The heart of the climate dynamics debate

by Judith Curry

Lennart Bengtsson’s recent statement on climate research has elicited a response from Andy Lacis, that directly points to the fundamental debate in climate dynamics.

In his statement discussed in the previous post, Bengtsson stated:

Climate is nothing but the sum of all weather events during some representative period of time. The length of this period cannot be strictly specified, but ought to encompass at least 100 years. Nonetheless, for practical purposes meteorologists have used 30 years. For this reason alone it can be hard to determine whether the climate is changing or not, as data series that are both long enough and homogenous are often lacking. Because of chaos theory it is practically impossible to make climate forecasts, since weather cannot be predicted more than one or several weeks. For this reason, climate calculations are uncertain even if all model equations would be perfect.

In a comment on the Bengtsson post, Andy Lacis states:

But fundamentally, that statement is flat wrong. This is because climate is a boundary value problem in physics, while weather is an initial value problem. The physical nature of these two problems is quite different, so also is the numerical approach that has to be taken in order to model climate change, and to forecast the changing weather. 

Andy Lacis’ perspective is more extensively discussed in his Climate Etc. post discussing CO2 as a Control Knob.

Context

Before digging into the arguments, this is a reminder that appeal to authority arguments won’t work here (well they never carry much weight at Climate Etc) – both Bengtsson and Lacis are leading senior scientists that are very highly regarded in the climate science community.  They come from different perspectives:  Lacis’ perspective is from radiative transfer, whereas Bengtsson’s perspective is from atmospheric/fluid dynamics.  I do not regard either as an issue advocate.

This same debate is what motivated Tomas Milanovic’s recent post How Simple is  Simple – a response to Isaac Held’s article Simplicity Amidst Complexity.

This same debate is at the heart of the controversy surrounding Michael Mann’s recent paper about the AMO, as discussed in a recent post by Nic Lewis.

I have alluded to this debate on several previous threads, notably Trends, change points, and hypotheses.  Excerpt:

Consider the following three hypotheses that explain 20th century climate variability and change, with implied future projections:

I. IPCC AGW hypothesis: 20th century climate variability/change is explained by external forcing, with natural internal variability providing high frequency ‘noise’. In the latter half of the 20th century, this external forcing has been dominated by anthropogenic gases and aerosols. The implications for temperature change in the 21st century is 0.2C per decade until 2050. Challenges: convincing explanations of the warming 1910-1940, explaining the flat trend between mid 1940′s and mid 1970′s, explaining the flat trend for the past 15 years.

II. Multi-decadal oscillations plus trend hypothesis: 20th century climate variability/change is explained by the large multidecadal oscillations (e.g NAO, PDO, AMO) with a superimposed trend of external forcing (AGW warming). The implications for temperature change in the 21st century is relatively constant temperatures for the next several decades, or possible cooling associated with solar. Challenges: separating forced from unforced changes in the observed time series, lack of predictability of the multidecadal oscillations.

III: Climate shifts hypothesis: 20th century climate variability/change is explained by synchronized chaos arising from nonlinear oscillations of the coupled ocean/atmosphere system plus external forcing (e.g. Tsonis, Douglass). The most recent shift occurred 2001/2002, characterized by flattening temperatures and more frequent LaNina’s. The implications for the next several decades are that the current trend will continue until the next climate shift, at some unknown point in the future. External forcing (AGW, solar) will have more or less impact on trends depending on the regime, but how external forcing materializes in terms of surface temperature in the context of spatiotemporal chaos is not known. Note: hypothesis III is consistent with Sneyers’ arguments re change-point analysis. Challenges: figuring out the timing (and characteristics) of the next climate shift.

There are other hypotheses, but these three seem to cover most of the territory. The three hypotheses are not independent, but emphasize to varying degrees natural internal variability vs external forcing, and an interpretation of natural variability that is oscillatory versus phase locked shifts. Hypothesis I derives from the 1D energy balance, thermodynamic view of the climate system, whereas Hypothesis III derives from a nonlinear dynamical system characterized by spatiotemporal chaos. Hypothesis II derives from climate diagnostics and data analysis.

The stadium wave falls between II and III.

This disagreement is further clarified by two recent comments from Climate Etc. regulars Robert Ellison (Generalissimo Skippy) and Fred Moolten, excerpts:

Robert Ellison:  ‘Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.’ James McWilliams

Climate and weather model share the same underlying mathematical dynamic. So models are undoubtedly chaotic and there are many feasible and divergent solutions within the bounds of feasible inputs.

‘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.’ http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/global/pdf/pep/Rial2004.NonlinearitiesCC.pdf

‘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

Climate is what emerges from these abrupt transitions – and there are likely to be four or more this century – counting the 1998/2001 transition to a cooler planet. e.g. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00626.1

Fred Moolten. I noticed exchanges of comments related to the roles of volcanic and solar forcing during pre-industrial times, including the LIA. Here’s one link concluding that solar forcing was the more important cooling influence, because unlike volcanic forcing, surface and stratospheric effects operated in the same direction – Solar and Volcanic Forcing. My purpose, though, is not to compare their respective roles but to point out that in combination, these forcings induced profound and long-lasting climate responses. The relevance to this blog topic is that neither volcanic nor solar variation during that era was periodic – i.e., there was no evidence to support phase-locking with a putative chaotic oscillation, as could be claimed for seasonal or diurnal variation. The observational record therefore appears consistent with evidence for simplicity (quasi-linearity) in response to strong forcings that dominates over the unpredictable variability inherent in chaotic behavior of the climate that may have operated at that time. Again, I believe Tomas is correct in emphasizing the limits to predictability, but Held is correct in reminding us that those limits don’t preclude our ability, with fairly high confidence, to make fairly accurate long term predictions under Holocene climate conditions.

Timescales

It seems that this debate largely boils down to the issue of time scales, and whether climate change can be regarded as truly just a boundary value problem (Hypothesis I).  In some sort of long timescale equilibrium sense, external forcing from the sun and atmospheric composition determines the planets overall temperature; we know from comparative planetology that we can explain the broad differences in the climates of Earth, Mars and Venus by simple energy balance considerations.  These considerations, however, don’t prima facie tell us anything about the amount or rate of warming to be expected by adding more CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere.

On a previous control knob thread, Jim2 made the following statement: “CO2 is more like a pilot light than a control knob. It is a non-condensible gas that keeps a small flame alive to ignite the prima donna: Water.”  I think that Jim2 has made an insightful statement.

So, how long is ‘long’? The 16+ year hiatus in global warming provides evidence that a 30 ppm increase of atmospheric CO2  (since 1998 – 25% of the post industrial anthropogenic contribution) has not acted to significantly increase global surface temperatures on a timescale of 16 years (the period 1998-present). This implies that changes in atmospheric CO2 of this magnitude is not a control knob on surface temperatures on timescales shorter than 16 years (whether or not the deep ocean is somehow heating because of increased CO2).  This does not in any way mean that CO2 does  not act to warm the surface on long time scales; it highlights the importance of initializing the ocean in order to make credible predictions of climate on decadal timescales.

Multidecadal ocean oscillations (e.g. PDO, AMO, stadium wave) on nominal timescales of 50-80 years seem to be important, if not dominant, climatic features on multidecadal timescales, even in the presence of CO2 forcing of the magnitude we have seen for the past 100 years.

So climate is not simply a boundary value problem on timescales out to at least 16 years, and almost certainly not out to 30 years, which is the period that is typically used to define ‘climate’.   A climate model estimate of equilibrium sensitivity requires a very long model integration; fully equilibrating ocean temperatures requires integrations of thousands of model years.  At what point does the climate transition from an initial value problem to a boundary value problem (for a secular, slow change in the boundary forcing)?  At timescales less than 30 years, it seems that natural variability dominates over CO2 forcing (which has interesting implications for the attribution of warming in the last half of the 20th century). At timescales of 100-1000 years I suspect that external forcing is increasingly dominant, but there is internal variability on these timescales also (which is less well understood than the 50-80 year variability.)  So I am not sure you ever get away from the initial value aspect of climate on the timescales of interest (decades out to a millennia).

Bottom line:  what both Bengtsson and Lacis say are not incorrect; the key disagreement seems to be the timescale issue.

Policy relevance

The climate dynamics debate between hypotheses I, II, and III (and the variants) is intellectually interesting and exciting.  The IPCC’s hypothesis (I) is being challenged in light of the hiatus in surface temperature since 1998, and scientists are paying increasing attention to natural variability.  Scientists that are exploring natural climate variability do not say that there is no effect on climate from the anthropogenic increase in CO2 and pollution aerosol; rather they are exploring the increasingly likely possibility that natural variability is an important if not dominant factor in climate variability on multi-decadal timescales.

Even if we knew exactly the equilibrium climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling, the issue of ‘when’ the warming would be realized in terms of surface temperature is then another major uncertainty.  If the policy relevant period is the 21st century (and increasingly only out to 2050), do climate scientists really have anything useful to say about the evolution of 21st century climate?  Will it be dominated by anthropogenic forcing (greenhouse gases and pollution aerosol (I)?  Or will 21st century climate be dominated by  multi-decadal ocean oscillations, solar and volcanic forcing?  In my opinion, the climate variability/change of the 21st century is definitely an initial value problem, with the attractor potentially changing in a significant way with external forcing.

Regardless of the cause of climate variability, we don’t really yet have a good handle on regional vulnerability to climate variability (both hot and cold, extreme events).   Even if it was somehow convincingly demonstrated that a certain temperature threshold was ‘dangerous’ given our current vulnerabilities, we don’t know when we might actually encounter that particular threshold.  If the  threshold is at least a half century in the future, we have no idea what future regional vulnerabilities will be or what technologies might be available.  If we are 100% convinced that a warming of say 3C will occur say by 2300 from anthropogenic CO2,  does a near term (i.e. now) policy response make economic and political sense?  These are clearly not issues for science to resolve, but the scientific debate, particularly regarding the time scale, is relevant to the policy debate.  Attempts to argue that ‘dangerous climate change’ is already here depends on dubious links to anthropogenic climate change of extreme weather and rapid sea level rise in some locations (tied primarily to local geological processes and land use practices).

It would be great for science, and even for policy, if climate scientists would stop focusing solely on CO2-forced climate change, and look at natural internal variability and how this interacts with external forcing – both slow (e.g. solar or CO2) and fast (e.g. volcanoes).  The big issue of scientific interest (not to mention policy relevance) is abrupt climate change.  I don’t really regard the climate shifts of 1976 and 2001 to be ‘abrupt climate change’, although by some definitions these qualify.  These climate shifts are certainly of great interest and significance in and of themselves, and there are some hypotheses on the table regarding how to predict the next shift (e.g. stadium wave).

JC conclusions

The science of climate change on decadal to century timescales most definitely is not settled, in spite of the IPCC’s highly confident proclamations.  There are so many interesting and unsolved issues in climate dynamics.  At this point, climate science seems relatively irrelevant for energy policies – the goals of carbon mitigation are in place, and whether anything meaningful can be achieved in the near term is doubtful.  However, climate scientists are (in the words of Pointman)  in a hurry towards some finishing line only they could see, and acted accordingly.  I suspect that the IPCC becoming less and less relevant to the UNFCCC agenda.

I’m hoping that at some point soon, climate scientists will get fed up with trying to play politics with their science and get back to researching and debating these fundamentally interesting and unsolved issues in the science of climate dynamics, rather than attacking their colleagues for suggesting that there are other ways of thinking about climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

478 responses to “The heart of the climate dynamics debate

  1. Latimer Alder

    ‘However, climate scientists are (in the words of Pointman) in a hurry towards some finishing line only they could see, and acted accordingly.’

    Would it be over-cynical to suggest that their hurry is to raid the public purse for as much money and career and status and power as they can before the mass of taxpayers realise just how irrelevant much of claimatology is?.

    Mr Abbott in Australia is already taking drastic budgetary action that will surely be repeated across the globe. See also : http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/26/uks-only-climate-skeptic-party-crushingly-wins-the-eu-election/

    The finishing line may be in sight….the gravy train approaches its terminus.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      “would it be over-cynical to suggest that their hurry is to raid the public purse for as much money and career and status and power as they can before the mass of taxpayers realise just how irrelevant much of claimatology is?.”

      Indeed not over cynical. Just a case of human beings doing what human beings have always done: pursuing their own self interest

    • David L. Hagen

      Natural oscillations v Anthropogenic CO2
      Re Curry: “The science of climate change on decadal to century timescales most definitely is not settled”. “The Pause” is now roiling elections. Christopher Monckton of Brenchley reports: UK’s only climate skeptic party crushingly wins the EU election

      ““The IPCC’s 1990 First Assessment Report made wildly-exaggerated projections of how global temperature would rise. Yet for the past 15 years [now nigh on 18 years] there has been no statistically-significant “global warming” at all, . . . .
      “UKIP would appoint a Royal Commission on global warming science and economics, under a High Court Judge, with advocates on either side of the case, to examine and cross-examine the science and economics of global warming with all the evidential rigour of a court of law. . . .
      “Pending the report of the Royal Commission, UKIP would immediately –
      Ø “Repeal the Climate Change Act, and close the Climate Change Department; . . .
      “Millions have died of starvation, or are menaced by it, because the world’s governments have unwisely trusted the UN’s climate panel (the IPCC) . . .
      “Herr Ziegler, the UN’s Right-to-Food Rapporteur, has said that while millions are starving the diversion of farmland from food to biofuels is “a crime against humanity”.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Would it be over-cynical to suggest that their hurry is to raid the public purse for as much money and career and status and power as they can before the mass of taxpayers realise just how irrelevant much of claimatology is?.”

      Yes over cynical, second I would point out as I have elsewhere that skeptics always lose their critical thinking skills when they start to divine motivations.
      You’re like those who divine big oil behind Anthony and Steve Mc.

      Of course you have nothing of interest to say about the Science debate,
      and so reduce it to a fight over motivations that you cannot observe, espousing theories about peoples motivations that are not subject to falsification.

    • Sorry, but Atmospheric Science’s CO2-based GHE argument is plain wrong because it’s based on a fundamental mistake in IR physics; to confuse Irradiance, which is what a single S-B equation predicts and a pyrgeometer measures, with real, net IR flux, the vector sum of Irradiances.

      I’ve measured coupled convection and radiation many times, and there are many tables of such data in the engineering handbooks. To get net IR flux to exceed natural convection in our atmosphere for 0.97 emissivity, you need a temperature of c. 100 deg C. At 15 deg. C, it’s mostly convection.

      The reason, you easily prove it with MODTRAN plus a bit of simple physics, is ‘self-absorbed’ GHG IR bands, ‘black body’ amplitude at the surface, mutually annihilate same wavelength surface IR emission. Furthermore, the sites that emit IR also transfer energy to adsorbed gas molecules and water. Hence ’63 W/m^2 net real surface IR, 97W/m^2 the rest’.

      As far as I can tell, the 2009 Trenberth energy Budget gives 493 W/m^2 total surface heat transfer, 3x real 160 W/m^2. The models offset this to 60% more than reality by applying Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation at ToA to a semi-transparent to IR atmosphere, then offset what doesn’t go into imaginary latent heat by exaggerating low level cloud albedo by c.30% in hind-casting!

      It looks good but it’s a Perpetual Motion Machine of the 2nd Kind, no predictive capability in terms of temperatures or heat accumulation. In reality, the atmosphere self controls CO2-AGW to near zero and there’s evidence showing why and how but it’s difficult to publish in Climate comics.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Mosher, Way, way too harsh. I’ve seen you complain about the way warmist scientists conduct themselves. You’ve been critical of the IPCC.
      Government funding is by its nature, corrupting. Human beings by their nature, are nothing if not corruptible. I simply don’t see how you can read the climate-gate emails without being horrified, or at the very least depressed, at what’s going on these days.

    • …espousing theories about peoples motivations that are not subject to falsification.”

      Politics is not a science, no matter how much those in political science departments across the land may disagree.

      I don’t know anyone who goes into a voting booth, whips out his tablet computer and runs a model to determine who to vote for, Iif the voter isn’t trying to include his impression of the motivation of the various politicians are before voting, he is likely to be very disappointed.

      CAGW, as opposed to AGW, is a political movement, plain and simple. The research budget is controlled by politicians. The agenda is set by politicians, explicitly through the grant process.

      So it is entirely fair to attempt to surmise motivation as one factor in determining whether to buy into CAGW appeals to authority.

      Falsification couldn’t be more irrelevant.

    • Bad Andrew

      “Government funding is by its nature, corrupting.”

      This is a lesson repeatedly taught by history and then re-taught repeatedly by experience. And people suffer.

      But there’s always a segment that like the power. They don’t see anything else.

      Andrew

    • fizzymagic

      Steven Mosher said:

      I would point out as I have elsewhere that skeptics always lose their critical thinking skills when they start to divine motivations. You’re like those who divine big oil behind Anthony and Steve Mc.

      This.

      Productive scientific discussion cannot occur in an environment in which imputed motivations of the participants are used in place of substantive arguments.

      In climate science, there is zero doubt about which “side” started using this tactic first (hint: see attacks by Mann), but both “sides” now employ it regularly. And it makes scientific progress very difficult.

      Believe it or not, there are a lot of us out there who understand that CO2 warms the planet but remain unconvinced that destroying the economy is the optimal solution. When I see nonsense about how CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, I conclude that many (most) so-called skeptics don’t understand the issues. When I see the nonsense posted at RealClimate or here by Appel or Bart R, I recognize that the skeptics are nowhere near having a monopoly on scientific ignorance.

      There is a lot of great science that could be done on climate, but in the current intellectual climate, the quality of the science suffers because researchers don’t feel free to investigate. That’s sad.

    • Latimer Alder

      I’m sure that self-interest is always at play to some extent. One would have to be pretty naïve to deny this.

      But even if one takes our hostess’ standpoint that both sides on the scientific side, at least, are in the end looking for the “truth”, it is clear that there are some individuals (maybe on both sides but more visibly on the “CAGW” side) that are playing the politics for personal gain (not necessarily just money – but also “career, status and power”, as you suggest).

      Michael Mann comes to mind.

      Another example: Al Gore has made many millions off of the scare. Had the whole carbon offset business really taken off, he would have become even more wealthy.

      And the politicians in the UNFCCC and IPCC are also good examples.

      Judith’s debate is about the science, rather than the politics, and I think her points are valid.

      And I also agree with you that the “climate gravy train” is losing its momentum. It’s wheels are starting to wobble and it will soon head for the ditch, especially if the current “pause” in warming continues for another decade or so.

      But it won’t die silently – there will still be a lot of “wailing, lamenting and gnashing of teeth” before CAGW has been laid to rest permanently IMO.

      Max

    • Matthew R Marler

      Stephen Mosher: Yes over cynical, second I would point out as I have elsewhere that skeptics always lose their critical thinking skills when they start to divine motivations.

      Everyone loses critical thinking skills when distracted into the maelstrom of divining motivations.

    • David L. Hagen

      US average Retail Electricity price was 12.26c/kWh.
      Climate policies escalated prices in Berlin to 38.9c/kWh (28.49 eu/kWh) - 317% of US rates.
      Such higher prices is moving industry offshore to cheaper sites. e.g Monckton highlighted:

      “A steelworks at Redcar is closing with the loss of 1700 jobs, because the European carbon-trading scheme has made it uneconomic. Precisely the same steelworks will be re-erected in India. Net effect on the climate: nil. Net effect on British workers’ jobs: catastrophic.

    • David L. Hagen

      WebHubTelescope
      Are you able to forecast/hindcast from half the data to the other half?
      Or is available data too short to reliably model from that short a period – or from the current total data?
      Compare Nicola Scafetta’s ability to do so. See:
      Multi-scale harmonic model for solar and climate cyclical variation throughout the Holocene based on Jupiter–Saturn tidal frequencies plus the 11-year solar dynamo cycle.
      Scafetta,N., Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physic(2012), doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2012.02.016

      How do you quantitatively validate your model vs Scafetta’s – if you won’t predict the future global temperatures to give others a basis for testing your model – vs “just” “curve fitting”.

    • Steven Mosher

      Government funding is inherently corrupting?
      Not.
      Again we see skeptics failing to apply critical thinking skills.

    • Steven Mosher

      Garym attributing motives is not politics.
      Attributing motives is a science.
      Its uncertain and u and latimer need to acknowledge
      That you engage in this science but refuse to
      Qualify your remarks with any notice of uncertainty.
      However if you think its not a science and not knowledge
      Then you need to see that it has no place in science discussions.

    • David L. Hagen

      Steven Mosher
      Wasn’t it bread and games that brought down Rome?
      When politicians can exact taxes from the few to give to the many, the culture/country is rapidly falling.

    • “Attributing motives is a science.”

      According to whom? You must have passed through the rational phase that has characterized your comments the last week or so. This is pure obscurantism at its worst. Well not worst, you have done a lot worse, but it’s pretty bad.

      When a guy comes to the door and tries to sell me snake oil, I don’t have to engage in some Popperian analysis, conduct any experiments or construct a model to make an educated guess about his motivation.

      When a progressive politician tells me to vote for him because it’s “for the children” and he is in favor of “fairness,” I have less respect for him than the snake oil salesman.

      When a huge group of climate scientists, virtually all of whom depend on money from progressive governments to fund their research, and hence their careers, march in ideological lock step advocating the very policy the progressive politicians who run those governments are desperate to impose, I find myself in the same position.

      Politics is not science. Marx was wrong. And all those who still try to mimic his reasoning are just as wrong. Since politics is not science, voting is not science. And it is in deciding how to vote that determining motivation is key.

    • –David L. Hagen | May 26, 2014 at 10:07 pm |

      Steven Mosher
      Wasn’t it bread and games that brought down Rome?
      When politicians can exact taxes from the few to give to the many, the culture/country is rapidly falling.–

      Taxing is process of taking from the many to give to the few.
      It always is this and it’s never actually about taxing the few to give to the many.
      The few can aggregate the tax from the many.
      Just toll booth can aggregate fees from driver of a road. But it’s obvious that it is the drivers which paying not the toll booths.
      Or if one taxes the grinding flour, one taxing all people which eat four and all people growing grain. And also this extends to all people in economic relationship with the people which eat flour and grow grain [the many rather than the few].
      Or if one talking about taxing the few, is simply talking a location of intersecting commerce- which will always in turn affect all commerce as all commerce is interrelated.
      And such choke points,are invariable related to various kinds of government corruption. Which can be simplified as “few” are given more power over government and many being represented by the gatekeepers which being taxed.
      Or a tax collectors who knocks on your door is granted political power.
      A collector of taxes, can say as one option that they don’t get enough, so I will do less work collecting revenue for government and thereby a lever to control government. So it is the tax collector which involved to the all the negotiation with government rather the people who are required to pay the tax collectors.
      And the more checkpoints or pathways with gatekeepers, the less political power the people have, giving one system which extract the most labor with least compensation from government for the money taken.

      Or “taxing the few”, is making those governing less accountable to the many and conversely more accountable to the few. This can only lead to government which more responsible to a few and less responsible to the majority of the people.
      Rome was no different than Detroit.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steven mosher

      We have collectively spent about $100 billion on ‘climatology’ in the last 30-odd years. And have precious little actual ‘science’ to show for it.

      There’s been a lot of huffing and puffing and preening. Huge numbers of papers have been published about not very much. Forests have been destroyed to record the trivial pontifications of the ‘researchers’. Oil reserves have been drained to fly the participants to countless conferences in warm and exotic places. New academic departments have abounded – with Professors and associates and support teams and all the costly panoply of apparent industriousness.

      But the really big questions – about sensitivity and forecasting remain no further forward than they were in Arrhenius’s day. 30 years of apparent work have got us nowhere. We know no more about future climates than did Svante back in 1907.

      So I think it is an entirely reasonable question to wonder where our $100,000,000,000 has gone. And to wonder why.

      Can I divine people’s true motivations? Of course not – and neither (FWIW) can you. I make no such claim.

