hypothesis) are emergent properties. The pause not predicted by GCMs either shows the models have insufficient natural variability, or insufficient emergent negative feedback ( humidity and clouds being the two most likely candidates), or both. In either case, Held’s view that simple linear forcing models of future climate suffice is falsified.

    • Steven Mosher

      “The pause not predicted by GCMs either shows the models have insufficient natural variability, or insufficient emergent negative feedback ( humidity and clouds being the two most likely candidates), or both”

      1. or wrong inputs ( assumed forcing over the period of prediction)
      2. or wrongly timed natural variability

      “In either case, Held’s view that simple linear forcing models of future climate suffice is falsified.”

      Views are not falsified. especially views about what will “suffice” since it is a pragmatic question and not an epistemic question.

      You wanna predict the climate. sorry you are stuck with Held’s assumption.
      You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.

    • “You wanna predict the climate. sorry you are stuck with Held’s assumption.
      You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.”

      This level of obscurantism boggles the mind.

      Those who think climate is too complex to model/predict should leave the policy debate.

      This is just the old “come up with your own climate model/sensitivity/temperature record/paleo temp history” or shut up argument in sheep’s clothing.

      So let’s assume for argument’s sake that those who believe climate is too complex to predict are actually, you know, correct. Even Held admits that this is at least possible. That means those who are right should leave the policy debate completely to those who are desperately wrong in their belief in their own models.

      You wanna argue with logic, sorry, you are stuck with logic.
      You don’t wanna use logic, sorry, leave the policy debate.

    • Mosher –

      “You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.”

      This might be true for the case of AGW since the case that there will be at least some warming is pretty solid. As a general principle, it would encourage every crank with a computer to make a prediction and demand “policy debate”. I don’t know how old you are but the first “Club of Rome” encyclical demanded worldwide action because they had a computer model that had…count ‘em…40! inputs and predicted that everyone was going to starve. Um..sorry, but we have enough policy to debate already.

    • David Springer

      Mosherian logic at its finest! LOL

    • A typical Mosher response to a very good post.
      It is also very funny that Individuals and organisations can and do make much better predictions of Weather and Climate than any GCMs.
      So GCMs get out of the debate.

    • catweazle666

      ” You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.”

      Awwww… Bless!

    • Doug Badgero

      “You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.”

      Nonsense, if the climate can’t be predicted on timelines that matter to policy, that is important to policy.

    • Robert I Ellison

      If we want to predict climate – we are limited to invalid methods? Sounds about right.

      It tends to divert from approaches to valid methods – however – and that seems a little unfortunate.

    • I did not read the full article but JC’s comments on the excerpts provided seem off base.

      What author appears to question is feedback effects. Is that not the nonlinearity… We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. I think it is relatively accepted here that absent anything other factor a doubling of CO2 should increase global temp by ~1 C. But our climate models predict 2-6 C… due to feedback effects.

      Regardless of how important or even completely dominant internal variability is, that does not make it non-linear in the manner that he is describing (caveat: as it relates to your excerpts). It only becomes nonlinear when you say that rising CO2 will impact something else… Like natural internal variability.

      And by the way, superposition is linear so internal variability does not change the point.

      • David Springer

        Josh | March 18, 2014 at 2:20 am |

        “I did not read the full article but JC’s comments on the excerpts provided seem off base.”

        Shocking that you would think that. Even more shocking you’d think that about something you didn’t read. /sarc

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: You wanna predict the climate. sorry you are stuck with Held’s assumption.
      You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.

      I would like to be able to predict the climate with the requisite degree of accuracy, but we clearly can not do that. My role in the policy debate so far is to learn and then point out where the inaccuracies are so that no one takes any particular prediction too much to heart. For example, I repeatedly draw attention to the inaccuracies of the “equilibrium” assumptions, and the case that the Earth climate system does not have equilibria, but might have approximate “steady-states” over substantial lengths of time.

      The most reliable prediction is that temperature and rainfall will continue to oscillate between high and low values as they have in the past, whether multidecadal mean temp or rainfall increases or decreases. Possibly the high and low extremes will be at least 10% greater in many places than what is known of the past 2 centuries. This should not be forgotten when people redirect investment from flood control and irrigation to solar farms and wind farms (to take an example from many.) The unhappy Queensland experience, where experts predicted that there would be no more large rainfalls, should not be forgotten.

    • David Springer

      With an as yet undetermined appendage Mosher writes: “You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.”

      Right. If you want to predict the climate, and inform the policy debate, then your predictions must be testable and you lose your job if they’re wrong.

    • I predict there are no meaningful predictions about climate which will serve policy makers in any rational or constructive way.

  9. michael hart

    “My analogy here is the thermodynamics limit, statistical mechanics.”-Held

    It’s an analogy that certainly doesn’t work very well in chemistry.

    Thermodynamic limit will often tell you something important about the theoretical feasibility and direction of a specified chemical reaction, yet tell you next to nothing about the rate. Nor about which of many possible competing events will actually take place and dominate the observed outcome.

    • Matthew R Marler

      michael hart: Thermodynamic limit will often tell you something important about the theoretical feasibility and direction of a specified chemical reaction, yet tell you next to nothing about the rate. Nor about which of many possible competing events will actually take place and dominate the observed outcome.

      Very good. Rates can differ dramatically depending on whether there are or are not catalysts, but the thermodynamic limits are almost the same (some tiny amounts of energy are consumed in restoring the catalyst molecules to their pre-reaction conformation.)

    • michael hart

      Thanks, Matthew.
      The perils of obsessing about thermodynamic limit (aka “equilibrium”) is drummed into many, but not all, graduate chemistry students.

      From other fields, I particularly like Economists’ words to describe essentially the same phenomenon:
      “The market can remain irrational for longer than you can remain solvent.”

      I suspect global temperatures can remain ‘irrational’ for longer than the IPCC can remain funded or politically supported.

  10. “To me, this is the heart of the scientific debate on climate change, and why the hiatus (and how long it will last) is so important.”

    Couldn’t agree more …

  11. Stephen van Vuuren’s In Saturn’s Rings — more than a million actual images used to present a visual flyby. The iMax version should be a fantastic experience.

    Its a shame, a 3D version of what is actually occurring in the climate system over time isn’t available to test the theories against. Control data is simply to limited?

  12. “Forcing” and “feedback” are myths. People are evolved to believe in myths.

  13. David in Cal

    We know how the seasons work, because we’ve seen them repeated literally thousands of times. However, we haven’t seen CO2 unambiguously drive the earth’s temperature even once. So, there’s no way to definitely say how much warming will be caused by greenhouse gases.

    • “However, we haven’t seen CO2 unambiguously drive the earth’s temperature even once”
      But they thought they would get away with just showing correlation during the 80 & 90s, but then it all fell apart even with all their data tampering.

    • David Springer

      @osborn

      Correct. And if it wasn’t for skeptics and climategate they would have gotten such massive policy changes enacted the global warming science juggernaut would have acquired so much intertia it would be unstoppable by something as simple as being falsfied by observation.

  14. JC> Fourth, the climate response to the relatively small greenhouse forcing may well be linear, but this linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability.

    Well, quite. The skeptic/lukewarmer position does not require you to believe that the response to CO2 is non-linear, or interacts with natural variability in complex ways. It is just that the CO2 signal is *small* compared with the chaotic natural variability over the time we have been observing it. Perhaps it is linear, but the constant of proportionality is about half what the models say it is. That is what the temperatures seem to be telling us.

    • Fourth, the climate response to the relatively small greenhouse forcing may well or may not be linear, but this linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability.

      That ought to fix it.

      [And it looks like that is what is happening as we debate.]

      Max

    • David,

      you can pretend that ‘global warming’ is only about surface temp’s, and has only ever been.

      ARGO shoots you down in flames.

  15. Steven Mosher

    “To me, this is the heart of the scientific debate on climate change, and why the hiatus (and how long it will last) is so important.”

    how will that decide the question

    • Aren’t the same models being used to justify essentially linear forcings also predicting no “hiatus” longer than 20 years or so?

    • Steven Mosher

      I’ve asked you this question before, but you have dodged it.

      – If the current “pause” lasts another decade despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels, would this falsify the model-based CAGW premise as specifically outlined by IPCC in AR4 (and AR5), in your opinion?

      – Would it take another two decades of pause to do this, in your opinion?

      – Or would the CAGW premise never be falsified, no matter how long the current pause lasts, in your opinion?

      Hope you’ll give me your answer this time.

      Thanks.

      Max

    • Steven Mosher

      “I’ve asked you this question before, but you have dodged it.

      – If the current “pause” lasts another decade despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels, would this falsify the model-based CAGW premise as specifically outlined by IPCC in AR4 (and AR5), in your opinion?

      A) define “pause” lasting another decade. be precise about the allowable slopes under which stats assumptions.
      B) Assuming no volcanos, Assuming no increase in cooling
      areosols, assuming no unprecidented decrease in TSI.. Then I would
      Expect warming of less than .15C over the next decade.
      C) What is the CAGW premise? I cant find it in AR4 or AR5. It’s hard to falsify something that isnt clearly stated, plus there is no such thing as falsification.

      Currently the estimates for sensitivityrange between 1.5C and 4.5C.
      another decade of flat temperatures will lower the estimates by perhaps
      .5C.. give or take. whether any of those is catastrophic is a value question.
      It depends what we value. In my own case, I think its 51% probable that ECS lies below 3C. another 10 years.. then the probablity goes up to
      maybe 60%. Again, theories are not falsified they are ammended and improved.

      ###################

      – Would it take another two decades of pause to do this, in your opinion?

      2 decades will lower the ECS range more. Its just a calculation. do it

      ##############
      – Or would the CAGW premise never be falsified, no matter how long the current pause lasts, in your opinion?

      A) you have to define the CAGW premise. is it 1.5C to 4 C?
      B) if yes to the above then there is a limit. The best way to look at would be by phrasing the question differently,by asking the question in terms of additional watts added from GHG forcing.
      C) theories are not falsified. they are improved or in rare cases totally replaced.

      for example: today 1.5C/2.2W = lambda around .7 TCR around
      2.5C
      if we double c02 from today 1.5/ 6watts your talking a TCR of .9

      roughly roughly speaking. is a TCR of .9C catastrophic? depends on your values.

      • David Springer

        re; define pause

        What’s your major malfunction? A pause is no statistically significant warming. Statistically significant warming is >=0.1C/decade according to the usual suspects (Phil Jones) just as the minimum period of observation for attribution is 17 years (Ben Santer). You either know these things and are intellectually dishonest or you don’t know them and are intellectually deficient. Neither cause is savory which makes you an unsavory character Mosher.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Aren’t the same models being used to justify essentially linear forcings also predicting no “hiatus” longer than 20 years or so”

      yes, however the logical chain from missing a prediction to the question at hand is underspecified.

      They could be wrong for other reasons disconnected from the linearity assumption.

      The short answer is that the linearity assumption is probably non replaceable.

    • The short answer is that the linearity assumption is probably non replaceable.

      Within the paradigm. OTOH, until it’s admitted that the paradigm doesn’t work, there won’t be the real effort needed to replace it.

    • Thanks Steve for pointing out that the outputs of climate models are descriptions of human imaginings and whether their outputs match or diverge from reality matters not.
      The models are built to generate outputs that can be used to change peoples perceptions about climate and not to explore climate.
      They are, as Steve points out, a substitute for experiments designed by and analyzed by people who are substitutes for scientists.
      Nice to have that settled finally.

    • Manacker perhaps I could answer for Steve,
      1. CO2 is increasing hence the world is warming up and cannot do anything but warm up. [fact]
      2. The CO2 increase is man made so there will be AGW. [fact]
      3 Steven is a Luke-warmer, that is he will not ascribe to positive forcings without more proof, hence he does not put a figure on outside the 1.5 to 4.5 degree centigrade range for a doubling.
      5. It does not matter how long the pause lasts, to infinity if need be, because by definition CO2 increases warming and if the planet does not warm or even freezes due to other factors it does not negate this fact which is the basis of AGW.
      Perhaps if you ask if other factors from a C02 increase including a strong negative feedback from clouds from the extra humidity preclude CO2 from ever being a player but even then his answer is that more CO2 means more heat is correct even though a pause shows that something else might be happening.

    • Steven Mosher

      Thanks for your response.

      Let’s go through each point:

      A) define “pause” lasting another decade. be precise about the allowable slopes under which stats assumptions.

      Let’s take the HadCRUT4 temperature record as the basis. And let’s look at what it says about the current period during which there was no warming, but a slight cooling instead.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/trend

      This shows a cooling trend of around -0.03C per decade. Such a trend is not compatible with a model-based projection of+ 0.2C per decade warming.
      As far as “allowable slopes” are concerned, I would say simply if the HadCRUT4 record continued to show no net warming, despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels, this would present a real problem for the CAGW premise, as specifically outlined by IPCC.

      B) Assuming no volcanos, Assuming no increase in cooling areosols, assuming no unprecidented decrease in TSI.. Then I would Expect warming of less than .15C over the next decade.

      Volcanoes come and go. Most eruptions are too small to have much impact on our climate. We very likely do not even know about all of the submarine volcanoes, but these are not likely to have much impact on global warming. But I would go along with your caveat regarding possible major eruptions that can be demonstrated to have an impact on global temperature..

      Human aerosols are local, or at best regional (sort of like the UHI effect) and cannot be determined with any accuracy at all, so I would leave them out of the equation, rather than complicating things.

      As far as TSI is concerned, we both know that SC24 is weaker than SC23. That’s part of the “breaks of the game” when you make forecasts. We also know that 20thC solar activity was at a record level, yet IPCC attributes essentially none of the past warming to the sun. So forget TSI.

      You expect 0.15C warming or less over the next decade. Is there some reason why you project less warming than IPCC or than the 1.9C TCR expected by IPCC would project? At 2.5 ppmv annual increase, we should have 395+25 = 420 ppmv CO2 in 10 years. At a TCR of 1.9C this should result in GH warming of:
      1.9C * ln (420 / 395) / ln (2) = 0.17C

      But I’ll go along with your forecast: so if we do not have 0.15C warming over the next 10 years, there will be a serious problem for IPCC’s CAGW premise. Right?

      C) What is the CAGW premise? I cant find it in AR4 or AR5. It’s hard to falsify something that isnt clearly stated, plus there is no such thing as falsification.

      Good question.

      “CAGW” is the premise specifically outlined by IPCC in its reports that
      :
      1. human GHGs have been the cause of most of the observed warming since ~1950 [AR4 WGI SPM, p.10] – repeated in AR5

      2. this reflects a model-predicted 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C±0.7°C [AR4 WGI Ch.8, p.633] – since modified slightly to 3°C±1.5°C in AR5

      3. this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment from anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the range of 1.8°C to 6.4°C by the end of this century with increase in global sea level of up to 0.59 meters [AR4 WGI SPM, p.13] – temperature very slightly lower, SL since modified to 0.8 meters in AR5

      4.resulting in increased severity and/or intensity of heat waves, heavy precipitation events, droughts, tropical cyclones and extreme high sea levels [AR4 WGI SPM p.8] – watered down a bit in AR5

      5. with resulting flooding of several coastal cities and regions, crop failures and famines, loss of drinking water for millions from disappearing glaciers, intensification and expansion of wildfires, severe loss of Amazon forests, decline of corals, extinction of fish species, increase in malnutrition, increase in vector borne and diarrheal diseases, etc. [AR4 WGII]

      6. unless world-wide actions are undertaken to dramatically curtail human GHG emissions (principally CO2) [AR4 WGIII]

      This has been watered down very slightly in AR5 (see notes above), but with projected SL rise increased a bit.

      Currently the estimates for sensitivity range between 1.5C and 4.5C.
      another decade of flat temperatures will lower the estimates by perhaps .5C.. give or take. whether any of those is catastrophic is a value question.
      It depends what we value. In my own case, I think its 51% probable that ECS lies below 3C. another 10 years.. then the probablity goes up to maybe 60%. Again, theories are not falsified they are ammended and improved.

      With all due respect, Mosh, that sounds like a waffle to me. If there is no warming for the next 10 years, then the observed sensitivity over those 10 years approaches 0. If this lasts for another 20 years, the empirical evidence will have falsified the IPCC CAGW premise, as outlined above, IMO.

      Hypotheses are falsified by empirical observations every day. This one would be no exception. Some (like “evolution”, for example) withstand falsification attempts. This one may or may not.

      So I will repeat my question to you:

      How many years of no warming despite unabated human GHG emissions would it take before you conceded that the CAGW premise, as outlined specifically by IPCC (see above), will have been falsified by the empirical evidence?

      another 10 years?

      another 20 years?

      never? (be cautious with this answer, Mosh, it might get you into trouble)

      Please do try to be specific and (hopefully) explain your answer.

      Max

    • angech

      Thanks for your comment, but it does not answer my question to Mosh.

      Let me put your remarks into my perspective, as a rational skeptic of the CAGW premise (my comments in bold):

      1. CO2 is increasing hence and the world is was warming up and cannot do anything but warm up. [fact] until around 2002, when it stopped [observed fact]

      2. The CO2 increase is man made so if the models cited by IPCC are correct there will</strike should be AGW. [fact] [according to the models]

      3 Steven is a Luke-warmer, an arbitrary definition, at best that is he will not ascribe to positive forcings without more proof, hence he does not put a figure on outside the 1.5 to 4.5 degree centigrade range for a doubling yet he accepts that the model-predicted range of 1.5 to 4.5C range is correct without further question or empirical evidence

      5. It does not matter how long the pause lasts, to infinity if need be, because by definition CO2 increases warming and if the planet does not warm or even freezes due to other factors it does not negate this fact which is the basis of AGW.

      Not so fast, angech. Your “by definition” means “according to the models” and if the planet refuses to follow the model predictions, then these have de facto been falsified. It’s just that simple.

      Perhaps if you ask if other factors from a C02 increase including a strong negative feedback from clouds from the extra humidity preclude CO2 from ever being a player but even then his answer is that more CO2 means more heat is correct even though a pause shows that something else might be happening.

      This sounds like a waffle to me. More GHGs (principally CO2) and, at the same time, no warming over some statistically significant period of time result in falsification of the IPCC CAGW premise. The question is simply: how many years of prolonged pause despite unabated human GHG emissions would it take to be statistically significant and to falsify the CAGW premise?

      That was my question to Mosh, which neither he nor you have answered.

      Max

    • angech,

      How is the ‘pause’ going if we look at OHC?

      • David Springer

        Glad you asked, Michael.

        OHC is ostensibly rising at a rate that increases ocean basin temperature by 0.02C/decade.

        So it will take 1000 years to increase by the 2C said to be the maximum temperature rise before very bad things happen.

        Is your foot sufficiently far enough in your mouth for today or would like to insert it farther?

    • David,

      I believe that there is nothing, in the interests of your dogma, that you can’t contrive to get wrong.

      2C rise is not the entire ocean but the mean surface temps.

    • Michael

      No. In your zeal to protect your dogma you got it wrong and Springer is right.

      At the rate of ocean warming we have seen or are likely to see from AGW, it will take centuries before this is even noticeable.

      It is certainly nothing that any sane person would worry about.

      But, hey, if you want to get all hysterical about it, it’s a free world. Just don’t expect any sane person to go along with you.

      Max

    • Well done Max, you’re on a role – wrong again.

      Want to try and show where in AR5 it says that the temp rise refers to the entire ocean?

      I look forward to your latest effort to fabricate claims about what the IPCC says.

    • LOL- “roll”……..hmm, maybe i was right the first time, Max does seem on a misision to lie, distort and fabricate.

      • David Springer

        Listen up, Michael. If the usual suspects got ocean overturning time right they wouldn’t have the egg on their face over the pause. That’s if the most popular excuse known as “the ocean ate my global warming” promulgated by IPCC AR5 is correct.

        So you’re bascially doubling down, suspending the law of entropy, and saying the TOA imbalance of 0.5W/m2, which is enough to heat the entire ocean by just 0.2C per century will instead be sequestered in a surface layer whose depth you fail to state.

        What depth is that, Michael? And when you figure it out send a memo to the global warming scientists because they screwed the pooch on the first try and ended up lamely saying that the missing heat somehow made it into the abyss (below 700 meters). There wasn’t supposed to be fast enough mixing for that to happen.

        If you want to talk about SST then say “SST”. If you want to talk about ocean heat content (OHC) that’s the change in energy in the entire basin. Write that down please.

      • David Springer

        If you want to talk about SST, which it seems you do, then

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1914/mean:24/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1914/mean:24/trend/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1914/mean:24/trend/detrend:0.6

        this is global SST for the last 100 years and it has risen 0.6C in that time. I’m not sure how reliable it is because there was a dearth of temperature samples outside shipping lanes until ARGO came along a scant decade ago.

        0.6C rise in 100 years is 0.06C/decade which, according to Phil Jones, anything less than 0.1C/decade is statistically insignificant. So there’s been no statistically significant warming of the ocean in the past 100 years.

        Want to keep playing? I expect you to provide links to papers and data like I did. No more handwaving.

    • Thanks David and Max for your input. Max you are not talking the same language

      Q “- Or would the CAGW premise never be falsified, no matter how long the current pause lasts, in your opinion?”

      A ” Premises are premises and can never be falsified no matter what” [Mosher substitute] as in all models are wrong but they are the best we have and can be improved on.
      The world must heat up with extra CO2 in the air so if the pause goes on forever the world is wrong not the CAGW premise.

    • angech

      CAGW is based on a hypothesis, namely that increases in atmospheric concentrations of human GHGs (in particular CO2) cause significant global atmospheric warming [1.5C to 4.5C for 2xCO2] and, as a result, have been the cause of “most” of the observed global warming since 1950 and will result in major global warming in the future, and that this could lead to potentially serious consequences for humanity and our environment, unless actions are implemented to mitigate human GHG emissions.

      This hypothesis is based on theoretical physics and some laboratory determinations of the LW absorption characteristics of CO2.

      The hypothesis has not [yet?] been corroborated or falsified by empirical evidence (from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation), following the normal scientific method (Feynman). So it remains an as yet uncorroborated (and non-falsified) <strong<hypothesis. [i.e. "the science is NOT settled"]

      So my question to Mosh (which he has answered to my satisfaction, albeit rather indirectly) was simply:

      How long would a pause in global warming have to last despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels before the above hypothesis would be falsified by empirical evidence following the scientific method?

      The answer appears to be 20 more years.

      This is a fairly straightforward question, angech – but I realize that climate “science” is not always so straightforward.

      Max

      .

    • manacker –” but I realize that climate “science” is not always so straightforward.”
      I agree, Climate science is simple but not straight or straightforward. Mosher on the other hand is complex and unpredictable and uses John Howard like comments which are always technically correct to say the most.

  16. “Is the climate system just too complex for useful prediction?”

    Great question with which to start.

    But then it falls completely apart.

    “The whole language, the whole forcing-feedback language we look at is assuming that this linear picture is useful.”

    and

    “The models look pretty linear.”

    Well what a shock. The models look linear because the modellers assume the climate response to CO2 is linear. I’m no climate scientist (thank God), but I fail to see why anyone should be surprised by the fact that models created by those who assume a linear response – predict a linear response.

    “So, why should I assume that things are, gee, the anthropogenic CO2 pulse is going to interact in some exotic way with internal modes of variability?”

    Maybe you should assume that the climate is more complex than the climate modellers assume – because the models are so clearly wrong in predicting the linear response they assume?

    Maybe an assumption is excusable when you don’t have any evidence and need someplace to start. But at some point, after a couple decades, after ever greater divergence between your assumption and reality, what does it say about you if you cling to your assumption?

    The government/climate industrial complex gravy train is going to end some day. Maybe it would behoove these folks to start looking for other impending catastrophes to hitch their hopes to.

  17. Held’s article raises a very important issue – whether climate change is predominantly linear and dominated by external forcing, or whether natural internal variability is the intrinsic mode of variability on decadal to century timescales. In other words, is natural internal variability the icing on the cake, or the cake itself?

    What? No.

    Held says straight out it doesn’t matter whether climate change on some time scales is predominantly one or the other of linear dominated by external forcing or whether natural variability is intrinsically the decadal to century mode (hardly likely to dominate on spans longer than half a century, as the past two centuries clearly show). Held quite clearly says that’s exactly the wrong issue to raise, and explains very clearly and cleanly why it’s the wrong issue to obfuscate far better questions.

    Why do you have to take one of the most beautifully written prose explanations of this subject and turn it upside down like that?

    • Is it worth $20 to read his Held’s article and are you rushing to judgement?

      I’ve never seen Dr. Curry level such praise before.

      “I give the APS an A+ for the process in preparing their statement.  The thoroughness and transparency is unprecedented.  And I like the idea of having relatively objective people write the statement, people without a  dog in this particular fight.”

      “The APS produced a complete transcript of the workshop [link: http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-seminar-transcript.pdf ], with ppt slides embedded within.”

      Currently reading the complete transcript in the hope of follow this debate.

    • ; )
      Read my mind Dr. Curry, the transcript strikes me as a “War and Peace” effort.

      When asked, why wasn’t the panel able to agree on much of anything or is that a simple take on the session?

    • Sorry for the last comment Dr. Curry — implies you can read minds. I’m looking forward to full transcript read of the APS workshop presentations.

    • I’m on page 6 of over 400 pages and gobstruck by Steve Koonin’s opening remarks.

      “And I am a professor, of civil and urban engineering” and “operations and management at NYU business school”.

      Since when did City and Regional Planning from a benchmark university like IIT turn into “civil and urban engineering”? I’m about to throw up!

      LOL, “operations and management at NYU business school” — cool so he can negotiate XML and SGML logically or create the framework/DTDs?

      Sorry, I needed to vent!

      His introduction of the APS leadership who are there as observers includes this:
      “I would ask each of you to just state your name and the institution and the capacity in which you are here today. And as you introduce yourselves, you have the option of using your quota of one weather-related remark, after which we will ban all further discussions of weather! ”

      Did Al Gore write his opening remarks? Hello, weather is Not Climate!

      I’ll try to contain further comments until I finish reading the transcript.

    • I tried to contain remarks but still on page 6 lines 12-16:
      “So, I am Steve Koonin and I am Chair of the subcommittee that is responsible for reviewing the statement and making recommendations up the chain.”

      please define the “chain” ; )

    • Bart R, have you ever set-up a Cattle Call for Talent?

    • Newport Mac | March 17, 2014 at 7:16 pm |

      Six stream of consciousness comments in under two hours, each of them progressively less connected to the subject.

      Might one suggest a bit less caffeine, fascinating though watching this spiral come apart is?

      And no to the cattle call, at least since high school.. Are you in high school?

      • David Springer

        “And no to the cattle call, at least since high school.”

        That’s not long. You dropped out last year, right? On your 18th birthday and still in the ninth grade?

    • Bart R,
      This jumps out related to Dr. Curry’s current post.

      “We do that in order to account for structural uncertainty among the climate models, because there are a number of processes in the climate
      system we just do not understand from basic physical principles.”

      “For example, let me be careful how I state that exactly. We understand a lot of the physics in its basic form. We don’t understand the emergent behavior that results from it. And so, a good example for that would be cumulus convection.”

      sorry for question related to choosing the right players (cattle call) but you have to admit you’re quite the piss in chat ; )

    • Newport Mac | March 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm |

      My views on the choosing of the players for the APS panel were plainly set out in the original APS thread.

      Putting the zodiacal stadium wave nonsense on the same table with real Physics is appalling. Saying Cowtan & Way’s more than doubling of the trend compared to CRU’s was insignificant is mathematically blinkered.

      Arguing the artifacts of how hard it is to separate a blue line from a black line on a graph that is so oversized compared to the information of interest as the one offered is blatantly third rate manipulation.

      It’s a tribute to the serious panel members that they remained so collegial and courteous despite such provocations.

      Is that what you mean about me in chat?

    • Bart R,
      If you have any experience in a role “objective” you would have understood “Cattle Call”.

      Trust is delivered start to finish in a Work Group. If the moderator/facilitator is not objective, steering dialogue to preconceived objectives, the session(s) will fail and become useless.

      I need to finish reading the complete transcript to understand Dr. Curry’s amazing praise. Did you bother to read the full transcript?

    • Newport Mac | March 17, 2014 at 8:43 pm |

      Why are you replying to a comment about the article with questions about the transcript?

      I had no intention to comment on the APS fiasco further, as who needs to dwell on that sort of grief?

      Do you have anything to say directly about the article itself, yet? Or did you need to read a phone book first, too?

      And please, drop the metaphor before you descend to the casting couch.

  18. Henri Masson

    periodicites can only exist in non linear systems and in such systems you may not simply add individual factors/concepts/effects. This is mathematically wrong. On the other hand the climate data show evidence of multiperiodical components (along a spectrum extending from a day to million of years). Multiperiodicity is a way to bring the system into a chaotic state (dynamical system). There are many non linear analysis tools for time series for detecting a chaotic signature, and when applied to climate data these tools show that he climate is indeed of chaotic nature. Such a system has a very limited predictibility horizon (certainly much less than a century in the case of climate data, which infirms the IPCC projections)..

  19. Held is almost certainly correct, but for total energy stored on the planet. That’s going to respond linearly.

    How long does it take Earth’s major energy systems to come to equilibrium?. If it’s fast, the positive slope on the line of atmospheric temperatures due to the (small) forcing is going to be close to zero. Aren’t people like Trenberth arguing systems are coming to equilibrium faster (heat in the deep oceans)?

    I don’t see how one can distinguish coming to equilibrium fast from internal variability, by looking at the length of the hiatus. Also, if internal variability is the cause of the pause, rather than stores coming to equilibrium, unless you have a very good sense of what’s going on with the internal variability, you can’t say much about future atmospheric temperatures.

    In fact, in this case, Held’s argument that things will get hotter makes more sense.

    • “How long does it take Earth’s major energy systems to come to equilibrium?”
      It will never come to equilibrium as it
      1) part of an open system
      2) rotating

    • Heed the Doc, edbarbar. )

    • How can a living planet ever be in radiative equilibrium ?

    • David Springer

      @ed

      For the sake of argument I put a 60-year cap on cyclical natural variability. There are certainly longer cycles up to and probably beyond the ~120,000 year natural variability of glacial/interglacial. However, if we cap it at 60 years (the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation period) we know that’s all in human carbon volcano era and at least half-assed instrument temperature record with high quality in the past 35 years or so for the troposphere. So we take the increase in GAT over the past 60 years and divide by six to get an observed decadal rate with aCO2 emission in full swing.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1954/mean:24/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1954/mean:24/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1954/mean:24/trend/detrend:0.7

      Total warming 0.7C for a decadal rate of 1.16C/decade. This is about half what the alarmists promised pre-Y2K. Just about anyone with a lick of sense at this point knows what they did. They used the period from 1980-2000 and decided that was the new normal because they were able to tweak climate models to produce that rate. Unfortunately for them the pause came along circa 1997 and diluted the observed decadal rate of warming substantially. The rate we’re seeing now with 20-20 hindsight is not alarming and in any case there’s nothing politically possible to stop whatever is going to happen wrt global warming from happening.

    • ““How long does it take Earth’s major energy systems to come to equilibrium?”
      It will never come to equilibrium as it”

      Let me put it another way. Let’s take two worlds. In world 1, there are no man-made forcings. We average the non-atmospheric energy stores over a million years, and call that “X”.

      In world 2, we have man made forcings exactly as today, and average the non-atmospheric energy stores over a million years, and call that “Y”. This approach is the “simple” view, when in fact “Y” and “X” will never be stable, and are probably best represented as some kind of probability over energy ranges.

      The point of my post is that the faster the system approaches “Y” (or in my terminology, comes to equilibrium, as you rightly point out, a poor term), the longer it is going to take for the current forcing to increase atmospheric temperatures.

      Does this make more sense?

  20. Steven Mosher

    Are you actually stating that if you cannot predict changes in climate, one has to leave the policy debate????

    You wrote

    “You dont want to predict the climate, leave the policy debate.”

    Perhaps you should read my son’s book The Honest Broker.

    Roger Sr.

    • Mosher seems to believe that significant uncertainty is not a good argument for doing nothing at least for now, which I don’t understand in light of the tremendous societal costs of mitigation. About this I might be wrong as he tends to be cryptic at times,

      Maybe he can help me better understand his thinking…

    • Steven Mosher

      “Are you actually stating that if you cannot predict changes in climate, one has to leave the policy debate????”

      read harder. or leave the debate.

    • “leave the debate”

      Yes, sir! Right Away sir!

      (chuckle)

      Andrew

    • David Springer

      You seem surprised, Dr. Pielke. Why do you expect more of Mosher? He’s an undistinguished english major. Logic is not and never has been evident in his writing.

    • David Springer

      You underestimate Mosh.

      He is undoubtedly an intelligent guy.

      He came down hard on the Climategate offenders.

      But he has become so hung up on the invincibility of climate models, that he “believes” that they spew out “scientific evidence”, rather than simply estimates, which are only as good as the model input assumptions.

      This apparently blind-sights him to what is going on out there.

      This is the basis of his ongoing debate with Jim Cripwell.

      Max

      PS He is “slippery”, though. I have asked him to answer a basic question concerning how long, in his opinion, the “pause” would have to continue despite unabated human GHG emissions, in order to constitute a falsification of the CAGW premise as specifically outlined by IPCC in AR4 and AR5, but he has dodged this question so far.

      • David Springer

        manacker | March 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm |

        “You underestimate Mosh.”

        I disagree.

        “He is undoubtedly an intelligent guy.”

        Undoubtedly but probably not smarter than a fifth grader.

    • Everyone, don’t make this like WUWT, where you simply trash someone you disagree with. Mosher is debating with everyone, whether you agree or not with his positions, he’s pretty much treating people with respect, some of whom don’t particularly deserve it by the way they treat others. People who are involved in the modeling who are willing to stick their necks out in these contentious debates deserve to be debated, not trashed. Just like Judith.

      Personally, Steve might believe his models just a little too much for my tastes. I don’t think he has fully come to terms with the implications to GCMs of 16 years of flat temperatures. Who is right will eventually be known. But in the meantime, Mosh certainly deserves our complete respect.

      • David Springer

        David Springer | March 18, 2014 at 7:20 am | Reply
        Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        John | March 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm |

        “Mosher is debating with everyone, whether you agree or not with his positions, he’s pretty much treating people with respect”

        You’re pretty much not paying attention if you think Mosher treats people with respect. Ask Curry why she blacklisted the word i-d-i-o-t.

        ——————————————————————————–

        Fixed that for me!

    • “he’s pretty much treating people with respect”

      He’s not. Mosher is selling/framing/obfuscating. It’s all he does. His comments are only good for entertainment purposes.

      Andrew

    • Mosh likes to toss out one line non sequiturs, complicated waffles and occasional hand grenades, but generally avoids real debate.

      Up until recently he refused to answer my question on what would constitute a falsification of the CAGW premise as specifically outlined by IPCC.

      He has now stated that warming over the next 10 years would need to be around 0.15C to corroborate CAGW; this is what he believes will occur

      I think it will be no more than the average rate of warming we have seen since the planet has come out of the LIA (or 0.06C per decade or less).

      He tossed in some caveats about volcanoes (which I could accept), changes in solar irradiance (which I cannot accept, because IPCC has essentially not attributed any past warming to this, so why should future cooling be attributed to it?) and human aerosols (a red herring, used as a fudge factor in order to rationalize when the models get it wrong, which I also do not accept). We also left out natural variability (as the models cited by IPCC have for the past warming).

      So we have (assuming human GHG emissions remain unabated and concentrations reach record levels and with volcanic impacts netted out):

      0.15C or more warming over next decade = CAGW has been corroborated

      0.06C or less warming over next decade = CAGW has been falsified

      warming between 0.06C and 0.15C = no conclusion reached, wait another decade

      Let’s see if he sticks with this and let’s see what happens over the next 10 years.

      Max

  21. “The linear model of forcing and feedback I think was useful at zeroth order, in context of conceptually thinking about the problem in early days. I think this concept is also useful in comparing the climate of different planets. But I am increasingly of the opinion that this concept is not all that useful in the interpretation of climate variations on decade to century timescales, and maybe even millennial – the timescales where ocean circulations are a dominant player. The debate around the sensitivity to CO2 forcing is a symptom of this problem.”

    I think this “linear model of forcing and feedback ” is only important if
    you imagine CAGW is science rather than pseudoscience that it is.

    I don’t think Hansen or Gore actually believe the story they tell- but some people actually believe that Antarctic will in the future be the only place habitable in Earth. Or they believe the crazy.
    The crazy may or may not take a “moderate position” such Canada and Russia might also be habitable.

    So if you actually think there is the dangerous runaway effect.
    Which I think is about as foolish as to be “concerned” that an elephant is going flap it’s ears and fly away.
    Or it’s important to quantify and predict when elephants are going to fly, then the “linear model of forcing and feedback” approach is rational
    in predicting global climate.
    .

  22. Henri Masson

    Also, complex dynamical systems can exhibit synchronisations or phase lockings, what Judith Curry calls the “stadium wave”, and this without any pure cause or effect, bu by mutual interaction (Legion mechanism). Finally, for such a complex system, some quantum mechanics characterisitcs are appliable, like the Heisenberg Uncertitutde Principle: if you don’t know exactly the temperature in the past, and while committing an error on datation (like is the case with most proxies used to reconstructt he temperature of the past), you cannot predict exactly the temperature at a given moment in the future. Expressed in other terms, non linear dynamical systems are highly sensiitive to initial conditions and to the value of the parameters. Committing a slight error on them induces completely different behaviour of the system.

  23. Pingback: “Is the climate system just too complex for useful prediction?” | Man the Measure

  24. Jim Cripwell

    Our hostess writes “So which vision is correct – the linear model whereby climate variations are forced externally (with noise from internal variability), or the complexity model (e.g. climate shifts) whereby natural internal variability is the intrinsic signal, with external forcing projecting onto the internal modes?”

    I am not sure that this is right. In the linear model, the forcings are not external, but internal; e.g. a change in CO2 concentration. The complex model is natural internal variability, plus external forcings from the sun.

    If my estimate of climate sensitivity of 0.0 C, to one place of decimals or two significant figures, for a doubling of CO2, is correct, then there is no question of which alternative is right.

    • Jim, the terms ‘internal forcing’ and ‘external forcing’ are quite flexible; the suns output is obviously an ‘external forcing’ but so are volcanoes.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Doc, are you saying that the words “internal” and “external” don’t have any specific meaning in this context?

    • Jim, the terms ‘internal’, ‘external’ and ‘forcings’ mean whatever the user wishes them to mean.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Thanks, Doc. This means we are in Humpty Dumpty land. Lewis Caroll wrote of HD, “When I use a word it means what I want it to mean”.

    • Steven Mosher

      which is zero?

      climate sensitivity?
      or
      climate sensitivity to doubling c02

    • Jim Cripwell

      Steven, you write “which is zero?”

      Neither. I do wish you would not continually misquote me. I did NOT state that CS was zero. I said that CS was 0.0 C to 1 place of decimals or 2 significant figures. If you do not understand why the two statements are completely different, you don’t understand physics.

      I am not sure what you mean by “climate sensitivity”, but climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is estimated to be 0.0 C to 1 place of decimals or 2 significant figures.

    • It is even better that Lewis Caroll; let us make carbon nanospheres that have the properties of being almost perfect black bodies and capable of being held aloft in the air.
      These particles absorb both incoming shortwave and outgoing longwave radiation. They both thermalize the air around them and radiate longwave radiation.
      Such particulates are thus ascribed a ‘negative forcing’ by ‘Climate Scientists.

    • Steven Mosher

      Jim
      Climate sensitivity to doubling co2 is based on climate sensitivity. You cant understand one without the other.

      For your benefit

      Climate sensitivity is defined as delta c / delta watts

      Call that lambda

      The delta watts from doubling co2 is 3.7

      Sensitivity to doubling is lambda * 3.7

      And you say 0 to 1 or 2 places? Please provide the exact
      Bounds plus or minus

      • David Springer

        At least when arguing with Cripwell you’re playing in your own league, Mosher. You’ve got the chops for it. Barely.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Steven, you write “And you say 0 to 1 or 2 places? Please provide the exact
      Bounds plus or minus.”

      Again, you misquote me. I said 1 place of decimals or 2 significant figures. I cannot give you a +/-. This is an estimate NOT a measurement. There is no +/- . I believe the first place of decimals is 0. What any subsequent figures might be, I have no idea.

    • Steven Mosher

      Jim.
      So is it poistive or negative

    • Steven Mosher

      So jim
      Would. 0.09 be too high or too low
      What about – 0.09?

    • Steven Mosher

      And jim I estimate you are 6 feet tall. Plus or minus 3 feet. Estimates have bounds as well as measurements do. The tend to be wider .

    • Jim Cripwell

      Steven, As I have stated over and over again, I believe the climate sensitivity of CO2 is positive. I have no idea what the second place of decimals is. It could be anything. You do not seem to understand the difference between estimates and measurements. A measurement always gives a +/- value. An estimate never gives a +/- value.

    • “And jim I estimate you are 6 feet tall. Plus or minus 3 feet.”
      How would you know if this estimate is correct?

    • John Carpenter

      “…CS was 0.0 C to 1 place of decimals or 2 significant figures.”

      Jim, just so I am clear… how many sig figs are you calling 0.0? It appears you are saying CS is 0.0 to 1 place of decimals ( .0) or 2 sig figs (0.0). Is this what you mean? For me, it is not clear what you are saying.

    • It could be as easy as looking at him.

    • What if someone else looks at him and says “You’re wrong, Steven. I estimate he’s 12 feet tall, plus or minus 2 feet.” How would you resolve the difference?

    • Jim Cripwell

      John, you write “For me, it is not clear what you are saying.”

      You do not seem to understand the difference between estimates and measurements. You do not seem to understand what a “place of decimals” is. You do not seem to understand want a “significant figure” is.

      What I wrote is crystal clear to anyone who understands Physics 101. It is not up to me to try and write a refresher course of Physics 101 on this blog, and I don’t intend to try. I suggest you read up on fundamental physics.

    • John Carpenter

      Jim, I know what significant figures are, how to express them and places past a decimal. The way you wrote it, it is not clear. If you are saying 0.0 is an expression of two significant figures, you would be wrong. Expressing numbers in terms of significant figures has nothing to do with physics 101 but with measurement. I understand the differences between measurement and estimation and the grey area in between the two. So I am not looking for a primer of what significant figures are or what decimal places are, I got that years ago, what I am looking for is clarification on whether you are saying 0.0 is two significant figures (the wrong answer) or no significant figures (the right answer). There are no significant figures in expressing 0 or ‘nothing’. 0.00000000 and 0 are the same and neither express any value to any significant figure because there is no figure to express. So again, are you saying 0.0 is an expression of two significant figures, because that is how I interpret what you are saying.

  25. If you want to go toward simplicity, then wouldn’t the simplest questions be:

    1. Why is it that the linear GCMs didn’t predict the pause, thereby forecasting creating scenarios of considerably more warming than has actually occurred?
    2. If they have over predicted warming, does that mean that climate sensitivity is lower than assumed by the models, and that GCM modelers don’t yet understand how to model actual natural variability?

    At what point does the breakdown between the results of linear models, and the reality of the pause, suggest that the linear models need to be rethought or recalibrated in some way? One of which may be to recognize that natural processes — to which linear warming is in some simple or complex way added — have large enough temperature swings that on time scales of several decades, these natural processes can negate a linear model of warming. How does Held seek to understand this disconnect between models and reality?

    Held says that the forced response of climate to GHGs looks linear to him. But the temperature trends are surely not linear, looking back a century or a half century. Held seems to be talking himself out of recognizing that the models have been wrong, and we need to find out exactly why, because it would surely be a good thing to have models that were more accurate than they are today.

    • John

      “Occam’s razor” would agree with your questions.

      Yet Held cannot agree that the models were wrong just because they were wrong.

      A dilemma.

      So, instead, we have long-winded rationalizations with lots of double-talk, in order to keep the myth alive that the models can predict our climate despite the observed fact that they cannot.

      Max

    • @ John

      A few of the variables that I have reason to believe have an impact on climate include:

      a. Variations in the TSI
      b. Variations in the spectral distribution of the TSI
      c. Variations in the solar magnetic field
      d. Variations in the solar wind
      e. Sunspots
      f. Other solar variables that we may not be monitoring
      g. Variations in the earth’s magnetic field, geometry and magnitude
      h. Cosmic rays
      i. Ocean currents
      j. Discharge of magma and superheated water in the oceans
      k. Volcanos, ocean floor and continental
      l. Cloud cover
      m. Cloud types
      n. Polar ice coverage
      o Changes in ocean floor geometry (new islands, sea mounts etc.)
      p. Other factors that I haven’t thought of
      q. Other factors that Climate Science hasn’t recognized as influencing climate
      r. Orbital mechanics
      s. Interactions among all the bodies within the solar system
      t. Maybe even CO2

      Some or several of these may be interrelated: Variations in cloud cover and albedo may be ’caused’ by variations in the solar wind, cosmic rays, the sun’s magnetosphere, and the earth’s magnetic field. Point source injections of superheated magma and changes in the contours of the ocean floor may influence ocean currents.

      Ad infinitum.

      Can Climate Science provide an exhaustive list of the factors that affect climate? Does it understand the relative magnitude of the influence? The sign (Does the factor tend to drive the TOE up or down?)?

      Of the factors I listed, can most or all be dismissed as insignificant?

      Of the factors that DO influence climate, which ones are predictable, long term?