      But as the old line from Matthew says ‘By their actions shall ye know them’.

      And the actions of those who spend the $100 bn certainly suggest that my analysis has at least a grain of truth. Its possible that all the claimatologists since the dawn of time are no more than diligent and disinterested objective observers striving only to pin down the strange behaviours of Mother Gaia.

      But absent reports of any alien spacecraft landing a strange race wearing white coats and beards, its safe to assume that our lot are just human beings like the rest of us and just as interested in money and career and power and status as anyone else.

      For you to pretend it is otherwise seems to me to show the exact lack of critical thinking skills which you are so fond of accusing others of doing.

    • Peter Lang

      Latimer Alder,

      I really enjoy your comments. I’d love to be able to write and get the key poiots across as clearly and enjoyably as you do.

      Manacker is also very good at getting the point across without hurting anyone’s feelings

      And Faustino is another.

      Plus others (I’ll mention y’all another time) :)

    • Latimer Alder

      @peter lang

      Thank you for your kind remarks.

      In UK we are lucky to have a great number of fine writers to read regularly on climate and other matters: Boris Johnson, James Delingpole, Chris Booker, Rod Liddle..and the great (though now sadly ailing) Australian – Clive James. And Bernard Levin in times gone by

      I may be wrong, but I don’t think other parts of the Anglosphere quite have the same style.

      (I blame ISIHAC. Try this for size. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baF8ZxONM98&list=PLxyHNwLICTy08gmjyiH-Wz1jmSCdUDXh-)

    • Peter Lang

      Latimer Alder,

      Thank you for that. Very enjoyable. I’m much better educated now.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      “Government funding inherently corrupting”-PG

      You’re right Mosher. I misspoke. It *tends* to be corrupting under certain circumstances. It certainly is corrupting in the world of climate science.

    • I disagree with you a bit Mosher. It may go too far to say that CAGW climate scientists (or at least those that allow their work to be presented that way in public) are deliberately trying to get as much money before it all collapses. And this also implies that they actually are convinced that they are wrong and are deliberately acting in bad faith.

      But, more likely, is that people are slow to admit they are wrong and now that it is thoroughly politicized, they are very hesitant to give any weight to realistic arguments and open debate as they do NOT want to risk losing their funding or having a political backlash.

    • Walter Carlson

      How, do you suppose, ALL these climatologists and meteorologists got together, covertly, to discuss how they could formulate such a broad plan that could deceive ALL those scientist who were NOT involved, but fully as knowledgeable?? And, how could they possibly keep it a secret all these years??

    • Mosher,

      You need to read up on public choice theory.

      Govt spending is corrupting. Always. Power corrupts. Acton got it right.

    • Tanglewood

      Steven Mosher seems to want to live in a make-believe world where people and their institutions don’t have motiviations, and hence that motivation plays no part in their behaviour.

      And so he urges us to ignore that the state has a monumental vested interest in climate alarmism. And to pretend that there is no connection between this vested interest, and the fact that it outspends everyone else in climate science put together by several orders of magnitude, producing in the main a settled consensus of unalloyed alarmism.

      Pure chance, he’d have us believe. There’s been no fiddling of figures or suppression of dissent or Climategate or anything like that.

      Perhaps he’d care to tell us what behaviour IS motivated by then, if not the vested interests and motivations of the people and institutions involved.

    • Steven Mosher seems to want to live in a make-believe world where people and their institutions don’t have motiviations, and hence that motivation plays no part in their behaviour.

      Whatever happened to the make-believe world where the coal and oil moguls aren’t motivated to protect the public’s right to extract energy from carbon-based fuels, whence that motivation plays no part in their behaviour?

      Visitors from another planet would surely find it greatly amusing that the advocates of “fair and balanced” would not touch that question with a ten-foot pole. “Unfair and unbalanced”, those advocates would protest.

    • Tanglewood

      Well of course coal and oil moguls too are pursuing their own interests, by bringing cheap and convenient energy to the masses. Do you actually know anyone who denies that, or are the existence of such people yet another make-believe straw world world necessary to sustain the alarmist consensus?

      A big difference being that the state, by its very nature, has the unique privilege of being able to using aggressive force to advance its interests, using taxpayer’s money against them to to further its interests, and spends orders of magnitude more of (our) money doing so, than everyone else put together.

  2. The chaos argument is a canard. As an example, the behavioural dynamics of ENSO are quasiperiodic and relatively easy to predict in a deterministic context.

    Lacis is right. The bear wins over Lennart.

    • I think it is more like Brownian motion. We can certainly understand the probabilistic parameters of the motion of a particular molecule, but we will never be able the predict the individual paths of molecules.

    • Can we put that to a vote? Or is what you say absolute?

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      “Or is what you say absolute?”

      Everything the human telescope says is absolute. He shares the peculiar characteristic common to his breed, utter certainty.

    • k scott denison

      Web, if the chaos argument is truly incorrect, then can you predict for me the start and end points of the next ice age?

    • Jim Zuccaro

      WebHub,

      “The chaos argument is a canard. As an example, the behavioural dynamics of ENSO are quasiperiodic and relatively easy to predict in a deterministic context.”

      I don’t think that you can make any meaningful prediction of the ENSO state exactly 20 years in the future, can you? Do you mean in a statistical context, not a deterministic context?

      How exactly is the chaos argument a “canard”? I don’t understand your point.

    • Brownian motion? not quite.

      Follow the link for a model of ENSO which captures the peaks and valleys.

      This is certainly a deterministic model which describes the nonlinear sloshing oscillator built in the Pacific Ocean, perturbed by the quasi biennial oscillator (QBO) acting as a forcing function.

      You denier folks should be happy and rejoicing that a natural variability factor has been characterized.

    • David L. Hagen

      Re: “ENSO are quasiperiodic and relatively easy to predict”
      Pedro DiNezio would “beg to differ”

      Climate simulations suggest that multi-decadal periods of high and low variability in the phenomenon known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation in the tropical Pacific Ocean may be entirely unpredictable.

      Climate science: A high bar for decadal forecasts of El Niño
      Nature 507, 437–439 (27 March 2014) doi:10.1038/507437a

      Furthermore increasing complexity is reducing skill:

      The skills of 20 prediction models (12 dynamical, 8 statistical) are examined. Results indicate skills somewhat lower than those found for the less advanced models of the 1980s and 1990s.

      Barnston, Anthony G., Michael K. Tippett, Michelle L. L’Heureux, Shuhua Li, David G. DeWitt, 2012: Skill of Real-Time Seasonal ENSO Model Predictions during 2002–11: Is Our Capability Increasing?. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93, 631–651. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00111.1

    • They haven’t figured out the equation apparently. Simpler is better in this case.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Web,

      You posted this;

      Follow the link for a model of ENSO which captures the peaks and valleys.

      What deterministic prediction is that image that you linked to? I am looking for your ability to deterministicly predict the ENSO state 20 years into the future.

    • To be able to predict the future, you must be able to model the past.

      Or are you not aware of the scientific method that everyone seems to constantly harp on on this site and at other denier venues?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Thanks for that David – here’s an open source copy – it’s and easy read. http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~atw/yr/2014/dinezio_nature_news_and_views_20140327.pdf

      ‘Existing observational records are not yet long enough for us to investigate whether, and how, ENSO responds to long-term climate
      fluctuations that could be sources of predictability. Progress on this front depends on maintaining and expanding our observational capability in the ocean, which relies on arrays of autonomous profiling floats and tropical moorings. In the meantime, results such as those of Wittenberg et al. are reminders of the challenges associated with forecasting ENSO
      changes. Future attempts to attribute the causes of individual events and their decadal variations now face a much higher bar.’

      There is of course centennial and millennial variability. The place I’d be looking is the north and south Pacific Ocean gyres off the west coast of the Americas.

    • Webby

      Nice that you personally think that Lacis is right (with his “CO2 control knob”).

      It just isn’t working too well right now. In fact, as our hostess points out above, it never really did work that well (except for 1975-2000), unless one throws in a bunch of excuses and rationalizations of why it didn’t work that well.

      My personal opinion (which carries as much weight as yours) is that Lacis is wrong and Bengtsson is right.

      Max

    • Well, WHT, not so easy. The system is highly nonlinear (hence error growth) which limits forecasts of ENSO across the spring time. Called the “spring predictability barrier” and exists when the noise in the system is greater than the signal. This occur in the boreal spring which is the reason for uncertainty in forecasts at that time of the year. Persistence of ENSO indices between April and July is close to zero. Persistence from June to December is much higher. This once the nonlinear trajectory has occurred, the system is very predictable. Now extend this argument to what the next ENSO cycle will be: zero predictability. I think you fall in the trap of noting that ENSO variability has time scales of 2-4 years and that this seemingly oscillatory nature of the phenomena means predictability. Papers on this if you would like. Bottom line, ENSO is a nonlinear property of climate, naturally varying but the onset of a phase is unpredictable.
      Papers on this topic if you like.
      PW

    • Jim Zuccaro

      WebHub,

      Predicting the past is meaningless.

      “Or are you not aware of the scientific method that everyone seems to constantly harp on on this site and at other denier venues?”

      Predicting the past (modeling the past) is the “scientific method” that every seems to be harping on?

      Science stands or falls on its predictive value. Predictions about the *future*.

      Can you make predictions of the state of the ENSO at some specific mulit-year time in the future? E.g. “As an example, the behavioural dynamics of ENSO are quasiperiodic and relatively easy to predict in a deterministic context.”


    • Peter Webster | May 26, 2014 at 8:50 pm |

      Well, WHT, not so easy. The system is highly nonlinear (hence error growth) which limits forecasts of ENSO across the spring time. Called the “spring predictability barrier” and exists when the noise in the system is greater than the signal. This occur in the boreal spring which is the reason for uncertainty in forecasts at that time of the year. Persistence of ENSO indices between April and July is close to zero. Persistence from June to December is much higher. This once the nonlinear trajectory has occurred, the system is very predictable. Now extend this argument to what the next ENSO cycle will be: zero predictability. I think you fall in the trap of noting that ENSO variability has time scales of 2-4 years and that this seemingly oscillatory nature of the phenomena means predictability. Papers on this if you would like. Bottom line, ENSO is a nonlinear property of climate, naturally varying but the onset of a phase is unpredictable.
      Papers on this topic if you like.
      PW

      The problem is that you aren’t looking for connections n the right places. The time series which the SOI follows is precisely the solution of the Mathieu equation with the quasi-periodic forcing of the QBO.
      The Mathieu equation is highly nonlinear, but the strong influence of the QBO irons out the problems of the initial conditions,
      Lacis is right that initial conditions are weak compared to the boundary conditions of the earth’s inertial parameters.

      You might want to chew on this

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/27/the-soim-differential-equation/

      I can explain it to you if you like.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      WebHub,

      Your “soim” is curve fitting: So what deterministic predictions can you make?

    • I guess I should have said the climate as a whole is more like Brownian motion, which is clearly what I meant to say. It consists of lots of things that vary at least somewhat periodically, but still adds up to what looks like chaos and a problem which may forever be intractable due not only to its complexity, but to the sheer numbers of elements to be computed to capture every butterfly’s wingbeat.

      This is not to say that CO2 doesn’t likely cause warming. It is to say that claims of any order of certainty on the matter demonstrate either ignorance, or mendacity (in a noble cause, of course).

      Recently we discovered, for instance, that solar winds influence lightening strikes. What does that mean for climate? Who can say that they know either way?

    • Sugar daddy,
      I figured that you would realize that all of science is curve fitting of theory to data or vice versa depending on whether it is induction or deduction. This is how theories are validated. I suppose you would prefer to just divine the agreement?

    • Ah, Web has said the magic word, ‘validated’. Web, the cameras are waiting to record your perfect half court shot, but I understand your reticence to predict after the unfortunate ‘Peak’ scandal. Any one else care to use his basketball and step to the line?
      ===========

    • Right, these are all rack ‘em and stack ‘em homework problems.

      When you work them out you wonder what all the fuss was about.

      Climate science is simple in comparison to figuring out how electrons behave in a semiconductor lattice. And even that problem can be simplified. If that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t be able to type your limericks and haiku and send the bits out over the net to your bored audience.

    • Air Ball! Have another shot.
      ======

    • Jim Zuccaro

      WebHub,

      You made an extraordinary statement;

      “As an example, the behavioural dynamics of ENSO are quasiperiodic and relatively easy to predict in a deterministic context.”

      I read your paper. You modeled the history of an index number.

      If ;you can make accurate predictions of the future ENSO, then your work is very remarkable and is outstanding.

      So that is the question: Can you make any falsifiable predictions of the future?

      Thanks.

    • Certainly I can. I have all the pieces in place and all I have to do is improve the historical fit a bit beyond what I have right now.

      Simple models do work but they still need to be calibrated accurately, otherwise dispersive effects and propagating errors can put a crimp in the result.

  3. Societies also are in a constant fight against destabilizing forces at the boundaries. Ultimately, the center caves in and change for better or worse is unavoidable.

    The global warming believers don’t want to listen; they have another agenda when it comes to climate change and have stopped-up their ears to reason like the Heaven’s Gate cultists who donned black Nikes and committed mass suicide by pulling plastic bags over their faces in preparation for a one-way trip to Utopia. For all who want to join the AGW Climate-Man Cult there is no need to wait many years for the teachings of science to catch up with their view of reality nor need they wait for the comet Hale-Bopp to swing around again. They need simply refuse to believe in the current global cooling trend and any natural variation in climate that has occurred over the last 10,000 years.

  4. I believe the most important uncertainty is pointed to in hypothesis III:
    External forcing (AGW, Solar) will have more or less impacts on trends depending on the regime, but how exernal forcing materializes in terms of surface temperature in the context of spatiotemporal chaos is not known.

    The IPCC AR5 report points to what is known about UV radiation is of low confidence. Sorce echos that sentiment. So even aside from spatiotemporal chaos, Solar is still in no mans (womans) land and being that CO2 is just soda pop bubbly without it the uncertainty monster raises it’s ugly head.

  5. Steve Fitzpatrick

    Judith,

    Nice post. I think you have fairly summed up the arguments. I would only point out one thing: since most can probably agree that in the (very) long term, climate ought to approach a boundary value problem, even if there is much uncertainty about how long that takes, the key question that remains unanswered is the value for ECS. As many have pointed out on multiple threads, that value is hugely important for public policy. If Nic Lewis is right about ECS (somewhere under 2C per doubling, then the priority/urgency of replacing fossil fuels falls drastically. If Andy Lacis is right (somewhere over 3C) then the priority/urgency is much higher. ECS is THE key question, and it appears only better aerosol data will help to narrow the uncertainty. I remain astounded that climate science does not focus a large part of available funds to better measure aerosols.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Steve Fitzpatrick considers [sensibly] “I remain astounded that climate science does not focus a large part of available funds to better measure aerosols  [as James Hansen untiringly advocates and perhaps Judith Curry publicly should too]”

      Well-considered scientific wisdom from Steve Fitzpatrick, solid support from James Hansen, inexplicable silence from Judith Curry.

      Good on `yah, Steve Fitzpatrick!

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

    • Steve, 0C per doubling seems more likely. Temps follow the AMO. Not CO2.

      CO2 is the wimpy, irrelevant GHG.

    • Steve,
      “I remain astounded that climate science does not focus a large part of available funds to better measure aerosols.”

      Schwartz et al (2007) made exactly this point, writing:
      “The principal limitation to empirical determination of climate sensitivity or to the evaluation of the performance of climate models over the period of instrumental measurements is the present uncertainty in forcing by anthropogenic aerosols. This situation calls for greatly enhanced efforts to reduce this uncertainty.”

      I agree that the failure to have put more resources into estmating aerosol forcing is most unfortunate.

    • Steven Mosher

      Thanks Steve F.

      @FOMD.

      I think it’s simple. Hansen needs to keep on pushing harder and ask Judith to sign on. I’d gladly welcome scientists push for more better observations, so instead of devoting 100% of the effort to policy how about devoting 50% of the effort to lobbying for more observations ( of course as a data junkie i have a self interest in mo data)

    • FOMD,
      Once again you try to dicredit Dr Curry with your lies. I called you out on this on the thread ‘How simple is simple’ and it was met with silence. Are you a coward as well as a liar?

      Here is another example of a ‘Clarion Call’ for more data by Dr Curry:

      “JC mssage to NOAA: much more of this please”

      “Establishment of credible Climate Data Records is essdential not only for climate research but also for climate services. NOAA save your money and axe the rest of ‘climate services'; the private sector, universities and local governments can handle the rest. Spend your money on Cimate Data Records.”
      From her post: Climate Data Records: Maturity Matrix

      Time to man up, quit spewing this lie and apologize for your false propaganda.

    • FOMD,
      BTW in my previous post I quoted Dr Currys asking for mor research on Solar. That was the main purpose of the Glory mission.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Steven Mosher — Could you provide a simple bullet list of critical things you think we need to have better/more data on? Prospective and historical. Thanks.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      I remain astounded that climate science does not focus a large part of available funds to better measure aerosols.

      Yes. This does appear astounding at first glance.

      But “climate science also does not focus a large part of available funds to better understand” natural factors that affect our climate (a point made by our hostess), which also seems astounding at first glance.

      Could it be (the skeptic talking here) that “climate science” (as represented by IPCC) is not really interested in getting answers to these questions, which would narrow down the range of 2xCO2 ECS to something less than 1.5C to 4.5C, because those in charge of funding climate science are afraid that it would end up somewhere under 2C at doubling, which would eliminate the need to consider dramatic mitigation actions, and thus eliminate the need for its (IPCC) continued existence?

      Just a thought, Steve.

      Max

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      Two quotes in Judith’s post, which point out what I just wrote:

      It would be great for science, and even for policy, if climate scientists would stop focusing solely on CO2-forced climate change, and look at natural internal variability and how this interacts with external forcing – both slow (e.g. solar or CO2) and fast (e.g. volcanoes).

      I’m hoping that at some point soon, climate scientists will get fed up with trying to play politics with their science and get back to researching and debating these fundamentally interesting and unsolved issues in the science of climate dynamics, rather than attacking their colleagues for suggesting that there are other ways of thinking about climate change.

      Max

    • oneuniverse

      NASA’s Glory satellite, with a cost of about 400 million, was intended to gather high-quality aerosol measurements, but sadly suffered an unsuccessful launch in 2011.

    • “how about devoting 50% of the effort to lobbying for more observations ”

      It seems like there would be broad agreement here from the skeptics camp, but the warmist camp considers it time wasting when the Truth is already certain.

    • oneuniverse,

      While it’s true what you say if you look at the glory science home link and read under background it had two primary missions one for aresols and one for total solar irradiance data.

  6. “Lacis’ perspective is from radiative transfer”

    It’s interesting that he was lead author on Lacis et al 1992 that put volcanic forcing at around AOD * 30 W/m^2

    This looked like the good old days of objective science and appears to be a serious attempt at physically attributing a value.

    But by 2002 this was being scaled back to values like 21 , justified because it made the models better match the historic record.

    Yet these values just don’t fit observations : the climate reacts quicker and faster than the “forcing”:

    Looks like somewhere it became preferable to fix the data than to fix the models.

  7. The point is that if you have forcing that strong, you need a strong negative feedback in the tropics. And that upsets the whole apple cart.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      LOL … yah forgot the world’s Free Quakers like Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (known in the west as Rhazes).

      “In today’s world we tend to see scientific advance as the product of great movements, massive grant-funded projects, and larger-than-life socio-economic forces. It is easy to forget, therefore, that many contributions stemmed from the individual efforts of scholars like Rhazes.”

      Celebrated names like Baruch Spinoza, Michael Faraday, Joseph Priestley, Tom Paine, Emily Dickinson, and Jane Goodall might be added to the list of history’s Free Quakers (formal and informal, public and anonymous).

      Good on `yah, “Free Quakers” of every culture, every century, and every religion!

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

  8. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Natural Question  Whose world-view provides the most solid, most inspiring, most practical foundation for young people seeking careers in research, enterprise, teaching, and service?

    Obvious Answer  Andy Lacis’ worldview … by a *MILE*!

    Good on `yah, Andy Lacis!

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

  9. Rob Starkey

    Judith

    Excellent summary of the key issues.

    “Scientists that are exploring natural climate variability do not say that there is no effect on climate from the anthropogenic increase in CO2 and pollution aerosol; rather they are exploring the increasingly likely possibility that natural variability is an important if not dominant factor in climate variability on multi-decadal timescales.”

    “Even if we knew exactly the equilibrium climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling, the issue of ‘when’ the warming would be realized in terms of surface temperature is then another major uncertainty.”

    “If the policy relevant period is the 21st century (and increasingly only out to 2050), do climate scientists really have anything useful to say about the evolution of 21st century climate?”

    “If we are 100% convinced that a warming of say 3C will occur say by 2300 from anthropogenic CO2, does a near term (i.e. now) policy response make economic and political sense?”

    “Attempts to argue that ‘dangerous climate change’ is already here depends on dubious links to anthropogenic climate change of extreme weather and rapid sea level rise in some locations (tied primarily to local geological processes and land use practices).”

  10. Jim Cripwell

    Sometimes I despair. Our hostess outlines three hypotheses. Please note, these are plain and simple hypotheses. There is no empirical data whatsoever which allows us to distinguish which is correct. And there is no discussion that, until we get the required empirical data, it will be impossible to say which hypothesis is correct..This is, once again, not applying The Scientific Method, while all the time somehow pretending that we are doing science, physics.

    When will someone who matters stand up and shout from the rooftops, that this sort of discussion is NEVER going to give our politicians any sound scientific basis on which to base their policies. For decades, CAGW has been built on quicksand. This sort of discussion is never going to advance the yardsticks.

    Until we get back to basic science, and The Scientific Method, no progress is going to be made. In the end Mother Nature, and hard, measured, empirical data is going to decide which, if any, of the three hypotheses is correct. Surely the time has come for someone who matters to say that science will never distinguish which hypothesis is correct, unless and until we have the required empirical data.

    • Thanks, jim, for speaking the truth in a way that will be difficult to ignore.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Don’t despair, Jim. I like what’s going on in Australia and Europe lately. And with Obama flaming out more spectacularly by the day, things are looking bad for the dems here in the U.S. Ultimately, this is a political question. I think we’re winning where it counts.

    • David L. Hagen

      That is very important. Thus the critical importance of 10 fold better satellite measurements as advocated by Nigel Fox of NPL in the TRUTHS project. That can reduce differentiation time by 2/3rds.
      Proposed Policy: Cut all global modeling by 90% as a waste of time, get much better data per Fox, and explore foundational climate physics per Curry et al.

    • Jim Cripwell

      pokerguy, you write ” I think we’re winning where it counts.”

      I agree. My despair is for science. It will be years, possibly decades, before science recovers from the damage done to it by the warmists.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘Hard, measured, empirical data’.

      Surely such stuff would be as toxic to current claimatology as garlic and crucifix is to vampires. I can’t imagine anyone so calling would long be allowed to practice in an academic post. The tribe would cast them out.

      And as nobody outside academia is funded/interested/gives a stuff, I can’t see it ever happening.

      We will have to make do with the vapid ritual repetition ‘consistent with the current models of AGW’ for a few years yet. It conveys no useful information but affirms the writer/speaker’s membership of the ‘right’ clan. Like priests reciting their cathecism, its a necessary rite of passage to wealth and status and employment.

      Meanwhile Mother Gaia carries on doing her stuff in her own way. Indications are that she hasn’t read the script and won’t be joining Clan Consensus anytime soon.

    • Steven Mosher

      TRUTHS was proopsed as far back as 2005.

      60M price tag

      http://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/jun/02/environment.climatechangeenvironment

      Seems a small amount to answer a big question

    • Until we get back to basic science, and The Scientific Method, no progress is going to be made.

      I’m wondering whether the scientific method can give answers in the time frames that are useful. It seems to me the problem is very hard, the deltas of what must be measured are small, and so it’s going to be hard to come up with definitive answers until a lot of time has been written. Not that I disagree with the essential point, mind you.