      If we do not have an exhaustive list of factors affecting climate, we can’t rank them by the magnitude and sign of their influence, and a good number of them are random and unpredictable, what are the chances of developing a ‘climate model’ that can project meaningfully decades or centuries into the future?

      Or has all this been done and ACO2 empirically determined to be the primary factor ‘driving’ the TOE?

    • Bob Luddite,
      I have many of your factors (a) through (t) and
      what do you know, CO2 is still the biggie:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/02/05/relative-strengths-of-the-csalt-factors/

      Simplest model that you can imagine — pure thermodynamics.

  26.  
    WANTED: Climate researcher capable of mathematically modeling collective and synchronized physical mechanisms, including but not limited to oscillations of solar activity on multi-decadal to Centennial and Millennial time scales with variations in galactic gamma radiation and the role of the big planets, Saturn and Jupiter, a changing North Pole, variations in the magnetosphere, ENSO events and product of the effects of the swirling vortices of ocean currents, monsoons and hurricanes that spout heat to dark reaches of empty space, the Earth’s shifting crusts and volcanic eruptions that shoot more pollution into the atmosphere than ever produced by every single car that that has ever been driven on the face of the Earth, and combine them all in some unimaginable way to determine if, as Qing-Bin Lu believes, “a long-term global cooling starting around 2002 is expected to continue for next five to seven decades.”

  27. Watch the pea as the carnival flimflammer adroitly shifts it from shell to shell.

    In this case, it is a very subtle reaction to a “pause” that has lasted much too long for comfort, raising serious doubts about the models’ ability to simulate our climate in any meaningful way.

  28. David Wojick

    Held is right in one respect. The GCM projections look very much like linear projections of the 1970’s to 1990’s warming (according to the surface statistical temperature models, not the UAH, which shows no warming over that period). The climate system may not be linear but the climate science sure looks that way. Perhaps this is the basic problem.

  29. For the ultimate in simplicity: Fossil fuels are the basis for 80% of our energy source. Fossil fuels are burned for their heat content with CO2 as a by-product. Heat is what causes temperatures to rise, (in air, land, and water). The heat emitted from our energy use is enough to account for the rising temperatures we experience as well as the melting of glaciers. Forget CO2, its effect is minor as compared to the Heat. Forget carbon capture; 9,000,000 tons must be removed to lower the concentration by 1ppm. Forger nuclear power; it emits more than twice the total heat as its electrical output. Renewable energy must ultimately replace both nuclear and fossil. Let’s spend our time and money in that direction.

  30. Great that Held is suggesting that there is hope for simplicity. I am making progress with the Southern Oscillation Index model, which is definitely nonlinear, but from all appearances tractable.

    When natural variations can be attributed to forcings that are measurable or deterministic, then we can make progress in longer term predictions.

    • Webby

      When natural variations can be attributed to forcings that are measurable or deterministic, then we can make progress in longer term predictions.

      Lots of luck with predicting the the natural forcings which drive natural variations.

      Max


    • Lots of luck with predicting the the natural forcings which drive natural variations.

      Max

      Tides are natural. Tides are predictable. The interactions of tides as a forcing function to continuity models of the ocean leads to anharmonic time series that may be tractable.

      http://contextearth.com/2014/02/21/soim-and-the-paul-trap/

      Max is acting silly in not placing any trust in what the human imagination can figure out.

    • WHT “Tides are natural. Tides are predictable. ”
      get away wi ye.
      Tides are by nature unpredictable, especially when they interact. People stand on rocks fishing in Sydney Harbor and every now and then we lose one. Giant waves occur. Generally monotonous, yes. Predictable , no.
      Read some Shakespeare or “the Seventh Wave”.

    • There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood,
      leads on to fortune.’
      Julius C.

      Tick the box that leads on to fortune.

      LI Bring in more top down laws, close down/ tax everything in
      the name of environmental protection and saving the world from
      carbon pollution.

      LI Adopt a sensible energy policy that allows societies to be productive, innovative and adaptable.

    • AngieBaby,
      Science does not work by quoting Shakespeare or relying on Aussie surfing mythology. Get back to me when you can handle some math.

    • Shakespeare however knew something of science 400 years ago that seems to have escaped a mere modern man or telescope.
      People being washed off rocks while rock fishing is not Aussie mythology it is fact.

    • Webby

      Anyone can “predict” tides (with a simple tide table).

      BUT, the tide table is not always 100% correct, leading to mishaps as angech alluded.

      Other cyclical changes in our climate are a bit more difficult to predict accurately. But there is no doubt that they exist. The observed ~60 year warming/cooling cycle is apparent in the record, but cycles of longer amplitude are hard to see in the short record we have.

      IPCC has underestimated these cycles, concentrating myopically on human GHGs (its brief from the start) and essentially ignoring or playing down everything else.

      It is unclear how much of the past warming has resulted from these cycles or how changes in cloud cover may have contributed. It is also unclear what role (if any) the sun or plays in these cycles.

      This is what “uncertainty” in climate science is all about.

      And it is also why IPCC model-based projections have failed.

      Until the models fully understand short and long term natural climate cycles, the impact of clouds and the possible role of the sun in driving these factors, there is no way they can make any kind of reasonable projections for the future.

      Max

  31. Judith, you state:
    “Held’s article raises a very important issue – whether climate change is predominantly linear and dominated by external forcing, or whether natural internal variability is the intrinsic mode of variability on decadal to century timescales. In other words, is natural internal variability the icing on the cake, or the cake itself?”

    If climate scientists in 2014 are still struggling with this fundamental concept, then goodness sake why did we spend so many resources on one set of assumptions while ignoring others? Back to the drawing board!

    Time to close down 50% of the climate model activity and put those resources to work understanding oceans, clouds and aerosols.

  32. the inner workings of the climate are complex.

    less so when viewed from afar, treat the system as the whole that it is

    measure total energy in potential, versus total energy out potential.

    I think the trick is being able to recognize ALL energy in. This is where the limitations of the “greenhouse” as a mental construct are an oversimplification that is making it too difficult for some people to think further to find the truth.

    Under Total Solar Irradiance, Wikipedia says this:

    Variations in total solar irradiance were too small to detect with technology available before the satellite era, although the small fraction in ultra-violet light has recently been found to vary significantly more than previously thought over the course of a solar cycle.[2] Total solar output is now measured to vary (over the last three 11-year sunspot cycles) by approximately 0.1%,[3][4][5] or about 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) peak-to-trough from solar maximum to solar minimum during the 11-year sunspot cycle. The amount of solar radiation received at the outer limits of Earth’s atmosphere averages 1366 W/m2.[1][6][7] There are no direct measurements of the longer-term variation, and interpretations of proxy measures of variations differ. The intensity of solar radiation reaching Earth has been relatively constant through the last 2000 years, with variations estimated at around 0.1–0.2%.[8][9][10] Solar variation, together with volcanic activity are hypothesized to have contributed to climate change, for example during the Maunder Minimum. Changes in solar brightness are too weak to explain recent climate change

    Paraphrasing, they say, “energy variation is limited to 0.1% – 0.2% over the last 2000 years, and that recent climate change is not limited thus, therefor there must be other reasons.”

    Simple. We can look for other reasons (greenhouse effect), or we can challenge the sanctity of the theorized limitation of solar irradiance, “energy transfer”, and therefor the correctness of the 0.1%-0.2% assertion

    Are we “commonly” aware of all the interrelations between the sun and earth? No. Emphatically. There is “something” we aren’t “aware of” affecting something else, previously thought to be un-affectable.”. The best guess of the guy who knows the most about the subject is neutrinos.

    What’s a neutrino? I’m not sure, but I think it is a wave in the spin of adjoining teeeny particles that fill the space inside of atoms. and the are ominpresent, and largely come from the sun (at least the ones whizzing through us, and the earth by the bjillions, constantly.).

    Is the Higgs bosun evidence, or contrary information? I don’t know. Is magnetism related, I think so, because I think magnetism is simliar to neutrino waves. belts of spin of adjacent teeeny particles, set spinning by being pushed through oppositely rotating atoms, like two tank treads opposing each other. Setting orbiting belts of spin, through mediums that are accepting to it’s presence. it follows paths of least resistance, when materials are brought close, and can be affected by electricity, because current causes pathways of similarly rotating atoms. Perhaps. Is this all related?

    we DO know the earth is a massive magnet that grows and shrinks, and fluctuates in relation to stellar bodies, and solar magnetic energies.

    so if we dig a little deeper, allow a little more complexity into the equation, temporarily, we can recognize the potential for “total impact” by detecting and quantifying ALL the energy from the sun, and can make the overall big picture question simpler again. total energy in, total energy dissipated. just not stopping at believing it’s OK only to consider the energy we can currently quantify.

    Then the alleged limitation of 0.1% – 0.2% can be reevaluated, and greenhouse potential more accurately measured.

    Even where there are “insulating layers” that prevent heat from passing from one depth to another within the earth, there will still be heat travel, just extremely slowly, so the temperatures that reach the surface of a given area, depending on the material below it, could have waves of variation that are regional, and yet differ by thousands of years, surface heat response to “ancient” stimuli, on a time varied, regional basis. So measuring and understanding ALL the energy from the sun, is going to be complicated. But knowing that is what we have to do, is simple.

    Keep it simple, by making it more complicated, so we can make sure we are asking the right question, and therefor get to the right answer faster.

    Is a perceived, alleged limitation of impact from the sun on the earth, of 0.2% valid?

    Simple enough.

    p.s. We can’t stop at the impact of the sun on the earth, because the galaxy and the local interstellar cloud medium and the results we read from the IBEX probe, are evidences of fluctations in the energy the sun is receiving from the solar system.

    p.p.s. similarly, we are now able to perceive, and measure the flow of energy into and out of the milky way, the tides, and waves within the local interstellar cloud, into the heliosphere, into and out of the sun, and into and out of some of the planets, including and especially earth. we just haven’t understood it all yet, to be able to quantify, or surmise, how they are all put together. and that is leading us to misunderstand our climate as fully as we could.

  33. Regarding the lack of linearity, see

    Rial, J., R.A. Pielke Sr., M. Beniston, M. Claussen, J. Canadell, P. Cox, H. Held, N. de Noblet-Ducoudre, R. Prinn, J. Reynolds, and J.D. Salas, 2004: Nonlinearities, feedbacks and critical thresholds within the Earth’s climate system. Climatic Change, 65, 11-38. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-260.pdf

    The abstract reads

    “The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional, change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the norm. While this is widely accepted [MY COMMENT: APPARENTLY WE OVERSTATED THIS :-)), there is a relatively poor understanding of the different types of nonlinearities, how they manifest under various conditions, and whether they reflect a climate system driven by astronomical forcings, by internal feedbacks, or by a combination of both. In this paper, after a brief tutorial on the basics of climate nonlinearity, we provide a number of illustrative examples and highlight key mechanisms that give rise to nonlinear behavior, address scale and methodological issues, suggest a robust alternative to prediction that is based on using integrated assessments within the framework of vulnerability studies and, lastly, recommend a number of research priorities and the establishment of education programs in Earth Systems Science. It is imperative that the Earth’s climate system research community embraces this nonlinear paradigm if we are to move forward in the assessment of the human influence on climate.”

  34. Robert I Ellison

    ‘AOS models are therefore to be judged by their degree of plausibility, not whether they are correct or best. This perspective extends to the component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth: There are better or worse choices (some seemingly satisfactory for their purpose or others needing repair) but not correct or best ones. The bases for judging are a priori formulation, representing the relevant natural processes and choosing the discrete algorithms, and a posteriori solution behavior.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

    There are several misconceptions but the one that stands out is on models. It rises to the level of deliberate misdirection or astonishing self delusion.

    The critical notion here is ‘a posteriori solution behavior’ – where the output of the model is qualitatively assessed by virtue of prior expectations of a viable range of solutions. These individual solutions are then collated as ‘ensembles of opportunity’.

    The expectation that any particular model can do anything other that provide a range of solutions each with – theoretically – an associated probability is incorrect without a doubt and has been recognized as such since well before the TAR.

    ‘In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles. The generation of such model ensembles will require the dedication of greatly increased computer resources and the application of new methods of model diagnosis. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive, but such statistical information is essential.’ http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/505.htm

    Both climate and models are chaotic without a doubt – with models this brings the problem of irreducible imprecision to the fore. Nor is there any convincing evidence of the plausibility of ‘component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth’.

    The seasonal analogy seems quite misleading as well. If we are looking for simplicity – it can be found at TOA where three terms can capture 99% of the variability of climate. The change in work and heat in the Earth system is equal to energy in minus energy out.

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

    The year to year average variability doesn’t change all that much – but the regions where the energy is entering the system change as the Earth tilts during the year. What matters in terms of climate change is how the RHS energy terms vary as a response to chaotic shifts in climate states. Of especial relevance to modern climate change is the shifts in Pacific Ocean states in 1976/1977 and 1998/2001 and how those shifts manifested in cloud formation and thus the global energy budget. Observations – both surface and satellite – suggest changes in cloud cover that are negatively correlated to sea surface temperature in the Pacific. The quantum of these changes suggest that warming in the satellite period was for the most part the result of the low frequency – chaotic – variability of the Earth system and that this is the cause of the current hiatus. The nature of these shifts suggests that the hiatus may persist for decades.

    It is ultimately all about energy budgets – but the energy budget seems to change dramatically with emergent shifts in the state space occupied by the Earth system. This ranges from glacial to interglacial states in the Quaternary – and many intermediate states – with abrupt shifts between states.

    Hui Ding and colleagues have done recent work on the two most recent shifts – http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00626.1 – and while these remain unpredictable the correct understanding of the essential nature of the system gives at least the potential for correct forecasts.

    “The winds change the ocean currents which in turn affect the climate. In our study, we were able to identify and realistically reproduce the key processes for the two abrupt climate shifts,” says Prof. Latif. “We have taken a major step forward in terms of short-term climate forecasting, especially with regard to the development of global warming. However, we are still miles away from any reliable answers to the question whether the coming winter in Germany will be rather warm or cold.” Prof. Latif cautions against too much optimism regarding short-term regional climate predictions: “Since the reliability of those predictions is still at about 50%, you might as well flip a coin.”

    The nature of the system can’t be understood through simplistic assumptions – but only with data. Although data acquisition systems are only maturing now – there is enough to diagnose the chaotic nature of the system and to suggest the primacy of climate shifts as the origin of much modern climate change. That these shifts are as yet unpredictable – implying that the future trajectory of climate is unknowable – is not a reasonable argument for rejecting reality and substituting your own.

    • Curious George

      “It is ultimately all about energy budgets”. I agree. Then models should not use incorrect assumptions about energy transfer by a latent heat of water vaporization, of all things.

  35. Considering the ‘esoteric’ nature of the present topic, it seems to me that as a practical matter the science of climate change and the problem of climate policy need much greater separation from one another–each operates with a different characteristic time-frame and presently each is a significant impediment to the progress of the other. Ideally this would not be the case but we find ourselves a long way from the ideal. Oh, well.

  36. “for every complex problem there is a simple solution and it’s wrong”. That was posted in large letters where I worked.

    • Interestingly self-referential. The sign is a simple solution for the problem of endemic(?) poor problem solving.

      • Never was there a complex problem that was solved with a simple solution. More of a warning to solving complex problems with simple solutions. When complexity of many different systems at work, where would you find a simple solution that would cover them all. Finding a simple solution belies the fact that you aren’t thinking. Simple solutions to complex problems are/is poor problem solving. Generally, simple solutions were a cause for laughter and merriment. We all engaged in that, because it was funny.

    • “Never was there a complex problem that was solved with a simple solution. … We all engaged in that, because it was funny.”

      You have generalized (without a speck of justification) from an anecdotal work to a universal statement by the middle of the paragraph. Oh, well. At least you had a merry and entertaining workplace experience.

    • David Springer

      Sometimes problems that appear complex have simple solutions. The solution in that case removes the appearance of complexity.

    • Simple approaches to problems solved at least one problem for me…making a living.

    • Curious George

      The Gordian Knot comes to mind.

    • Complex, but still gotta untie it. Anything else is laughable. We will not get anywhere.

  37. One could also interpret Held as saying that: if you double CO2, you will get around 1 degree of warming, and any additional exotic feedbacks simply add complexity without reducing uncertainty.

    Thankyou Dr. Held for your insights!

  38. “Is the climate system just too complex for useful prediction?”

    The obvious answer is yes. One cannot hide the source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima and powers the Sun and then predict Earth’s climate with voodoo physics.

    Climategate has demonstrated the futility of that effort.

    • Curious George

      I have more trust in an increasing computing power. Unfortunately I have no trust in climate modelers.

  39. Climate models paint an analogous picture for the evolution of climate over decades to centuries: a superposition of internal variability and an externally forced component containing a natural part (solar variations and volcanoes) and a part due to human activities that, to first approximation, is a linear superposition of responses to different forcing agents such as CO2, methane, and aerosols.

    That’s non-sense. There’s no such trend in surface station measurements.

  40. What do you say to someone who believes a cycle is linear?

    • What do you say to someone who doesn’t understand that the average temperature of the Earth in the year 3000 — as best as we are able to predict — will be 13.8°C or so, no matter what humanity does or does not do.

  41. Talking about the “pause” or hiatus is only another parlor conversation to avoid acknowledging that claimed co2 sensitivity and models have completely failed. The hypothesis and evidence of ghg impact isn’t conventional science and it doesn’t adhere to a reasonable scientific method.

    Just another meaningless narrative.

  42. Svend Ferdinandsen

    I believe it is a problem of signal to noise ratio, that makes it impossible to find the response to any known signal.
    The climate is chaotic in all time scales and with large amplitudes, so you can not simply filter it out to find a signal, especially when you are not sure what the signal would be.
    It is like electric engineering before it was known that noise was unavoidable.

  43. Steven Mosher

    “A global mean temperature increase of 2.5C above pre-industrial levels may lead to global aggregate economic losses of between 0.2 and 2.0 per cent, the report warns. Global GDP was $71.8trn (£43.1trn) in 2012, meaning a 2 per cent reduction would wipe $1.4trn off the world’s economic output that year.”

    And a .2% would cost 140B.

    • It’s really amazing how readily ‘may’ morphs into ‘would’

    • Steven Mosher

      More amazing is they dont quote the lower end in dollars

    • Steven Mosher

      A global mean temperature increase of 2.5C above pre-industrial levels may lead to global aggregate economic losses of between 0.2 and 2.0 per cent, the report warns.

      Don’t know what report you’re quoting there, Mosh, but the Richard Tol study suggests that the global warming to date from CO2 has been beneficial for mankind.

      http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      “Climate change increased welfare by the equivalent of a 0.5% increase in income for the first half of the 20th century. After 1950, impacts became more positive, edging up to 1.4% of GDP by 2000.”

      Figure 2 shows the economic impact of climate change.

      (Year:Temperature change:%GDP economic impact)

      1900: 0ºC: 0%GDP
      1950: +0.3ºC: +0.5%GDP
      2000: +0.7ºC: +1.4%GDP
      Projections:
      2030: +1.2ºC: +1.2%GDP
      2050: +1.7ºC: +1.0%GDP
      2080: +2.7ºC: 0%GDP
      2100: +3.5ºC: -1.2%GDP

      The warming projections are based on arguably exaggerated IPCC worst case scenarios (3.5ºC warming above 1900 level by 2100).

      Why do I say “arguably exaggerated”?

      This is 2.8ºC above today’s global average temperature, which (at the arguably exaggerated 2xCO2 TCR of 1.9ºC (at least according to several recent, independent observation-based studies) would require CO2 to rise to 1080 ppmv:

      1.9ºC * ln (1080 / 395) / ln (2) = 2.8ºC

      Mosh, you’ll have to agree that atmospheric CO2 will certainly not reach 1080 ppmv by year 2100, for two reasons:

      – reaching this level at the projected UN population growth rate would mean that every man, woman and child on this world would use 1.5 times as much fossil fuels as the average US citizen does today! Oops!

      – that’s more CO2 than there is in all the inferred recoverable fossil fuel resources remaining on our planet (WEC 2010). Ouch!

      Lemme splain.

      US per capita CO2 emission is 16 tons/year
      World per capita CO2 emission is 4.7 tons/year

      To reach a concentration of 1080 ppmv by 2100, total annual CO2 emissions would have to increase to 7.6 times today’s emission or 254 GtCO2/year. (Do the ‘rithmetic yourself, Mosh).

      At a projected population of 10.2 billion, that equals a per capita CO2 emission of 25 tons, or 1.5 times the US per capita emission today (which, by the way, is decreasing from year to year). Huh?

      Such a projection by IPCC (or anyone else) is not only absurd, it is downright stupid, Mosh.

      As a pretty good “numbers man”, you must agree.

      So it is more reasonable to ASS-U-ME that warming by year 2100 will be below the “magic 2.7ºC above 1900″ (or 2.0ºC above today), IOW still net beneficial for mankind.

      Good news for all, once the rubbish projections are weeded out.

      Max

    • But GDP, longevity, infant mortality, knowledge and well being have all skyrocketed during the last century of warming.

    • The only thing clearer than the fact that no one understands the economy or the Earth’s climate enough to model either (to a degree sufficient to determine policy), is the fact that no one has a clue of how to model/predict the interaction of the two.

    • David Springer

      Thanks for link, David.

      Do you believe that Mosh is naïve enough to believe there is any validity to this rubbish?

      Or was he simply tossing hand grenades?

      Max

    • David Springer

      Mosher was mocking the authors for not stating the low end value in dollars only the high end. It was an order of magnitude difference. Like the difference between an average lifespan for humans of from 7 to 70 years which of course is the difference between modern longevity and extinction. The lower number $140B/year is pocket change. The US alone borrows that much every 60 days.

    • Max, He is quoting from new IPCC report which takes into consideration ALL of the scientific evidence. Why would anyone find Tol’s study more credible?

    • Joseph

      You ask (comparing the study by Richard Tol with the leaked AR5 impact stuff cited by Mosh:

      Why would anyone find Tol’s study more credible?

      Duh!

      Because Tol is not trying to sell a bill of goods like IPCC is.

      Don’t be so naïve, Joseph

      Max

    • David Springer

      Got it.

      Thanks for straightening me out.

      So the “low end damage” of 2.5C warming above an arbitrarily selected “pre-industrial” value (around year 1750) is estimated to be $140 billion.

      Strange that IPCC did not include the estimate by Richard Tol, namely that 2.5C warming above “pre-industrial (or 1.7C warming above today) would result in a net overall benefit to humanity of 1% of GDP or $700 billion (rather than a loss of $140 billion).

      Did IPCC miss that report?

      Or did it just ignore or reject it?

      Max

  44. Henri Masson

    Please don’t be confused between random and chaotic signals. The first category can be described by conventional statisitics. If the signal is random, it is distributed around its mean value according to a normal (gaussian) distribution. The mean value is the one having the highest probability to occur. The variance of the signal around this mean value (or trend line if any) allows then to define some confidence interval. A chaotic signal, on the contrary, evolutes around 2 or more “strange attractors”, leading to a U or M amplitude distribution instead of a Gaussian one. The mean value corresponds then often more or less (according to the symetry of the distribution) to the minimum of the amplitude distribution, and, of course, the points are not longer normally distributed around this mean value. In other words, the mean value has a very low probability to be reached in the future and one is just unable to define a confidence interval. All you can define is the position of the two attractors and have some idea of the spreading around them (which is generally not gaussian) and that, at times, unpredictabibly, th signal flaps from one attractor to the other. In climate science, the two attractors are the “glacial one” (the most common), and some excursions, of non predictible length around a “temperate attractor”, which is the situation where we are those days, but for how long?

  45. “Held’s article raises a very important issue – whether climate change is predominantly linear and dominated by external forcing, or whether natural internal variability is the intrinsic mode of variability on decadal to century timescales. In other words, is natural internal variability the icing on the cake, or the cake itself?”

    No natural variability is solar forced, look at the solar plasma velocity during the 1997/98 and 2009/10 El Nino episodes:

  46. All of this is really interesting, but at the end of the day there isn’t diddlysquat that can reasonably be done about global CO2 emissions any time soon for anything like reasonable cost. Personally I worry more (which is still not a lot) about the earth being struck by a large meteorite than I do about CAGW. For Pete’s sake, the argument is about tenths of a degree based on amongst other things tree ring proxies……..give me a break!

    • There’s lots that can be done. Economic modeling shows that, for US-like countries, they would actually *save* money with the first 15% of emissions cuts, as energy is used efficiently.

      Fossil fuels have huge negative externalities. Generating electric power with fossil fuels creates more damage than value-added, according to Yale economist William Nordhaus in a 2011 paper:

      Muller, Nicholas Z., Robert Mendelsohn, and William Nordhaus. 2011. “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy.” American Economic Review, 101(5): 1649–75.

      http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.5.1649

      That paper finds that for every $1 in value that comes from coal-generated electricity, $2.20 in damages is created. .

      Total damages: $70 billion per year (in 2012 dollars).

      Petroleum-generated electricity is even worse: $5.13 in damages for $1 in value.

      The National Academy of Sciences estimates that fossil fuel use causes damages of at least $120 B/yr to health and the environment — and this is mostly without any considerations of climate change:

      “Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use,” National Research Council, 2010

      http://books.nap.edu/catalog/12794.html

      Of course, no one on forums like this wants to mention external costs, because including them makes it clear that we are all subsidizing fossil fuels by a huge amount through worse health and higher medical costs.

      • David Springer

        How much would US-like countries cutting CO2 emissions by 20% lower the cumulative amount of sea level rise in the year 2100?

        And why won’t US-unlike countries like China, India, Russia, etc. increase their comsumption commensurately to take up the slack? You really have to make people in the US poorer so they buy less rubber dogschit from China otherwise by placing higher economic burdens on US industry it simply shifts the industry overseas and we import instead of produce domestically. This is exactly what has happened so far and is most recently and famously exemplified in Canadian tight oil which if it isn’t exported to the US will be exported to China where there’s even more emissions added to it by trans-oceanic shipping.

        Isn’t that just precious?

    • From the Muller, Mendelsohn, and Nordhaus paper:

      “First, as is standard in national accounting, we rely on market prices to value quantities. That is, marginal values are applied to both marginal and inframarginal units. This implies that GDP estimates do not reflect consumer surplus.”

      Bzzzt. This is the same assumption that causes gross underestimates of economic welfare generated by the IT sector. You can’t say that you’ve measured the value-added of an industry if you ignore the consumer surplus it generates, because in competitive markets that is the vast majority of the surplus generated. It’s basically only looking at the profits of the coal industry to measure its social benefit and not looking at the consumer’s gains from trade, i.e. the benefits of using electricity at home or embedded in the products one buys. It is a fundamental misuse of the GDP statistics to do this.

      I don’t blame Appell for not understanding this, because the cited paper glides past it as if it were an AOK assumption and non-economists (and even some economists) are likely to be fooled. But they do state it out in the open and it does invalidate the conclusion Appell cites.

    • “Of course, no one on forums like this wants to mention external costs, because including them makes it clear that we are all subsidizing fossil fuels by a huge amount through worse health and higher medical costs”

      You have to be a real turd not to notice that health and wealth are highly correlated.
      You are an utter fool.

    • k scott denison

      David, please give us an example of a civilization where health was much better because of the lack of use of fossil fuels.

    • Obviously health and wealth are correlated. But wealth is correlated to energy use (up to a point, and the US is past that point), not specifically to fossil fuel use.

    • They are not defining value only by the profits of the industry. “The VA of an industry is the market value of output minus the market value of inputs, not including the factors of production—labor, land, and capital.” (pg 1663)

    • k scott denison

      David, if you’ll post your address I’ll send you a dollar so you can buy a clue. The improvement in the health in much of the world is due quite literally to the extensive use of fossil fuels in the US, UK and other developed nations. Do you know why?

    • I want to thank everyone for sparing me from having to reply to Mr. Appell.

      • David Springer

        At the risk of causing you to think that any mohron can get a PhD if they have enough time and money it’s Dr. Appell not Mr. Appell.

        Hard to believe, isn’t it?

    • Past a certain point, there is almost no correlation between life expectancy and energy use or CO2 emissions:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Christy-crock-7-part1.html

      It is energy that makes societies healthier and wealthier; not a particular kind of energy. Fossil fuels have undeniable negative externalities, especially on health. For coal the NEs are large.

    • David either you are right, in which case I am sorry that you are in such poor health with all the toxins and pollution that you were exposed to. Perhaps you could go to Tibet and enjoy the rural healthy lifestyle and health outcomes there.

    • David Springer

      Mark Silbert | March 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Reply

      “All of this is really interesting, but at the end of the day there isn’t diddlysquat that can reasonably be done about global CO2 emissions any time soon for anything like reasonable cost.”

      Exactamundo! Teh consequences, whateve they may be, are unavoidable. Curbing emissions isn’t about avoiding them it’s about social engineering with entirely different goals. Ideological goals.

    • “There’s lots that can be done. Economic modeling shows that, for US-like countries, they would actually *save* money with the first 15% of emissions cuts, as energy is used efficiently.”
      David Appell, I’ve asked you this before. Why do you only quote Nordhaus? He’s a very respected economist, but there are other economists, just as respected, who say that AGW mitigation returns only pennies on the dollar. One example is the Copenhagen Consensus, which has four economists on the panel with Nobel Prizes. They list out other projects that return ten to fifty times the money spent, literally hundreds of times more productive that CO2 mitigation. They save far more lives.
      Why is this project more important than anything else?

    • I’d add that I’ve asked David Appell this three times now, and never gotten a reply. He just keeps posting about Nordhaus as if that is the “consensus”.

      Note that I am not claiming that those four other economists are right, or that their Nobel Prizes outrank Nordhaus’s credentials. I am simply pointing out that economics is not a place where the AGW point of view is consensus. If you look at some of the most respected authorities in the field, you hear that mitigation is a terribly wasteful way to spend a vast amount of money and do very little good.

    • “The VA of an industry is the market value of output minus the market value of inputs, not including the factors of production—labor, land, and capital.” (pg 1663)

      Right–and it totally ignores consumer surplus (the gap between what people pay for something and what it they would be willing to pay for it). VA is revenue minus materials costs, but it still does not include the largest fraction of the economic value created in most competitive industries–consumer surplus. As such, the estimates in the paper are worthless for the purpose to which you are putting them.

  47. “So which vision is correct – the linear model whereby climate variations are forced externally (with noise from internal variability), or the complexity model (e.g. climate shifts) whereby natural internal variability is the intrinsic signal, with external forcing projecting onto the internal modes?”

    Neither, the main external forcing factor is solar. E.g. during weak solar cycles the incidence and intensity of negative AO/NAO episodes goes up significantly.

  48. Steve Fitzpatrick

    Hi Judith,

    I find Held’s arguments (both in the Science article and at the recent APS seminar) unpersuasive. Boiling it down to the minimum, it seems to be: “Yes, the models have been shown to make poor predictions on any scale up to 30 years, but I am convinced, after careful consideration, they are accurate over century and longer scales, so we must act to curve CO2 emissions immediately.”

    Sorry Isaac, but that argument is weak. Actually worse than weak; more like a pitiful and feeble arm-wave.

    The assumption that the models will make accurate predictions over longer periods seems based on the presumption that the poor shorter-term performance is the result of greater short term variability than the models can capture, but that ‘the basics’ of the models are all correct.

    IMO there is little rational justification for that POV, especially considering that there are multiple ‘parametrizations’ in the models which are not based ‘on physics’, and so subject to tuning, along with arbitrary aerosol off-set histories which are tailored/tuned to create a not-too-terrible match to historical temperature trends for each model. You should make that same argument only when: 1) uncertainty in measured aerosol influences (direct and indirect) have been cut by 80% or more, 2) the GCMs have incorporated ocean dynamics which do a reasonable job (eg. +/- 10%) of calculating ocean heat uptake and uptake patterns, 3) the models start agreeing closely with each other on transient and equilibrium climate sensitivity, and 4) the models track the real Earth in both average temperature and spacial patterns over a couple of decades. Until then (which seems like 30-40 years or more away), your argument is utterly without merit.

    • It’s not a weak argument. Because predicting the climate in the next 30 years is a fundmamentally different problem than predicting it in the long -term — the former is an initial value problem, and the latter is a boundary value problem.

      In physics there are a great many things that can’t be calculated on small scales (in time), but which can be calculated over long intervals, especially for fluids and gases.

    • “In physics there are a great many things that can’t be calculated on small scales (in time), but which can be calculated over long intervals”

      On the other hand, some predictions cannot be tested on long timescales, because of our limited lifespans. The argument, ‘Do this now for the sake of your grandchildren’ is just moral blackmail by people who cannot read a graph.

      I state the simple truth that overweight people, who cannot care for their bodies, are in no position to lecture anyone on the best way to care for an ecosystem.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      David Appell,

      I fully understand the difference between an initial value problem and a boundary value problem. The Earth’s climate is some of both, over a wide range of time scales. But you seem to be missing the bigger point: Confirmation that the model parametrizations and assumed aerosol offsets are ‘correct’ is what is missing… and we already know the assumed aerosol offsets are mostly wrong, since they are different for each model group (which means they are little more than a kludge!). Each time the models have been tested against reality (eg ocean heat uptake when ARGO data became available, tropospheric waring profiles from balloons and satellites) they have been found lacking.

      Real model confirmation can only come from better performance over time (in temperature evolution, yes, but in lots of other variables as well, like patterns of warming and rainfall, simulation of ENSO, etc.) combined with much better measurement based constrains on aerosol influences, both direct and indirect. The argument Isaac is making seems little better than ‘trust us’… and in light of all the hype surrounding GHG driven warming, that really is unpersuasive.

    • Martyn, I’ve noticed that every time you are challenged, you resort to personal insults, not just with me, but with many others too.

      Very telling. Also, very immature.

    • Models have not been found lacking; in fact, they do a pretty good job of back-predicting the 20th century, despite not having good aerosol data for the latter half of it:

      http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-useful-paper-on-one-models-results.html

      We don’t even *need* climate models to know we have a big carbon problem; you just have to look at paleoclimate and its response to carbon dioxide, and then look at how much CO2 we’re emitting and will be emitting in the future, without cutbacks.

      In other words, climate models don’t need to predict every little up and down of global temperature, and it matters little if ECS is 3.0 C or 3.1 C.

      And besides, there are good reasons to think climate models aren’t ever going to be much better — there are too many factors, each bringing in an added uncertainty — Roe and Baker, Science, 2007

      https://www.sciencemag.org/content/318/5850/629

      In other words, we are going to have to make decisions about CO2 in the face of uncertainty, and based on what might happen, not what is guaranteed to happen.

      • David Springer

        David Appell (@davidappell) | March 17, 2014 at 10:13 pm |

        “Models have not been found lacking;”

        Then what do you propose to call the observed global average temperature falling outside the modeled 95% confidence bound? Any honest reviewer would find characterizing that as “lacking” to be apt. But you’re pretty phucking far from an honest reviewer so we shouldn’t expect you to agree, eh?

    • Roe Baker mathematically was twaddle.Their so called non linear model was linear eg Zaliapin and Ghil 2010.

      The implication for the RB model is that CS is indeed irreducible and random, with all its implication for policy makers.

      http://www.nonlin-processes-geophys.net/17/113/2010/npg-17-113-2010.pdf

    • stevefitzpatrick

      David Appell,
      “it matters little if ECS is 3.0 C or 3.1 C”
      We agree on that, but it DOES matter for public policy if it is 1.7 C or 3.7 C. That is what the real technical argument is about. That is what the argument has been about since Jule Charney split the difference between 4.5 and 1.5.
      Suggesting the likely range is high and narrow, as you consistently do, precludes addressing the real issue: in light of large uncertainty, it is not at all clear that costly policies are sensible. Uncomfortable as it may be to some, I think it is clear that demands for extreme policies are a waste of time at present. If draconian policies are going to be broadly adopted, then that is going to require a lot more confidence that climate sensitivity is high. If that ever happens, then there will be the political support for the kinds of policies you desire. But if I were you, I would not hold my breath, because I think the technical case for lower sensitivity is stronger. Better to buy a Prius to assuage your discomfort.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Martyn, I’ve noticed that every time you are challenged, you resort to personal insults, not just with me, but with many others too.

      Very telling. Also, very immature.”
      —-
      Yep.

      • David Springer

        Insults are immature? Is that the way you feel about the liberals when they insult Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, George Bush, John Boener, or any of the other usual targets of ceaseless leftist ridicule? No double standards.


    • stevefitzpatrick | March 17, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
      We agree on that, but it DOES matter for public policy if it is 1.7 C or 3.7 C.

      Fitzy, the best estimate of ECS is 3C and you can see that with the land data.

  49. If the “linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability,” why has the Holocene seen such a stable climate? .

  50. David Appell

    “predicting the climate in the next 30 years is a fundmamentally different problem than predicting it in the long -term — the former is an initial value problem, and the latter is a boundary value problem”.

    Nope. See, for example,

    F. Giorgi, 2005 : Climate Change Prediction: Climatic Change (2005) 73: DOI: 10.1007/s10584-005-6857-4

    he writes

    “….because of the long time scales involved in ocean, cryosphere and biosphere processes a first kind predictability component also arises. The slower components of the climate system (e.g. the ocean and biosphere) affect the statistics of climate variables (e.g. precipitation) and since they may feel the influence of their initial state at multi decadal time scales, it is possible that climate changes also depend on the initial state of the climate system (e.g. Collins, 2002; Pielke, 1998). For example, the evolution of the THC in response to GHG forcing can depend on the THC initial state, and this evolution will in general affect the full climate system. As a result, the climate change prediction problem has components of both first and second kind which are deeply intertwined.”

    Thus, if the climate system is both a boundary value and an initial value problem

    Roger Sr.

  51. Last sentence should read

    ” climate system is both a boundary value and an initial value problem”.

    • David Appell

      Beside Dr. Pielke’s specific response relating to our planet’s climate, there is the general fact noted by Nassim Taleb in his “Black Swan” that the longer a prediction time period the more difficult it is to make a meaningful prediction.

      Max

  52. “The debate around the sensitivity to CO2 forcing is a symptom of this problem”

    Judith: I consider this to be the ultimate false linearity. All greenhouse gas theory rests on some sort of linearity of absorption by the CO2 molecule. Yet we know that the isotopic nature of the carbon molecule means that its absorption capability will vary ib large or small steps (i.e. different excitation modes). Hence the on/off nature of climate change and an explanation of the weird behavior of the 1940 singularity. The recent shift in thinking of the Royal Society seems to be along these lines and is encouraging..

    Yes, in general, { agree with Held’s theory of the linear response to small perturbations in non-linear systems, but if you are on the cusp of a major change of excitation mode which we were (see my theoretical model figure 2 underlined above) then small perturbation theory may be invalid.

  53. All you need to do is take a look at climate at ice-age time scales to realise what a sham the whole thing is. See:

    http://www.blackjay.net/papers/bounded-random-walk/index.html

    There are only 3 deterministic components evident in global temperature fluctuations – diurnal, annual and a small peak due to the 40,000 year obliquity cycle. When these are removed what is left is stochastic, (i.e. random, subject to the laws of probability) as indicated by its continuous red spectrum (see e.g. Pelletier PNAS vol 99, 2002). Physicists and engineers have been comfortable with stochastic process for the best part of a century but applied mathematicians and climate modellers still seem to be having problems judging by this post and some of the above comments. Stochastic modelling of climate was proposed by Hasselmann (1976), (Arnold, 2001) but was abandoned when the new gee-whiz computer models came in. These models are deterministic because they are based on the ordinary differential equations of fluid mechanics and the assumption that fluids are a continuum.

    Numerical fluid dynamical models cannot deal adequately with turbulence and fronts and are barely able to emulate the behaviour of a river estuary or small lake but climate modellers seem to believe that they can describe the two phase fluid envelope of an entire planet providing enough ad hoc parameterisations are included.

    Science bureaucrats love climate modelling: it costs a lot of money and manpower, it produces predictable results with no surprises and they can always tell their paymasters they are saving the planet.

    • The a major problem with this type of analysis is that we do not have the same sampling frequency, nor the same temporal resolution, during the ice-core record. The further one goes in the past, the less information in the data there is. If you treat all the points as having equal information, you bias the plot and the direction of bias depends on how the points are transformed.

  54. Roger, OK, thanks. But I don’t see how this helps any. We can’t just throw up our hands and say, we won’t try to predict anything — the potential consequences are too large, even over an interval like this century. What can scientists do other than what they’ve been doing so far: model as best they can, learn as they go, and keep making better models.

    After all, the models aren’t *that* bad. They do a pretty good job of back-predicting the 20th century, like this one:

    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-useful-paper-on-one-models-results.html

    • “After all, the models aren’t *that* bad. They do a pretty good job of back-predicting the 20th century, ”

      Nothing like a good post-diction. However, since the initial value is a problem and the depth of the period formerly known as the little ice age would account for a good bit of the rebound or recovery, you also have a little issue with the real mean or “normal” that centers the boundary conditions. So models have a “not that bad” hindcasting performance would tend to overestimate future warming, kinda like they do now doncha know.

    • capt, don’t forget that if the models don’t hindcast as well as they like, they can also change the temperature record or aerosol model or the ozone or any manner of ‘forcings’. Indeed, failing at hindcasting would take real work.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      David Appell,
      When you get to fudge with any aerosol history that you want, the temperature hind-cast is bound to be both a reasonably good fit to the data and utterly lacking in credibility.

      What climate scientists can do (and should do) is what we are all supposed to do in science: confirm theory with data, don’t substitute speculation for truth, don’t abuse science by burdening it with personal values, priorities, and ideals, and most of all, take a (giant!) dose of humility, and admit you don’t know what don’t know. There is a reasoned case to be made for prudent public policy steps, but climate scientists aren’t making that case. They only argue for (and even demand!) policies which are 1) not effective, 2) easy to shoot down technically, and 3) will never be implemented due to cost and economic disruption. They should stop playing a losing hand.

    • David in Cal

      David — The current state of the models (if you believe them) doesn’t tell us what to do. The IPCC says the sensitivity is likely greater than 1.5 deg. C, but could be lower. If sensitivity is below 2 deg C, we don’t need to do anything urgent. OTOH some claim that the sensitivity might be 6 deg C or more. If that’s the case, we may need to take urgent action, even if that action means the death of a billion human beings.

    • the depth of the period formerly known as the little ice age would account for a good bit of the rebound or recovery,

      Climates don’t rebound or recover — they change when they’re forced to change, and they don’t if they’re not. The LIA ended for a reason(s).

    • Curious George

      David – do you peddle false “facts” habitually?

    • The NASA GISS paper uses this aerosol inventory:

      http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/7017/2010/acp-10-7017-2010.html

      But yes, some of the aerosol data comes from separate simulations of the 19th and 20th century.

      What would you do instead? What would you do now? We still don’t have good measurements of aerosol emissions, which aren’t well-mixed. What can you do besides validate your model as best you can, and then see what it projects for the future.

      It’s easy to raise objections. But what does your model do instead?

    • don’t abuse science by burdening it with personal values, priorities, and ideals, and most of all, take a (giant!) dose of humility

      Ironic! It’s the conservatives who reject modern climate science who do this far more than anyone, including many people on blogs like this.

      Thinking they have to choose between science and ideology, they are choosing the latter.

    • David: No one I’ve ever asked thinks ECS is below 2.0 C. Shindell’s Nature paper just found TCR = 1.7 C.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      David Appell,
      “What would you do instead? What would you do now? We still don’t have good measurements of aerosol emissions, which aren’t well-mixed. What can you do besides validate your model as best you can, and then see what it projects for the future. ”
      1) Accept that I can’t possibly use historical temperatures to validate a model when large but unknown aerosol effects are used.

      2) I would focus on gathering much better aerosol data NOW, which will, within a decade or two, actually constrain model sensitivity much better than it is now constrained.

      3) I would create a few different versions with a wide range of assumed historical aerosol offsets and find the cloud parametrizations for each which best matches the temperature history. That would at least explicitly state what should be stated: there are innumerable combinations of climate sensitivity and aerosol offsets which reasonably match the temperature history, not a single ‘valid’ model. One of the contenders will match the evolution over the next couple of decades better than the others… but only if we have good aerosol data going forward.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      David Appell,
      “It’s the conservatives who reject modern climate science who do this far more than anyone”
      There is plenty of that going on among dedicated leftists/greens as well. The scientific disagreement is pretty simple: high sensitivity or low. This will be resolved, but not any time soon. The political disagreement is much more complicated, and so much more difficult to make meaningful progress. Where I think advocate climate scientists and their supporters (like Appell) fail is that they are willing to accept only extreme and immediate action…. guns ablaze and take no prisoners. That is a losing tactic, if only because there is almost nothing happening to reduce fossil fuel use, and emissions continue to grow each year.

      Extreme and immediate action is just not going to happen, at least not on the basis of what is known today. You ought to learn to strike a reasoned compromise on public actions (like subsidize/accelerate/facilitate a rapid expansion of advanced nuclear power to reduce coal use). Why there is no willingness to compromise is a puzzle. The best explanation I can come up with is: People are reluctant to compromise with someone for whom they have no respect and/or who they believe to be evil. That is what people have to get past… on both sides. There is honest concern on both sides, though for very different things. Declaring your political opponents to be stupid, evil, corrupt, selfish, criminal or insane, or (from a different POV) nothing but wild eyed communists who will do and say anything to confiscate wealth, take away most personal liberties, and institute public control over all private actions, does not make compromise more likely. Of course, if you don’t want compromise, then stick with the blazing guns.