    • “. There is no empirical data whatsoever which allows us to distinguish which is correct.”

      OK. Let us try to work out how we would decide between II and III.
      In II we have have smooth variations in ocean temperature and in III we have have more abrupt changes.
      So we look for places, say the continental shelves, that have ecologies hat respond to the swing. We look through the mud and see if we slow swings or episodic jumps.
      On land we should see if climate shifts or swings, based on tree rings, which respond to growing conditions, and not temperature.
      Before we do anything, we workout, a prior, how we would statistically analyze a wave form with >70 <120 years vs shifts that appear to happen at random.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Ed, you write “I’m wondering whether the scientific method can give answers in the time frames that are useful.”

      Of course they cannot; that is the whole point of what I am trying to get across to our hostess. It is impractical for us to go out and get the necessary empirical data. We have to wait until we pour so much CO2 into the atmosphere, that Mother Nature will give us the answer.

      My point is that no scientist is saying this. All the warmists, including our hostess, are doing, is pretending that they are following The Scientific Method, when all the time they are not. And, unfortunately, our politicians believe them.

      Someone important needs to say, in words of one syllable, science cannot tell us what happens when we add more CO2 to the atmosphere. There is no way of determining which of our hostess’s 3 hypotheses is correct.

    • ‘Quicksand,’ yes. ‘Someone needs ter tell us’ … they haven’t
      because they can’t. Climate science is all over the kitchen,
      er, oceans.

    • “Of course they cannot; that is the whole point of what I am trying to get across to our hostess. It is impractical for us to go out and get the necessary empirical data.”

      OK, then we are close to the same page. From your opening post, it sounds like you were hopeful empirical evidence could yield an answer.

      As I recall, Dr. Curry was asked “How do you verify Stadium Wave,” and she responded that data over the next twenty years could disprove it, so I suspect she is thinking along similar lines. Her reference to AGW as a “Wicked” problem also indicates to me she is thinking the same way.

  11. David Young

    Judith, You have put your finger on a key scientific question that underlies all the clutter in climate science. Being a mathematician and a fluid dynamicist, I tend to agree with Bengston’s ideas. I believe there is a lot of fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of strange attractors and their dimension in the climate community, many of whom view the boundary value problem doctrine as an article of faith. As Climate of Doom said, this boils down really to the observation that “every time I run the model I get a reasonable climate.” That is not a productive scientific statement.

    I personally believe there is a lot of selection bias in the reporting of GCM results. I see this in CFD as well. You have some data. You run the code and the results are far from the data. Then you tune gridding, discretizations, model parameters, number of cores used to run the code until you match the data and publish that result. You need to publish all the data you generated and understand what that variability means.

    This video is so simple and eligant that it deserves more attention. Basically, I interpret it as showing that very simple models of single cell convection, the Lorentz model, can generate insight that far more complex Navier-Stokes modesl simply cannot. This is the reason I like the Otto et al and Lewis analyses of climate sensitivity. Simple models are much easier to constrain with real data. We have a new paper that just appeared in AIAA Journal on this in CFD.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David Young claims [foolishly] “Every time I run the model I get a reasonable climate That  is not  absolutely is a productive scientific statement.”

      Obsolete 20th century worldview by David Young, 21st century computational science from Steve Easterbrook’s TEDx talk Computing the Climate (2014).

      Good on yah, Steve Easterbrook!

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

    • David Young

      Easterbrook’s talk is not really a science talk and deals in analogies. The video I posted is very scientific and rigorous. It deals with real mathematics and actual feasible computations with no parameters to tune to match data.

    • David. If one models the climate from a dynamicist’s point of view, I suppose the Sun would be the energy source. This would immediately relegate CO2 to a more reasonable position as a component of climate. That doesn’t mean it can’t influence climate, but this scheme would result in a more satisfying place for CO2, rather than straining the model to make CO2 the center of the climate universe, as seems the be the current state of affairs.

      That leads to some other questions.

      1. Has anyone been able to model an attractor for climate? I realize this is a tall order, but this sort of model would tell us where the system would change states, if at all, with an increase of CO2. It seems this should be the primary objective of modeling.

      2. Since insolation is the energy source for climate, how would CO2 be incorporated in a dynamical model? Obviously it participates in the flow of energy though the system. Dynamically, would you characterize it as a feedback process? Or what?

      Thanks.

    • David Young

      jim2, I know of no real simpler models for the climate attractor. As Thomas pointed out on the previous thread, the theoretical estimates of the dimension of the attractor for Navier-Stokes are very large, millions I believe. These are upper bounds though. Climate will be much more complex yet.

    • The ocean sloshing giving rise to El Nino is looking to be more and more predictable, which is contrary to Foo Young’s belief system.

      Deniers should be rejoicing that natural variability is becoming better characterized.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David Young asserts [wrongly] “Steve Easterbrook’s talk [video] is not really a science talk”

      Wrong assertion by David Young, decide-for-yourself link by FOMD!

      Seriously, David Young, you will find considerable further evidence on Don Steve Easterbrook’s website Serendipity/TEDx/Should we trust climate models?, including both links to peer-reviewed articles and (most effectively) hilariously memorable graphics.

      Conclusion  The inexorably mounting scientific understanding of AGW dynamics, coupled with the inexorably heating thermosphere, coupled with the El Nino-driven ending of the tropospheric temperature “pause” … in aggregate driving rational climate-change skepticism to extinction.

      That’s increasingly obvious to *EVERYONE*, young scientist and thoughtful citizen alike, eh Climate Etc readers?

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

    • David Young

      Sorry FOMD, Easterbrook’s TED talk deals in analogies, not hard science. His site makes it clear that he’s an advocate, a devoted partisan. The video I referenced is by a mathematician/scientist with no apparent agenda.

      “Every time I run the model I get a reasonable climate” is exactly what Schmidt told me on Real Climate several years ago and you have yet to tell me a single thing beyond that to justify your belief. This statement is not science, its intuition.

  12. I guess Andy Lacis will need to explain to Wikipedia the new definition. As they have it now sounds more like Lennart:

    Climate is the measure of the average pattern of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count, and other meteorological variables in any given region over long periods of time.

  13. Rud Istvan

    Judith, my complements on an outstanding crystallization of a number of issues. From a pure policy perspective, there are two climate dynamics issues. First is sensitivity. If low, then there are fewer consequences to fret about in the first place. Second is rate of change. This is the ‘tipping point’ argument where the transition from one climate ‘attractor’ to another can theoretically happen more rapidly than any change in causative forcings.
    About the only major transition that might have been ‘fast’ may have been the Little Dryas, the theory being massive redirection of Laurentide meltwater from Lake Agassiz into the North Atlantic via the St. Laurence, rather than previously into the Gulf via the Missippi. But even there, ‘fast’ appears to have been somewhat multidecadal. And nothing on that scale is remotely on the horizon (my previous post on SLR Tipping Points being a case in point).
    So it seems on the balance of observational evidence that adaption rather than mitigation should be the policy standing order. No matter which dynamics perspective is adopted.

    Yet we have the opposite from the UNFCC, the IPCC, the Obama administration… So there are policy dimensions that are orthogonal to climate dynamics. Those won’t get resolved by a better understanding of climate dynamics. But more research might remove the climate dynamics fig leaf being used to hide these other policy agendas. Perhaps that is why the climate issue is so ‘hot’ (pun intended).

    • Rub, say for the sake of argument, that a very large ice sheet were to separate from the Antarctic, would this produce a profound change in the climate, as it migrated north?

      If so, would we see such a ‘tipping point’ in the temperature proxy record?

    • Rud Istvan

      Doc, I don’t think so.
      1. Any ice sheet that is not grounded is already floating, so cannot raise sea level at all. Archimedes proved that. The only thing that can is ice “sliding off’ some landmass past its grounding level. That is like putting new ice cubes into a glass of iced tea. Old ice won’t raise the glass level, new ice will.
      2. The thermal mass of ice has already been accounted for in the planets thermal (net energy model) budget. If anything, melting from solid phase to liquid phase requires more energy than AGW has reckoned with. Maybe that is where Trenberth’s missing heat is hiding ( in a simple phase transition). After all, is about 9:1 IIRCC.
      So the blunt answer to your question based on simple physics is, NO.

    • Sorry Rud, I was thinking of a cooling event, partly from the ice albedo and partly from the change in surface currents due to changes in salination.
      I was just wondering what scale of event, not volcanic or from an impact, could cause a ‘tipping point’.
      Passing through a region of space with a lot of dust would count as an external ‘forcing’.

  14. RobertInAz

    Andrew writes “Without the radiative forcing supplied by CO2 and the other non-condensing greenhouse gases, the terrestrial greenhouse would collapse, plunging the global climate to an icebound Earth state.” No argument there.

    He later writes “We later went on to demonstrate this very point by forcing the model with a water vapor change by instantaneously doubling (and zeroing out) water vapor in a couple of GCM runs. ”

    So modeled H2O dynamic is dominated by the hydrologic cycle. The modelled CO2 dynamic ignores the CO2 cycle.

    The hydrologic cycle is driven primarily by the condensability of H20. The CO2 cycle is driven primarily by its essential role in life. It seems to me to be very simplistic to model the one but not the other in the control knob proof. It’s just not that simple.

    • The differential rates of mineralization of carbon and release of lithotrophic carbon set the steady state. Mineralization of carbon is partly biotic and partly due to the rates that dust falls on the ocean.
      When we have high levels of atmospheric dust, the Earth cools, the oceanic biosphere expands, the rate of carbon mineralization increases and atmospheric CO2 falls.

  15. The following posting on climate as a boundary value problem (versus weather as an initial value problem) may be of interest:

    Initial value vs. boundary value problems
    Steve Easterbrook, Serendipity, 16 January 2010

    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2010/01/initial-value-vs-boundary-value-problems/

    • David L. Hagen

      Overcoming Chaotic Behavior of Climate Models
      S. Fred Singer addresses these chaotic modeling issues:

      Abstract: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC: Meehl et al., 2001) acknowledges that, mathematically speaking, the climate is a complex, non-linear, chaotic object and that, therefore, the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The parameters describing the model’s initial state must be known to a precision that is unattainable in practice. Accordingly, any comparison of modeled with observed temperature trends cannot be done satisfactorily without an understanding of the chaoticity of a climate model. A synthetic experiment, using two distinct procedures, demonstrates that no fewer than about 20 simulations run on a typical IPCC general-circulation model are a prerequisite for determining useful constraints upon chaos-induced climatic uncertainties.

      He shows most Global Warming Models results have far too few runs – assuming the models revert to the mean.

  16. k scott denison

    Thanks for the post. As an engineer, I come at this from an engineer’s control theory viewpoint. All the historical and prehistorical evidence strongly suggests there are both strong positive and negative feedback processes at work on the climate. Hence the presence of transitions from ice ages to warmer periods and back. So to my eyes, understanding the key feedback processes, and whether it is possible that man has somehow “broken” these, is crucial. Given that we believe to have evidence that shows that it has been both warmer and colder than today at times when the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was significantly higher than today, it is hard to see how man adding CO2 into the atmosphere can cause a feedback mechanism to “break”.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ k scott dennison

      “Given that we believe to have evidence that shows that it has been both warmer and colder than today at times when the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was significantly higher than today, it is hard to see how man adding CO2 into the atmosphere can cause a feedback mechanism to “break”.”

      Exactly! Also, we are repeatedly told that ‘CO2 is the ‘control knob’ for the average surface temperature of the earth’, that anthropogenic CO2 (ACO2) is driving the temperature toward catastrophe, and that it is MANDATORY that immediate action be taken to reduce or eliminate ACO2. We are also told that the above is a consequence of basic physics and that only politically driven ideologues (or scientifically illiterate idiots) refuse to accept all the above as ‘settled science’.

      From an engineering standpoint, the first thing you want to know about a control knob is its range of control. With atmospheric CO2, the obvious limits would be 0% CO2 and 100% CO2. What would the surface temperature of the earth be at the limits, if atmospheric pressure were constant? Does anyone know, or is the argument confined to ‘The biosphere will be destroyed if we don’t immediately give governments the power to tax and regulate every human activity with a ‘carbon signature’! With no evidence offered that the taxing and regulating will have ANY measurable effect on the average surface temperature of the earth.

  17. RobertInAz

    This is the bit I don’t understand: Andy again:
    “During this two-week transition period, any water vapor excess (or deficit) relative to the equilibrium distribution did of course produce a radiative greenhouse heating (or cooling) effect, but this ‘virtual forcing’ was very transient in nature, without any lasting impact on the global temperature.”

    So the model is the water vapor content of the atmosphere is essentially independent of temperature. It only dependents on radiative forcing – principally solar then (non-condensing) GHG.

    So by this logic, increased water vapor plays no positive feedback role in the climb out from a glaciation. It just does not make sense to me. I think the model does not capture the real world. It captures a very specific view of the relationship between CO2 and water vapor.

    • I think he is saying that the water vapor follows the temperature, but with a delay.

  18. Interestingly, the West experienced “flash droughts” in 1977 and 2001 that “roughly” correspond to the “climate shifts” (abrupt or not) identified by Ms. Curry. In any case, this will be an extremely bumpy summer and fall (drought, wildfires, etc.) for those who live in the West. “Climate refugees” may restart their migration to the PNW?

  19. It appears that the climate will decide things long before science settles on an agreed theory or prediction of the future climate. Is there anything within climate science that is already agreed. Except that it is complicated.

    There still seems to be arguments over the basic physics. Black body, conservation of energy (Anders personal favourite), entropy…Or am I reading the wrong blogs.

    One comment mentions the need for data. So many don’t trust the data. What a mess

  20. I feel that Hypothesis II probably comes as close as you can get to explaining climate change over decadal and century time scales. But I note that solar forcing is not considered as a candidate for the superimposed trend of external forcing. I think solar might explain all or most of the underlying positive trend since the end of the LIA, with AGW playing some minor role. Furthermore, internal variability I believe is moderated to a large extent by external forcing, begging the question how independent actually is internal variability of external forcings. Internal variability seems to have its own ‘clock’ or rhythm determined by the harmonics hard-wired into the ocean-atmosphere system, but external forcing ‘strikes the bell’ forcefully or not so forcefully, giving rise to characteristically different harmonics and varying amplitudes of oscillation. In this respect, climate change should be predictable if only we understood better how it is driven. But Hypothesis III introduces chaos theory and the weather (if not the climate) is inherently chaotic on a short time scale, though I would maintain that natural feedback mechanisms prevent this chaotic variability from being expressed on much larger time scales. hence we have observed climate which, in itself, is only part of the story because what we term ‘climate’ is very much a ‘human’ construct, dependent upon our observational criteria.

    • Steven Mosher

      there is no change in solar forcing from 1900 to today. No secular trend.

    • Mosher, the solar ‘forcing’ from 1900 is not really known or measured (it’s not defined either), but there is a clear trend in all the solar activity proxies. You’re in denial.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1900/trend

    • “there is no change in solar forcing from 1900 to today. No secular trend.”
      ____
      Indeed, one of the pieces of evidence pointing more squarely at GH gas increases as the key positive forcing to the climate during the later half to the 20th century is that solar is so relatively stable. But the huge reliance of the atmosphere on ocean-to-atmosphere sensible and latent heat flux, and the close connection of this flux with the ENSO cycle, make the better proxy for changes in GH gas forcing to be with ocean heat content. Given that ocean heat content has shown a steady increase during a period when net solar at the TOA and net solar at the surface have been essentially flat, or even slightly declining, the finger-“print” points strongly back to the role of GH gas increases to reducing the net flow of energy from ocean to atmosphere to space.

    • Steven Mosher,
      “there is no change in solar forcing from 1900 to today.”
      Kriova et al (2010) demonstrated that the increase in spectral irradiance from the solar UV Lyman Alpha line since the maunder Minimum is 50%. A clear upward trend is visible over that period (Fig. 8) Given that UV plays such a vital role in upper atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, it comes as no surprise that spectral intensity in the UV is a likely driver of climate change. I am sure there are other studies which demonstrate an increase in spectral UV since the end of the LIA and I know for certain that there are many studies which propose viable mechanisms for amplification of relatively modest solar variation (TSI) to give observable and significant changes in global climate.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010JA015431/pdf

    • Get with the program Jamie, this is climate science, 50 W/m2 of uv is identical to 50 W/m2 of red light which is identical in all ways to 50 W/m2 of IR at 10.5 microns; it is like muscle cars, its all about power and not form.

    • Steven Mosher

      Edim.

      You are wrong. The data are winding their way through the review process. They show: no secular trend.

      Get ready for it.

    • Mosher, it’s in plain sight and all that I can say is, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

    • nottawa rafter

      Edin-
      Or that it can’t be seen. I wonder if this is an area in the realm of the unknown unknowns. It is not possible to find correlation if one component is unknown. Solar may one day provide all sorts of surprises.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘During the past three decades a suite of space-based instruments has monitored the Sun’s brightness as well as the Earth’s surface and atmospheric temperatures. These datasets enable the separation of climate’s responses to solar activity from other sources of climate variability (anthropogenic gases, El Niño Southern Oscillation, volcanic aerosols). The empirical evidence indicates that the solar irradiance 11-year cycle increase of 0.1% produces a global surface temperature increase of about 0.1 K, with larger increases at higher altitudes. Historical solar brightness changes are estimated by modeling the contemporary irradiance changes in terms of their solar magnetic sources (dark sunspots and bright faculae) in conjunction with simulated long-term evolution of solar magnetism. In this way, the solar irradiance increase since the seventeenth century Maunder Minimum is estimated to be slightly larger than the increase in recent activity cycles, and smaller than early estimates that were based on variations in Sun-like stars and cosmogenic isotopes. Ongoing studies are beginning to decipher the empirical Sun-climate connections as a combination of responses to direct solar heating of the surface and lower atmosphere, and indirect heating via solar UV irradiance impacts on the ozone layer and middle atmospheric, with subsequent communication to the surface and climate. The associated physical pathways appear to involve the modulation of existing dynamical and circulation atmosphere-ocean couplings, including the ENSO and the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation. Comparisons of the empirical results with model simulations suggest that models are deficient in accounting for these pathways.’

      The irradiance ‘Modern Maximum’ peaked in 1985 – and UV a little later. Oils ain’t oils Doc.

    • In my reply to Mosher, I only claimed that there is a change in sidc ssn from 1900 to today (a positive secular trend). Nothing more.

      Apart from that, in my opinion, most of the variability in global temperature indices (at multi-decadal and multi-centennial timescales) is caused by solar variations, to be more specific, by changes in solar cycle (~11 year) frequency. Higher frequency (shorter cycles) causes warming and vice versa. I don’t propose any physical mechanisms, but there could be many plausible explanations. The Earth itself has has its own thermal inertia and quasi-oscillations, but it’s mostly in phase with the Sun. I like solar cyle frequency, because the uncertanties in ssn counting are avoided this way – it’s relatively easy to identify the time (month or year) of the minimum.

      Furthermore, the late 20th century warming is exaggerated in my opinion – the 2000s are not that much warmer than the 1940s. I have never seen a raw temperature record from a single pristine and unchanged/unmoved station with so much difference between the two peaks/plateaus as in the ‘official’ global indices – it’s mostly less, no significant difference or even warmer 1940s.

      I think the cooling associated with low solar cycle frequencies seen in the past will happen again (in the next few decades). I am not convinced of any significant anthropogenic impact. Even some kind of grand minimum is likely, IMO.

    • Edim

      Sorry for this long response. I have at various times asked Mosh why historic temperatures are frequently cooled. There is no better example than with Giss which, between being outlined at the Congress hearing in 1988 and today have been cooled. The first part of this are my various links related to this. The second part is Mosh’s response as to why temperatures are retrospectively cooled. I don’t want to misrepresent Mosh so I am not sure he was directly responding to the Hansen data but more the general question

      ——- ——-

      http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Environment/documents/2008/06/23/ClimateChangeHearing1988.pdf

      see figure 1 for global 5 year mean

      here is latest giss

      temperatures seem to have warmed in later years and cooled in 1940’s

      http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/

      hansen lebedeff 1987

      http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1987/1987_Hansen_Lebedeff.pdf

      RESPONSE

      Steven Mosher | September 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      Sure tony.

      First, its hard to reconstruct piece by piece all the changes that
      VARIOUS people made that result in the changes you see.

      But let me have a wack.

      First, understand that the GISS answers are the result of
      Data input and Algorithm.

      1. Data input.
      There are two principle causes. First is the change in the core dataset. The moves throuh various versions of USCHN will result in changes because the processing of that data changed. Essentially the big adjustments for TOBS and other bits in the US.
      By looking at datasets outside USCHN we can see that these adjustments are justified. In fact the adjustments are calibrated by looking at hourly stations close to the USCHN stations.
      Next, the GISSTEMP algorithm will change the estimates of the past
      as New data for the present comes in. This has to do with the RSM method. This seems bizarre to most folks but once you walk through the math you’ll see how new data about say 1995, changes what you think about 1945. There are also added stations so that plays a role as well.

      2. ALgorithm side of things. You have to walk back through all the papers to to get an idea of the changes. But they do impact the answer.

      The fundamental confusion people have is that they think that global indexs are averages. And so if Hansen average 1945 in 1987, then why does his average of 1945 change in 2012? Makes no sense right?
      Well, it does make sense when you understand that

      1. These algorithms do not calculate averages. They estimate fields.
      2. If you change the data ( add more, adjust it etc )
      3. If you improve the algorithm, your estimate of the past will change. It SHOULD change.

      I’ll illustrate this with an example from out work.

      To estimate a feild we have the climate field and a correlation field.
      When we go back in time, say before 1850, we make an assumption.
      The correlation structure of the past will be like the structure of the present. A good skeptic might object.. how do you know?
      well, the answer is.. we dont. thats why it has to be assumed.
      The structure could be different. I imagine somebody could say
      ” use this structure I made up” well, you could do that, you could calculate that. you could make a different assumption.. not sure how you would justify it. Therefore, if we get new data which changes our understanding of today that will cascade and reform what we thought the past was.. principly because of the uniformity assumption.

      What is kewl is that there are a bunch of data recovery projects going on.. WIth our method we dont need long records. So,
      I have predictions for locations in 1790. That prediction was made using a climate field and correlation field. There are no observations at that location. When the recovery data gets posted then I can check the prediction.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/27/95/#comment-388617

      —— ——-
      tonyb

    • Edim

      I have responded to you but it has quite a few links so may be in moderation for some time.

      tonyb

    • Just noticed there is a book out by Dr. Jean-Louis Pinault which builds on the notion that the coupled ocean-atmosphere system has characteristic modes of oscillation forced primarily by solar activity. Pinault refers to it as the ‘planetary wave resonance in the oceans’. I quote:

      “Highlighting the resonantly forced ocean long-waves allows lifting the veil on many previously unexplained phenomena of both oceanic and climatic origin. Is that the tropical belt of the oceans produces long-waves, whose wavelength is several thousand kilometers. Trapped by the equator they are deflected at the approach of the continents to form off-equatorial waves that act as tuning slides, like a trombonist who uses his slide for resonating the air column in the pipe with the vibration of his lips to produce a note. This musical analogy explains the title of this book, my instrumental practice helped me a lot in understanding the oceanic and atmospheric phenomena, at least as much as my training as a physicist mathematician.”

      I think that looking at the climate in this way is intuitively attractive to anybody versed in mathematical physics. Such an approach will reap rewards I feel sure.

      http://climateguy.blogspot.ca/2014/05/dr-jean-louis-pinault-explains-his-idea.html

    • In addition to UV and magnetic field, I think we’ve been neglecting solar IR, particularly frequencies plants eat.

  21. S.C. Schwarz

    “I’m hoping that at some point soon, climate scientists will get fed up with trying to play politics with their science and get back to researching and debating these fundamentally interesting and unsolved issues in the science of climate dynamics, rather than attacking their colleagues for suggesting that there are other ways of thinking about climate change.”