    • Compromise on what? You ignore the possilibity of high climate sensitivity and drastic consequences, which cannot be ruled out. Some scientists think even 2 C of warming is too much.

      You’re OK if a subset of society puts a gun to society’s head, spins the cylinder, then hopes there isn’t one bullet among the chambers.

      Others aren’t so willing to gamble everything just because some people are too greedy to pay a mere couple percent of their income to avoid a drastic changes in the future.

      • You ignore the possilibity of high climate sensitivity and drastic consequences, which cannot be ruled out.

        Sure it can, surface measurements show no evidence of high sensitivity.

    • David Appel, many of us are already paying a lot more than a “mere couple of percent” in increased energy bills and transport costs – even if you discount the fact that energy costs impact the price of pretty much everything else.

      And I’m relatively well-off – the poor are, and will be, affected far more.

      And, contrary to what you imagine, all this will not “avoid drastic changes in the future” – the best that can happen is that whatever drastic changes there are will only be delayed by a few short years.

    • David Appell: What would you do instead? What would you do now?

      The point has been made, what you must not do is make decisions based on an outcome you think will happen that is so uncertain. Just for the moment, humour the notion that man has no significant influence on global climate. the climate has changed in the past and will continue to change into the future. It’s not certain which way, or what the consequences will be, so in that case you ask society to become robust to whatever change may occur.

      For example, if you look back through records both anecdotal and paleo, in many regions you see much greater extremes of weather and climate than we have seen over the past century. Regardless of whether man has an influence on that or not, it is unwise to think those extremes could never happen again. Thus logically efforts should go in to resilience.

      What climate science should do is keep us informed of potential likelihoods given what they know about the climate system and its interactions – and yes that includes anthropogenic influences. But you shouldn’t exchange uncertain knowledge (the extent of anthropogenic influence) for certain knowledge (the fact that the climate may change one way or another). The effect of doing that is patently obvious when you see regions being caught off guard by weather events they thought would not happen because of global warming, or assigned to global warming that may well have happened anyway.

      If you have a finite pot of money, what should you spend your money on? Bio-fuel for your tractor that tills your land you use to survive in the hope that it will stave off drought and flood, or dams to protect from drought and ditches to protect from flood? I realise this is a simplistic model but I hope you can see where I am coming from.

      And that DOES NOT mean you ignore the potential harm that may come from playing around with the earth’s atmospheric chemistry. Just because (and any honest person would have to acknowledge) the evidence for that is not strong NOW, does not mean there may be unforeseen consequences later. Climate science might have everything on its head and the extra CO2 causes warming that triggers an ice age! Who knows? But the mitigation strategies ARE unrealistic, and are only adopted because the problem is deemed urgent. It takes no account of the historic pace and logarithmic advance in technology, and other energy technologies are in the pipe-line that would make renewables redundant and a waste of money. If you ask society to invest in something, be sure that it is the most certain thing first. The climate WILL change, an asteriod WILL hit the earth with a range of catastrophes. I want my taxes to go toward something that is as definite as possible – and there are far more certain threats than ACO2.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      David Appell,
      “Compromise on what? You ignore the possilibity of high climate sensitivity and drastic consequences, which cannot be ruled out.”
      .
      Yup, everyone who opposes your demands is evil, selfish, corrupt, immoral, etc. Guns ablaze to the last. It is not working and will not work. It’s pretty clear you are a long way beyond political help. Would be funny if it were not so sad a commentary on you view of humanity.

    • After all, the models aren’t *that* bad.

      Sure they are, the only reason they are as close as they are is because they average all of the values for the entire planet together, when you look at the regional output it’s junk.
      Evaluation of the GISS GCM ModelE
      Validation of the GISS GCM: A Study of Ocean and Climate Modeling

    • IMO, the issue is that the predictions/scenarios from the climate models, 97 or 98% of which have been inaccurate to grossly inaccurate, are being used as the basis for sweeping social, political and economic policies by interested parties, whether scientists, governments, environmentalists or politicians. It’s wonderful that they are back-predicting so “well” but that is just a matter of changing fudge factors like aerosols by the programmers; the models have little or no predictive skill going forward. To make policy decisions based on them is folly unless those decisions are part of an agenda by an interested party or parties.

  55. k scott denison

    David, I have a model that does a great job of back-predicting the 20th century stock market. How much will you pay me for it?

  56. simplify, cut the rot, cross the irrelevant zeroes. Complicating things, as: solar influence, which is irrelevant, because the self adjusting mechanism will prove everybody wrong; oxygen &nitrogen are regulating the OVERALL temp. Volcanoes are irrelevant, they don’t even last for long.

    Complicating things is for indoctrinating / confusing the fanatics from both camps…: ..http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/

    .

  57. Start with a circular proposition which is pretty close to apple = apple.
    “The most advanced comprehensive climate models effectively represent the current ability to simulate the climate system…”

    Immediately, with just a comma to separate, let that flow into the outrageous assumption that “best available” = “adequate”.
    “…and it is natural and appropriate to take the output of those models as the basis for predicting the future climate.”

    Dr Held, what’s that “emergent simplicity” I spy amid all the dense, mushy verbiage? Why, it’s our daily warmie pill!

    Clever scamps, these science communicators.

  58. Held, and I think everyone, observes linearity in the climate system. You get forcing by volcanoes, or a Maunder Minimum, and the temperature responds predictably in time and direction. The fact that this response is predictable is linearity. A more impressive example is the 11-year solar cycle, which is a forcing cycle of only about 0.2 W/m2. From this a temperature response can be seen by combining many cycles of data to bring the signal out, and that response is about 0.2 C. This is linearity seen even for a weak forcing. CO2, by contrast has a forcing change of nearly 2 W/m2, so unsurprisingly to people who study the sun and volcanoes, there is a measurable temperature response that is close to what would be expected when we compare it with other known forcing amounts and responses. Forcings, whether changes in the sun, volcanoes, GHGs, aerosols, have responses with a consistent sign and amplitude. This is linearity from observations.

    • The global irridiance change for a glacial inception is 0.1% (Nicolis and Nicolis).

      CO2, by contrast has a forcing change of nearly 2 W/m2,

      The total net anthropogenic mean contribution is 1.6 Wm-2 (uncertainties 0.6 – 2.4 Wm-2) Gray 2010

    • But manmade aerosols have a fairly large negative forcing, so the net manmade forcing is less than the manmade GHG forcings.

    • By 2100, the forcing under business as usual is conservatively 5 W/m2, more likely nearer 6 W/m2. This is like a big permanent volcanic forcing, but in the opposite direction if you want to compare it to something you know, or 25 times the 11-year solar cycle amplitude, or about ten times a Maunder Minimum, but in the opposite direction. Obviously that level of forcing is rather unprecedented in the Holocene, and those CO2 levels will not have been seen for a few tens of millions of years, but are just a century away now. It’s a steep forcing cliff we are ascending in the long view.

    • The interesting point is that except for very unusual conditions (aka bifurcations) all small changes are linear, and if your system is near a bifurcation, you are in deep trouble.

      Which basically is why Prof. Curry’s fourth point that the climate response to the relatively small greenhouse forcing may well be linear, but this linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability is nonsense and she knows it (see the may well)

    • The linearity of the climate system is seen by what happens when you knock it in one direction. When you force it positively, it warms, negatively it cools. The climate system is not so shaky with internal variability that you can’t see these responses. That tells you something. It’s linear.

    • ” The climate system is not so shaky with internal variability that you can’t see these responses. That tells you something. It’s linear.”

      Right. That is why volcanic sulfates were so easy to model.

    • @Jim D.

      A more impressive example is the 11-year solar cycle, which is a forcing cycle of only about 0.2 W/m2.”

      You seem pretty confident that the only solar variable with influence on the earth’s climate is the TSI, that the spectral distribution of the TSI is unimportant, and therefore solar variability is ruled out as a driver of observed variations in our climate.

      Why?

    • Robert I Ellison

      Synchronous chaos suggests that bifurcations aren’t all that rare – 1976/1977 and 1998/2001 being the latest ‘climate shifts’. .

    • captd and Bob L, you missed the point. Positive forcings cause warming (yes, a solar max is a positive forcing) and negative forcings cause cooling (yes, volcanoes are negative forcings), or are you disputing the sign here? These changes can be seen in the temperature record, even if they are only temporary and even against the background of natural internal variability. This makes it a linear system with respect to the forcing.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      Eli,
      “linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability is nonsense and she knows it”
      Funny how you think yourself an expert in nearly all things, including mind reading. I am impressed with your image of yourself, but I rather suspect it diverges from reality. Maybe Judith could tell us if you have properly read her mind.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “…greenhouse forcing may well be linear, but this linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability is nonsense…”
      —-
      Nonsense indeed! The dead giveaway of fake-skepticism to try and continually point to shorter and shorter time frames or ever more narrow measurements of energy in the climate system. The longer term very consistent gain of energy in the climate system is not complex but rather simple, and our ability to measure it gets better nearly every month.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘The Wall Street Journal has documented that Enviva, the South’s largest exporter of wood pellets, sources wood for its pellet-manufacturing mill in Ahoskie, North Carolina, from clearcut wetland forests in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal ecoregion. This mill produces approximately 400,000 tons of wood pellets per year for export to Europe as fuel for electricity.’

      http://www.nrdc.org/energy/forestnotfuel/enviva-wood-pellets.asp

    • Robert I Ellison

      Wrong post. Never mind – while I am here.

      Cloud changed dramatically in the 1998/2001 climate shift – reducing the energy coming into the system – it has not increased since in CERES – any short term warming in ARGO was SW and this has since turned around.

      All the rest is indistinguishable from narrative. The fun thing is the 1998/2001 climate shift.

      e.g. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00626.1

      It is all getting a bit pathetic and needy really.

    • The dead giveaway of fake-skepticism to try and continually point to shorter and shorter time frames or ever more narrow measurements of energy in the climate system.

      Yes. If this was 1975, I suspect every contrarian would (also) be arguing that there was nothing to worry about, that there was no way we could see 0.7 C of warming in 40 years, that Broecker’s simple prediction was ridiculous and fraudulent and he was a communist anyway.

      http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/files/2009/10/broeckerglobalwarming75.pdf

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘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. We place strong emphasis on using isotopes as a means to understand physical mixing and chemical cycling in the ocean, and the climate history as recorded in marine sediments.’ Wally Broecker

      And yet chaos escapes them.

      ‘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

      As does the large variability in Earth’s radiation budget due to dynamic chaotic changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation.

      It is all a bit poorly thought through really.

    • David, I have yet to see a paper showing a correlation between industrial production and regional temperature changes. If the aerosols can’t even produce a noticable difference where they are most concentrated then it seems unlikely they are changing global temperatures much.

    • Robert I Ellison

      You could get technical and state the obvious that Coriolis forces don’t rate at that scale and that the whole is dominated by plumbing – but why bother – the whole point seems to be some very immature idea of toilet humour. Extremely bizarre behavior.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Wrong place – but hell it probably resulted giggles somewhere. He said toilet.

  59. Stephen Segrest

    Probably dumb questions from a lay people that come here to try and learn something: In studying the Earth’s climate record, what is (1) a top example of something being a linear function?, (2) a top example of something being a logarithmic function?; (3) a top example of a very long undamped oscillation. (4) What appears to be the hardest thing for scientists to understand as to interaction between potential drivers of temperature change?

    • 1) response to changes in solar irradiation over an 11 year cycle since we have had satellite measurements
      2) greenhouse forcing as a function of CO2 concentration.
      3) nothing
      4) clouds

    • Stephen Segrest

      Eli Rabbet’s answer is not too bad, but let me suggest some revisions to make it more accurate:

      1) OK for the response to changes in direct solar irradiance over an 11 year cycle, with a low level of scientific understanding of other solar impacts on our climate
      2) OK as written with an estimated forcing of 3.71 W/m^2 for 2xCO2 based on measured absorption properties of CO2 in the laboratory
      3) Not OK – Eli missed the observed multi-decadal cycles of warming and slight cooling since the modern temperature record (HadCRUT4) started
      4) OK as written

      IOW the clouds, the sun and the multi-decadal cycles of warming/cooling remain the largest sources of uncertainty

      And, until these uncertainties can be resolved, it is not possible to arrive at a real value for climate sensitivity for doubling CO2, and we have to ASS-U-ME that the value determined in the laboratory c) will also apply in our climate system (a leap of faith).

      Max

  60. Robert I Ellison

    “The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks.” – Dr. Wallace Broecker

    We are arguing about whether climate is a wild beast or not. On the one hand – there is an expectation of ordered forcing this century. On the other – there are powerful interacting sub-systems – ‘atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – each of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.’ http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd/PREPRINTS/Math_clim-Taipei-M_Ghil_vf.pdf

    The former is almost comforting – a slow change with a virtual certainty of a change in energy production systems by 2050. That the technology of 2050 will not resemble the present is a virtual certainty. This is however a dinosaur paradigm infinitely inferior to the new theory of synchronous chaos in climate.

    The latter creates the potential for radical shifts in Earth’s climate in as little as 10 years. It also creates the potential for decadal – and even centennial – cooling. Such are the horns of the political dilemma presented by a wild climate.

  61. Paul Vaughan

    “external forcing projecting onto the internal modes”

    Observations tell us with crystal clarity:
    That’s not how it works.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      You are so presumptively incorrect. Alterations of internal modes by external forcing is the name of the game in climate change.

    • Paul Vaughan

      http://s17.postimg.org/3schwvrtb/SCD_RI_AMOC_N_S_Gb.png (Marcia Wyatt & Judy Curry take note.)

      Competent parties willing to invest the few minutes needed to carefully check:

      It’s a trivial exercise to extend the latter pattern (which is a simple contrast of the former) to the global scale.

      You’ll see a black-&-white global north-south contrast. (And if you dig a little deeper with diagnostics you’ll discover a systematic east-west lunisolar distortion of this.)

      Solar activity (via insolation) controls both the global base state and the gradients (and hence circulation).

      Anyone denying this is (ignorantly) demanding violation of one or both of the laws of large numbers &/or angular momentum.

  62. Paul Vaughan

    Unfortunately Held is looking like someone who can’t be trusted.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      This is such nonsensical statement and even libelous. Held’s honesty and integrity are beyond reproach. Shame on you.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Deliberate misdirection or astonishing self delusion about covers it.

      http://judithcurry.com/2014/03/17/simplicity-amidst-complexity/#comment-492372

    • Paul Vaughan

      @ R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      I’m not questioning his honesty, but rather his competence. And with good reason.

      @ WebHubTelescope (@WHUT)

      Again: Cease the harassment. What will it take to get you to stop harassing. A restraining order?

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Get over yourself Paul. No one is harassing you.

    • Paul Vaughan

      @ R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      I suggest you step away and keep a good distance from now on.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      Gates,
      “Held’s honesty and integrity are beyond reproach. Shame on you.”

      Agreed. But like all people, he can be honestly mistaken. Believing that someone tells you what they honestly think is not the same as believing what they think is true. Better to focus on the latter and assume good faith in the former… on all sides.

    • Held is one of the scientists that know how to apply diffusion to the analysis. Skeptics by and large completely screw up this part of the analysis.

    • As the Holocene cools to its close, a linear warming would be a good thing. Can we hope?
      ============

    • Isaac may be honest; he may even believe he’s right, goodness, he may even be right, but the fog of apologia enshrouds his work.
      =========

    • Steven Mosher

      “This is such nonsensical statement and even libelous. Held’s honesty and integrity are beyond reproach. Shame on you”

      +1. PV has gone off the rails.

    • Paul Vaughan

      Those relentlessly & shamelessly harassing refuse to admit that their beliefs require violation of one or both of the laws of large numbers &/or conservation of angular momentum.

      Expression of strictly illogical (& essentially religious) beliefs at a good distance is tolerable, but the following is nonnegotiable:

      Cease with the harassment.

    • Paul Vaughan

      I note that yet another rude comment from “WebHubTelescope (@WHUT)” has been deleted.

    • Paul Vaughan

      kim wrote:
      | March 18, 2014 at 10:20 am |
      “Isaac may be honest; he may even believe he’s right [...] but the fog of apologia enshrouds his work.”

      The narrative he gives demands violation of one or both of the laws of large numbers &/or conservation of angular momentum.

  63. The climate debate favors the consensus as long as they stay on messaage. Gore and Hansen succeeded in staying on message. Not surprising for Gore who had handlers telling him to stay on message. The message, of course, was CO2 is a greenhouse gas that causes warming and is increasing in volume due to humans burning fossil fuels. If we don’t do something it will be catastrophic and we’ll end up like Venus. Then climategate happened. Later, an angry Al Gore came out with his BS speech. Solar BS, valcanoes BS … etc etc. They were thown off their game. As long as they are constantly having to put out skeptic fires they lose. Even if the skeptics seemingly lose a debate they suceed by muddying the waters and changing the debate thus taking them off message. Complexity favors skeptics. Then you end up losing the election.

  64. David Appell

    Thanks for your reply.

    You wrote

    “Roger, OK, thanks. But I don’t see how this helps any. We can’t just throw up our hands and say, we won’t try to predict anything — the potential consequences are too large, even over an interval like this century. What can scientists do other than what they’ve been doing so far: model as best they can, learn as they go, and keep making better models.

    After all, the models aren’t *that* bad. They do a pretty good job of back-predicting the 20th century, like this one:
    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-useful-paper-on-one-models-results.html

    You are conflating the assessment of predictive skill (predictability) with making predictions. I am very much in favor of using models to assess predictability. However, multi-decadal regional climate predictions (and for over a decade now even the global average predictions) are not showing skill in predicting changes in climate. [e.g. see http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/b-18preface.pdf)

    The reason is the nonlinearity of the climate system whose response to human climate forcings including but not limited to CO2, and natural forcings and feedbacks, is more complex than the models can yet handle.

    Lets keep trying, but in the meantime presenting these multi-decadal climate results as skillful predictions (and claiming linearity on any time scale) is misleading policymakers (e.g. see http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/the-huge-waste-of-research-money-in-providing-multi-decadal-climate-projections-for-the-new-ipcc-report/).

    Roger Sr.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Roger, do you agree that we understand all the forces involved in a simple water drop running down a pane of glass? Gravity and the molecular forces between the water molecules and glass are pretty well understood and pretty well able to be put into models. Yet, if you take an eye dropper and place a drop at the top of a pane of glass, it is impossible to predict the exact path that drop will follow to the bottom of the pane. Yet, if the drop is large enough it will indeed end up eventually at the bottom, and a model can predict that it will, but never exactly the path or exactly how long it will take. The path the climate takes as it is put under a continual external and increasing GHG forcing is like this. The system will gain energy- only the exact path it will take can never be modelled exactly.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist | March 18, 2014 at 12:45 am |
      “Roger, do you agree that we understand all the forces involved in a simple water drop running down a pane of glass? Gravity and the molecular forces between the water molecules and glass are pretty well understood and pretty well able to be put into models. Yet, if you take an eye dropper and place a drop at the top of a pane of glass, it is impossible to predict the exact path that drop will follow to the bottom of the pane. Yet, if the drop is large enough it will indeed end up eventually at the bottom,”

      I was driving my car in the rain and all the drops went up the pane and when I turned the corner …
      sorry

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “I was driving my car in the rain and all the drops went up the pane and when I turned the corner …”
      —-
      Yep. That turning of the corner represents a force applied to those drops, and a model could predict that they would go up the pane, but not exactly the path they would follow.


    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist | March 18, 2014 at 7:47 am |

      Yep. That turning of the corner represents a force applied to those drops, and a model could predict that they would go up the pane, but not exactly the path they would follow.

      RG, Sure, but in Australia everything is upside down and the toilets flush the opposite direction. So all bets are off.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “RG, Sure, but in Australia everything is upside down and the toilets flush the opposite direction. So all bets are off.”
      —–
      Good point. Baby chaos rules in Australia. No laws of physics apply over any timeframe.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Physics is of course universal but silliness pervades. Normally this sort of nonsense is not worth responding to. Toilets don’t in fact flush counter clockwise – the water droplet analogy is one of the sillier gross simplifications ever and chaos rules the ocean and the air.

      Don’t you feel embarrassed for them? It is the old it is better to be silent and be thought a fool idea.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      Toilets don’t in fact flush counter clockwise.

      When viewed from below they do.

      Perspective matters.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Is it worth sticking my head down a toilet to find out? Perhaps I will just take his word for it.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Robert I Ellison: Yet, if the drop is large enough it will indeed end up eventually at the bottom, and a model can predict that it will, but never exactly the path or exactly how long it will take. The path the climate takes as it is put under a continual external and increasing GHG forcing is like this. The system will gain energy- only the exact path it will take can never be modelled exactly.

      Personally, I like that example. The actual paths of the water droplets will not deviate very much from the predicted path, and the RMSEs of the diverse paths will display a (tight) distribution to help us decide whether the model leading to the prediction is accurate enough for whatever purpose we are predicting the courses of the drops.

      Add that to the aircraft wing lift and PK examples I wrote about.

      The (semiquantitative) model of wind effects on bridges was good enough for the Golden Gate Bridge, but not good enough for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The history of science is full of examples of models that were good enough for some applications but not good enough for others.

    • Robert I Ellison

      You probably like the pot on the stove analogy as well Matthew.

      There is a difference between the high order complexity of climate and silly narratives.

    • The reason is the nonlinearity of the climate system whose response to human climate forcings including but not limited to CO2, and natural forcings and feedbacks, is more complex than the models can yet handle.

      Mother nature uses a process that is actually much more simple than what the Models Handle.

      It snows more when oceans are warm and Polar Sea Ice is Melted and Models do not handle that correctly.

      Climate Models do much more complicated stuff, that is likely right, but they don’t include more snowfall and Albedo that stopped decreasing and will advance again and take us out of this very normal warm period into the very normal next cold period.

      Consensus Alarmist Climate People do not understand Polar Ice Cycles. When they eventually do, I will call them scientists, now they fall short. Their forecasts fall way long. Add some Albedo and get it right.

      Albedo has not reduced in recent years. Ice Volume has not reduced in recent years, it has increased and Ice Extent will be the next thing that occurs to defeat the Alarmists.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Robert I Ellison | March 18, 2014 at 11:52 am |
      Is it worth sticking my head down a toilet to find out?
      ——-
      I think it might be a reasonable risk for you Robert.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
      From up and down, and still somehow
      It’s cloud illusions i recall.
      I really don’t know clouds at all.’

      Joni Mitchell

      It is all really a lot like 5 year olds in the schoolyard – the toilet humour is definitely that level. You’d think they’d be more self aware of how pathetic it all is.

  65. David Appell –

    The approach we recommend, given the lack of skill of the multi-decadal climate predictions is presented in our paper

    Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairaku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective Geophysical Monograph Series 196 © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. 10.1029/2011GM001086. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/r-3651.pdf

    We wrote in our abstract

    “We discuss the adoption of a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability approach in evaluating the effect of climate and other environmental and societal threats to societally critical resources. This vulnerability concept requires the determination of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including those from climate but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to
    adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies. This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and climate change, than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A contextual vulnerability assessment using the bottom-up, resource-based framework is a more inclusive approach for policy makers to adopt effective mitigation and adaptation methodologies to deal with the complexity of the spectrum of social and environmental extreme events that will occur in the coming decades as the range of threats are assessed, beyond just the focus
    on CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases as emphasized in the IPCC assessments.”

    Roger

    • A better way forward is the more likely to be ultimately taken. We are, after all, human.
      ====================

    • Pardon me for suspecting that the only thing most warmists would agree with Roger’s post here or the paper it refers to is the name attached to it. Put Hansen’s name on it and they would print it on a banner and parade in front of the White House with it.

    • Dr Pielke,
      Thanks so much for participating. I read both the books and the urban heat island and mono culture in vast tracts of farmland make more sense as a climate impact driver than the small amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. Man has impacts with our population and civilization and returning to holocene conditions seems impossible.

      In the future fusion will provide substantial energy in the 100 year time frame and recovery of some natural habitat like the great plains tall grass enclaves and reforestation can mitigate some of the impacts.

      your articles and responses are important to this discussion.
      Scott

  66. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    Held has nailed it. His logic would make Schrödinger proud. Very impressive. In the end, GHG forcing is all about the simplicity of energy accumulation in the climate system. Looking at the broadest measures we have of this energy shows a consistent increase in more than 50 years.

    • ,,,,,,,,,, but at a rate lower than expected. You keep forgetting that bit.

      You seem to be arguing with the fictional sceptic that thinks warming doesn’t exist.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “…,, but at a rate lower than expected. You keep forgetting that bit.”
      —-
      Again, to look at a tiny fraction of the climate system over a short period of time you can find any conclusion that you want. Looking at the largest part of the climate system over the longest period of time we see a more accurate picture of a consistent increase in energy in Earth’s climate system for 50+ years.

    • rg

      i recommend you register for free here and read this climate scientists opinion piece,

      http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v7/n3/full/ngeo2104.html

      he basically agrees with you but unlike you acknowledges the uncertainty and in fact his conclusion largely comes from his expert judgement rather than the data which he states is still unclear

      “Yet three out of five analyses of upper-ocean heat content suggest that ocean heat uptake, at least in the top 2,000 m or so, has not changed significantly over the past two decades”

      I’m not disputing that the widest measurement of the system is best, it made sense when Pielkes Snr was saying it way back when. The problem really is the certainty with which you assert your conclusion. You may find some warming in the ocean with some data sets but its really not enough to indicate high climate sensitivity or probably dangerous future warming.

  67. Robert I Ellison

    Planning for fire, flood, storm surge and earthquake is always with us in a rational engineering sense. Anthropogenic climate change is of very little consequence anytime soon.

    Going well beyond risks and consequences is the social and economic development focus championed by – inter alia – Pielke Jn. In this free trade, restraint in energy prices and maximized economic growth are critical to essential social and economic development this century. Prerequisites include democracy, the rule of law and good governance. These suggest the areas that western aid should focus on and lead inevitably to better health and education outcomes, the provision of safe water and sanitation, improved land use, agricultural and conservation practices and reduced population pressure.

    Many of these things provide first line mitigation of greenhouse gases and aerosols – black carbon, tropospheric ozone, nitrous oxide, sulphide, methane and carbon dioxide – while focusing on measures that have economic and social benefits in their own right.

  68. I too disagree with Held. The reason is experience with modeling fluid dynamics where the literature is dominated by positive results bias and a faith based approach to the idea that if we just modeled “more physics” we would get a more “accurate” simulation. This is simply untrue for example with Reynolds’ stress models where there are so many parameters to tune that it is seemingly impossible to constrain the models with data.

    Linear models such as the harmonic oscillator dominate engineering education and give a completely false picture of the dynamics of these systems.

    Quoting a paper on turbulent flows: “Eddy viscosity models are fundamentally flawed and do not perform consistently across a range of conditions….” We need delve no deeper than that to see why we need better fundamental understanding for modeling these systems.

  69. From the article “Climate models paint an analogous picture for the evolution of climate over decades to centuries: a superposition of internal variability and an externally forced component containing a natural part (solar variations and volcanoes) and a part due to human activities that, to first approximation, is a linear superposition of responses to different forcing agents such as CO2, methane, and aerosols.”
    The earth is rotating around a heat source which seems constant [must vary a little for the same reason that the earth has seasons, presumably the sun has seasons] . This gives a linear output of heat with anomalies that vary on the speed of rotation of the earth/moon complex.
    [How much does a moon present during the day influence the heat we receive on the earth?].
    Also varies with distance from the sun, inclinations and wobbles.
    One could say that the earth’s temperature is just a pale reflection or shadow of the sun.
    Is this the linearity that Held is speaking of on which the evil man made forces are working.

  70. Interesting post:

    http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/tony-thomas/2014/03/finally-real-climate-science/

    Apologies if this has already been posted upstream. I don’t want to waste my time reading all the usual tedious comments

  71. Matthew R Marler

    Simplicity amidst complexity (?)

    Two examples

    1. Clinical pharmacokinetics: you do not need to model every place a drug goes and every rate to have a reasonably accurate model for guiding dosage regimens.

    2. Aircraft wings: you do not have to solve the Navier-Stokes equations to predict how much an aircraft wing can lift at a given speed.

    What’s needed are (1) a good sense of how much accuracy is needed for particular applications and (2) a good sense of how accurate the available models are.

    Thanks for the link to Held’s article.

    • A good friend of mine is getting her new breast cancer drug into human trials in 11 months. Looks lovely in vitro and is a lovely in xenograft models. The toxicology has been done in rodents and dogs and all the hurdles have been jumped.
      She is quite optimistic and so gives it a 10% chance of working in women with breast cancer.
      My own gliomal drug is working really nicely in primary xenografts, in brain and flank. The next step is rodent and primate toxicology. Then, it will go straight into people.
      I give it a 1% chance of working in humans, even though it works in tissue culture and in animal models.

  72. Matthew R Marler

    The most advanced comprehensive climate models effectively represent the current ability to simulate the climate system, and it is natural and appropriate to take the output of those models as the basis for predicting the future climate. However, it is the understanding of these responses—an understanding that depends on the presence of an emergent simplicity in the forced response—which provides a level of confidence that justifies advising policy-makers and the public to pay heed to these predictions.

    In that excerpt, Held does not place much importance on demonstrated accuracy, either pragmatically (the model is accurate enough for the task at hand) or epistemologically (the model accuracy shows that the model is correct enough for the claim of “understanding” to be justified.) I don’t think you’d want him in charge of deciding drug dosing regimens or designing aircraft wings — though if he were he might acquire a greater interest in accuracy.

    As to GCMs, they incorporate knowledge and understanding of lots of physical processes, but they do not have the demonstrated accuracy needed for informing public policy decisions about energy use and investments. At the more simple end, equilibrium approximations, they give little information about expected rates of change, and have other demonstrated inaccuracies.

  73. The models can’t even get the absolute temperature of the earth correct. Why should anyone believe the models correctly represent the earth? Various aspects of the earth system such as snow and ice cover, albedo, humidity, precipitation, and others variables are all affected by absolute temperature. The idea models simulate the climate of the earth is nothing but a bad joke.

    Lucia created this graph a few years ago showing a spaghetti graph of models adjusted to absolute temperature. I don’t know what planet they are simulating, but other than a couple exceptions it isn’t earth.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/fact-6a-model-simulations-dont-match-average-surface-temperature-of-the-earth/

  74.  Doug. Cotton    

    Climate models can’t tell us anything at all, because they are based on false assumptions, namely ..

    (I) That the troposphere would be isothermal in the absence of radiating gases.

    (2) That radiating gases from a colder atmosphere can boost the incident Solar radiative flux to a combined sum which then supposedly can be used in S-B calculations to determine the temperature of the thin transparent surface layer of the ocean through which the UV, visible and IR Solar radiation all passes, but the low energy IR from the troposphere does not.

  75. David Springer

    John | March 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm |

    “Mosher is debating with everyone, whether you agree or not with his positions, he’s pretty much treating people with respect”

    You’re pretty much not paying attention if you think Mosher treats people with respect. Ask Curry why she blacklisted the word idiot.

  76. You want emergent simplicity ?

    Rather long, but simple, so please persevere:

    See here:

    “No gaseous atmosphere can ever cause the surface temperature beneath it to fall below the S-B temperature.

    The reason being that energy transmission through a gas by way of conduction and convection is always slower than direct radiation.

    For a gas to prevent the S-B temperature from being reached it would have to cause energy to flow through faster than radiation which is impossible.

    What then of albedo ?

    It turns out that albedo only affects the distance that the surface temperature can rise above that predicted by the S-B equation.

    The surface temperature enhancement will therefore be higher for a transparent atmosphere than for an opaque atmosphere.

    The reason being that more conduction (to the gases from the surface) can occur if a greater proportion of the incoming energy reaches the surface.

    The more reflective is the atmosphere the less radiation will reach the surface, the less conduction will occur and the smaller the surface temperature enhancement will be.

    For a fully opaque atmosphere there would be nothing reaching the surface, no conduction from surface to atmosphere and no thermal enhancement.

    Radiative theory proposes that the convection resulting from conduction has a net cooling effect but I have shown in my earlier post why there is no net surface cooling from adiabatic circulation.

    The reason is that all energy uplifted adiabatically comes back down adiabatically.

    It therefore follows that adiabatic convection has no effect on the amount of surface thermal enhancement.

    Convection (in so far as it is adiabatic) neither warms nor cools the surface

    The sole determinant as to how high the surface enhancement can rise for a given mass of atmosphere is albedo and the enhancement is highest at full transparency.

    Radiative theory proposes that greater atmospheric opacity has a cooling effect due to reflective capability and so it does, but only down from the higher surface enhancement that could have been achieved with full transparency.

    The fact that the surface enhancement is greater if the atmosphere is transparent ‘proves’ the dominance of mass as the cause of that surface enhancement.

    Only if the maximum amount of conduction can occur from surface to atmospheric mass can the maximum thermal enhancement at the surface be achieved and the maximum amount of conduction occurs with full transparency.

    It follows that with maximum transparency and maximum surface thermal enhancement there will also be maximum convection.

    As I said many times previously, you have to have maximum convection in a transparent, non radiative atmosphere in order to get energy back to the ground fast enough for radiation to space to match incoming radiation.

    Introducing radiative capability reduces transparency, reduces the surface thermal enhancement by reducing total conduction from surface to atmosphere and does not require such a vigorous convective circulation to achieve radiative balance with space.

    The reality is that transparent non radiative atmospheres warm surfaces more than opaque atmospheres and radiative, gases by introducing opacity, cool surfaces below that which would have been achieved in their absence.

    Both of those propositions are the opposite of radiative theory.

    It also follows that the greater is the atmospheric mass the more conduction there will be and the higher the surface enhancement will rise at a given level of atmospheric transparency.

    The surface temperature is a result of mass and transparency. Nothing to do with radiative fluxes

    More atmospheric mass can compensate for a reduction in transparency.

    Opacity reduces the amount of conduction that can occur but more mass increases it again.

    That solves the conundrum as to why some planets with opaque atmosphere but a high mass have much greater surface temperatures relative to their distance from the sun than does Earth.

    Venus and Uranus, due to their opaque atmospheres might have less solar radiation reaching the surface (which reduces conduction and the surface thermal enhancement) but the amount of mass more than compensates so they have much larger surface thermal enhancements than planets like Earth and Mars.

    • Stephen Wilde,

      And yet the Moon with no atmosphere at all, at the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, has greater surface temperature than the Earth.

      So it would appear that planets with opaque atmospheres and bodies with totally absent atmospheres have larger surface thermal enhancements than the Earth.

      Interesting, is it not? Possibly there is another reason at work here.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Mike Flynn.

      Other factors do indeed intrude but the basic principles are as I set them out.

      No rock in space such as the moon is exactly the same surface composition, rotation speed or surface roughness as another so each is a less than perfect blackbody in different ways.

      The S-B figures apply only to a perfect blackbody and in reality all bodies differ from perfection in different ways and to differing degrees.

    • Stephen Wilde,

      You replied to my observation, in part –

      ” . . . Other factors do indeed intrude but the basic principles are as I set them out.. . . ”

      It appears that your basic principles don’t appear to reflect reality. If this is so, what is their point? I intend no offense, but either the principles or the observation is wrong, and I believe my observation is correct.

      It’s not important, anyway.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  77. R. W. Hamming, title page in his Numerical Methods book, “The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.”

  78. Fourth, the climate response to the relatively small greenhouse forcing may well be linear, but this linear response may be swamped by the natural internal variability.

    I have attended lectures by Alarmist and Skeptic scientists.
    Both sides have said the calculated greenhouse warming is a decreasing log function and not a linear function.

    if you double it a second time you don’t get as much warming.
    The bandwidth get saturated.

  79. Simplicity amidst complexity (?)

    Look at the evolution of temperature regulation and the evolution of the Polar Ice Cycles.

    IR does the most of Earth’s cooling, but it does not have a set point and regulation around a set point.

    The Polar Ice Cycles do have a Set Point and regulation around the Set Point.

    IR keeps the heat balance inside a range that allows the Polar Ice Cycles to do the fine tuning of temperature.

    Climate is complicated, but this temperature regulation really is this simple.

    Occam’s Razor works once more.

    • The temperature of Earth has changed from the patterns of millions of years ago into the patterns of the recent million years and then into the pattern of the most recent eleven thousand years. The one thing that changed that has the most influence in keeping modern temperature more tightly bounded is the Polar Ice Cycles. Now it always snows more when oceans are warm and the polar oceans have a water surface. Now, it always snows less when oceans are cold and the polar oceans have an ice surface. This adjusts the Albedo and keeps the temperature well bounded. IR does most of the cooling, but it has no set point. The sun and the orbit cycles do not receive feedback from earth to regulate temperature in tight bounds. The temperature that polar water freezes and thaws is the set point for earth’s modern temperature cycle. Look at the more snow that always falls after a record open Arctic. That does not occur during a Little Ice Age and that is why a Little Ice Age must always end with warming as ice retreats.

  80. Debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin does not prove the existence of angels.

    Likewise, debating the causes of global warming does not prove the existence of global warming.

    No amount of debate can change a single physical fact, but it’s a cheap way of wasting time if you can’t find anything better to do!

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  81. Walt Allensworth

    “The most advanced comprehensive climate models effectively represent the current ability to simulate the climate system..”

    Lord. What double-speak.

    The “current ability” of models to simulate the climate system is extremely poor. Guessing that the climate next decade would be the same as the last decade would do better.

    • I laughed when I saw that but didn’t comment, so thanks for the reminder. Sometimes alarmist commenters will quite innocently and unconsciously reveal the depth of their delusion. Sometimes it’s funny, and increasingly, it’s not.
      =============

    • “the most advanced comprehensive climate models effectively represent the pitiful delusion that we actually have a clue “

      Which makes me wonder, what do we even mean by “most advanced.”

    • Walt Allensworth,

      You probably already know that forecasting that tomorrow’s weather will be the same as today’s gives around 85% accuracy overall! depending on tolerances specified.

      Of course, past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future performance. However, the algorithm is simple, easy to remember, and best of all, cheap. No multi million dollar computer required.

      Nobody can disprove your climate guess, therefore it must be correct. I think I have the basic methodology of climatology applied here.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  82. Lauri Heimonen

    Judith curry:

    ”So which vision is correct – the linear model whereby climate variations are forced externally (with noise from internal variability), or the complexity model (e.g. climate shifts) whereby natural internal variability is the intrinsic signal, with external forcing projecting onto the internal modes?”

    The linear model, in which the recent warming is assumed to base on anthropogenic CO2 emissions, can be regarded as unreasonable as I have already stated e.g. in my comment http://judithcurry.com/2014/02/08/week-in-review-9/#comment-452079 .

    ”How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.”; http://judithcurry.com/2014/03/16/bonfire-of-insanity .

    The challenge on AGW can be avoided when it is learned to understand that the warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is so minimal that it can not be observed in reality.

    According to my cross-disciplinary approach on the present multi-disciplinary, complex problem of climate warming, the most important is to get rid of the imaginative hypothesis of AGW that can not have been proved by empiric observations. The challange remaining seems to be how to learn to adapt ourselves to potential threats of natural climate and weather changes.

    Judith Curry; http://judithcurry.com/2014/03/09/positioning-sceptics :

    ”’What use is science to society, if its advocates are not brave enough to point out the nonsense that is produced in the name of the scientific consensus?’ – Ben Pile”

    I want to be ‘brave enough to point out the nonsense that is produced in the name of the scientific consensus’. This consensus includes even the lukewarmers as Jonathan Jones says; http://judithcurry.com/2014/03/09/positioning-sceptics :

    ”Taking a rough and ready definition, that lukewarmers believe in AGW but doubt catastrophic AGW, one could reasonably place many of the more famous sceptics (Liljegren, McIntyre implicitly, Montford, Watts explicitly) in that camp, together with a number of “maverick” climate scientists (Curry, Lewis, Lindzen).”

    As far as I am aware no one of the ‘lukewarmers’ can not express any empiric evidence concerning real value of varying climate sensitivity adopted by IPCC – though they regard that as low. For instance I interpret Lindzen’s views in a way that anthropogenic CO2 emissions to atmosphere have not dominated the recent global warming but that there even is ‘a small bit of man-made impact’ that is still inadequately known.

    As I am aware ‘lukewarmers’ still believe that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have dominated the recent increase of atmospheric CO2 content but that those have not been the main reason for the recent global warming. As to my view expressed in the comment of mine above both global warming and any increasing trend of CO2 content in atmosphere have not been dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    The belief that the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere has been dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is a mere imagination. According to pragmatic logic all CO2 emissions to atmosphere and all CO2 absorptions from atmosphere to CO2 sinks together control the total CO2 content in atmosphere, including even annual CO2 increases in atmosphere. As to the anthropogenic share of recent total CO2 emissions it has been only about 4%, and the anthropogenic share of recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere, too, has been only about 4 % at the most i.e. the anthropogenic share in the recent total increase of about 2 ppm CO2 in atmosphere is only about 0.08 ppm CO2.

  83. Laurie,
    What about the African Warm period that higher temperatures drove rain over the currrent Sahara and turned the area green with lakes. That was a new carbon sink that since disappeared and may come back in the accounting. The far north will also create carbon sinks as plants recover in greenland and siberia. Who is to say the current temperature in southern california is optimum while that results in deserts in the Sahara. Who gets to decide on the tuning of the planet temperature bands? Going to be a lot of hard questions.
    Scott

  84. Now, if you do want to understand the right uses of Uncertainty in complexity, one could do worse than http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/77877/ .. in fact, one could do far worse by referring to Dr. Curry’s contribution to the APS fiasco.

    And finally deflating Richard Tol, http://ccafs.cgiar.org/ shows that by the time Tol’s “mostly harmless” so-called ‘beneficial’ climate change due to AGW comes to his predicted peak, worldwide crop production will fall 25%.

    Tell me again how that’s beneficial?

    • Bart,
      You and Elhrich just make stuff up. How did you get crop loss by 25?
      Scott

    • Scott | March 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

      I didn’t get 25% crop loss: the world’s leading experts on crop production got 25%; go to their website and read their reports and processes.

      Or, http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2153.html

      Though, to be fair, you can get 7%-15% of the losses back through adaptation in the first half of the century, so only 23%-20% if expensive and untried methods succeed.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Solving the problem with taxes and caps seems really quite insane. Predicating taxes and caps on models of temperature and precipitation merely confirms it.

    • Robert I Ellison | March 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm |

      Sorry, I have nothing to say about caps or taxes.

      I just want the guy who’s making the risk of the food on my plate 20%-25% smaller and consequently more expensive to pay me for the harm he does me by using more than his share of my air.

      What’s your problem with Capitalism?

      And by the way, aren’t you the guy who shrank the Great Barrier Reef by over 40%? When are you going to start paying off that debt?

    • Yeah sure, tobacco crops may be down but poppy and marijuana production are way up… How scary is the imminent demise of rainforests?

      Will runaway capitalism wipe out the Amazon jungle? “By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster.” ~Elizabeth Rosenthal, ‘New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Rain Forests,’ New York Times)

    • Robert I Ellison

      Bart doesn’t have a plot to lose. A tax by any other name… A precipitation model by any stretch of fantasy is unlikely… A genuflection in the general direction of capitalism and ownership of the air is unbelievable…

    • Robert I Ellison

      This is the study behind the headline that Bart misunderstands.

      ‘The Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover in the last 27 years. The loss was due to storm damage (48%), crown of thorns starfish (42%), and bleaching (10%) according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today by researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville and the University of Wollongong.

      “We can’t stop the storms but, perhaps we can stop the starfish. If we can, then the Reef will have more opportunity to adapt to the challenges of rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification”, says John Gunn, CEO of AIMS.’

      http://www.aims.gov.au/latest-news/-/asset_publisher/MlU7/content/2-october-2012-the-great-barrier-reef-has-lost-half-of-its-coral-in-the-last-27-years

      Bleaching is temperature related – a quite natural process in which the symbiotic zooxanthellae are ejected from the coral under stress – and quickly recovered from.

      Storm damage increases as La Nina dominates the Pacific – and it is clear that La Nina was much less frequent in the 20th century than it is likely to be in the 21st century.

      Crown of thorns starfish are theorized to have increased recruitment as a result of nutrient enhancement in the coastal breeding areas. There are two approaches. Billions of dollars going into catchment management – and in the interim collection of adult starfish from infested reefs by divers. The latter laborious and expensive.

      The GBR is the best managed marine reserve on the planet.

      I have said this before – it all gets a bit tedious – and have suggested he consider the log in his own eye.

    • Robert I Ellison | March 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm |

      That’d be beam, not log.

      I never claimed to be the Chief Hydrologist of US Coastal waters. If I were, you’d have a leg to stand on in your weaseling out of your responsibilities, but not much of one.

      So fix what you broke. And what you broke is the Great Barrier Reef.

      Don’t know how to fix it? Well, you start by charging the people whom you work for cash money for damaging the Reef, and you pay that cash money to the people who own the Reef.

    • Robert I Ellison

      American Standard Bible
      “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

      I quite like the cadence of the King James version – but a number of possible. That is if you find quizzical quibbling meaningful.

      ‘The amount of coral cover on the 2,900 coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef is highly variable over time and across different areas of the Great Barrier Reef. This variation is caused by a variety of human and natural factors, with cyclones, outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish and coral bleaching being the major episodic disturbances affecting the corals of the Great Barrier Reef. Overall, the Great Barrier Reef has not experienced the dramatic losses of living coral apparent in some 50 percent of the world’s coral reefs, and trends in decline and recovery appear to be within normal ranges.’

      http://kurrawa.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/info_services/publications/sotr/overview/

      Although I have specialised for many years in reduction of nutrient discharges to waterways – I am not sure that I can take full responsibility for exemplary management of the Queensland coastline and the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Perhaps a little pat on the back is in order. I can assure you that the GBR is not broken – unlike your comments which resemble a broken record.