    A fine thought but don’t hold your breath.

    In 1847 Ignaz Semelweis published results which showed conclusively that simple hand washing reduced infections in hospitals dramatically. Puerperal (childbed) fever was common in hospitals at that time, with typical mortality rates of 10 to 35%. Semelweiss’ solution, hand washing with a chlorinated solution, reduced mortality to less than one percent. Nevertheless Semelweiss’ proposals were soundly rejected by the medical profession, Semelweiss was ridiculed and disgraced, lost his job, and died penniless in an insane asylum. It took 30 years for his ideas to be accepted and today, of course, they are conventional wisdom.

    As you can see, Bengtsson, and other dissenters, are getting off relatively easy.

    The current generation of climate scientists have far too much invested to ever back down. Eventually they will die and a new generation may be willing to re-examine the question with open minds. Or perhaps a more rational country, such as China, will come to dominance and it will no longer matter what a superstitious backwater, such as the US will be by then, thinks.

  22. David L. Hagen

    Is “climate” 30 years or 100 years?
    Curry quotes Bengtsson:

    The length of this period cannot be strictly specified, but ought to encompass at least 100 years. Nonetheless, for practical purposes meteorologists have used 30 years.

    D’Aleo and Easterbrook examined: “Relationship of Multidecadal Global Temperatures to Multidecadal Oceanic Oscillations p 176 in Easterbrook, D.J., ed., Evidence-Based Climate Science, Elsevier Inc., p. 161-184. 2011 ISBN: 0123859565
    See: “

    Fig 17 With 22 point smoothing the correlation of US temperatures and the ocean multidecadal oscillations is clear with an r^2 of 0.85.”

    This suggests that 30 years as “climate” is the WORST length as maximizing or minimizing the warming/cooling temperature slope due to oceanic oscillations. e.g., as evidenced by the IPCC’s “global warming” of the late 20th century, and the skeptics “Pause” since 1998.
    Proposal: Require at least 60 years data & models to distinguish “climate” and “anthropogenic” impacts from “nature” with multi-decadal oscillations.

    • Given that there appear to be some cycles with periods longer than 30 years (esp. if we look at cycles that are out of phase and require longer so that we’ve seen each point of the combination at least once) this is an eminently sensible suggestion. Hence, doesn’t stand a chance of being adopted.

  23. Curious George

    Boundary value problem .. where is the boundary? Is it static or dynamic? To quote from Easterbrook’s 2010 post, “boundary values. These are the conditions that constraint the climate over the long term: the amount of energy received from the sun, the amount of energy radiated back into space from the earth, the amount of energy absorbed or emitted from oceans and land surfaces, and so on. If we get these boundary conditions right, we can simulate the earth’s climate for centuries, no matter what the initial conditions are.”

    What?? This is a prime-time example of a wishful thinking. Energy received from the sun depends on clouds; energy radiated back depends on clouds – are they confident they can ever have a good steady-state description of cloud cover? Or maybe they have it already? How about the influence of land covers, vegetation, etc?

    • CG, its a kind of magic. The Northern hemisphere is warming more quickly than the Southern because of magical changes in aerosols.

  24. Dr. C:
    I think there is at least a semantic error in your statement “This implies that changes in atmospheric CO2 of this magnitude is not a control knob on surface temperatures on timescales shorter than 16 years (whether or not the deep ocean is somehow heating because of increased CO2).” You may infer that, but if you do you’re ignoring the importance of where you are. In terms of the sandpile experiment, addition of a grain of sand when the pile has scarcely formed does nothing. But if the sandpile is at a point of instability, one grain of sand will cause collapse.

    I say this not because I’m blinded by AGW but only because – like you – I’m seeking the light. So enlighten me if I’m wrong, please.

    • Curious George

      Undoubtedly there are unstable systems. Financial systems, sandpiles. I assume that you fear that the climate may be an unstable system. That anything not proven to be stable must be considered unstable. Yet you are probably using money. Why? Benefits exceed dangers.

    • Rud Istvan

      JP, you refer of course to the variant of chaos theory known as catastrophe theory. You posit tipping points, addressed in my comment upthread.
      You are correct for piles of sand (and also for avalanches, and probably for earthquakes). But for climate relevance, you have to identify the climate equivalent of the sand pile/snowpack/fault line. Lake Agassiz may have been one, resulting in the Dryas. WAIS is not, and Greenland is not, both because of topology (my recent post on SLR tipping points). Polar amplification is not because of thermohaline circulation. Ocean acidification is not because of buffering and organismal adaptation to seasonal variation (my post Shell Games in 2013). Crop yields are not because of selective improvement and adaptation (my 2011 post on US maise and the NRC’s deliberate deception, also in my recent ebooks). Coral atolls (Tuvalu) are not because Darwin showed in 1834 that they grow (and decline) with SLR.
      And on and on with polar bears, species extinctions generally, hurricanes (increasing wind shear counteracts warmer surface water according to NOAA’s hurricane prediction center)…
      So your issue is to identify a relevant climate equivalent to the sand pile you cite as an analogy. To my knowledge, no one has, since none apparently exist related to CO2. Of course I would be glad to research any you might posit.Would make a possible post, and a possible essay for the next book in progress.

    • John, to add to Rud’s points, stable systems are stable and unstable ones unstable. Look at the ice core temperature record and you can see the upper and lower bounds of the system.

      Imagine if 3x[CO2] was going to cause the major extinctions that are claimed by he CAGW fan-club. One large series of volcanoes in Siberia increases CO2, this warms the Earth, this cause more permafrost melting and the release of CO2/CH4 and the warming ocean releases more CO2. The CO2/CH4 heats the oceans and permafrost, ice retreats and albedo changes. the Earth warms and more CO2 is released, the oceans warm and more CO2 is released; heat deah of the planet.
      The CAGW hypothesis states we are always on the knife edge to mass heat extinction, so we should see these extinctions in the fossil record, as periodic impacts and volcanoes are periodic.

    • A sandpile reaches the point of instability and then collapses to a stable sandpile. More sand is added until it reaches a point of instability. It collapses again. The collapses might be a relief mechanism.

    • When the sandpile is too high. As the slope of the sandpile becomes more vertical, sensitivity increases. CO2 could explain increasing temperatures. But when temperatures aren’t increasing maybe the sandpile has collapsed.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Yes – catastrophe theory.

      In climate I would suggest the strength of the north and south Pacific Ocean gyres. A little stronger and a La Nina pops up. Stronger for decades and the PDO is in cool mode – and La Nina increases in intensity and frequency.

      I would put in down to the Southern and Northern Annular Modes. More negative and it nudges more water into the gyres. Less negative as now and it doesn’t.

      http://stateoftheocean.osmc.noaa.gov/atm/ao.php

      http://stateoftheocean.osmc.noaa.gov/atm/sam.php

      Perhaps I should introduce SAM to a new audience – it was the penguins wot dun it.

      There are a couple of low pressure blocking systems in the eastern Pacific – a small one of California and a big one off South America. The winds in the central Pacific are blowing in all directions. The coastal winds on the western fringe of the Americas are subdued. It’s all diagnostic of El Nino.

      http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-105.69,0.45,265

    • Robert I Ellison | May 26, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
      In climate I would suggest the strength of the north and south Pacific Ocean gyres. A little stronger and a La Nina pops up. Stronger for decades and the PDO is in cool mode – and La Nina increases in intensity and frequency.

      Glad you brought this up. While ENSO is fast compared to the PDO and the Pacific gyres, the gyres have area, mass and apparent sustainability. In the cool phase of the PDO, it looks to me like there’s more North South water transport. Sending more warm water North and cool water South.

  25. Pingback: Climate, And Time Scales | Transterrestrial Musings

  26. Hypothosis I includes an explanation of noise. Noise can be useful if you don’t understand something. What is not understood can be set aside. When things don’t seem to balance out now, it must be noise. But don’t worry other noise will occur in the future and things will then balance out we think. With a cold upper Midwest winter as we just had we might be told that was noise. The Great Lakes heavy ice, noise. So we might think these were just unpredictiable variations, afterall noise might be unpredictable beyond the prediction that we will have some. With these two instances of noise, I can’t help thinking we’re seeing the climate’s reaction to a normally warming system. Perhaps making small scale shifts to slow the warming which it would also do to slow any cooling. So we can look at this noise in the upper Midwest and say, it’s just the last gasp of cold as we head into a warmer future. Or we can look at it for hints of how the system reacts and resists change.

  27. Shifting the emphasis from “global mean surface temperature” to ocean heat capacity changed the time scale to multiple centuries, about one century per 0.25 degree C in “average” ocean temperature which is not the same as average SST.

  28. JC said:

    “The 16+ year hiatus in global warming provides evidence that a 30 ppm increase of atmospheric CO2 (since 1998 – 25% of the post industrial anthropogenic contribution) has not acted to significantly increase global surface temperatures on a timescale of 16 years (the period 1998-present).”
    ______
    Let’s re-write this in true objective scientific terms:

    The 16+ year hiatus in the continued rise in tropospheric sensible heat provides evidence that the 30 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 is not the only determining factor in tropospheric sensible heat. But indeed, a more broad perspective of the full climate system would should continued accumulation of energy in the system closely paralleling the increase in CO2.

    Once more, trying to judge “global” warming or “climate” sensitivity by only looking at the proxy of sensible tropospheric heat is not sound scientifically. Had the ocean been cooling or even staying the same over the past 16 years, you could make the statement that there was a true “hiatus” in global warming. To equate global warming in the broadest sense with only tropospheric sensible heat confuses the actual dynamics and might lead to the completely unjustified position that the 30 ppm rise in CO2 (and similar percentage rises in methane and N2O) had no effect at all on the climate system. This would the preferred perspective for some, but hardly the most honest or scientific.

    From the broadest and best data we have over the past 16 years, the Earth climate system continued to accumulate energy quite strongly with no noticeable hiatus in accumulation or certainly no noticeable lessening of the effects of increased GH gas forcing. When factoring in the accumulated negative forcings on the climate over the past 16 years, we see that GH gas forcing continues quite vigorously.

    • Rgates

      And for 16 years the energy/heat has decided to bypass the land thermometers and head for the ocean by what mechanism?

      tonyb

    • Tony,

      You’ve got your directional arrows backward. Repeat this as many times as necessary until it sinks in:

      The ocean heats the atmosphere. The ocean heats the atmosphere. The ocean heats the atmosphere.

      The net flow of energy on the water planet Earth is sun to oceans to atmosphere. This is basic to weather and climate on Earth. Increased CO2 reduces the net flow of energy from ocean to atmosphere to space. That’s the function.

      Any discussion of climate sensitivity or a “hiatus” without discussion and a central focus on ocean heat content (as the largest climate energy reservoir) is fairly pointless, or at the very least, lacking in key climate system thermodynamical considerations.

    • Remembering the the key function of CO2 is as a “control knob” is to limit the flow of energy form ocean to atmosphere to space, a better proxy for climate sensitivity would be to try and estimate what the net impact of the accumulation of energy in the ocean is per ppm increase in CO2. That is, what is the additional accumulation of energy in Joules in the system (90% of which is in the ocean) per ppm increase in CO2? To get to this figure, we’d need to know what the balance point is– that is, where the oceans are neither gaining nor net energy. The interglacial ice core records would seem to indicate it is somewhere around 275-280 ppm. On a very rough calculation, based on OHC increases of about 0.5 x 10^22 joules per year over the past 16 years, and a 30 ppm increase in CO2 (roughly 2 ppm per year), we could say that for every ppm increase in CO2, the oceans retain an additional .25 x 10^22 Joules of energy. This is of course very rough (and completely ignores the increases we’re seeing in methane and N2O), but probably gets to a better approximation of true “climate” sensitivity than looking at tropospheric sensible heat as a proxy, which is strongly driven by OHC, and is a hugely noisy signal on anything less than decadal average timeframes.

    • Rgates

      I am quite aware of the sequence of events, thank you. Let’s try again.

      For decades both the ocean and the atmosphere are said to have warmed.

      What mechanism has taken place that over the last 16 years the atmosphere has stopped warming yet the ocean has continued warming?

      The ocean should still continue to heat the atmosphere but apparently is not doing so at present. If co2 is preventing the transfer of heat A marginally warmer ocean – that can’t even be measured accurately according to the ipcc conference at Exeter-is of limited consequence.

      Tonyb

    • Tony said:

      “What mechanism has taken place that over the last 16 years the atmosphere has stopped warming yet the ocean has continued warming?
      The ocean should still continue to heat the atmosphere but apparently is not doing so at present.”
      _____
      First Tony, the ocean never stops warming the atmosphere, if by warming we mean transferring energy in the form of sensible and latent heat. Slight fluctuations in the flow of this sensible and latent heat make big differences in the measured sensible heat in the troposphere. The ENSO cycle is the single biggest source of natural variability in this flow. Over the past 16 years, we have seen a cool phase of the PDO, in which the sensible and latent heat flux (mainly from the Pacific) is lower than average. Interestingly, the energy input to the ocean, mostly from solar SW has also been slightly reduced from a weak solar cycle and moderate increases in aerosols. Thus, we’ve seen a bit less input into the ocean, but even less out, and hence, a net accumulation in the ocean over the past 16 years. This is exactly how the ocean can warm but the atmosphere stay fairly flat over a given period.

    • RGates,

      I have a question. Accepting CO2 is the GHG it is (which most including JC do). And it causes an energy imbalance at the TOA as it does. If that energy stays at the surface when what we should see is direct warming from that energy but also that warming causes feedback (water vapour and albedo) which add extra warming to the system, these feedbacks are quite substantial the estimate around 2/3rds of the total warming. Is that correct? Now if over the ‘hiatus’ a larger proportion of the energy is being buried in the deeper ocean then presumably it doesn’t have the ability to effect the feedbacks and so the total heating (forcing and feedback) from a CO2 forcing would be much smaller. Is that correct.
      While dynamical processes continue to bury energy more quickly away from the surface we can assume that the rate of energy build up and the value for climate sensitivity should both be substantially lower. Is this what your arguing for? A more rounded view of the climate system?

    • ” Is this what your arguing for? A more rounded view of the climate system?”
      ______
      Absolutely. The myopic focus on tropospheric sensible heat, especially as gauge of climate system sensitivity, ignores the vital role that OHC plays in both weather and climate. The issue I brought to Andy Lacis’ attention was that the full “control knob” functionality of CO2 (and methane and N2O) in causing the accumulation of energy in the ocean needs to be brought out in more detail. This functionality is not of one type, but is complex and multifaceted. It may involve downwelling LW forcing at the ocean skin, but it certainly involves other dynamics as well.

      Finally, it is incorrect to think that somehow increases in OHC mean that energy is being harmlessly diffused or buried where it won’t or can’t impact weather and climate. No single region of the planet and no single dynamic is more important than the IPWP and the sensible and latent heat flux from that region. Slight increases in the size and energy being stored in the IPWP has profound impacts on everything from the monsoon to typhoons to planetary scale Rossby waves. In short, you can’t alter the OHC in the IPWP without altering the climate and the weather– and this region has been warming, without pause, for decades. Few people realize that ENSO monitoring has been constantly re-calibrated because of the long-term warming of the IPWP:

      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ONI_change.shtml

      This long-term warming of the IPWP is one of the most clear cut signs of positive forcing from GH gas increases. Far more consistent and stable than sensible tropospheric heat.

    • So you think all the extra energy is going into the IPWP. Evidence please? Again you avoided, if energy is in the deep ocean how is it affect the surface? And on what timescale does it re-appear? Fully round. Go on say it. Energy in the deep ocean is less of a problem than at the surface. It not difficult to say. Show you take a balanced approach to these things. You can say this and still have your global warming. Do it! Do it!

      Plus last time you made this statement about the IPWP you quoted a paper that was about Indian Monsoon and only talking about the Indian Ocean side so where is the data for the Pacific warm pool warming?

    • Rgates

      So, basically a number of coincidental negative factors have served to create the warming pause, of which aerosols are one? You don’t think the potency of aerosols is exaggerated and is one of the reasons they are promoted by some, naming no names, as the cause of cool weather in the past?

      Tonyb

    • Rud Istvan

      R. Gates, your logic fail here reminds my of the Army’s first rule of holes. When in one and you want out, stop digging.
      Pielke Sr. posted years ago the observational rebuttal to Trenberth’s hypothesis. Plus, Climate Etc. has been over this ground before.
      Finally, unless you also think climate change can repeal the basic laws of thermodynamics, any extra AGW heat that did go into the oceans to miraculously cause the pause isn’t coming back out anytime soon. Ain’t that cool? (Pun intended).

    • Tony said:

      “You don’t think the potency of aerosols is exaggerated and is one of the reasons they are promoted by some, naming no names, as the cause of cool weather in the past?”
      ____
      I think that aerosols remain a huge area of uncertainty, but that some of the effects seem to be stronger and last longer than some of the current climate models might allow for. This lingering effects seem to be related to the strong effects they can have on ocean heat content, sea ice, ocean circulation. For example, you are no doubt aware that numerous studies have shown a strong effect of volcanoes on the AMOC (they enhance the AMOC). What you may not know is that this effect seems to peak 10 years after a strong volcano. See:

      http://tinyurl.com/lwdg2lp

    • The sun is one and the PDO is one. Aerosols possibly too. Given all this, it is surprising that we are in a flat temperature regime unless you consider the background CO2 forcing. Note that these other factors may go to zero or reverse, but that background rise keeps on. The pause lulls people into a false sense of security unless they consider all the factors natural or not.

    • Rud Istvan:

      You sure seem to talk a good game but have failed to prove, or even address in simple terms, where my “logic fail” is. The oceans have received the bulk of the energy being stored by the climate system from the positive forcing from increasing GH gases. If you think this is a “logic fail”, then please explain the close correlation of the past 10 years of ARGO data with the estimated TOA imbalance. The climate system has been storing (without pause) about 0.5 x 10^22 joules of energy per year. Most of this energy (about 90%) has gone into the oceans (or more accurately, not come out).

      If you want to claim a “logic fail” then you really need to say something logical to refute my claim.

    • Rgates

      your link leads to a model simulation and yet in your same post you are saying that the current climate models are wrong and don’t attribute sufficient weight to aerosols.

      So on the one hand you are on board with models simulating the 1880’s But are then off board with modern climate models as they don’t fully reflect your belief in the power of aerosols?

      Tonyb

    • Rgates,

      OHC data frrom the Pacific Warm Pool using the KNMI Climate Explorer

      It looks remarkably like the surface. No accumulation of heat in the Pacific Warm Pool to drive ENSO. Your idea looks wrong.

    • “The pause lulls people into a false sense of security unless they consider all the factors natural or not.”
      ____
      The “pause” is a great “look, squirrel!” moment for certain “skeptics”. It is certainly right to talk about, and much has been learned, and continues to be learned because of the tropospheric pause, and one of those things learned is that the troposphere is a very fickle and poor proxy for net accumulation of energy in the climate system– except perhaps at decadal average levels. The continued robust warming of the ocean over the period of the tropospheric “pause” is the real story of the climate during the period, with the pause being mostly a story of natural variability in sensible and latent heat flux from ocean to atmosphere.

    • HR:

      Nice try, but you’re cherry picking a tad. Every expert who studies the Pacific knows that there has been constant warming of the ENSO region for many decades (since 1950, actually), and that baseline for the ONI index is constantly updated to account for this warming:

      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ONI_change.shtml

      Read very carefully on this page where is says:

      “Due to a significant warming trend in the Niño-3.4 region since 1950, El Niño and La Niña episodes that are defined by a single fixed 30-year base period (e.g. 1971-2000) are increasingly incorporating longer-term trends that do not reflect interannual ENSO variability. In order to remove this warming trend, CPC is adopting a new strategy to update the base period.”

      This is the little tidbit that Bob Tisdale seems to want to ignore. The IPWP has been both warming and expanding for many decades. This warming and expanding has real impacts on the global weather and climate.

      But also, regarding the IPWP and ENSO. The IPWP is the source region of the energy for El Ninos. This isn’t even in doubt.

    • “So on the one hand you are on board with models simulating the 1880′s But are then off board with modern climate models as they don’t fully reflect your belief in the power of aerosols?”
      ____
      “Belief in the power of aerosols” is a bit strong, or at least awkward. Aerosol effects are complex, just as the family of aerosols are complex. It is my opinion that GCMs don’t fully account for aerosols effects, including of course their role in cloud formation. Regarding specifically volcanic aerosols in the form of sulfates launched into the stratosphere by eruptions, I think this is a bit more constrained and some better data exists, although the full impact on ocean heat content and potentially related ocean circulation and sea ice interactions are certainly not represented fully in the models–yet. But that’s why research continues.

      But back to the point about volcanoes and the AMOC. As this impact seems to peak 10 years after a large eruption, you can already see how the 1-2 year timeframe for volcanic effects gets stretched out by a factor up to 10.

    • Rgates

      The Nino3.4 region is not part of the warm pool, you are cherry picking. Plus a vague mention of warming without specific detail does not tell us anything about your theory. Which specifically was that during the hiatus the extra energy going into the ocean was a problem because it was showing up in the heat content of the IPWP. So an increasing rate of energy build up in that region since 1998(or 2000 or whenever the hiatus started) is what we should be looking for. What I showed is that it’s not there in the NODA data. Your defense is some vague description of post-1950’s trends. You’re denying the data to defend your position.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      There is a centennial increase in the frequency of El Nino.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Vance2012-AntarticaLawDomeicecoresaltcontent.jpg.html?sort=3&o=162

      That is far from unprecedented.

      https://marine.rutgers.edu/pubs/private/Langton08_KauBay.pdf

      Besides – the question of what does dominate the recent global energy dynamic is far from resolved.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=107

      But hell – on the strength of Newton’s fourth rule of natural philosophy – I’d opt for clouds.

    • Rgates

      So as well as the various coincidental factors contributing to the pause, we also have volcanic aerosols that, instead of affecting the climate immediately (temporarily I say, for decades you say,) as we have been for discussing for two years, they also now have a decade long delayed effect. So in other words the time scale can, by a variety of devices, now be stretched to become as long as you want it to be.

      Surely as you wrote these responses you must be thinking to yourself that relying on models to support your case on the one hand, then saying they do not show the effect you believe they should on the other, then throwing in convenient time scales on top of all this, is stretching coincidences and credulity too far.?

      Climate science is best by innumerable uncertainties and highly questionable data, surely your posts over the last hour or two adequately demonstrate this?

      I’m not sure Judith has had an article on aerosols. Perhaps it would be a useful addition to the subjects carried here.
      Tonyb

    • HR said:

      “Which specifically was that during the hiatus the extra energy going into the ocean was a problem because it was showing up in the heat content of the IPWP.”
      ____
      Never said extra energy going in to the ocean was a “problem”. To a high degree of certainty the heat content of the IPWP did increase during the tropospheric “hiatus”. But you still have it wrong– the extra energy was not “going into” the IPWP, it was not coming out. That is why tropospheric temperatures flatlined. There are lower amounts of sensible and latent heat flux from the ocean to the atmosphere during La Nina dominant (cool phase PDO) periods.

    • Tony said:

      “So in other words the time scale can, by a variety of devices, now be stretched to become as long as you want it to be.”
      ____
      Really Tony, why take it to an extreme? I am simply looking at the totality of the research which suggests that large volcanoes can impact the climate for more than a year or two. Some research suggests that the cooling of the oceans could lead to multi-decadal impacts on climate from mega-volcanoes.

      I think a post by a true expert on volcanic impacts to the climate (including ocean heat impacts) would be welcome, but there is plenty of research out there if you simply google “volcano ocean heat content” or variations thereof.

    • R. Gates, if the oceans heat the atmosphere, how can it be that atmospheric CO2 heats the oceans?
      This reminds me of “All you Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein
      or Danny Kaye

    • nottawa rafter

      Gates-
      You say there has been constant warming of the ENSO region since 1950. What do we know about the warming of the ENSO region before 1950? Are there studies telling us that?