    • Robert I Ellison

      But there are a number of different versions…

    • I like ‘mote’ and ‘beam’ a lot better than ‘speck’ and ‘log’.
      ===============

    • Robert I Ellison

      Most of the modern translations – including the American Standard – are pretty horrid compared to the King James version.

      The saying goes back to the Talmudic tradition apparently. “Rabbi Tarfon said, ‘I wonder whether there is any one in this generation who accepts reproof, for if one says to him, “Remove the speck from between your eyes,” he would answer, ” Remove the log from between your eyes.”‘”

      Beam may be a King James affectation.

    • Can we get back to the guy who’s making the risk of the food on my plate 20%-25% smaller and consequently more expensive paying me for the harm he’s caused, now?

      I mean, the decline of obscure Australian tourist sights is fascinating, but not as fascinating as money Australian coal barons and their minions owe the rest of us for stealing food from our mouths.

    • Did you once work at nasa? You seem to know a lot about the future of man and his role in space.

      http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/here-s-how-nasa-thinks-society-will-collapse-20140318

    • Robert I Ellison

      Only Bart could refer to the GBR as obscure – http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120817/ew120817x.html – and in the some breath demand payment for an imaginary future injury.

    • Bart R | March 19, 2014 at 9:46 am |

      To clarify, I was referring to Australia as obscure. I’m fine with the GBR’s renown.

  85. David Springer | March 18, 2014 at 6:39 am |

    “Shocking that you would think that. Even more shocking you’d think that about something you didn’t read. /sarc”

    More shocking altogether is that you would react this way. I guess not really. It is how you spend your time… I never comment on this site so for you to presume one way or another about me is typical of your behavior not mine. I at least thoughtful enough that I caveat my response with appropriate background.

    And for the record, I did not express any opinion on any aspect of the science… Only that JC’s “disagreements” do not really address the excerpts she provided.

    • David Springer

      Sorry, all you anonymous cowards with similar names start to look alike after so many years dealing with anonymous internet cowards. There’s a regular anonymous coward here named Joshua and you two could ghost write for each other.

    • Robert I Ellison

      “Temperatures have been flat for 15 years—nobody can properly explain it,” the Wall Street Journal says. “Global warming ‘pause’ may last for 20 more years, and Arctic sea ice has already started to recover,” the Daily Mail says. Such reassuring claims about climate abound in the popular media, but they are misleading at best. Global warming continues unabated, and it remains an urgent problem.

      The pause is the result of shifts in Pacific ocean and atmospheric circulation. The 1998/2001 climate shift was associated with an increase in global albedo as cloud cover shifted in response. There is no increase in incoming energy in CERES. The short record, substantial interannual variation and competing ‘climatologies’ in ARGO make this inconclusive. CERES suggests that warming in the early ARGO period was in SW – and this is no longer operative.

      The pause is indeed likely to last another 20 years – it may intensify – sea ice may recover as it did from early 20th century melt. This is all soundly science based – and it beggars belief that the utter nonsense continues without even a modest twinge of doubt being expressed by the usual suspects.

    • Rob Starkey

      Yes, these articles are so absurd they are hilarious.

      As far as I am concerned, SA definitely lost it as a serious scientific magazine when it published the hatchet job on our hostess by senior science writer, Michael D. Lemonick, in November 2010.

      That’s when I stopped reading it.

      It’s just a junk rag, when it comes to anything vaguely associated with climate science.

      Max

    • Complexity has left the building.

    • Max

      I was hoping that my comment would get others here to comment on his articles.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “CERES suggests that warming in the early ARGO period was in SW – and this is no longer operative.”
      —–
      Ocean heat content for the latest reporting period is literally off the chart at the highest levels ARGO had ever recorded. Your narrative lacks something…called facts.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Due to its global span, the Argo global observing system clearly opens up new scope to observe climate related changes. Comparisons of global steric height trends based on different gridded fields of Argo in situ measurements show a range of 0–1mmyr−1 which can be lead back to data handling and climatology uncertainties. Our results show that GOIs derived from the Argo measurements are ideally suitable to monitor the state of the global ocean, especially after November 2007, i.e. when Argo sampling was 100% complete. They also show that there is significant interannual global variability at global scale, especially for global OFC. Before the end of 2007, error bars are too large to deliver robust short-term trends of GOIs and thus an interpretation in terms of long-term climate signals are still questionable, especially since uncertainties due to interannual fluctuations are not included in our error estimation. http://www.ocean-sci-discuss.net/8/999/2011/osd-8-999-2011.pdf

      CERES clearly shows warming in SW. Here’s one with trend lines just to make things easy for the grammatically challenged.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES-BAMS-2008-with-trend-lines1.gif.html?sort=3&o=197

      So while the ocean may have warmed over a period – the cause is still the change in cloud cover. Which has since turned around – somewhat.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed27_anom_TOA_Shortwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toJune-2013_zpsba450ddf.png.html?sort=3&o=57

      And while ARGO offers ‘new scope’ – perhaps a little more time is required along with consistent climatologies. As well as some notion of causality – other than the imaginary one that is.

  86.  
    “It is a powerful convergence of interests among a very large number of elites, including politicians who want to make it seem as though they’re saving the world, environmentalists who want to raise money and get control over very large issues like our entire energy policy, media, for sensationalism, Universities and professors for grants. You can’t hardly get a science grant these days without saying it has something to do with climate change.

    “It is a kind of nasty combination of extreme political ideology and a religious cult all rolled into one, and it’s taken over way too much of our thought process and way too much of our priorities. There are millions of children dying every day from preventable vitamin deficiencies and diseases, and we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a problem that may not exist.”

    ~Patrick Moore (Senate Testimony, 2-25-2014)

  87. Isaac Held (Simplicity Amid Complexity), “Despite the complexity of Earth’s climate system, the influence of human activities on climate can be identified and predicted.” That’s true… I predict humans have little to no effect, globally.

    “Paleoclimate reconstructions should provide some guidance and perhaps even close analogs.” Held claims. “But, ultimately, it may just be necessary to rely on understanding the underlying physics.” That is what any skeptic should do. And, we should be aware of those things that global warming alarmists are uncertain about and continue to close their minds to, even as reality is blowing down the doors.

    Initially, Michael Mann was uncertain the MWP (Medieval Warm Period) and LIA (Little Ice Age) ever existed. There is uncertainty even now about the logarithmic effect that puts a lid on CO2′s contribution to global warming (“The relationship between temperature and CO2,” according to Dr. Timothy Ball, “is like painting a window black to block sunlight. The first coat blocks most of the light. Second and third coats reduce very little more. Current CO2 levels are like the first coat of black paint.”); and, Mann is suing reporter Mark Steyn and fellow academic Tim Ball for having the temerity to question his scientific integrity. And now — because global warming has stopped — there is considerable uncertainty about how much climate change is actually due to natural causes, like changes in solar activity and the negative feedbacks of water vapor and clouds. How large do uncertainties have to be to make our estimates worthless?

    ~

    • From what I have read, Mann has always acknowledged that there was a period called the MWP and a period called the LIA. What he has always disputed, until demonstrated otherwise, which has not been done, is that the MWP was warmer on a global basis than it is today.

      • Why would the trees lie to us and pretend that they, at the least — even if a banana tree in the Amazon was spared — did not live through the LIA? We should look at recent weather and understand that, according to Dr. Tim Ball (WND radio), we are in a, “major cooling cycle could match [the] Little Ice Age… If you look at the historic record, and I mean going over 10,000 years, this pattern occurs as the earth starts its cooling down process. And that’s what’s going to happen,” Ball said. “We’re going to be in this cooling until at least 2040.”

        Are you going to tell me that if there is another “little ice age” in Northern Hemisphere over the next few decades, we should ignore its significance if a government scientist like Michael Mann tells us it’s not global enough to notice?

    • Please come Little Ice Age II if only to cool down all the CAGW hot air
      Scott

    • Global is global; regional is regional. Global trumps regional.

      • Editor’s Summary

        Deep Heating

        Global warming is popularly viewed only as an atmospheric process, when, as shown by marine temperature records covering the last several decades, most heat uptake occurs in the ocean. How did subsurface ocean temperatures vary during past warm and cold intervals? Rosenthal et al. (p. 617) present a temperature record of western equatorial Pacific subsurface and intermediate water masses over the past 10,000 years that shows that heat content varied in step with both northern and southern high-latitude oceans. The findings support the view that the Holocene Thermal Maximum, the Medieval Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age were global events, and they provide a long-term perspective for evaluating the role of ocean heat content in various warming scenarios for the future.

        ~Yair Rosentha, et al., Pacific Ocean Heat Content During the Past 10,000 Years, Science

    • You just do not get it. A global event does not mean they are saying the SAT of the MWP was warmer than the SAT of 1998, or the SAT of today.

      There area lot of papers that have found evidence of warming around the global during the MWP. That does not mean the MWP was warmer than today.

      Somebody has to do the work. Nobody has. Maybe Lindzen can do it. Maybe Curry. Maybe Troy in CA. Maybe Nic Lewis. But until somebody does it, nobody has. See if you can get that.

      • It’s not that hard to understand, as history tells us: “At least 40 periods of warming and cooling have occurred since 1480 AD, all well before CO2 emissions could have been a factor.” (Dr. Easterbrook)

    • Robert I Ellison

      Most places were as warm or warmer sometime in the past 2000 years.

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

    • The MWP warming was regional, all of the regions. And the climate optimae have all followed a slow decline curve through the Holocene; Minoan warmer than Roman, warmer than the Medieval, so far warmer than the Modern.
      =============

  88. Great that simple models of the climate exist. Things often simplify because of the sheer number of states. That is the idea behind thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.

    Read Murray Gell-Mann, who was always considered Feynman’s equal, in his book the Quark and the Jaguar, where he explains these ideas nicely.

    Pity the skeptics that drown in complexity because they think that has to be the case. Au contraire mon frere!

    • “Keep things as simple as possible, but no simpler” – Einstein.
      Complex things are not simple, and simple things are not complex – they are what they are.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=14

      Yet it is not a matter of drowning in complexity but of comprehending how complexity theory provides fundamental insights into the nature of the Earth system. A nature in which linearity has no place at all. That is the idea behind complexity theory as defined in relation to climate by the NAS.

      Complexity theory provides a perspective on the pause that is missing from simple ideas of cause and effect. It is both a theory of abrupt change in the climate system and provides a basis for near term prediction. The pause is likely to persist for decades.

  89. The capacity of the establishment IPCC contributing modelers and the academic science community in general to avoid the blindingly obvious natural periodicities in the temperature record is truly mind blowing.
    It is very obvious- simply by eye balling the last 150 years of temperature data that there is a 60 year natural quasi periodicity at work. Sophisticated statistical analysis actually doesn’t add much to eyeballing the time series. The underlying trend can easily be attributed to the 1000 year quasi periodicity. See Figs 3 and 4 at

    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

    The 1000 year period looks pretty good at 10000,9000,8000,7000, 2000.1000. and 0
    This would look good I’m sure on a wavelet analysis with the peak fading out from 7000- 3000.
    The same link also provides an estimate of the timing and extent of possible future cooling using the recent peak as a synchronous peak in both the 60 and 1000 year cycles and the neutron count as supporting evidence of a coming cooling trend as it appears the best proxy for solar “activity” while remaining agnostic as to the processes involved.
    I suppose the problem for the academic establishment is that this method really only requires a handful of people with some insight ,understanding and the necessary background of knowledge and experience as opposed to the army of computer supported modelers who have dominated the forecasting process until now.
    There has been no net warming for 16 years and the earth entered a cooling trend in about 2003 which will last for another 20 years and perhaps for hundreds of years beyond that.
    The current weather patterns in the UK and USA are typical of those developed by the more meridional path of the jet stream on a cooling earth. The Fagan book “The Little Ice Age ” is a useful guide from the past to the future. The frequency of these weather patterns, e.g. for the USA the PDO related drought in California and the Polar Vortex excursions to the South will increase as cooling continues
    The views of the establishment scientists in the USA and the UK Met office’s publicity in this matter post AR5 reveals their continued refusal to recognize and admit the total failure of the climate models in the face of the empirical data of the last 15 years. It is past time for the climate community to move to another approach based on pattern recognition in the temperature and driver data and also on the recognition of the different frequencies of different regional weather patterns on a cooling ( more meridional jet stream ) and warming (more latitudinal jet stream ) world.
    For a review of a 3 year update of a 30 year forecast see

    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2013/07/skillful-so-far-thirty-year-climate.html

    All of the warming since the LIA can easily be accommodated within the 1000 year natural cycle without any significant contribution from anthropogenic CO2.
    The whole UNFCCC travelling circus has no empirical basis for its operations and indeed for its existence depending as it does on the predictions of the inherently useless climate models.. The climate is much too complex to model but can be predicted by simply knowing where we are in the natural cycles.

    • Jim Cripwell

      +1000

    • Well this

      http://climatedatablog.wordpress.com/combined/

      says that we are indeed over the top of a local maximum and probably headed on a downwards path for the next decade or so. Should not take too long to be confirmed/refuted :-)

    • Dr Norman Page,

      It is very obvious- simply by eye balling the last 150 years of temperature data that there is a 60 year natural quasi periodicity at work. Sophisticated statistical analysis actually doesn’t add much to eyeballing the time series. The underlying trend can easily be attributed to the 1000 year quasi periodicity. See Figs 3 and 4 at

      http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

      The 1000 year period looks pretty good at 10000,9000,8000,7000, 2000.1000. and 0

      Have you considered extending back to 15,000 years? Can you get anything useful from Figure 15.21 here to help?

      Coxon and McCarron (2009), Cenozoic: Tertiary and Quaternary
      (until 11,700 years before 2000)

      http://eprints.nuim.ie/1983/1/McCarron.pdf

      Figure 15.21 The stable isotope record (∂18O) from the GRIP ice core (histogram) compared to the record of N.pachyderma a
      planktonic foraminiferan whose presence indicates cold sea temperatures) from ocean sediments (dotted line). High concentrations of IRD from the Troll 8903 core are marked with arrows. After Haflidason et al. (1995). The transition times for critical lengths of the core were calculated from the sediment accumulation rates by the authors and these gave the following results:
      Transition A: 9 years; Transition B: 25 years; and Transition C: 7 years. Such rapid transitions have been corroborated from the recent NGRIP ice core data.

      I interpret this and other figures as follows:

      1. Very rapid warmings occurred in the past before human GHG emissions; in fact, the climate as recorded in paleo data in Ireland, Greenland and Iceland, warmed from near glacial temperatures to near current temperatures in two events in 7 years and 9 years at 14,500 and 11,500 years ago respectively.

      2. Life thrived during the warming events (Life loved warming and warmer conditions).

      3. There is a periodicity of about 500 to 1000 years represented by minimums at about (eyeballed from the chart):
      years before present:
      16,000
      15,500
      14,500
      13,800
      13,000
      12,600
      11,600
      11,200
      11,000
      10,600
      10,200
      9,500
      9,200

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “All of the warming since the LIA can easily be accommodated within the 1000 year natural cycle without any significant contribution from anthropogenic CO2.
      —-
      Not even close. Without the anthropogenic forcing it is highly likely there would be far less energy in the climate system right now. Every piece evidence points towards this.

  90. Regarding simplicity and complexity, the loss of the Malaysian airlines jet has made me wonder why are we so gullible? Why do we always seem to look for the most complicated theories to explain things? Why do we instinctively go for the conspiracy theories? Why do so many wan to believe in CAGW despite the lack of persuasive evidence and more money being spent on searching for evidence to support the theory that on any thing else ever?

    Why are we all so gullible? Why do we instinctively believe all the conspiracy theories?

    A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/03/mh370-electrical-fire/

  91. As long as “climate science” treats the changes in capacative system response characteristics introduced by changes in CO2 concentrations as a “forcing” and confuses the attendant response with “feedback,” no credibie approximation of climate as linear system will be obtained.

  92. Berényi Péter

    If there were a general theory of quasi stationary non equilibrium thermodynamic systems, including those with a vast amount of non linearly coupled internal degrees of freedom, for which no clear distinction exists between micro and macro states, then a simplified and correct description of long term statistical behavior of such systems would be possible, perhaps.

    Until such happy time however, climate, which belongs to that very class, remains intractable.

    • Berényi Péter,

      I have a general theory of quasi stationary non equilibrium thermodynamic systems, including those with a vast amount of non linearly coupled internal degrees of freedom, for which no clear distinction exists between micro and macro states.

      Here it is . . .

      Now you see it, now you don’t. Darn, another Warmist illusion!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Robert I Ellison

      I have a theory about Flynn.

  93. My summary

    Held believes 1) internal variability is icing on the cake, I’m reading that as internal variability have no impact on long term trends (??centennial/multidecadal) and 2) assuming a linear relation between forcing and temperature is sufficient to understand past temperature change and future projections.

    Curry believes ocean dynamics might impose themselves on trends on multidecadal/centennial timescales and 2) linear assumptions were OK for initial investigation but now we need more.

    I assume 2) at least in part arises because of 1). I get the sense that there is little clarity with respect to mechanisms on how we might understand variations (on the multidecadal timescale), there has been no real attempt to quantify what impact multidecadal variability might have had on GMT and that datasets on this timescale are sufficiently incomplete so to be useless for ruling out either scientists position. Both arguments appear plausible but not much more than that.

    Can anybody point me in the direction of science that makes me believe that both scientist aren’t including a whole lot of assertion in their argument?

    • Held says that he sees a positive response to positive forcing and a negative response to negative forcing just as much as you see seasonal changes on the background of daily noise. Judith basically says, no Held doesn’t see that at all, or she doesn’t see that, or you shouldn’t see that, or something of that kind.

    • JimD I thought she said that seasonal cycle just wasn’t relevant. If her concern is with the multidecadal timescale then you could see how that makes sense.

    • Held was just using the seasonal cycle as an analogy. Judith over-complicated it by thinking it was more than an analogy.

    • I think it doesn’t work as an analogy because by its very nature you can’t capture multidecadal variability with it. Maybe if we thought about what dynamical changes in the Atlantic do to western Europe that might be closer to what Curry is saying. In that case dynamical changes do seem to impose themselves on the seasonal timescale i.e. the UK can experience quite different seasonal conditions depending on state of the Atlantic. Maybe that analogy falls down though.

      There seems to be some tacit acceptance by curry that the season cycle is an example where linear forcing works but that doesn’t work well as an analogy for multidecal timescales.

    • The largest internal (unforced) multidecadal variations suggested by anyone so far are about 0.1 C, plus or minus, on the long-term trend of decadal averages. The long-term climate trend exceeds that in just a couple of decades. Other trends may occur from the sun, aerosols and volcanoes, but these are forcings of the type Held says give a linear predictable response. Even some of the “60-year” variation is likely from the sun and aerosols that have consistent changes at critical points in its cycle, so it is at least partially forced, and its 0.1 C may be an overestimate.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘It is hypothesized that persistent and consistent trends among several climate modes act to ‘kick’ the climate state, altering the pattern and magnitude of air-sea interaction between the atmosphere and the underlying ocean. Figure 1 (middle) shows that these climate mode trend phases indeed behaved anomalously three times during the 20th century, immediately following the synchronization events of the 1910s, 1940s, and 1970s. This combination of the synchronization of these dynamical modes in the climate, followed immediately afterward by significant increase in the fraction of strong trends (coupling) without exception marked shifts in the 20th century climate state.
      These shifts were accompanied by breaks in the global mean temperature trend with respect to time, presumably associated with either discontinuities in the global radiative budget due to the global reorganization of clouds and water vapor or dramatic changes in the uptake of heat by the deep ocean.’ http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.380.7486&rep=rep1&type=pdf

      The latest event – with which this paper is concerned – was the 1998/2001 climate shift. This is the theory of synchronous chaos – abrupt shifts between climate states in a dynamically complex system – which is very little understood. Complexity theory provides both a better explanation for abrupt change and multiple equilibria in climate data – and a basis for near term prediction. The pause is likely to persist for decades.

      The question of clouds and oceans is the chicken and the egg. In CERES all ocean warming last decade – the troposphere did not warm – was in SW wave as cloud cover moderately declined. This has since turned around.

      In the satellite era cloud cover changes were by far the dominant factor – according to available data. Cloud cover changes caused cooling in the IR of 0.5W/m2 – offsetting greenhouse gas forcing imbalances and then some – and 2.4W/m2 SW warming as cloud cover declined between the 80’s and 90’s.

      The latest climate shift is associated with a very significant increase in cloud cover after 1998 in both the satellite data and in Project Earthshine – http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/

      So the fast mechanism is changes in cloud cover associated with changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation – and while there is data for the satellite it must be assumed that this mechanism operates on longer timescales consistent with what we know about ocean circulation. There are slower – but still quite rapid – processes influencing albedo in snow, ice, dust and vegetation changes that are linked to thermohaline circulation and NH summer insolation. The albedo mechanisms is very powerful – creating inter alia the episodic glacials of the Quaternary. The question is whether the pause will be succeeded by yet deeper cooling on the centennial scale as we cross the threshold of Bind Event Zero. .

    • Robert I Ellison

      Bond Event Zero…

    • JimD

      A reference for the 0.1oC effect would be nice but the papers I’ve seen where internal variability is ‘quantified’ generally take the form of calculations where we subtract everything we (think) we know and the remainder is ascribed to internal variability (and as you say, so is the uncertainty in the forcings). Essentially this work has already assumed CO2 as the main driver. If the science has moved on from this and is trying to directly measure the impact of ocean changes on temp then I’d like to see that.

      I doubt it though given 3 reasons
      1)Knowledge of mechanisms by which energy moves around the oceans is incomplete
      2) Knowledge of mechanisms by which variation on different timescales is introduced into these processes is incomplete. A good example of that is the rather sudden discovery that the hiatus is caused by changes in heat sequestration in the ocean.
      3)Datasets of the ocean pre-ARGO are never going to be useful for confirming long term processes.

    • Regrettably, Held holds not only that the relationship between temperature and forcing is linear on climatic time-scales, but that CO2–which can only redistribute thermal energy, without ever producing any–constitutes a “forcing.” Moreover, that relationship is usually specified as a simple constant gain, instead of an impulse response function characterizing a time-invariant, capacitive system. Without such, even the clear-sky diurnal and seasonal response to solar forcing cannot be adequately understood, let alone the multi-decadal variations that produced the late-20th-century “trend.”

      The behavior of adaptive linear systems seems totally beyond the ken of “climate science,” which talks in terms of vague “feedbacks” in what is demonstrably a feed-through system, where chaos is manifest largely in convection and advection; i.e., at high frequencies of little consequence to long-term climate. Small wonder, then, that explanations are sought in much more exotic, academically trendy terms, without any substantive empirical basis.