    • “R. Gates, if the oceans heat the atmosphere, how can it be that atmospheric CO2 heats the oceans?”
      ____
      Okay, once more, let’s review the actual dynamics.

      1. The vast majority of the energy in the ocean comes from solar SW.

      2. The net flow of energy is strongly from ocean to atmosphere.

      3. The flow of energy out of the oceans to space is dictated (over the long-term) by GH gas concentrations in the atmosphere– i.e. if you increase the concentration, the flow will be reduced through a variety of mechanisms, all of which go to reducing the thermal gradient between ocean and space.

      Thus, if you liken the thermal energy in the ocean to hot water in a bathtub, the amount of solar SW hitting the ocean is like the hot water spigot. That input spigot is controlled by solar variations, astronomical forcing, and aerosols. It is usually fairly steady on the input, with small and gradual variations, except in the case of volcanoes, where the input can be reduced very rapidly.

      The output, or “drain” for this hot water metaphor is the atmosphere. The natural flow is for the energy is from ocean to atmosphere to space. As the atmospheric GH gases increase, the drain slows down. So, hot water passing down the drain actually does warm the drain a bit, but the long-term opening of that drain is dictated by the control knob of non-condensing GH gases, with CO2 leading the way– at least the majority of the time. It does appear that at certain times in the planet’s history, methane can suddenly jump rapidly in concentration and dominate atmospheric GH forcing.

    • Skippy said: “…the question of what does dominate the recent global energy dynamic is far from resolved.”
      ______
      If a 5% or less uncertainty is what you consider “far”, then I suppose. To a very high degree of certainty, we can say the majority of the gain in energy of the Earth climate system over the past several decades has been dominated by anthropogenic forcing from GH gas increases and secondarily, from other GH gas inputs to the atmosphere (anthropogenic in origin) with methane and N2O the leading these secondary gases. The main place we can see these energy increases is in the global ocean, with the accuracy of measurement tools such as ARGO helping to narrow the uncertainty of gain in energy to the climate system. Needed now are more ARGO floats, and floats that regularly go down to 6000m. Fortunately, such plans for the expansion of ARGO are in the works.

    • dalyplanet

      Gates finally sees the relationship between the dog and the tail but still thinks it’s the flea that does it.

    • Robert I Ellison

      This is Argo showing 0.2mm+/-0.8mm/year steric sea level rise. Effectively no warming.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ARGOGRACE_Leuliette2012_zps9386d419.png.html?sort=3&o=6

      There are a number of ways that Argo data is handled leading to very different results.

      e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/vonSchuckannandLeTroan_zps45e82e5b.png.html?sort=3&o=18

      ‘Comparisons of global steric height trends based on different gridded fields of Argo in situ measurements show a range of 0–1mm/yr 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
      15 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.’ von Schuckman and Le Troan 2011

      It seems that changes over such a short period fall within the relatively broad limits of error and are confounded by relatively large natural variation.

      Randal’s hand waving about what Argo is saying is scientifically naïve – and I have pointed this out several times. It doesn’t seem to moderate the smug warmist narrative.

      The source of the large variation in OHC is large variations in TOA radiant flux.

      ‘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.’ Loeb et al 2012

      If we put together what is measured for IR emissions

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=145

      With what is measured for albedo.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=107

      It is in fact consistent with von Schuckman and Le Troan 2011 Argo result for the period they cover. A small OHC increase and a small decrease in albedo.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_MODIS-1.gif.html?sort=3&o=178

      Hell – on the strength of Newton’s fourth rule of natural philosophy – I’d opt for clouds being the major driver of the global energy dynamic in the satellite era.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Let’s get out of moderation by breaking up the comment.

      This is Argo showing 0.2mm+/-0.8mm/year steric sea level rise. Effectively no warming.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ARGOGRACE_Leuliette2012_zps9386d419.png.html?sort=3&o=6

      There are a number of ways that Argo data is handled leading to very different results.

      e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/vonSchuckannandLeTroan_zps45e82e5b.png.html?sort=3&o=18

      ‘Comparisons of global steric height trends based on different gridded fields of Argo in situ measurements show a range of 0–1mm/yr 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.’ von Schuckman and Le Troan 2011

      It seems that changes over such a short period fall within the relatively broad limits of error and are confounded by relatively large natural variation.

      Randal’s hand waving about what Argo is saying is scientifically naïve – and I have pointed this out several times. It doesn’t seem to moderate the smug warmist narrative.

    • Robert I Ellison

      The source of the large variation in OHC is large variations in TOA radiant flux.

      ‘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.’ Loeb et al 2012

      If we put together what is measured for IR emissions

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=145

      With what is measured for albedo.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=107

      It is in fact consistent with von Schuckman and Le Troan 2011 Argo result for the period they cover. A small OHC increase and a small decrease in albedo.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_MODIS-1.gif.html?sort=3&o=178

      Hell – on the strength of Newton’s fourth rule of natural philosophy – I’d opt for clouds being the major driver of the global energy dynamic in the satellite era.

    • nottawa rafter

      Gates-
      It is notable that Gates was not able to answer my question above regarding what pre 1950 OHC was. Seems like a simple question. This question is central to all such claims about the effects of CO 2. Is anything in our climate unprecedented. Gates by his silence gives us the answer.

    • Skippy Ellison said:

      “The source of the large variation in OHC is large variations in TOA radiant flux.”
      _____
      Nope. Still confusing an imprecise measuring tool for the thing being measured. Measuring TOA radiant flux can give us an indication of variations in OHC, but the TOA is not the “source” of that variation– simply a way to approximate it. Better to measure OHC directly via ARGO– and then using basic thermodynamics, decide the actual “source” of the OHC increases we’ve been seeing for many decades. It matches up well with the increasing external forcing from GH gas increases.

    • R Gates,

      Never said extra energy going in to the ocean was a “problem”. To a high degree of certainty the heat content of the IPWP did increase during the tropospheric “hiatus”. But you still have it wrong– the extra energy was not “going into” the IPWP, it was not coming out.

      So you’re saying the atmosphere must be above equalibrium temperature.

    • nottawa rafter | May 27, 2014 at 6:18 am |
      Gates-
      It is notable that Gates was not able to answer my question above regarding what pre 1950 OHC was. Seems like a simple question. This question is central to all such claims about the effects of CO 2. Is anything in our climate unprecedented. Gates by his silence gives us the answer.
      _______
      You apparently have not read some of the latest studies on ocean heat content– my apologies for not realizing your expecting me to school you. Please read:

      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6158/617.short

    • Rgates

      I gave you a hard time yesterday so to show my generous spirit I will give you a free hit on this one .The link you posted has an abstract and an editors summary repeated here;

      —— ——–
      Abstract

      Observed increases in ocean heat content (OHC) and temperature are robust indicators of global warming during the past several decades. We used high-resolution proxy records from sediment cores to extend these observations in the Pacific 10,000 years beyond the instrumental record. We show that water masses linked to North Pacific and Antarctic intermediate waters were warmer by 2.1 ± 0.4°C and 1.5 ± 0.4°C, respectively, during the middle Holocene Thermal Maximum than over the past century. Both water masses were ~0.9°C warmer during the Medieval Warm period than during the Little Ice Age and ~0.65° warmer than in recent decades. Although documented changes in global surface temperatures during the Holocene and Common era are relatively small, the concomitant changes in OHC are large

      Editors summary;

      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

      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6158/617.short

      —— ———– —-

      These appear to show the global events of the MWP and LIA and that current OHC remains well below past periods.

      Whats the catch? Presumably within the main body of the text behind a pay-wall is information that refutes what is said in the publicly viewable material? So what else does it say? My nerves are shredded….

      tonyb

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Randal states quite wrongly. ‘Nope. Still confusing an imprecise measuring tool for the thing being measured.’

      The tool that is imprecise enough – 0.2 +/- 0.8mm/yr steric sea level rise – not to be able to measure reliably any trend in ocean heat is Argo. At least over short periods and against a large background variability.

      Anomalies measured by CERES are quite precise.

    • ” The flow of energy out of the oceans to space is dictated (over the long-term) by GH gas concentrations in the atmosphere– i.e. if you increase the concentration, the flow will be reduced through a variety of mechanisms, all of which go to reducing the thermal gradient between ocean and space.”

      Physics fail. The oceans have not a clue about what is in the damned atmosphere. The oceans will radiate as a function of temperature.
      The efflux rate of energy, in the form of IR, by the oceans is completely independent of the influx rate.
      The steady state temperature is the result of the sum of the fluxes; influx, incoming SW and incoming IR, and efflux, outgoing IR.
      Matter does not think and does not have a shuftie at the gradients and then go for the maximum entropy behavior.

  29. Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog and commented:
    A synopsis of the various hypotheses driving the discussion over AGW.

  30. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Judith, as you have cited one of the persons here commenting: feel free to cite myself (Antonio Sesé) and my “Refuting…” document in https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2TWRnRVhwSnNLc0k/ in future posts about this issue of timescales.
    I say: “an appropriate statistical treatment implies a deep paradigm shift in climatic science”. But, for sure, you will express these implications in a more pedagogical-understandable way.

    And about Mr. Lacis … his paper “The role of long-lived greenhouse gases as principal LW control knob …”: it is basically wrong. His work inspired my “Refuting … ” document (I exchange some emails with him back in August 2013). His “calculations” of climate feedback factor (f) and that value of climate sensitivity without feedbacks of 1.248 K (from Hansen ’84) made me to start talking about science fiction.
    To anyone reading this comment: if you are interested, please, download Lacy’s paper and my paper and compare them.

  31. How much have variations in the meridional overturning circulation contributed to sea surface temperature trends since 1850? A study with the EC-Earth global climate model

    Schmith et al 2014

    The can is open and the first worm out is fairly small. One can only wonder if there are fatter ones near the bottom waiting to come out.

  32. JC I think you’re absolutely right here in the way you frame the debate

    This comment from Dessler at the Climate Dialogue discussion seems like another good way of framing the hypothesis I (it’s all about forcings and feedback) position

    “Here’s how I think about the low end of the climate sensitivity range. Doubling carbon dioxide by itself gives you about 1.2°C of warming. Add in the water vapor and lapse-rate feedbacks, which we have pretty high confidence in, and you get close to 2°C. Then add in the ice-albedo feedback and you get into the low 2s. To get back down to 1.5-ish, the cloud feedback needs to be large and negative. Is that possible?”

    i think this represents another common train of thought that says if you follow the hypothesis I train of thought then it seems physically implausible to believe in ahything but large temperature change in the future

    • … even when faced with the kind of calculation that Nic Lewis has done recently. You have to assume there is something amiss with the calculation.

    • When Dessler says ‘we have pretty high confidence’ he really means just himself. Everyone else looks at the data and says it would be foolish to draw a line through that scatter. Climate science is assumption-led conclusions all the way down, starting from the point that AGW exists and is getting worse.

  33. If the perpetual alarm disappears,I doubt the questions that climate scientists ought to get back to looking at are interesting enough to look at when funding is factored in.

    Namely the questions are too hard to make progress on, so rational interest moves to other fields.

    Bits of climate science may survive as science, but not the whole connected thing.

  34. David Springer

    “On a previous control knob thread, Jim2 made the following statement: “CO2 is more like a pilot light than a control knob. It is a non-condensible gas that keeps a small flame alive to ignite the prima donna: Water.” I think that Jim2 has made an insightful statement.”

    I’ve been saying that for years. CO2 is the kindling which ignites the water cycle.

    Here’s me saying it on watts up with that in 2010. Ironically it was a critique of Lacis.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/11/27720/#comment-528906

    The long and the short of my view is that CO2 does far more warming than it’s given credit for when low temperatures shut down the hydrologic cycle and far less than it’s give credit for when the hydrologic cycle is running full steam (pun intended).

    CO2 is “kindling” that ignites the water cycle.

    You’re damn right it’s insightful. Nothing has come along to modify my view since then either.

    • “CO2 is more like a pilot light than a control knob.”
      ____
      No, a control knob or control valve is a far better metaphor. A pilot light adds very little (an almost unmeasurable amount) of additional warming to your furnace once it has been ignited. The non-condensing GH gases of CO2, methane, and N2O add far more warming than a pilot light does. Moreover, as water vapor condenses out of the atmosphere very quickly when the climate cools, these non-condensing gases provide a kind of baseline warming– far more than a simple pilot light, which really provides no warming to your house at all.

      The “pilot light” metaphor for non-condensing GH gases is not as good as the “control knob” one. Lacis got it right.

    • Water vapor at 2-3% on average. CO2 at 0.04%. IOW, about 60 times more water vapor than CO2. What was that you were saying again?

    • The idea from Lacis is that CO2 controls the temperature which in turn controls the water vapor. Pilot light doesn’t imply it works in both directions, so it is not much good. Lacis shows that reducing CO2 leads to cooling via reducing the water vapor, and also increasing the ice cover. Turning a pilot light down isn’t how you turn your flame off.

    • Jim D. If increasing CO2 were controlling water vapor, we would see the hot spot predicted in the tropics. We don’t. So, there has to be more to the story than Gates has posited.

    • Or, failing the hot spot, show data that illustrates a relation between CO2 and global absolute humidity.

    • jim2, the hot-spot would be a response to significant warming of the tropical oceans. The transient climate we are in now chose to warm the Arctic and land more than expected with a consequent reduced effect on the tropical hot spot or humidity.

    • David Springer

      The metaphor goes over their heads.

      Kindling (and pilot lights) are no long needed after the fire is lit. Only if the primary fuel source (or main burner) goes out is more kindling needed. The fire (or main burner) is a liquid ocean.

    • dalyplanet

      It was you Springer that planted that notion in my head. Heh, ruined me for life.

  35. DS – not surprised you said it earlier ;)

    What bothers me about the ocean eating the excess heat from CO2, is why didn’t it eat the heat before now? No one, AFAIK, has posited the mechanism responsible for the shift from the ocean not eating the heat to the ocean eating the heat. By all appearances, the CAGWers have employed deus ex machina in order to save the plot.

    • Jim2

      That was precisely the point I made just now to Rgates. His answer is above, apparently it’s due to a number of unrelated coincidences. But he is around at present so why don’t you ask him yourself?

      Tonyb

    • Rather than unexpected, every change in the weather has become an expected event directly related to human-caused CO2 and if not for evil business it would at worse be raining lollipops.

    • The answer is PDO, natural variability. The currents favored cooler water spreading westwards across the Pacific surface.

  36. Crossing the Blue Water Bridge that spans the St. Clair River, the outlet for Lake Huron, as well as its siamese twin sister lake Michigan joined at their heads, and Lake Superior 50 miles further North from the Strait of Mackinac, this last Thursday there were 7 Great Lakes bulk carrier ships anchored several miles off shore. They were not allowed to proceed further North up the coast of Lake Huron as the “safe” harbors and various ports in between were still iced in and could not be reached by ship.

    At the cottage, I was told by a over-the-winter neighbor, that the final ice had moved off shore the week before I arrived following the shove of an off shore wind. Blocks of ice, the footprint of a house and two feet thick jostled their way out of the bay and into the open water.

    The forecast for the Great Lakes water rise suggests that the final rise won’t be until the end of June or later. The snows in the Great Lakes watershed are still present, melting and substantial. Not necessarily record water levels, but substantial elevations above the present water levels.

    Hypothesis I … climate variability/change is explained by external forcing, with natural internal variability providing high frequency ‘noise’.” And, it is postulated that the internal variability substantially alters the Great Lakes hydrology. Something about 1964 when the Great Lakes water levels were at a 135 year low and 1986 when Great Lakes water levels were at a 170 year high, when looked at from the perspective of “forcings”, this postulate seems to be a bit amiss. In twenty two years, the very highest and very lowest water levels were measured (since records began to be kept in 1835). Pray tell, what were the forcing? The sun? the volcanos? the… let me speculate.:..The Green House Gas, the Control Knob of all climate past, present and future….CO2?

    Let me say again, in my microcosm of the world, the Great Lakes and its watershed, nothing about its hydrology supports Hypothesis I.

  37. 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. Similar behavior has been found in coupled ocean/atmosphere models, indicating such behavior may be a hallmark of terrestrial-like climate systems [Tsonis et al., 2007].’ http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.380.7486&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    The system shifted again in 1998/2001. The decadal shifts are directly observable – they are marked by a break in the trajectory global
    mean temperature trend and in the intensity and frequency of events in the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.

    More and bigger blue to 1976.1977, red to 1998 and blue again since. It coincides with inflections in the trajectory of surface temperature and in transitions between PDO states.

    There have been thousands of papers written since the 1976/1977 ‘Great Pacific Climate Shift’. Let me Google that for you.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Great+Pacific+Climate+Shift

    There seems to be a lot of skeptical interest in this – but persist – it is utterly mainstream.

    The idea of chaos seems to confuse things. Confusion between the dictionary definition and the physics definition. Confusion with high falutin’ terms like Lyapunov exponent and strange attractors.

    The reality is observable. To repeat.

    ‘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

    Abrupt climate change happened around 1910, the mid 1940’s, 1976/1977 and 1998/2001.

  38. David L. Hagen

    Anthropogenic v Natural is biasing Gas v Coal policies
    Coal can readily be cleaned up in large power plants, but NOT in homes. The critical impact of getting it wrong on “anthropogenic v natural” is burning our most valuable natural gas to generate electricity – potentially exposing the US, UK and other countries to running out during very cold winters.
    Note the 50% higher US gas usage in winter 2013/14 vs typical.
    The UK almost ran out.
    UK gas supply six hours from running out in March

    British wholesale gas prices surged to a record in late March, after a technical fault temporarily shut down one of the main import pipelines. The disruption coincided with a period of low gas storage levels as persistent wintry weather drove up demand for gas.

    The Peak Oil Crisis: Revisiting Natural Gas

    In the U.S. we usually burn through about two trillion cubic feet of stored natural gas each winter, but during 2012-2013 we went through three trillion, leaving only some 800 billion cubic feet left. If we can’t get two or three trillion cubic feet injected back into the storage caverns before November rolls around this fall, we could see much higher natural gas prices and even calls to dial back the thermostats before the storage caverns run short.

  39. It is important to notice that natural variability has led to the pause. The sun and PDO were major reasons. Taking into account that these effects may be temporary and that such variations cancel over the long run, it is the rising forcing that matters and will take over in the long term. Bengtsson and Schwartz (2013) estimated a minimum 2 C per doubling from 1970-2010. These kinds of estimates need to be taken seriously, especially as they have not figured in the negative factors or the evolution of apparent climate sensitivity (Armour’s paper).

    • Jimd

      Natural variability? Aren’t you going off message?

      In the past it has been warmer than today and colder than today. That’s natural variability and you seem to be agreeing with me.

      Tonyb

    • “In the past it has been warmer than today and colder than today. That’s natural variability.”
      ____
      Natural variability is not an explanation for long-term trends– you might as well blame fairies or elves. Real forcings with real physical explanations cause long-term climate changes. The climate may be chaotic, but it is deterministically so, and does not take a long-term random “natural variability” walk.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Climate shifts are associated with shifts in albedo for various reasons. Albedo is clearly the significant factor in glacials/intergalcials.

    • Bad Andrew

      “Natural variability is not an explanation for long-term trends”

      It is for short term trends. Just think of the short term trends being longer and they become explanations for long term trends.

      Andrew

    • tonyb, we agree if you are saying that the pause can be explained by a negative natural variation in the last decades. This is also the IPCC explanation, so I am glad everyone is on the same page here.

    • Jimd

      Yes, I agree. Everything to date can be explained by natural variability.

      So, when will it become unnatural variability, which is obviously more worrying?

      Tonyb

    • tonyb, I see what you assumed and it is wrong. From 1950 to now, the net natural variability could have been positive or negative. The IPCC opinion is that it was neutral since 1950 because their sensitivity gives a warming in agreement with the central estimate of the forcing change. The skeptics are asserting a net positive in 60 years with no proposed cause.

    • No dip in a dip period is unnatural variability.

    • Jimd
      No, my point was as outlined to Rgates. In the past it has been warmer and colder than the present. The present is therefore not unusual.

      Why therefore should we be blaming man for something that is not abnormal?

      Tonyb

    • tonyb, why should you assume that the natural variability since 1950 is positive, not negative?

    • k scott denison

      Jim D, so let me see if I have your position straight. The change from 1950 to circa 2000 wasn’t natural, that was due to man made CO2. The lack of change since then is clearly natural? Is that your position?

    • k scott denison

      Jim D | May 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
      tonyb, why should you assume that the natural variability since 1950 is positive, not negative?
      __________
      Why would you assume its negative and not positive?

    • ksd, no, the change from 1950 to now may have had periods of natural ups and downs, but the net trend averaged over 60 years is small. That doesn’t mean that the trend over one decade is always small compared to the CO2 effect. That’s the thing about natural variation: the longer the averaging period, the smaller it gets.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Jim D

      “tonyb, why should you assume that the natural variability since 1950 is positive, not negative?”

      My answer, and tonyb’s as I understand it, is that I assume that natural variability since 1950 is positive because that is what the empirical data is measuring. Until the climate does something historically unprecedented there is every reason to assume that the data produced by the instruments that we use to measure climate in fact represents the ‘natural climate variability’ over the period during which the instruments have been deployed.

    • Bob Ludwick, that’s just it, you propose a form of “natural variability” that has a significant 60-year trend without even suggesting what it could be when there is a perfectly good forcing mechanism to explain it already, known for a century. As I mentioned just above internal natural variability trends get less with longer averaging times, and eventually average out to zero given enough time.

    • Pffft. Mann showed us there is no natural variability.

    • How about PDO shifts, UV and magnetic variation, volcanic variation, and albedo change during recovery from LIA.

    • And enso variability.

    • And deep ocean uptake variability…

    • Don’t forget the beaten waves on the thermocline. Oh? There’s more? I’ll need a new fork.
      =========

    • Biological variation.

  40. R Gates. The ocean/atmosphere interface equilibrium will be affected by three basic processes – simplifying by excluding things like wind and ocean currents – radiation, diffusion/conduction, and convection; and these in both layers.

    Could you describe how each element changes with increasing CO2 to effect a net heating of the ocean?

  41. Michael Larkin

    Would some kind soul please explain, in layman’s terms, what “initial value” and “boundary value” problems are? TIA

    • Hi Michael, try these links

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

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

      Re the boundaries, this relates to external forcing (forcing external to the system), which includes solar, Volcanoes, CO2

    • Michael Larkin

      Thank you, Dr. Curry. I’ve checked those out, but found them a bit inscrutable because they immediately leap in with talk of differential equations. It would really help if there were some everyday phenomena that we’re all familiar with which could be called initial value and boundary value ones, and it be explained in ordinary English why they are such. I could then maybe relate them to differential equations.

    • Initial value problem: start at location ‘A’ and after some interval of travel, arrive at location ‘B’. The destination is determined by the starting location and the accumulating results of influences over the interval of travel.

      Boundary value problem: Consider a protective boundary., a prison wall for example. Nothing can get into or out of the prison without passing through a gate in the wall. By knowing with strong confidence what enters or exits the confined enclosure, a person can know what they expect to find within.

    • The climate is not a boundary value problem. It could be considered a boundary condition controlled problem or energy balance problem but mathematically not a boundary value problem in the sense I have learned that concept to apply.

      Most climate models are based on solving the boundary condition problem and taking averages expecting that the boundary conditions and internal properties like CO2 concentration determine the behavior of the averages.

    • .. based on solving the initial condition problem ..

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Better yet I can provide a simulation. A Java applet can be downloaded here – it is the original initial value problem from Edward Lorenz. Although some insist that Poincare’s three body problem took precedence by nearly a century.

      http://www.compadre.org/osp/items/detail.cfm?ID=8986

      The nonlinear Lorenz equations are:

      dx/dt = P(y – x)
      dy/dt = Rx – y – xz
      dz/dt = xy – By

      where P is the Prandtl number representing the ratio of the fluid viscosity to its thermal conductivity, R represents the difference in temperature between the top and bottom of the system, and B is the ratio of the width to height of the box used to hold the system. The values Lorenz used are P = 10, R = 28, B = 8/3.

      They are simplified Navier-Stokes equations for fluid motion. It is a simplified convection model. Change the numbers a little and you get a new solution whose trajectory diverges from the first solution. The solution is sensitive to initial conditions. Hence – an initial value problem. The solutions map to the strange attractor – the Lorenz butterfly seen in the applet background – which is the solution space of the set of nonlinear equations.

      In math a boundary problem is the joint condition that the trajectory of solution fits within a defined solution space. Climate models do have a solution space that is the strange attractor of the set of equations. The Lorenz butterfly for climate models in N dimensions. It defines the range of possible solutions and the limits of irreducible imprecision. The precision of models can’t get better than the dimensions – as yet unknown – of the strange attractor for the particular set of nonlinear equations. Although defining it as a boundary problem because the solutions map to the unknown strange attractor seems trivial – if that is what they mean.

      Here’s a schematic from Julia Slingo and Tim Palmer.

      http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751/F8.expansion.html

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

      ‘Therefore, we should expect a degree of irreducible imprecision in quantitative correspondences with nature, even with plausibly formulated models and careful calibration (tuning) to several empirical measures. Where precision is an issue (e.g., in a climate forecast), only simulation ensembles made across systematically designed model families allow an estimate of the level of relevant irreducible imprecision.’ James McWilliams

      This argues for the discernment of probabilities using perturbed physics – slightly altering the inputs within feasible ranges and combining the resulting trajectories of a large number of solutions into a probability distribution within the limits of irreducible imprecision.

      Whether this maps to a chaotic climate is one of the questions posed by the Slingo and Palmer schematic.

    • An initial value problem is one where the final state depends on the initial state to some extent. A boundary value problem is one where the state has evolved so far that any memory of the initial state is lost, where the boundaries, taken to be specified continuously, dominate the final state. In a chaotic system like the atmosphere, the initial state is “forgotten” in a few weeks, but it may be longer if the ocean is included as part of the system.

    • Climate has something in common with a boundary value problem, but also much that does not fit that concept.

    • Mike – try this for size. I hope purists don’t object but it is a simple (?simplistic) example of initial value and boundary value problems involving a familiar differential equation (gravitational acceleration), the equation being dv/dt (change of velocity with time) = 9.8 meters/second/second on Earth (abbreviated as 9.8 m/s2):

      (1) An object is dropped from a starting position and falls under the influence of gravity with an acceleration of 9.8 m/s2. Write an equation describing how far it will fall in t seconds. This is an initial value problem because it can be solved from the initial conditions – a stationary object and an acceleration of 9.8 m/s2.

      (2) An object on planet X is dropped at some previous moment (unknown) and exposed to a constant gravitational force. One second after it passes you, it has fallen 50 m from where you are. One second after that, it has fallen an additional 80 m. What is the value of gravitational acceleration on planet X? This is a boundary value problem, because you need values at two different states of the system to solve it.

      In an approximate sense, I think climate responses to CO2 are boundary value problems, since they require (among many other things) knowledge of CO2 concentrations at two different times or temperatures, but I don’t want to overdo the analogy.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      It is a distinction without meaning. Solutions evolve chaotically to an error that is not reducible and in fact unknown.

      ‘More famously, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (21) shows the spread among climate models for global warming predictions. One of its results is an ensemble-mean prediction of ≈3°C increase in global mean surface temperature for doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration with an ensemble spread of ≈50% on either side. The predicted value for the climate sensitivity and its intermodel spread have remained remarkably stable throughout the modern assessment era from the National Research Counsel (NRC) in 1979 (22) to the anticipated results in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (foreshadowed, e.g., in ref. 3) despite diligent tuning and after great research effort and progress in many aspects of simulation plausibility. An even broader distribution function for the increase in mean surface air temperature is the solution ensemble for a standard atmospheric climate model produced by Internet-shared computations (23), but there is a question about how carefully the former ensemble members were selected for their plausibility.

      In each of these model–ensemble comparison studies, there are important but difficult questions: How well selected are the models for their plausibility? How much of the ensemble spread is reducible by further model improvements? How well can the spread can be explained by analysis of model differences? How much is irreducible imprecision in an AOS?

      Simplistically, despite the opportunistic assemblage of the various AOS model ensembles, we can view the spreads in their results as upper bounds on their irreducible imprecision. Optimistically, we might think this upper bound is a substantial overestimate because AOS models are evolving and improving. Pessimistically, we can worry that the ensembles contain insufficient samples of possible plausible models, so the spreads may underestimate the true level of irreducible imprecision (cf., ref. 23). Realistically, we do not yet know how to make this assessment with confidence.’ James McWilliams

    • Robert I Ellison

      Initial value problems are in the field of complexity theory – Fred. Stop confusing the issue.

      A small difference in starting points and in boundary conditions – within the feasible limits of inputs – produce diverging trajectories of solutions.

      http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709/F1.expansion.html

      ‘Generic behaviors for chaotic dynamical systems with dependent variables ξ(t) and η(t). (Left) Sensitive dependence. Small changes in initial or boundary conditions imply limited predictability with (Lyapunov) exponential growth in phase differences. (Right) Structural instability. Small changes in model formulation alter the long-time probability distribution function (PDF) (i.e., the attractor).’

    • David Young

      Pekka is closest to right, however Fred’s analogy is not bad.

      Consider an airplane wing. Its motion is governed by the structural stress/strain relations embodied in the Navier equations, which are elliptic.
      If constant forces are applied, the time dependent motion of the wing is the solution of an initial value problem. The final deformed shape of the wing is ONLY a function of the forces and nothing else and thus one can formulate this final steady state as a boundary value problem. The time history of how you arrived at the steady state is irrelevant.

      This is the kind of model problem people have in mind when they say “climate is a boundary value problem.” The problem here is the airplane wing case is governed by a LINEAR partial differential equation and there is a unique long time limiting shape for any given applied force distribution. For nonlinear systems this is simply false. The state of the system at any given time in the future is an increasingly sensitive function of the initial conditions and in some sense is unpredictable except for very short time intervals. This is the famous butterfly effect.

      The doctrine of converting an initial value problem into a boundary value problem is invoked a lot for example in fluid dynamics where it is used to justify Reynolds’ averaging and turbulence models. The only problem here is that Navier-Stokes even as a boundary value problem is highly nonlinear and there are many, many possible final steady state solutions. The linear matrix is singular and so iterative methods must be used. These iterative methods are all pseudo-time marching methods, i.e., they convert the magic boundary value problem back into an initial value problem. And all the sensitivity to initial conditions, numerical details, etc. re-emerges.

      So this doctrine of the boundary value problem is very deceptive and really on an operational level just nonsense.

    • To say that weather is an IVP means that weather is forecast by extrapolating forward in time from the current conditions.

      To say that climate is a BVP means a collection of meteorological phenomena which conform to an unchanging bounding constraint

      The AGW argument is a simple, first order, BVP type claim: CO2 is a green house gas which increases the downward reflection of IR energy. All the simulation, analysis and scavenger hunt for collaborative evidence only serves to affirm the simple monotonic increase of heat at the surface with increasing co2 levels … It makes for bolstering a simple compelling argument.

      The crux is NOT that CO2 causes warming. it’s about why we should look beyond and disregard the compelling simplicity.

      Please appreciate that those who make a case for AGW are strongly trapped in circularity. Their task is to affirm the simple and obvious. Something which is simple and obvious ought not to require an army of scientists.

      Okay, there are reasons why AGW isn’t easily and overtly apparent. It is a perceptual question of scale in time and noisy variation in extreme weather. Fair enough. But why the apparent difficulty or rational need to ‘scientifically prove’ the simple and compelling AGW theory?

      AGW is a simple and compelling idea. Why is there hostility to it’s acceptance? Why are we being skeptical. ….

    • Robert (Skippy) – Normally, I wouldn’t respond to your comment, but because I’m trying to be helpful to Michael, who asked for a layman’s description of initial and boundary value problems, I’ll suggest that my description is a reasonable attempt to provide what he wants, and that it is consistent with the more abstract descriptions in the links Dr. Curry provided. Of course, if I overlooked something, I’ll be glad to have that pointed out.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      So – a serious criticism with reference to actual published science by a leader in the field of computational climate physics is not to your liking? I would suggest that you are as clueless about this as much else.

      Newton’s laws are not initial value problems in any rational universe. The term refers to the divergence problem in nonlinear dynamics. Your ideas are simply wrong and miss the essential source and meaning of sensitive dependence in nonlinear systems – complexity theory and not the laws of motion.

      You were being utterly silly and misleading – which would be the only reason to address your comment.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Michael Larkin: Would some kind soul please explain, in layman’s terms, what “initial value” and “boundary value” problems are? TIA

      That’s a little like asking for a layman’s explanation of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra or the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus or the definition of a Jacobian Matrix. “Initial value” and “boundary value” problems arise in studying solutions to systems of differential equations, and how to estimate parameters of a system to get a fit to given data. There just is not any adequate non-technical definition. Sorry. But I think that’s so.

      For reasons I hint at in another post, I believe that Lacis is just throwing sand in everyone’s eyes; if he is sincere (i.e. not “perceived to be acting in “bad faith” ” — paraphrasing Gavin Schmidt), then I think he is confused. Perhaps he will show up here to counter me — I have disputed some of his claims on other threads.

    • Fred Moolten

      You write

      I think climate responses to CO2 are boundary value problems, since they require (among many other things) knowledge of CO2 concentrations at two different times or temperatures

      This may be a correct conclusion, but it is obviously based on an oversimplification: it ignores climate forcing factors other than CO2 (the “many other things” to which you refer).

      Let’s demonstrate this with an example:

      At the end of 2000 (the official start of the new millennium) atmospheric CO2 was at 369 ppmv. Today this is at 396 ppmv and rising, as human GHG emissions remain unabated. IOW almost one-fourth of the human CO2 (from 280 ppmv) was emitted during the period since 2000.

      Using IPCC’s mean value for 2xCO2 TCR of 2C, we should have seen an increase in the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” resulting from added CO2 of 0.2C since 2000.

      Yet we actually saw slight cooling over this period despite the added CO2.

      So it looks like CO2 was not the climate control knob; the climate was actually controlled by the “many other things”.

      Our hostess points out above that we need to do more research to identify and quantify these “many other things” (most of them arguably natural), before we can have any real idea what the climate impact of added atmospheric CO2 really is.

      Otherwise we are simply groping in the dark.

      Max

    • Hi Max – The responses to my comment to Michael on IVP and BVP exemplifies the dictum, “No good deed goes unpunished”. We do agree that my characterization of climate response to CO2 as a boundary value problem was an oversimplification, but I thought I had already acknowledged that. I find Robert’s (Skippy’s) attempt to show off offensive, not because of the insults, or simply because he’s wrong, but because he is harming rather than helping Michael’s attempt to understand – that’s inconsiderate and selfish. I appreciate David Young’s approval of my comment, and I certainly agree (as I already state) that it doesn’t do complete justice to any application of IVP or BVP to climate. To Michael – let us know whether any of the above commentaries are useful.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      God what a circle jerk. Sensitive dependence to initial conditions is the defining characteristic of complex and dynamic systems.

      Lorenz had a set of equations in a simple convection model. One day – to save time – he started the model in the middle of a run. He used numbers generated by the program as a starting point – but truncated them from six to three decimal places. It should not by all (well apart from Poincare) that was known have made much difference at all. Thus chaos theory was foisted on the world. The third great idea of 20th century physics. The science of the very big – relativity. The science of the very small – quantum mechanics. The science of the very complex.

      The evolution of forcings are not known with any huge precision. These small differences in feasible value add to sensitive dependence. They are movable boundaries that drive divergence of solutions.

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

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Fred had a serious answer – with actual science from a leader in the field – in which he was mildly asked to not confuse the issue.

      Initial value problems relate to sensitive dependence – which is the defining feature of deterministically chaotic systems. If the starting point is not sensitive dependence in deterministically chaotic systems it is simply a wrong and misleading answer.

    • Matthew Marler – Of course, I agree with you that a formal mathematical definition of IVP and BVP can’t be given without the mathematics, but here is what Michael Larkin said: “It would really help if there were some everyday phenomena that we’re all familiar with which could be called initial value and boundary value ones, and it be explained in ordinary English why they are such.”

      That’s what I did, by way of example, and I believe that while this doesn’t formally define these problems, it helps Michael understand what people are talking about. Anyway, I hope he’ll respond and tell us whether it’s helpful. If he wonders whether I’m misleading him, I don’t think so, and I’m glad David Young, who’s an expert in this area, seems to think my comment is appropriate to a request for a layman’s help in understanding. I probably won’t comment further unless some special consideration arises, because Michael now has an array of comments to review, and he can make his own judgments.

    • One thing I should have added. Initial value problems are not limited to situations in which chaos theory applies (extreme sensitivity to initial conditions), but are much broader. See for example, the examples in Initial Value Problem.

    • David Young

      Michael, Hopefully you have some examples to explain the concepts. The important thing to bear in mind is that this statement about “conversion of an initial value problem into a boundary value problem” is ONLY correct for linear elliptic systems. For Navier-Stokes or climate, it is misleading at best and operationally completely false. Andy Lacis should know better, but perhaps his expertise is in another area of physics. This falsehood is an urban myth that is unfortunately believed by many climate scientists who are not very knowledgable about mathematics or fluid dynamics.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Fred confuses the issue yet again. And has a long winded insistence on getting the last word.

      He is semantically correct – there is a class of problems in which a function is known at a specific point and the equation solved from that point.

      e.g. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=initial+value+problem&a=*C.initial+value+problem-_*MathWorld-

      He is functionally incorrect as what we are talking about in climate models is the problem of sensitive dependence. A small difference in initial conditions creates divergent solutions. In the case of climate models – small variations in boundary values likewise cause divergent solutions.

      Perhaps to distinguish for the semantically challenged we should call it the initial conditions problem.

    • Doug Badgero

      Michael,
      I am but an engineer, but I work with numerical models regularly. A simple example of a boundary value problem is an insulated metal rod with a fixed temperature at one end. This temperature is the boundary condition. A differential equation is then used to determine the temperature gradient throughout the rod based on that boundary condition. Similarly, instead of a fixed temperature the boundary condition could be a fixed heat rate due to an electric heater. In all real world examples I can think of a boundary condition is an approximation that allows the model to still produce a useful result. For example, there is no such thing as an infinite heat source. Another common boundary condition assumed is a fixed pressure such as a vent to atmosphere.

      An initial value problem is posed without any known boundary conditions……….only initial conditions are specified. Then the solution is determined by “plugging and chugging” and out pops an answer.

      It gets much more complicated in climate science though. The boundary condition examples I presented were held as constants. In some cases the boundary conditions can be specified as functions. In all cases specifying boundary conditions requires that we know something about the solution space……….that the problem is well posed. In using most numerical models used in engineering both initial conditions and boundary conditions must be specified. One side is arguing that the problem is not well posed and climate must be ‘solved’ as an IVP, and is therefore irreducible. The other side is arguing that the problem is well posed, or at least well enough and boundary conditions can be assumed.

      I think this is an excellent thread, and I am sure that the denizens will correct any misconceptions I may have regarding their positions.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The context is the nonlinear dynamics of climate models. Models diverge to a wide range of values due to variability of initial and boundary conditions – the full range of potential solutions is unknown – it is not getting any better and possibly cannot – and the claim that it is a boundary problem doesn’t mean squat.

      e.g. http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709/F1.expansion.html

      ‘Simplistically, despite the opportunistic assemblage of the various AOS model ensembles, we can view the spreads in their results as upper bounds on their irreducible imprecision. Optimistically, we might think this upper bound is a substantial overestimate because AOS models are evolving and improving. Pessimistically, we can worry that the ensembles contain insufficient samples of possible plausible models, so the spreads may underestimate the true level of irreducible imprecision (cf., ref. 23). Realistically, we do not yet know how to make this assessment with confidence.’ James McWilliams

    • Matthew R Marler

      Generalissimo Skippy: ‘Simplistically, despite the opportunistic assemblage of the various AOS model ensembles, we can view the spreads in their results as upper bounds on their irreducible imprecision. Optimistically, we might think this upper bound is a substantial overestimate because AOS models are evolving and improving. Pessimistically, we can worry that the ensembles contain insufficient samples of possible plausible models, so the spreads may underestimate the true level of irreducible imprecision (cf., ref. 23). Realistically, we do not yet know how to make this assessment with confidence.’ James McWilliams

      That is an excellent quote.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Fred Moolten: I find Robert’s (Skippy’s) attempt to show off offensive, not because of the insults, or simply because he’s wrong, but because he is harming rather than helping Michael’s attempt to understand – that’s inconsiderate and selfish.

      I disagree with you there. Sympathetic though I am to Michael Larkin, the last thing we need in the CO2 debate is another unclear and imprecise analogy. Lacis’ comment that “[climate is a boundary value problem and weather is an initial value problem]” is unsupported by any careful analysis, and a loose understanding of initial and boundary value problems is no help in understanding the roles of CO2 in climate.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      What I find offensive is Fred’s blatant resort to personal denigration when mildly called on missing the entire freaking point of sensitive dependence.

      Robert I Ellison
      Chief Hydrologist

  42. Many Google searches end up right back here.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/10/spatio-temporal-chaos/

    That’s why it is completely incorrect to say that climate is a boundary value problem…

    Yet even in the general case it appears completely clearly that the system doesn’t follow any dynamics of the kind “trend + noise” but on the contrary presents sharp breaks , pseudoperiodic oscillations and shifts at all time scales. – Milanovic

    He links to this paper: http://amath.colorado.edu/faculty/juanga/Papers/PhysicaD.pdf

    “We show that for a large class of dynamical systems and network topologies there is a critical coupling strength at which the systems undergo a transition from incoherent to coherent behavior.”

    The above adds a bit to my understand of coupling strength. Before an anvil head thunderstorm gets going, things are kind of milling about, slowly setting up. They become coherent and you can see an anvil head in the sky. The coherence of the anvil head in front of you tips you off to change. It rains, hail falls, strong winds scare us and the storm loses coherence, it’s over and the front has probably passed and things are different, We just a had small noticible probably short term regime change.

    I like to think that is nature of climate. It is on local scale above. Are there compelling reasons why things are different on larger scales? While the anvil head set up over maybe 24 hours and put on a show for maybe 2 hours, maybe as the entire climate system warms or cools too as it is setting up for a climate shift show.

    Climate Scientists could consider spending additional time looking at the possibility that Chaos Theory may provide some answers, and even some break throughs that would be applicable to other fields.

  43. “Climate is nothing but the sum of all weather events during some representative period of time.”

    This is false. He implies that the driver of climate and weather are the same. This is untrue, they are two separate energy balances. Weather is driven by the annual energy balance, whereas the climate is driven by the carbon cycle.

    If for the weather alone, there would be no ice inventory, no glaciation and deglaciation cycles, no cooling of the ocean. It is carbon dioxide cycle that caused all of these. Therefore climate and weather are two separate things. Climate can be calculated accurately, we do not have to sit and wait for 100 years to see. This is nonsense.

    • Nabil Swedan,

      I was quite surprised by your take on climate as I hadn’t heard this expressed in this exact manner before. I’m not saying your wrong as you are far more educated and informed on this subject than I am. I’d like to know what you think about what I have surmised from what I’ve seen. Perhaps you already are aware of all of this and have an answer. I have seen short term correlations such as BEST and Vostok shown in hundreds and hundreds of thousands of years that show temp co2 nicely correlated. I have also seen charts that show an even closer correlation of solar and temp than BEST. I have also seen Vostok closely channeling the Malankovich cycle. One might interpret that it is solar driving both CO2 and temperature. In the case of CO2 solar is providing either an enhanced sink or not.

      Then there is the long long term picture of which I point to a chart that was from a fairly recent paper (2012?) and shown on skeptical science. To me this shows no correlation of CO2 to either temp or sea level and no correlation between temp and sea level. Now I realize it was a lot different world in the ordovician period with the super sub continent over the south pole and subsequent continental break up and subsequent mountain formations and also different types of plant formations cover rock or not. I have also seen Royers broad sweep of long paleo that correlates CO2 with temp. Nevertheless I am not entirely convinced that it is not solar that has something to do with it.

    • Oedivc,
      Vostok and Antarctic Ice core data are reasonable data. However, distant past geological record can be wrong and misleading.
      I do not disagree with you that in ice core samples carbon dioxide and surface temperature swapped positions in time. It therefore appears to be solar playing a role, but it is not. The reason is that a linear trend of carbon dioxide will produce an exponential trend of surface temperature. This is due to the fact that water vapor mixing ratio increases exponentially with time. Please see Figure 5, page 53 of my book. The exponential behavior literally opposes carbon dioxide trend and maintains both surface temperature and carbon dioxide within the observed range. Solar energy has nothing to do with it, it is surface dynamics. More details, please read The Earth’s had a controller under articles. Click on my name above get there.

    • Thanks for that information and I’ll check it out as I’ve been wondering about this for some time.

  44. I wouldn’t put your house on the market just yet. If an El Nino of any strength develops, it tends (note “tends,” not guaranteed) to make the Southwest wet.

    “Philbert | May 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    Interestingly, the West experienced “flash droughts” in 1977 and 2001 that “roughly” correspond to the “climate shifts” (abrupt or not) identified by Ms. Curry. In any case, this will be an extremely bumpy summer and fall (drought, wildfires, etc.) for those who live in the West. “Climate refugees” may restart their migration to the PNW?”

  45. So I read it and thought, well, it’s a mixture of II and III. Then she says the Stadium Wave is a hybrid of the two, or something like that. Now I’ve got to understand the Stadium Wave, too?
    ===============

    • It looks like they pegged AMO max. Now just watch for a recovery of sea ice in west eurasian arctic.

  46. Arno Arrak

    Well, those three competing hypotheses bring out the real problem in trying to understand climate. Namely, that they cannot all be right and what we need to understand may not even be stated by any of them. With this uncertainty in the background I will venture some opinions about the three hypothesis. To save time and effort I have to tell you first that I have always been dubious about the legitimacy of defining oscillations with long-term periods that run into decades. They are based on noisy, partial observations and lack any physical explanation. And that is why I pass over your hypothesis !!. And I am not against using oscillations where they make sense. The only well-known oscillation that has a physical explanation is ENSO. It is a harmonic oscillation of ocean water from side to side in the Pacific. It is driven by trade winds and has a resonant frequency of five years. Because there are other things happening in the ocean they can interfere and modify that but when things settle down the resonant frequency reappears. This can be followed in temperature records as far back as the early nineteenth century.ENSO normally has no influence on global temperature because as much as an El Nino warms the atmosphere the La Nina that follows it will cool it. Normally, that is. But if an El Nino wave crossing the ocean via the equatorial counter-current gets blocked by something like a tyfoon it will stop dead, spread out in mid-ocean, and create an El Nino Modoki on the spot. The La Nina that should follow, however, will be abnormal and here is where some warmth just might escape from the cycle. Like I said, its resonant frequency is five years which in terms of wavelength is about the width of the Pacific at equator. But here is a question: if the oscillation frequency is 25 years, not 5 years, what should the wavelength be? My first guess would be five times the width of the Pacific. Can you imagine any of these so-called long-period oscillations doing that? If you want to stretch it you could theoretically invoke the thermohaline pathway from the Arctic to the North Pacific but I would not do that. But I did not bring out 25 years out of thin air. There really was an oscillation with that period that is recorded in the BEST temperature record, unbeknownst to them. They have temperature records back to the mid-eighteenth century, more back than anyone else. And as you would expect from new territory, new things pop up. It turns out that some oceanic cataclysm, possibly early eighteenth century, set an oscillation going that slowly over time decayed until its last appearance was in the year 1900. Its period is a constant 25 years throughout this time. The envelope of the oscillation is a classic damped oscillation that decays to zero. Because it is a damped oscillation it requires some powerful event to get it started. And if it happened near the discharge point of the thermohaline circulation in the Pacific it should have been able to get some vibration going in that system. I was aware of this possibility when Muller first showed his long temperature curve publicly and I expected him to say something about it. But the only thing he did notice was the low points of the oscillation which he mistook for volcanic cooling. There was no volcano known to be active at the time but this did not stop him – he just attributed it to an “unknown” volcano or volcanoes. Now here is a research opportunity wasted because the owner of the data does not even know what he has. That comes from taking a stamp collectors attitude towards data. It is probably too much to expect that such a big shot should know that there is no such thing as volcanic cooling. I proved that and showed in my book that all identified “volcanic” coolings are nothing more than misidentified La Nina coolings that are all over the temperature curves. And the missing ones? Volcanoes and ENSO are independent and the location of volcanoes with respect to El Ninos and La Ninas is random. If a La Nina is in the right spot it gets dedicated to the volcano. If an El Nino is in that same spot the cooling is said to be missing for unknown reasons. It is that simple but all these “experts” are still ignorant and put volcanic cooling everywhere, even into climate models. TBC

  47. At the beginning of this thread there was some comment on Dr Curry; that she has not spoken out about the need for more research on aerosols. Perhaps I can shed some light.