  94. Peter Lang Many thanks for the reference. It is a terrific source of very detailed data which will take some time to diges.I will enjoy digging intoit. There certainly seem to be millennial scale quasi periodicities in the Fig you referred to. Thanks again

  95. Danley Wolfe

    Related topic. New York Times – ran in Science section of today’s print edition that, UNDER AAAS (SCIENCE) BANNER, a group of consensus scientists have published a “stark report” on global warming: ” “The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report. ‘Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.’
    Times article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/science/scientists-sound-alarm-on-climate.html?_r=0

    The report download:

    http://whatweknow.aaas.org/get-the-facts/

    I am VERY curious on the purpose and AAAS sponsoring a full court press on global warming THIS TIME, whether related to the recent Senate all-nighter and possible set up for a new major policy initiative.

  96. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    JC ends: “So which vision is correct – the linear model whereby climate variations are forced externally (with noise from internal variability), or the complexity model (e.g. climate shifts) whereby natural internal variability is the intrinsic signal, with external forcing projecting onto the internal modes?
    To me, this is the heart of the scientific debate on climate change, and why the hiatus (and how long it will last) is so important.”

    My answer. That hiatus is not the important issue here. This is a methodological problem.
    Both approaches seem, theoretically, all right. But if you do the linear model by creating fictitious values then your capacity for predicting climate is nule. In the same way, any complex climate model, I have seen, seem to be far from reliable.
    The statistical approach is the most reliable, but it requires at least one thousand years of data compilation.

  97. Danley Wolfe

    The climate community has hurt themselves by allowing the policy push the science into making claims that are beyond the strength of the actual science. They could admit that it is mostly like economic science a) you cannot perform controlled experiments but have to draw conclusions by looking at historical data or what if scenario models. They overstep by making claim to the independent driving variable i.e., ECS which is not a variable at all but an assumption on warming with a doubling of CO2. That driven by the W/m2 flux assumption and that is really what we are talking. When we look at economic risk of project assumptions we look at scenarios with + / – % delta off of GDP growth. That assumption is based on expert judgment informed by history but we don’t know worth a cats ass whether the future will be like the past. The system is overspecified to make that assumption. The climate is also overspecified to make the analogous climate assumption.

    • it seems the past is a long chain of “mysteries” used by leaders to justify controlling their population in one way or another. because it can also be used as a rally point for gaining popularity, votes, a voice, power. power to compell people. when the claims of the “mysteries” become less mystery, society tends to kick the originators to the curb. snake oil 101. but leaders who have used it as a lever, are trapped by it’s pretend existence and don’t want to admit their mistakes, their abuse of it to get power. they will be scared to say, “opps I blew $90,000,000 of your dollars. their “face” is riding on climate change having SOME validity, to save their face, and to save their jobs and income.
      I don’t believe it began as a conspiracy, but I find it hard to believe that people within government’s resources havent managed to take a better shot at figuring it out, than they have to date. So I think trapped has turned into “not trying to hard” to find and provide the truth.
      It will come like the flow of heat from the center of the earth, and nothing will be able to stand in it’s way.

      :-)

  98. Danley Wolfe

    And whoever came up with the idea of talking about any equilibrium climate sensitivity is just wacko. There is no equilibrium anything in the climate.

  99. the earth is 1,200,000 times the mass of the atmosphere. it is a heat source. the heat is constantly dissipating outward. when the sun is warmer, ability to help “dissipate” outbound heat, is temporarily “pushed” downwards. the boundary between outward and excessive inbound heat, meet at a point a bit under the surface, that goes up and down, like a bow shock in front of a boat. when the sun is cooler the heat comes out of the earth more quickly, and vice versa, but the moderating effect of the earth, and the direction of flow, are outward. there is no ability to “store”. the comparison of one period of time, to another, is never apples to apples, and the complexities of adjusting for all of the variations are currently above our abilities. there are currently too many variables we dont have the ability to measure. are barely aware of. but based on instantaneous measurement, CO2, given the rest of the variables as they are naturally unfolding, is shown not to cause runaway temperature hikes, therefor cannot, and will not. If it could have, it would have. if the concept was valid, there is not a “threshold” that has been shown to be untrue. we haven’t managed to slow down the outbound flow of heat.not at all. therefor we will not. it is not a greenhouse “time bomb” if it isn’t even able to sustain warmth through a period of lower solar activity. the premise is flawed. the simplicity of it is, temperature is heat going to no heat. is outbound. not stored. like a rock in the sun. storage can only be instantaneous and therefor transient. atmosphere can billow out and sink back as needed to support a relatively constant dissipation of heat at the surface. but the bottom line is, it is a one way street. heat is exit only. greenhouse effect therefor can’t “trap” heat, only immediately influence it or not. I don’t know how to make what I believe, any simpler than that.

    • Read about the rising ocean heat content. There is a lot of storage going on that you just are ignoring. You will see it with the next El Nino, and for those who don’t follow ocean storage, the El Nino heat will appear to come from nowhere, but it is no mystery. Ocean storage is a key component of the climate system.

  100. flow is, you can’t be so sure that it is storage, versus temporary redistribution. don’t ignore that the atmospheric water cycle is 10 days. it conforms, rather than forces. to transient to be a likely significant forcing, in it’s own right, I should say. but the forcings that affect it are less transient. so in Canada, it gets cold, and snows a lot, but at some point in the winter, it just becomes cold, and stops snowing, cause the air gets dry that quickly. sure there are el ninos and nina’s cause of the pushing back and forth. but our ability to accurately measure is “conveniently” compensating to what is “needed” at the time, that it is ridiculously obvious there are more things to consider that haven’t been properly related yet.

    so no disagreement that there is some warming in the pacific. do i believe it amounts to significance to validate the IPCCs claims, not a chance. too desperate. to obviously something they “had to toss in”.

    it’s like asking a kid that is lying, and when you can refute his answer it suddenly becomes a new lie. they don’t know, and they lie and justify to compensate. saving their asses.

    do I think arctic ice, or antarctic ice have had any impact from humans. nope, not a hope. the world is just too big a mostly steady heat source that it is like we are living in vancouver, except with the earth, and the earths atmosphere instead of vancouver and the pacific ocean.

    Iam sure we will find that al nino’s and nina’s are natural oscillations. maybe to do with flow into/out of bering sea, maybe caused in cycles in relation to variations in temperature maybe in variation to solar cycles, but lagging a few years behind it. the pacific has been storing the last few years (upswing in solar strength), starts to give it back, or rather it “spreads” as the sun goes into decline, provides less power.

    it is a micro thin layer, on a constant heat source 8 times hotter than the heat being added from above. consider the earth a massive heat source, space the ultimate heat sink, volume of atmosphere a buffer in reaction to temperature variances. blows up like a hot air balloon, and deflates again as needed. not a greenhouse with a hard glass roof.

    like how most people think the planets go around the sun, relative to it’s direction of travel, imagining us spiraling around it, looping up and over and around and under it, is a better mental construct. even many many of NASA pictures show this incorrectly. But some show it correctly. also why they expected bow shock, and found none. mental orientation, mental construct was wrong, mislead expectation.

    greenhouse mental construct is flawed in it’s very basest premises. unheated floor, fixed volume, ignorance of other types of energy than the ones popularly considered. unsure of the impact of spectrum overlap. confident enough to close plants, lay people off, spend billions in administration, impose taxes, and spur research, based on a flawed mental construct that people get too stuck on. (causes internal frustration sometimes. excuse ranting type tone if any perceived. :-)

    so yes, aware of it, no not ignored, personaly believe is natural oscillation like magnetic lines or boundarys of ice, or outline of the ozone “hole”, or latitude the northern and southern lights come to, all the way back to the natural oscillations in the interstellar medium. the root of all climate.

    orbit variances is the largest single other forcing, at least partly because of the impact it has on other things.

    geographical make-up another biggy, if it was indeed the cause of the glacier over canada. we canadians prefer we don’t try that again. (I believe I can speak on all our behalves on that particular issue, normally I wouldnt assume). but bering strait is shallow enough maybe land ice accumulation cause of tilt away from antarctica, was a factor. so maybe a mile of ice isnt a potential near future problem.

    low period in the solar activity and the likelihood of and impending dalton minimum, ice storms causing blackouts and risk to public safety, lost productivity, property damage, food prices, all rise during colder years. we’ve been blowing so much smoke up farmers butts about global warming, that they may not be prepared for the cold that’s coming as best they could be.

    storage in the ocean, sure. ignored, no. matters, don’t bet against the power of the sun, and the power of the earth as a moderating force, the atmosphere’s ability to balloon out, and the dalton minimum “full house” the pacific warming is an IPCC effort to draw to an inside straight. a bad bet.

    it takes a hundred years to build a conclusive evidence of CO2 driving temperature. It takes one or two years of conclusive evidence to the contrary to snap the theory. the sun is in the middle of giving us those two years.

    we just haven’t woken up and realized the magnitude of what is being demonstrated to us yet.

    OK I mean the mass majority have not. Skeptics have. Not all have too many insights as to “why” they just “know” and I am sure they have good pattern recognition and instinctively see the flaw in the hockey stick, even if they can’t put their finger on , or verbalize why. I hear it in some of the speechs and explanations.

    nuff said. (maybe too much.) ?;-)

  101. Danley Wolfe

    In my opinion it’s unfortunate these blogs turn in to nonsense-banter. And very often comments violate philosophic-mathematical principles of reason, e.g., what is causality. We would be well off to have a few Adherents often fall into the circular-reason trap of mixing up premise and conclusion. Others are just nonsense gibberish. My solution is to transfer the entire contents to a database by contributor name and date-time, identify those few well intended meaningful contributors, do an automatic sort on those folks and ‘delete’ the rest. Sorry if that’s a little blunt, but it’s true. What is science? We seem to have lost track of what is ‘science’ in climate science. The consensus would seem to adhere to a Mill-Bentham utilitarian definition of science as being “whatever maximizes utility and reduces suffering,” the obvious conclusion being that anyone who opposes reduces suffering is a hedonist (which is a typical slur-name calling tactic of the propagandist liberal left). In this sense climate science, particularly in the perspective of science based policy making, is now a social science. Science is what you want it to be. This is more like a Kuhnian subjective science that believes that if enough scientists believe in something then it must be correct and true. The premise becomes the conclusion. So you just need good propaganda ministers to lead the campaign to gather enough folks in order for you to call it a consensus and therefore true . The problem with this is climate science, the basic issues (boiling down everything) is independent variables (stuff) causing a change in an independent variable (temperature) that in turn can cause bad things to happen (also good things to happen). This is pretty basic stuff. Who said it is linear – nothing says it has to be, nature in general is not linear. Better starting assumption is it’s not linear. This objective not subjective Kuhnian science, about as objective as one can get. Except it is intractable.

  102. In climate or any other science you need skill in pattern recognition. That forcing vs. feedback dichotomy is somewhat useful but is not the full story as you probably know. When you look at climate data you should be aware of what others have thought about it but don’t lock yourself into a dogma just because everyone follows it. Temperature curves seem complicated and people want to simplify ithem. Why not use a five year or ten year running mean and get rid of that annoying noise? You will get a nice smooth curve but what you will have done is destroy information. That is because the entire temperature curve is a concatenation of El Nino peaks and La Nina valleys that record the history of ENSO over time. So, who cares about that uninteresting and repetitive pattern? You should because there are other things there. It is up to you to find them and determine where they fit in. One of them is volcanic cooling. Or so they say. If you first scan the temperatures there is no way to find it anywhere. If you then look at a list of volcanoes you will discover that some are followed by cooling and some are not. Why not? That is a pattern recognition task and it is for you to find out what it means, if anything. I will give the answer tomorrow. Try to figure it out yourself so we can compare notes

  103. A simple question, for anyone/someone who knows a lot about the subject, I don’t… statistically, when we are assessing “warming potential”, and we consider the full amount of irradiance, the full amount of earth albedo, the amount of energy that could be trapped, and we come up with net energy per square meter, of the earths surface. then we say, add ‘x’ amount of greenhouse effect, and the temperature could go up ‘y’ degrees. is the mathematics we use, to apply energy to temperature expectation, applied to the volume of the atmosphere, or is it specifically calculated out as to what portion of that energy net, will cause warming at the surface.??

  104. if the IPCC can decide to include the ocean as a “temperature storehouse”, why does the consideration have to stop there?? why not see the ground under us a “storehouse”, and the rocks which heat up and cool down? and the dirt beneath those rocks that heat up and cool down, and so on. If the ocean is to be treated as a “heat sink” and “storage unit” , OK. That is plausible. WHY would we “draw the line” there? Why not take it a step further. recognize the earth as a 1,200,000 times continuation of that same thought process. that it has the ability to transfer heat. that transfer slows down when it is hotter above it, and speeds up when it is colder above it. IN DIRECT NEGATIVE RESPONSE to the variations in temperature above it.

    YES the ocean is storing heat. So is the entire earth. (if you insist on looking at it that way – the ability to “store heat”).

    Therefor that method of “looking at it”, the IPCC has “validated” is the undoing of the potential of the “greenhouse effect” by saying, heat can go into and come back out of materials beneath the surface of the air (like the ocean), and therefor, the moderating effect of the earth, (as with the oceans), are the reason we know we will not in the foreseeable future, have our temperature vary from the “normal” of 254.3 internal, plus 33.7 from the sun, except for temporarily, as conditions vary. and therefor, because of the moderating effect, not just of the ocean, but the much more statistically significant earth itself, we KNOW there is no major temperature calamity coming. Further we know that solar cycles therefor are more significant than we had previously thought and we better prepare for a maunder minimum (crops, insurance, electrical systems, because cold is an immediate and pressing danger to a large segment of our society and preparedness is a virtue.

    • Alistair, I was just noticing today that the light snow we got melts on the driveway, roads, while grass and trees all get a coat of snow that sticks.

  105. Danley Wolfe

    Driveways and roads are black and are “attached” to the ground. Black absorbs IR energy and are warmed by the earth which is at higher temperature than leaves and blades of grass which are cooled by the atmospheric air.

  106. Danley Wolfe

    The temperature of water in aquifers that supply water is in the 50 F range.

  107. The flaw in the IPCC’s use of oceanic temperatures, as simply put as I can express it clearly….

    The IPCC says earth heat, plus sun heat, plus captured sun heat, produces more heat at the surface, if more heat is captured.

    As that did not manifest itself, as expected, the IPCC backpedalled, and said, but wait, let us include the oceans. we wish to change our mind about where we draw the line. What we measure, and what we don’t.

    So added to the concern for global temperature of air, was the global temperature of water. Reality didn’t match expectation, so redraw the “area of concern” till it matches our expectation.

    That is fair enough. We realized the ocean matters, so include it. But wait, the ocean is sitting on top of rock from which it is constantly absorbing some heat, so if we consider added heat from above it, and consider the rate of heat lost from the surface of it, isn’t it fair, plausible, that we need to know if that changes the transaction at the bottom of the ocean?

    The IPCC has said, in no uncertain terms, if we are to truly measure the impact of CO2 on the temperature of earth, at the surface, we have to consider, also, the heat that is now higher in the pacific ocean. Not an optional consideration, a mandatory one.

    They have said, indirectly, but absolutely that measurement, only at the surface of the earth, is not valid. We must consider under the surface as well, because that “storage” of heat, comes back to us. The ocean “moderates us”.

    Then it is safe to extrapolate, that we will then determine that the depths of the ocean are not the only consideration. That by definition, in order to properly assess the impact of CO2 on global surface temperature, we must, by extension, hold ourselves responsible for considering the depths of the desert sands, the depths of the mountains, the lower reaches of glaciers, the lower reaches of the mantle, and of every layer down to the center of the earth.

    To stop now, and redraw the line, and then say that is where we stop again, is to commit a crime, and then blatantly do it again, saying that action is valid.

    To allow the act to go unnoticed, is a fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    The IPCC cannot in good conscience, stop, now, having added water, and pretend that the other materials under it are somehow excluded from consideration.

    To consider, as a “moderating force” the earth, down to it’s core, and therefor bring into consideration 1,200,000 times the weight of the atmosphere, as the “moderating force” that it is. If the ocean is a moderating force, so are the continents, so are the convection in the lower mantle, the release of volcanic heat, etc. And when you add the entire earth to the question of whether there is global warming, consider the situation from the perspective of removing all lines, seeing the earth, from it’s middle of 6,000 degrees, out to space, at -273 degrees celsius, or 0 kelvin, you see the atmosphere for what it is, a sliver of consideration, against the backdrop that is the moderating effect of the entire system of which we are trying to be cognizant and protective, so we can die with clear consciences, and feel good that we have left the world on an OK path for our kids.

    So when we wonder, has the planet cooled, and we say, no because heat has stored itself in the ocean, we are also saying that we must consider everything, and not stop at the “surface”. And from that regard, it is straightforward to see that the moderating is significant, even if all it’s mechanics are unknown. We can “see” first hand the ability of stored heat to change our climate. We can therefor also recognize that warmer periods sink “waves” of heat lower, and slower into different mediums. Therefor the “bounce back” of heat “waves” permeating the earth, would cause “bounce back” waves, of varying patterns depending on the medium, around the world. It spends all day and all night, being ” the rock” to the weight of the atmosphere. And it does a better job of doing that wherever and whenever it is warmer. And that the bulk of energy the earth provides, is not in forms “trappable” by greenhouse gases.

    So when I was asked, to consider oceaninc warming, I was trying to say I had and do. And I would like to say in response, why stop there???

    From core to “space” to heliopause, to the cloud, to the “almost complete” space outside the “cloud”.

    The center and space are “compelling” and “plausible” moderating factors, please let’s consider that it is valid to include the oceans, and it is valid to include everything else to.

    When we have considered EVERYTHING, only then can we consider ourselves “potentially” finished!!

  108. The heat at the surface of a planet, is connected to the heat of the planet all the way to it’s center. Because the cumulative total of the heat, when considered in it’s entirety, gravity in one direction is a balancing force, while pressure and heat outwards are the direct reverse to this reaction. This means to measure the average heat, of any given point in the sphere of the journey of that heat, one must be aware, in escalating proportion of all heat and pressure trapped underneath that point. Because at the end of the day, AND in the middle of the day, we know one thing for sure, for every single moment in time, the only immediate fluctuation to any temperature, anywhere on the globe, is the sun’s ability to “slow it down”, trap it. And only in it’s immediacy is it valid to evaluate the impact of CO2, because it can only ever have an immediate impact on earth, in recognition of the tide of back and forth balance of trapped heat, versus ability to trap it. it is traveling within an immediate feedback system.

  109. William McClenney

    “To me, this is the heart of the scientific debate on climate change”

    Does this not assume a steady state of climate change? Oblivious as to when we live in recent interglacial times? Is climate, at such a time as a half-precession cycle old interglacial, statistically amenable to any time other than a half-precession cycle old interglacial?

    We will either have an extended interglacial, such as MIS-11, or we won’t (like MIS-19). Both occurring at an eccentricity minimum, such as the 11,717 year old Holocene.

    We can go on and on about whether or not the past century’s climate is anomalous, but anomalous to what, precisely:

    ““In terrestrial records from Central and Eastern Europe the end of the Last Interglacial seems to be characterized by evident climatic and environmental instabilities recorded by geochemical and vegetation indicators. The transition (MIS 5e/5d) from the Last Interglacial (Eemian, Mikulino) to the Early Last Glacial (Early Weichselian, Early Valdai) is marked by at least two warming events as observed in geochemical data on the lake sediment profiles of Central (Gro¨bern, Neumark–Nord, Klinge) and of Eastern Europe (Ples). Results of palynological studies of all these sequences indicate simultaneously a strong increase of environmental oscillations during the very end of the Last Interglacial and the beginning of the Last Glaciation. This paper discusses possible correlations of these events between regions in Central and Eastern Europe. The pronounced climate and environment instability during the interglacial/glacial transition could be consistent with the assumption that it is about a natural phenomenon, characteristic for transitional stages. Taking into consideration that currently observed ‘‘human-induced’’ global warming coincides with the natural trend to cooling, the study of such transitional stages is important for understanding the underlying processes of the climate changes.”

    http://eg.igras.ru/files/f.2010.04.14.12.53.54..5.pdf

    Is it climate change as usual? Is it climate change as usual for flcaial inception? Or is it anthropogenic climate forcing that will delay or prevent onset of the next glacial?

    You decide.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/the-end-holocene-or-how-to-make-out-like-a-madoff-climate-change-insurer/

    • +1. Too much credence is given to short term data (data series less than 500 years in duration) and insufficient attention is given to uncertainty, which is why I follow Judith Curry’e blog.

    • Well said, and agreed. I like the presentation here at

      http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey

      Which from collected evidence estimates and displays on a world map, the evolution of man, and how at several periods climate change made all the difference in the world. Like Africans crossing a sahara which was green at the time, not a desert. A volcano 80,000 years ago causing cooling that reduced the adult population of mankind to 10,000.

      I’ll add glacial periods that allowed people across the Bering strait at times, populating North and South America.

      Then consider the creating a couple of Great Lakes and Niagara Falls 11,000 years ago.

      And from more recent history, I believe it is safe to relate the Hebrews leaving Egypt, and wanting to return 600 years later, to climate change, among other things.

  110. William McClenney

    Typo:

    “flcaial inception?” was supposed to be “glacial inception”.

    Apologies

  111. And with less scientific basis, may I point out, that from the “greatest story ever told”, the single greatest distruction ever executed against mankind, was a great flood, a great rising of the sea. And that when it was over, the population of man had been reduced to a single mutli race family. And the threat was, that if man didn’t smarten up and fly straight, HE would revisit such a calamity upon us once again. So somewhere, out there, kicking around in the world, are maybe 500 to 600 million people, who have been indoctrinated from childhood to believe based on faith that flooding is mankinds greatest single enemy, and our greatest fear. That a perpetual cloud/rain cycle of forty days flooded the earth, reducing the population of man to a single family. That our guilt and sin was such that we forced the most loving being in the universe to use weather, and flooding, to kill all but Noah and his family. Now I am no theologian, and don’t pretend to know exactly who or what God is, but I know he is a force more powerful than Hitler, Mao, and other the other brutal rulers put together, and worse when he get’s angry. That it is our own fault if it happens again, and that since we are “guilty”, we will in fact be experiencing such a thing at some point in the near future, and the only hope for redemption, is to be a jesuslike figure who saves the world by doing good. And that Noah was a hero, not just saving the animals, and humanity, but also guiding and leading us down the right paths morally.

    Can you think of anybody trying to play Noah, who has a Christian back ground, and may have heard this story once or twice? and maybe the stuff Freud says about mother complex, applies to some people and desire to please their religion’s deity.

    In a court room that would be “motivation” wrapped up in a nice cosy blanket in a case of Settleds (who want us to have faith), and the Deniers (the Devil’s advocates)

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