    A few months ago she was a presenter at the APS workshop on climate and was asked “What is the greatest advance in climate change”. Her answer was “greater knowledge on the indirect effects of aerosols”. She believes that there is now far less uncertainty and that aerosols have minimal effect.

  48. David Springer

    Climate is all of those problems.

    By definition it’s the aveage of weather over some arbitrarily long period of time. The period of time is ostensibly long enough that the boundaries are touched often enough so the average is faithful. Predicting what happens within the boundaries is such a hodge podge of interdependent non-linear systems getting poked and prodded by extra-terrestrial events from a variable sun, orbital eccentricities, and internal events like volcanoes.

    Presumably altering CO2 in the atmosphere alters a boundary but it’s unlikely to be the high temperature boundary as that boundary is set by a liquid ocean that shades itself more and more as its temperature rises until shading out the sun prevents further temperature rise. CO2 sets the temperature floor when the ocean is so cold it is no longer generating clouds to shade itself.

    If it weren’t for CO2 the oceans would freeze over and never thaw. What happens is that CO2 sinks stop when the surface is frozen but CO2 continues to be generated by volcanism. So CO2 keeps on rising until its greenhouse effect is sufficient to start a melt going. The earth has frozen over almost completely several times in its history. CO2 is the kindling which melted it and put a liquid ocean back in control again.

    • That’s about right. The position of the land and biotic evolution will also change things.

    • David Springer

      Thanks Doc. I agree. Ocean currents exert a lot of control over latitudinal heat distribution. A free & open path from tropics to poles keeps the tropics cooler and high latitudes warmer. This keeps glacial advance toward lower latitudes at bay. Currently one pole is blocked by a continent sitting on it and another is choked off by narrow water passages. The result is, predictably, a planet that teeters back and forth from ice to interglacial and back again with only small pushes and pulls from orbital eccentricities.

  49. Matthew R Marler

    Lacis: This is because climate is a boundary value problem in physics, while weather is an initial value problem.

    Lacis asserts that climate “is” a boundary value “problem” without even defining climate, or defining the “problem”. “Climate” is the distribution of the measurable weather indices within some space and time. Gavin Schmidt has recommended 30 year time spans; Bengtsson recommends longer time spans; Santer et al showed that at least a 17 year period is necessary to detect a change in mean temperature. Robert I Ellison (citing Ghil and others) focuses on the functionals of the distributions (temperature, rainfall, humidity, etc.), but some bounds on time and regions of the distribution have to be specified.

    “Climate” is not a “problem”. There may be a boundary value “problem” of some sort in the study of climate. Diverse authors have written that the “equilibrium” calculations provide “boundary conditions” on the solutions of the dynamics problems, a claim that may or may not be true but there are no showings that the computed “boundary conditions” are accurate; or, to put it differently, that they are any more accurate than the historical peaks and troughs of the partially observed sequences over the last 10,000 years. In particular, the computed “equilibrium” values are worthless if the cloud cover changes unpredictably.

    Predicting the dynamic effects of changing CO2 is a “problem”. It remains unsolved. In the famous (averaged) energy flow diagrams of Trenberth and Fasullo, and Stephens et al, the effects of CO2 on the itemized flows are unknown. The problem of ignorance is even larger if you break those averaged values by region (esp NH vs SH; land vs ocean) and season. There is not a single flow for which the change induced by a change (e.g. doubling) of CO2 is known.

    For fun I once wrote here how modest alterations of +/- 0.5% – 1% alter the changes to be expected by amounts sufficient to completely negate the hypothetical “equilibrium” response. Going beyond those simple heuristics into actual calculations right now is about as useful as writing in the sand by the sea shore.

    “The Heart of the Climate Dynamics Debate” is that (a) most of climate dynamics is not known very accurately, and (b) the effects of changing CO2 on the climate dynamics are not known at all.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Means and variance of temperature, rainfall, upwelling, etc. vary with decadal climate shifts. Averaging outside of these nature determined break points misses the point.

      To take hydrology as an example.

      ‘A number of previous studies have identified changes in the climate occurring on decadal to multi-decadal time-scales. Recent studies also have revealed multi-decadal variability in the modulation of the magnitude of El Nino–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) impacts on rainfall and stream flow in Australia and other areas. This study investigates multidecadal variability of drought risk by analysing the performance of a water storage reservoir in New South Wales, Australia, during different climate epochs defined using the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) index. The performance of the reservoir is also analysed under three adaptive management techniques and these are compared with the reservoir performance using the current ‘reactive’ management practices. The results indicate that IPO modulation of both the magnitude and frequency of ENSO events has the effect of reducing and elevating drought risk on multidecadal
      time-scales. The results also confirm that adaptive reservoir management techniques, based on ENSO forecasts, can improve drought security and become significantly more important during dry climate epochs. These results have marked implications for improving drought security for water storage reservoirs.’ Multi-decadal variability of drought risk,
      eastern Australia – 2004 – Anthony S. Kiem and Stewart W. Franks

      You can average rainfall over 100 years but that gives you a number that is too dry for wet decades and too wet for dry decades. Rainfall – btw – hasn’t changed notably in NSW over the course of the 20thcentury – with the proviso of having obvious multi-decadal variability. With obvious implication for flood and water resource management. The answer is to stratify analysis in accordance with the state of the IPO.

      Hydrology is an emergent property of abruptly shifting ocean and atmospheric circulation on decadal scales.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Robert I Ellison: Averaging outside of these nature determined break points misses the point.

      Matthew R Marler: some bounds on time and regions of the distribution have to be specified.

      If you can identify the “nature determined break points” then you can use them in the specification of the time frame over which you estimate the functionals.

  50. This is an interesting exercise: Downward Solar radiation at top of the atmosphere changes seasonally due to orbital mechanics, and Earth’s temperature responds directly to this change in radiative forcing (with 6 month lag).

    Result: Climate Sensitivity of 1 K per 7 w/m2

  51. CO2 being a greenhouse gas which results in AGW is a simple, monotonic, quasi linear concept. Why the pushback on the acceptance of the argument? …

    My hunch is that to accept the AGW theory a person must also implictly assume that climate on earth is mostly simple and quasi linear.

    Climate could be simple … Or it could be reactively complicated with a mind of its own.

    I rrally dont know the answer. The scoence seems to favor a simple system. Is it so ???

  52. As it currently stands, the question of when the climate “switches” from an initial to a boundary value problem is ill-posed and incomplete. More fundamentally, the actual questions being asked are different, because a climate undergoing change is still subject to the fact that a single realization of its evolution will be unpredictable beyond a time horizon appropriate for the phenomena of interest (e.g., a week or so for the passage of a synoptic system, less than a day for a tornado, etc). But for the climate change problem, the salient issue is really one of signal-to-noise. The problem is not simply one of timescale but also of spatial scale, variable, season, etc.

    Volcanic eruptions, for example, exert their influence over timescales under 16 years but nonetheless impart effects that are detectible against natural variability (the signal of Mt. Pinatubo, for example, was nearly equivalent to halving of CO2). In this respect, I think there are some issues with Andy Lacis’ framing, although Bengtsson is substantially further off the mark.

    As Andy has noted repeatedly, the global climate system is ultimately constrained by conservation of energy, which means that it does not arbitrarily move in a particular direction (away from its nominal equilibrium point) as can occur in a random walk process. Furthermore, the laws of physics allow us to make sense of countless observations that are borne out in the real atmosphere: why does a Hadley cell dominate in the tropics while eddies dominate transport in mid-latitudes? Why does precipitation tend to occur downstream of an eastward moving trough over the United States, rather than to the west? Why do weak temperature gradients persist in the tropical fee troposphere? Why do intense ocean currents form along the western boundaries of ocean basins rather than eastern boundaries? Why do winds increase with height across regions with sharp temperature gradients? Why does the ITCZ move toward the hemisphere that warms more when you force the climate asymmetrically. Why do “wet” regions tend to get wetter in model simulations while subtropical “dry” latitudes get drier?

    The fact that we can make sense of all these types of things demonstrates that the climate system can be made intelligible. Similarly, we can say that large-scale weather systems analogous to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter will not develop on Earth and persist for many decades. And as Isaac Held has noted, summer is warmer than winter- no matter how fancy the arguments against this emergent simplicity may sound, they will always need to be faced with the fact that models and the real world behave in ways that can be understood through equations, with the usual caveat that exists in any field (astrophysics, etc) that nuanced questions always exist. All it takes is a bit more treasure-digging to find the answers.

    Back to the question of signal-to-noise, Clara Deser and others have shown in the paper below that if you take a climate model and apply an identical forcing scenario (A1B) to many ensemble members, the 50 year trend in temperature or precipitation can actually be of different sign over some regions of the continental United States (see the postage stamp plots Figure 1, Figure 2, etc). This is where Andy may oversell his point. Because the forcings applied to all ensemble members are the same, these differences in the 50 yr trend are due only to slight perturbations in the initial condition. This highlights the need to perform experiments with many ensemble members, the minimum number of which will depend on the target variable of interest, location, time horizon, etc. This approach also allows one to quantify, in a probabilistic sense, the chance of seeing a particular trend over a multi-decadal timescale even in the presence of unforced, chaotic variability. For example, some runs (run 16, 28) show wintertime cooling in the eastern U.S. over the period 2010-60 under the A1B scenario, but these are outliers among the 40-member ensemble.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/cdeser/docs/deser.projected_climate.jclim14.pdf

    This, along with the hiatus, all illustrate that the “boundaries” of two different climates may overlap to a significant enough degree, such that a single realization of nature may occur in two different climates. This has been the reason for “dice” analogies, etc in talking about extreme outcomes and so forth. But people who continue to speak about natural variability as a causal mechanism cannot ignore the signal-to-noise issue. This is the reason we have greater confidence in global warming attribution, than say, the impact of Arctic sea ice on mid-latitude weather extremes. Even if the Francis et al. mechanism worked (which is debatable), the unforced variability in the wintertime mid-latitudes is very large.

    On the contrary, our experience with models, observations, and paleoclimate unequivocally show that nature does not spontaneously produce changes as large as a doubling or quadrupling of CO2 under Holocene-like conditions. Thus, while Bengtsson is correct that “chaos” exists on all timescales, and Judith is correct in pointing out that decadal variability exists, the concern is vacuous until somebody identifies a credible atmosphere-ocean mechanism that exhibits chaos (on a global scale) of such a magnitude that the sensitivity of trends in decadal statistics (to initial conditions) swamps the sensitivity of these statistics to the increase of greenhouse gases. Clara Deser and others started this for North America (which provides an obvious counterpoint to the made-up notion that scientists are ignoring such variability), and the result is metric and season-dependent. Some patterns like polar amplification, wintertime southwest drying, and summertime warming all emerge as a forced response in all or nearly all ensemble members.

    • Robert I Ellison

      A relatively sophisticated song and dance – but a song and dance nonetheless.

      Models are not climate. Small changes in initial or boundary conditions – within the range of feasible variability in inputs – produce divergent trajectories in multiple solutions. Changes in the couplings of models changes the topology of the strange attractor. The limits of predictability – the shape of the probability distribution in multiple runs with slightly changed inputs is the best case for precision of predictions and is determined by the topology of the attractor for the particular set of equations.

      e.g. http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709/F1.expansion.html

      Whether the global attractor for climate maps to the attractor for models is another question entirely.

      e.g. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751/F8.expansion.html

      Climate transitions involve abrupt changes to ocean and atmosphere and ocean circulation – as I have discussed somewhere above. These happen on decadal scales – and in the long proxy records on centennial to millennial scales.

    • Chris Colose | May 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
      Thus, while Bengtsson is correct that “chaos” exists on all timescales, and Judith is correct in pointing out that decadal variability exists, the concern is vacuous until somebody identifies a credible atmosphere-ocean mechanism that exhibits chaos (on a global scale) of such a magnitude that the sensitivity of trends in decadal statistics (to initial conditions) swamps the sensitivity of these statistics to the increase of greenhouse gases.

      ENSO might exhibit chaotic behavior on a large scale. I am not sure the magnitude of the effect of chaotic behavior is the way I look at it. I don’t see it as chaos versus CO2, but some of both.

    • Robert I Ellison

      The question of this does to the energy dynamic of the planet is being answered.

      ‘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

      We can put together what has been measured in terms of IR emissions at TOA.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=145

      With measured albedo.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=107

      And come up with an utterly confounding notion of what is driving the global energy dynamic.

      By all means – comes up with some alternate observations – but in the meantime I will feel entitled to observe Newton’s fourth rule for natural philosophy.

    • David Springer

      I agree with Ellison. Song and dance. Other descriptive terms are handwaving and obfuscation.

      Chris if you had the physics right you wouldn’t have been blindsided by the pause. The facts on the ground belie your lack of understanding.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Chris Colose, good post overall, but about this: As Andy has noted repeatedly, the global climate system is ultimately constrained by conservation of energy, which means that it does not arbitrarily move in a particular direction (away from its nominal equilibrium point) as can occur in a random walk process.

      I am glad that you called it a “nominal” equilibrium point. I call it “hypothetical”, and point out (usually with references) that nonlinear dissipative systems seldom have equilibria, even with constant input and uniform surfaces. The constraint of obeying conservation of energy does not mean much of any usefulness when large regions of the system can accumulate or dissipate energy over long periods of time (e.g., the warming since the end of the LIA, the hypothetical accumulation of OHC now); this is especially so when large segments of the system are poorly sampled at best. The fact that energy will always be conserved has no implication for whether increased CO2 will cause increased mean global rainfall or increased mean global temperature or some combination of the two, or increased cloudiness.

    • Chris Colose | May 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
      …until somebody identifies a credible atmosphere-ocean mechanism that exhibits chaos (on a global scale) of such a magnitude that the sensitivity of trends in decadal statistics (to initial conditions) swamps the sensitivity of these statistics to the increase of greenhouse gases.

      I thought I’d have another try at this. The glacial/interglacial bistable system. Agreed that CO2 can bring us out of a glacial period. The system is still bistable. Is this chaos on a global scale? I don’t know. According to some it’s something like orbital cycles. But as we sit for 70,000 years in a glacial, CO2 doesn’t seem to be controlling or amplifying enough. Its low level is helpful and needed. But it may be simply amplifying at this time. The inability to cause change for 70,000 years says something. The difference is probably just definitional, but the control variable would seem to be dormant. Thanks for posting your comments.

  53. Stephen Segrest

    Could blogers provide links that explain (in layman terms) how AGW “fits” into Dr. Curry’s Hypothesis II. Thanks.

  54. A. Lacis, “This is because climate is a boundary value problem in physics, while weather is an initial value problem.”

    Wrong. A large portion of the “feedback” is reduction in land based and “fast” ice meaning that has to be considered as part of the initial conditions. Another issue is that the heat of vaporization increases exponentially with temperature requiring an accurate initial absolute temperature and relative humidity. If I remember correctly GISSs best guess on global absolute mean temperature is around 15C +/- a degree or two and most climate models can’t even come close to modeling actual absolute surface temperatures.

  55. “This is because climate is a boundary value problem in physics, while weather is an initial value problem. ”

    This characterization of climate is an attempt to treat it like a monotonic problem which it is assuredly not. This same mistake was made by the initial UNFCCC/IPCC when they said ‘the science is settled’. Ask them to explain the 1940 singularity! Also remember the hockey stick debacle. Getting the initial conditions right s just a part of the problem of climate simulation.

    ” Challenges: convincing explanations of the warming 1910-1940,”
    Yes, indeed.

    “II. Multi-decadal oscillations”
    To qualify as oscillations they have to have an identifying periodicity. There seems to be no agreed periodicity or scientific explanation of these oscillations. ENSO is real enough but is not periodic so does not qualify as an oscillation. It is not understood so can’t be predicted.

    The common feature of all climate research is the CO2 molecule. Little progress seems to have been made since the middle of the 19th century. Do scientists still think the science is settled in that vein?

  56. Looking at the various hypotheses, I think the Hurst-Kolmogorov (H-K) dynamics hypothesis does not fit well into any of the three presented, yet is probably the single most parsimonious description of climate we have today.

    The closest match is hypothesis III, which argues for unpredictable “climate shifts”. But this is quite different from H-K dynamics, as it implies some separate, different process taking place at the decadal-century scale.

    In practice this is not true. H-K dynamics argues for a single defined 1/f power spectral density relationship that spans from hours through to millions of years (and beyond). This is the component of climate which exhibits exponential error growth from initial conditions. Anything within these bounds is inherently unpredictable beyond perhaps a couple of weeks.

    This is distinct to the “climate shifts” hypothesis as these shifts require something different to weather to cause them. On the other hand, H-K dynamics arise from the same processes that give us weather. This makes H-K dynamics more parsimonious; one single process explains all of this variability compared to two processes under the climate shift theory.

    It also means that scale averaging yields no advantage with respect to reducing uncertainty, due to the 1/f profile of natural variability; averaging does not reduce the uncertainty by any meaningful amount. In fact, changes in a shorter time period (e.g. diurnal, annual cycle) can be easier to detect than those at longer time scales under H-K behaviour.

    All of the evidence (instrumental, proxies, etc) strongly support the idea of natural variability having a 1/f power spectrum; this is well documented in the peer review literature, and as far as I am aware every scientist who has looked for 1/f characteristics have verified its presence. Yet clearly the idea that climate transitions from an initial condition problem to boundary condition problem at some scale is completely at odds with the presence of 1/f variability which is strongly supported and not contended by the peer review literature.

  57. Some combination of Hypothesis #2 & 3 seems the most likely. Certainly there are always dragon-king or climate shifts in any such nonlinear chaotic and dynamical systems. But issues of intense ongoing research include identifying tipping points or potential tipping points where such shifts might occur, and understanding how external forcings, especially from anthropogenic sources might influence certain internal variability of the system. Mann’s analysis of the the anthropogenic influence on the AMO for example, can’t be as easily dismissed as some would like, and there is the potential for GH gas forcing to be influencing all the major natural oscillations in the system. This gets to be a messy problem indeed.

  58. Ingvar Warnholtz

    There is a profound lack of division among scientists about what is weather and what is climate. Climate (and climate change) is a statistical exercise of past weather, the latter linked conveniently to an increase in CO2.
    if CO2 now makes up 400 ppm, what is then exactly the division of the remaining 999,600 ppm and what condition applies? A question well avoided to answer.
    Consider this little example, knowing that air components are in ‘dry air’, that is no water vapour
    1. Without it there would be no life on Earth as we enjoy it now.
    2. Without water vapour we would not have the weather we experience daily.
    3. Without weather we would not know about climate and global warming, both of which are based on average weather measured by thermometers and other human observations.
    4. So far scientists have been unable to identify and quantify the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere at any time, at any temperature.
    5. Because of this lack of knowledge about nature and its behaviour, water vapour is ‘swept under the carpet’ and is broadly referred to as ‘greenhouse gases’.
    6. At any time water vapour content in the atmospheric air mix could be anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 ppm (1% – 4%) globally.
    7. We know from research by Goode (1949) that adding water vapour to the air tends to warm the atmosphere and adding carbon dioxide tends to cool the atmosphere.

    This is common sense, something that has been lost in the debate, because it is now a political issue and the sole purpose is to get funding – make the tax payer suffer from a scientific ‘pie in the sky’.

    Thank you.

  59. Climate may or may not be chaotic (deterministic or otherwise) – I am convinced of this chaos by empirical evidence. What is chaotic without doubt is this thread, on any time scale

    The idea of boundary “value” or “condition”: my concept of this is related to what is empirically known of the planet’s history over deep time, so –

    a) snowball earth. one absolute boundary, yet impossible to maintain while plate tectonics remain active (the planet is thankfully dynamic, unlike, say, a dead Mars)

    b) “superheated” earth: the other absolute boundary, yet has never occurred since the crust cooled, even at 20,000 ppm CO2

    So the value of any boundary condition concept is minimal (angels fitting on pinheads). Arguing that my view here is mathematically naive is irrelevant to my point That leaves the initial state concept, which most CAGW advocates here avoid like the plague. Why this evasion I cannot yet figure out, apart from the possibility that this may simply be too hard, too chaotic, to do

    Are the dogs loose now ?

  60. I appreciate the balanced approach Dr. Curry used in formulating this post. No attacks and tribalistic arguments against the “other” side. If she continues in this manner, she may regain some of the respect she apparently feels she has lost among her peers.

  61. What is it that determines the terrestrial climate and how it changes?

    Needless to say the terrestrial climate is the result of complex interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere via atmospheric fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, bio-geo chemistry, orbital geometry, and radiative transfer – all processes being driven ultimately by the incident solar energy.

    All of these physical processes are modeled explicitly in time stepping fashion in current climate GCMs using a typical spatial resolution of about 1 to 5 degrees in lat-lon, 20 to 50 layers of vertical resolution, and 10 min to 1 hr time resolution. This generates a great deal of time evolution changes in the model-generated wind, temperature, cloud, and humidity fields, accumulated typically in the form of monthly-mean maps of these fields – thus constituting the model generated climate which can be directly compares to similar quantities obtained from global satellite observations as a direct test of climate model worthiness.

    Although a climate modeling simulation may typically begin from an initial reference model atmosphere (similar to initiating an initial value weather forecast calculation), the essence of a climate modeling simulation is that of a typical boundary value problem in physics, i.e., the initial starting value does not really matter. For equilibrium sensitivity evaluations, the objective is to reach the equilibrium point toward which the model is being forced independent of the initial conditions. Sometimes model runs are initiated at different points in time to generate ensemble averages, averaging out natural variability effects (which will have different phases for differently initiated runs). Climate models are also used to simulate transient climate change, which then resembles a hybrid between an initial value weather-type model run, but with changing boundary value forcings.

    The input solar energy to the climate system has been accurately measured over several decades. Its annual-mean value is 1360.8 W/m2 with an 11-year sunspot cycle variability by about 1 W/m2 (Kopp and Lean, 2011). This puts the global-mean incident solar energy at 340.2 W/m2. However, what actually defines the SW forcing (for a 0.3 global albedo) is the amount of solar energy that is absorbed by the climate system. This, for the sake of this discussion, we will take as being equal to 240 W/m2.

    The actual value could be 239W/m2, 242W/m2, or 235 W/m2. The precise value does not matter that much because the climate system’s response is “smoothly continuous” to this SW forcing. While that may be a postulate in need of proof, suffice it here to say that the climate system does not respond like the Mandelbrot fractal set where a small parameter shift in some particular direction might encounter multiple singularity-type responses. The 240 W/m2 is a round number, and is consistent with the accuracy limitations of the ERBE measured value. With SW = 242 W/m2, the climate system would be slightly warmer than with 240 W/m2 (and slightly cooler if SW were 235 W/m2).

    The Earth is never in precise SW-LW energy balance equilibrium, but it is always striving to get there. Current climate models exhibit some of the real-world behavior. When models are run for thousands of years with fixed external forcing, they exhibit a natural variability over a broad range of time scales relative to some reference point that can be identified as the global energy balance point of equilibrium. Such behavior is not found in simple 1-D models that can be iterated to energy balance equilibrium to however many decimals required.

    In energy balance equilibrium, the thermal energy emitted to space by Earth would be LW = 240 W/m2. If the Earth’s atmosphere were absent, or totally transparent, (but with still the 0.3 global albedo), the surface temperature of the Earth would warm in response to the 240 W/m2 SW forcing until it reached a temperature of about 255 K (with LW = 240 W/m2), at which point Earth would be in SW-LW energy balance equilibrium. But the actual global-mean surface temperature of Earth is about 288 K, and the thermal radiation emitted upward by the ground is 390 W/m2. This global-mean surface temperature difference of 33 K, and the corresponding LW flux difference of 150 W/m2 between the ground surface and top of the atmosphere is a measure of the terrestrial greenhouse effect.

    Note that the global SW-LW energy balance at the top of the atmosphere, and the 150 W/m2 greenhouse effect, are described and established completely by radiative means. There is absolutely ZERO convective energy going out to space. Likewise, there is ZERO convective energy represented in the 150 W/m2 greenhouse number. Thus it is radiative transfer modeling that completely describes the SW and LW fluxes as well as the 150 W/m2 strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect.

    So, if radiation accounts for all that, where then do the atmospheric dynamics effects come in? Atmospheric dynamics effects are key to establishing the atmospheric absorber-temperature structure that is used by the radiation model to calculate the SW-LW fluxes and the greenhouse effect. If there were no atmospheric dynamics to establish the (convective/advective) atmospheric temperature profile, radiative energy equilibrium could be calculated for the existing atmospheric absorbed distribution. But, the global-mean greenhouse effect for such a radiative equilibrium atmosphere would be about 66 K instead of the present radiative/convective value of 33 K. This demonstrates clearly the importance of why accurate rendering of both the radiative and dynamic climate system processes is so essential.

    The key point of all this is to note that the dynamic processes of the climate system are many orders of magnitude slower than the radiative processes. Thus the radiative calculations can be performed on an effectively static temperature-absorber structure without any loss of generality, totally independent of whatever the atmospheric dynamics may be doing.

    Assuming for a moment that the radiative calculations can be performed with 100% accuracy, the GCM calculated response to a radiative forcing (say, doubled CO2) should then be representative of the Earth’s climate system response (to the extent that atmospheric dynamics of the GCM simulation can produce a GCM-generated climate that closely resemble that of the Earth).

    Given the “smoothly continuous” response of the climate system, whether SW = 242W/m2, or 235 W/m2, or that there happen to be small to moderate difference in the GCM generated cloud fraction, cloud heights, or water vapor distribution, relative to Earth’s current climate distributions, the calculated response to doubled CO2 should then closely resemble that of the Earth’s climate system response.

    The radiative part of the climate system processes is a much easier process to model compared to the dynamic processes, so much so, that it is not preposterous to be thinking in terms of 100% accuracy for computing the radiative heating and cooling effects for a specified temperature-absorber distribution. To this end, Mie scattering theory is an exact theory for calculating radiation scattering by spherical cloud droplets, and similarly, line-by-line calculations using the comprehensive HITRAN absorption line database provide the means for calculating gaseous absorption by atmospheric gases with a great deal of precision and accuracy. While line-by-line calculations are numerically too intensive to be included in GCM radiation models, the correlated k-distribution treatment of gaseous absorption can closely approach the line-byline accuracy, as illustrated in my 2013 Tellus B paper http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/la06400p.html

    Clearly, most of the climate modeling uncertainties reside in our inability to model the atmospheric and ocean dynamical processes with sufficient accurately. Those aspects of modeling climate change that depend for the most part on radiative processes are going to be far more certain than those that are associated more directly with atmospheric dynamics, and especially ocean dynamics.

    As a result, the radiative effects arising from the different climate forcings, their effect on the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, and the attribution of the relative strengths of climate forcings and feedbacks, are aspects of global climate change that are mostly radiative in nature. Accordingly, these quantities have a significant robustness that stems from very basic physics with little dependence on arbitrary assumptions or parameterizations.

    Regional climate changes, on the other hand, are very dependent on the horizontal energy transports by dynamical processes which must necessarily include significant parameterizations to account for the unresolved sub-grid eddy transport contributions. For the longer time-scale variability, current ocean models are only barely able to simulate some El Nino-type variability, with no skill for decadal-scale variability. But note that this form of natural variability consists primarily of oscillations about a zero reference point, and thus does not produce a bias to the steadily increasing global warming component. Also, the radiative effects listed above become more robust in the form of global averages because the horizontal energy transports must by definition average to zero globally, thus averaging out any regional differences associated with differences in regional climate change.

    The one really big advantage in modeling radiative process effects over dynamic processes is the feasibility of attribution. Although the modeling of radiative transfer effects is straightforward and simple in concept, it is not so simple as to be preformed on the proverbial back of an envelope – capable computer is required.

    As described in Table 2 of my 2013 Tellus B paper, attribution analysis was performed on this nominal 150 W/m2 measure of the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Where actually does the 150 W/m2 come from? It is not simply the flux fraction that gets absorbed by the atmosphere – that is an oversimplified and erroneous assumption – rather, this 150 W/m2 is a combination of layer-by-layer absorption and emission that occurs throughout the atmosphere. If all absorbed are removed from the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect goes to zero. If all contributors are in the atmosphere, it is 150 W/m2. We show explicitly what happens to the LW flux difference when the absorbers are inserted into atmosphere one-by-one, or removed one-by-one.

    Those results are summarized in Table 2 of the Tellus B paper. They show that of the total terrestrial greenhouse effect, water vapor accounts for about 50% of the effect; clouds contribute 25%; CO2 accounts for about 20%; and the other minor greenhouse gases like CH4, N2O, O3, and CFS account for the remaining 5%. Now we apply a little physical reasoning. Water vapor and clouds are FEEDBACK effects – meaning they can’t stay in the atmosphere on their own power; they condense and precipitate out; their equilibrium concentration in the atmosphere is strongly limited by the Clausius-Clapeyron relation. (See Section 3 of my Tellus B paper; water vapor and clouds are fast-acting feedbacks; if perturbed, they return to equilibrium distribution in only a couple of weeks).

    CO2 and minor greenhouse gases are all non-condensing at current climate temperatures – meaning, once you stick them into the atmosphere, they are not going to condense and precipitate out; they are going to stay in the atmosphere and perform their radiative effects essentially forever, or until atmospheric chemistry finally does them in. These non-condensing gases constitute the radiative FORCINGS of the climate system.

    The definition of climate sensitivity is f = (forcing+feedback)/forcing. What this means is that the climate sensitivity derived just from the current climate temperature-absorber structure of the atmosphere is: f = (0.25 + 0.75)/0.25, or f = 4. Given the Hansen et al. no-feedback global surface temperature change of 1.2 K for doubled CO2, this analysis gives a “structural” climate feedback sensitivity of 4.8 K for doubled CO2.

    A bit too high? But note that this is not a “perturbation” type of feedback sensitivity evaluation, so it is completely missing the negative lapse rate feedback (which is about 1.2 K according to Hansen et al., 1984). This gets us to 3.6 K for doubled CO2. There is still a further small reduction (for which I don’t have a precise value at this time) that is needed to account for the fact that when all of the non-condensing greenhouse gases are removed, water vapor doesn’t actually go all the way to zero, being supported at about a 10% value relative to current climate by the Clausius-Clapeyron relation.

    The net result of these adjustments is that a climate feedback sensitivity of about 3 K for double CO2 is obtained just from the current climate atmospheric structure, which is in good agreement with paleo-climate reconstructions and direct climate GCM modeling results. This implies that the 1 to 2 K climate sensitivity inferred for doubled CO2 in some studies is not going to be self-consistent with the current climate temperature-absorber distribution.

    These deductions based on the radiative transfer analysis performed on temperature-absorber structure of the atmosphere are fairly robust and self-consistent. Their principal certainty/uncertainty is directly constrained by how well the GCM generated atmospheric structure resembles the real-world, keeping in mind the “smooth continuity” that is expected for the climate system response for both the real-world and climate GCMs.

    It is also clear form this analysis that atmospheric CO2 (being the principal non-condensing gas in the atmosphere) does indeed perform as the LW climate control knob. That is clearly demonstrated in rather complicated Figure 13 of my 2013 Tellus B paper, where the equilibrium response of the climate system is evaluated for different concentrations of atmospheric CO2 ranging from 1/8x (snowball Earth) to 256x (uninhabitable hot-house).

    What stands out in Figure 13 is that it is the exponential nature of the Clausius-Clapeyron relation dependence on temperature that makes water vapor, driven by atmospheric CO2, a very formidable cause-and effect combination that could take the terrestrial climate to extremes that we would rather not think about. Cloud feedback effect does not appear to be a major player since the cloud SW albedo effect is largely counteracted by the cloud LW greenhouse effect.

    Humans have had the means at hand to self-destruct for decades. Fortunately, they have refrained from dropping H-bombs to quell every pesky brushfire as they frequently erupt. Now, by burning all of the available carbon resources in the coming decades, humans would appear have another option available to achieve their self-destruction.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘A vigorous spectrum of interdecadal internal variability presents numerous challenges to our current understanding of the climate. First, it suggests that climate models in general still have difficulty reproducing the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of internal variability necessary to capture the observed character of the 20th century climate trajectory. Presumably, this is due primarily to deficiencies in ocean dynamics. Moving toward higher resolution, eddy resolving oceanic models should help reduce this deficiency. Second, theoretical arguments suggest that a more variable climate is a more sensitive climate to imposed forcings (13). Viewed in this light, the lack of modeled compared to observed interdecadal variability (Fig. 2B) may indicate that current models underestimate climate sensitivity. Finally, the presence of vigorous climate variability presents significant challenges to near-term climate prediction (25, 26), leaving open the possibility of steady or even declining global mean surface temperatures over the next several decades that could present a significant empirical obstacle to the implementation of policies directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (27). However, global warming could likewise suddenly and without any ostensive cause accelerate due to internal variability. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, the climate system appears wild, and may continue to hold many surprises if pressed.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16120.full

      ‘The global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems – 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://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.303.1951&rep=rep1&type=pdf

      Some day I might read all of the above – but it goes over such old ground in such a predictable fashion. The planet isn’t warming – oceans and atmosphere – but this still leaves Wally Broecker’s wild beast snapping at our heels. Hence the political quandary. If people like Lacis got the science right – we might be able to get the policy right.

    • 1) There is no “predictive” evidence which supports the standard model as you have just described. Cherry picking the Last Glacial Maximum, P-E Thermal Maximum, or a Hockey stick, or the observational record proves absolutely nothing except for the fact you are picking lots of cherries.

      2) If increasing model resolution has had virtually no impact on the accuracy of ENSO prediction, then clearly more resolution/ super computing power, is not the answer.

      3) Climate models which ignore the “state of the climate system”, i.e. “the initial starting value does not really matter.” will always be heavily dependent on external forcing to create change, since Hasslemann type variability will be under estimated. That is to say you are assuming (assuming due to point 1) the climate system will be completely static without trend in the absence of external forcing. Just as likely important climate system components that govern the largest pool of warm water on the planet are very stable and stationary (such as ENSO), and the temperature changes (trends/red noise) are a residual of that stability in a memory system.

      4) Lacis sates” However, what actually defines the SW forcing (for a 0.3 global albedo) is the amount of solar energy that is absorbed by the climate system. This, for the sake of this discussion, we will take as being equal to 240 W/m2.”
      I’m sorry, you don’t just “fudge” a component because it does fit your narrative. Albedo is mostly due to clouds, which also cause warming, and that are also linked to changes in ENSO which is stationary. Give them an arbitrary value and they will have an arbitrary meaning.

      5) Lacis states “These non-condensing gases constitute the radiative FORCINGS of the climate system.”
      Point 3, the contribution of these components will be overestimated if you ignore random walk type behaviour that is inherently unstable. Add this unstable/ imperfect nature of the climate system to extremely stable phenomena such as ENSO (arguably the main “signal” of the climate system) and it is indeed possible for “most” of global warming to be a residual of a system that is much more stable as you have described.

    • A. Lacis, thank you for a compelling argument which has mainly won a former skeptic mostly over

    • Andy, we’re all blind fools feeling the elephant. You and yours have touched a horn, a CO2 climate control knob, and are tooting it alarmingly, but you haven’t got the elephant.
      =====================

    • A. Lacis, If it were not for the pesky condensable GHG you would be on to something but due to water vapor there is not single “surface” that is force to obey conservation of energy. Instead of a “surface” you have a water vapor lens that can effectively vary the magnification. Your “surface” is an ideal isothermal layer at around -40 C that never covers the entire surface of the Earth and is far from ideal.

      Of the difference between applied 340 Wm-2 and the current average 240 Wm-2 of energy available, water, water vapor and ice are responsible for the the majority of the 100 Wm-2 reduction in “surface” energy. Clouds, snow and atmospheric water have no reason to ever remain equal.and a doubling of noncondensable GHGs of around 4 Wm-2 is around 4% of the total GHE once you consider the albedo which is not required by an law of physics to remain constant.

    • “This implies that the 1 to 2 K climate sensitivity inferred for doubled CO2 in some studies is not going to be self-consistent with the current climate temperature-absorber distribution.”

      Won’t the climate sensitivity for a further doubling of CO2 be lower than for the current overall greenhouse effect, because the rate of change of Planck radiation with temperature increases with the third power of absolute temperature? That would imply dividing your 3 K climate sensitivity by 1.20, on my calculations, for starters.

    • nic lewis –
      No, the climate sensitivity for further doubling of CO2 would not be lower. Actually, as has been note by Aires and Rossow (2003), all climate forcings and feedbacks are not some determinable constants of the climate system, but rather, are state dependent, i.e., the forcings for doubled CO2 as they are typically expressed in W/m2, really depend on the structure of the atmosphere.

      The 3.7 W/m2 and 1.2 K for doubled CO2 apply specifically to perturbations relative to the current climate atmosphere. The more precise definition of climate forcing is in terms of the change of absorber amount – thus, doubled CO2 from 300 ppm to 600 ppm. The GCM radiation model will calculate the radiative flux change that corresponds to the specified change in CO2, which initially will be the nominal 3.7 W/m2. As the model warms, and approaches thermal equilibrium, the radiative forcing calculated by the radiation model for the new thermal equilibrium atmosphere will be near zero, i.e., with the model in its new thermal equilibrium there will be no further radiative forcing (in W/m2) with no further heating of the atmosphere.

      This can be seen illustrated in Fig. 13 of my 2013 Tellus B paper http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/la06400p.html as atmospheric CO2 is varied for 1/8 to 250 time current climate CO2. In this figure, the radiative forcing is expressed as a fraction of its contribution to the total strength of the greenhouse effect (the green area in the figure). As can be seen, this green area becomes slightly larger with each doubling as the climate warms. Note also that a subsection of that green area (due to the other minor greenhouse gases, CH4, N2O, O3, CFCs) also increases slightly as the temperature warms, even though those gases are being kept constant.

      What stands out is that the greenhouse contribution by water vapor increases strongly as the climate warms. This is because of the exponential temperature dependence of the Clausius-Clapeyron relation. Thus, the feedback sensitivity increases with temperature, and is not some fixed constant of the climate system.

    • Andy,
      There’s one point I have been pondering. That’s the role of clouds and albedo in the multidecadal variability. As you write, clouds react rapidly to the prevailing overall conditions, but the state of the oceans is part of those overall conditions and through that the multidecadal variability should affect also clouds and albedo. Intuitively it seems that this indirect effect of clouds could be large and contribute very significantly to the variability in the average surface temperatures.

      How much is known on the above issue. What kind of limits can be given for the contribution of variability in albedo in the overall variability that has been observed or is expected to occur in future.

    • Andrew Lacis:
      That was a thorough and understandable post on, what does a GCM do? Some skeptics don’t understand GCMs, but are pretty sure they are against them, and that has included myself. But it seems that the models are the currency that’s used. It’s like arguing about the gold standard versus fiat currency. Bitcoins anyone?

      http://scienceofdoom.com/2014/04/14/ghosts-of-climates-past-nineteen-ice-sheet-models-i/

      An interesting explanation of GCMs above.

      “Why so difficult to get these two (ocean/atmospheric) models working together? One important reason comes down to the time-scales involved, which result from the difference in heat capacity and momentum of the two parts of the climate system. The heat capacity and momentum of the ocean is much much higher than that of the atmosphere.

      And when we add ice sheets models – ISMs – we have yet another time scale to consider.

      the atmosphere changes in days, weeks and months
      the ocean changes in years, decades and centuries
      the ice sheets changes in centuries, millennia and tens of millenia”

      The author who spends most of his time over my head, lays out part of the problem. The momentum problem. Ice sheets are an extremely slow moving train. The atmosphere by comparison needs to calm down. Using his list we have 3 different signs, 3 different strengths, And 3 different kinds of responses (fast or slow). and 3 different levels of long term sustainability, for instance, how long does it take to warm the oceans 1.0 C? These things are only part of what we want the GCMs to do.

      Another interesting quote at the link:
      “Our results thus reinforce the notion that at a mature point in their life cycle, 100-kyr ice sheets become independent of orbital forcing and affect their own demise through internal feedbacks.”

      As near as I can make out, a lot of ice weighs a lot. That makes it slippery underneath, and it slides into the ocean. One can only store so much ice.

    • Matthew R Marler

      A Lacis: The radiative part of the climate system processes is a much easier process to model compared to the dynamic processes, so much so, that it is not preposterous to be thinking in terms of 100% accuracy for computing the radiative heating and cooling effects for a specified temperature-absorber distribution.

      Do you in fact perform those calculations for the actual distributions of temperature and distributions of H2O across the particular regions and times of year and day, or do you do them for spatio-temporally average values. It is not preposterous to think that by using spatio-temporal averages in place of particular values, your calculations are off by at least 5 %, and that in particular you underestimate the outward radiation increase that attends a mean temp increase of say 0.5C accompanied by an increase of 5% in the rate of the hydrological cycle over the oceans. (Odds are you know that I am referring to Jensen’s Inequality, but I can elaborate the argument in greater detail if you want.)

      When models are run for thousands of years with fixed external forcing, they exhibit a natural variability over a broad range of time scales relative to some reference point that can be identified as the global energy balance point of equilibrium. Such behavior is not found in simple 1-D models that can be iterated to energy balance equilibrium to however many decimals required.

      What is a good reference for some of these runs of the GCMs over thousands of years with fixed inputs? Is the “equilibrium” value so calculated nearly equal to the “equilibrium” value computed by, for example, Randall’s “back of the envelope” calculation (David Randall, “Atmosphere, Clouds and Climate”, p 45.) I find the word “equilibrium” used in multiple ways. The common calculations using ^4 are equivalent to the assumption at “at equilibrium” everywhere on Earth (or everywhere at the “effective radiating level”) is at the same temperature until input changes.

    • Pekka –
      Cloud formation is far too complicated to be calculated in any fashion that resembles first principles physics. Accordingly, generating clouds in climate GCMs must necessarily rely on empirically based parameterizations (designed so that model performance resembles real world cloud distributions and their variability).

      First some general considerations. Clouds typically occur in updraft regions, while downdraft regions tend to be clear. In a convecting atmosphere, this basically means that the global cloud cover should remain close to 50% whether the global climate warms or cools. Also, condensation of water vapor into clouds is governed by the (exponential) Clausius-Clapeyron relation – which defines the relative humidity for a given specific humidity and temperature. Water vapor is supposed to condense into cloud droplets when the relative humidity exceeds 100%. This suggests that cloud bottoms will tend to occur at higher altitude (thus increasing the cloud greenhouse effect) as the global climate warms.

      The actual cloud condensation is complicated in that there can be super-saturation; there are typically enough ions and particles present to serve as cloud condensation nuclei, but there is some condensation dependence on aerosol type and amount; condensation depends principally on the vertical pressure, temperature, and humidity profiles (the stability of the atmosphere), and vertical wind velocities, as well as the rate of change of these quantities.

      The GCM cloud generation parameterization is then constructed to be an empirical function of the GCM grid-box values of the above physical variables. But grid-box resolution is far too coarse for cloud physics purposes. So, sub-grid pdfs of pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind variability are postulated. As a result, clouds are set at some grid-box-mean effective relative humidity, say 93% (thus grid-box-mean relative humidities are actually never encountered in the GCM). Also, super-cooled clouds (down to –40C) can occur. So, for that sub-zero temperature range, there is imposed a statistical shift from water to ice clouds.

      The basis for constructing the cloud parameterization is cloud data from field campaigns, satellite measurements, and cloud-resolving models. The other principal constraint is that the climate GCM output must resemble the current terrestrial climate. Specifically, the GCM should reproduce the global mean planetary albedo of about 0.30, the global mean surface temperature of about 288 K, and the seasonal and land-ocean variability of clouds, including their optical depth, particle size, and cloud altitude distributions, based on satellite and ground-based measurements.

      Getting a good cloud model that can adequately reproduce all those constraints in terms of the grid-box physical variables can be tedious and time consuming. But once all of the adjustable cloud parameters have been ‘tuned’ to reproduce current climate cloud variability, they are ‘frozen’ in place, thus defining that particular GCM version.

      There is an additional ‘cloud procedure’ that is utilized in the GISS GCM. With all the pdfs representing sub-grid variability of the different physical parameters, it should then come as no surprise that sub-grid fractional cloud fields are generated. Radiatively, it would be time consuming to calculate the grid-box radiative effects for spatially fractional clouds with different vertical overlap. So, a statistical conversion is made to where, instead of clouds being spatially fractional, the clouds (for radiation purposes) are set to being fractional in time. Thus, a spatial cloud fraction of 20% is converted by means of a random number generator to being 100% cloud cover 20% of the time. The rationale for this was explained long ago by Jule Charney, stating that large random errors are inconsequential in climate consideration, while small systematic errors will eventually bias climate modeled results.

      If one were to look at the instantaneous meteorology at each model time step, the grid-box radiation would be found to be out of synch with the grid-box clouds. But in climate modeling, one does not scrutinize instantaneous meteorology. Instead, the principal interest is in the monthly-mean averages of the cloud, temperature, wind, water vapor, and the radiative flux distributions – which are just as robust for the fractional-in-time clouds, as they are for cloud that are spatially fractional, but are obtained at reduced computational cost.

      There are no debilitating parameterizations in the calculation of cloud radiative response. Mie scattering theory is used to calculate the cloud radiative properties at all wavelengths of the spectrum. Accurate angle dependent modeling is used for SW radiation, while the small scattering dependence at LW wavelengths is included as a correction factor from off-line rigorous multiple scattering calculations.

      The combined effect of the recently improved GCM cloud generation scheme, together with an accurate modeling of SW and LW radiation, the current globally averaged cloud feedback for climate forcing perturbations tends to be close to neutral. This does not mean that there are no cloud feedback effects. Cloud feedback tends to be substantially positive in the tropics and over the mid-latitude range, and substantially negative in the polar regions. There are likely cloud feedback differences between land and ocean clouds, as well as high and low clouds.

      The bottom line is that cloud feedback is complex and complicated. But that to first order, globally, the cloud SW albedo effect tends to counteract the LW cloud greenhouse effect. Clearly, the GCM cloud generation scheme has been fine-tuned to reproduce current climate cloud variability. How well would the GCM cloud parameterization scheme generate clouds in different climate regimes is a topic to investigate. But with the generally “smoothly continuous” response of the climate system to small variations in radiative forcing perturbations, it is unlikely that the cloud feedback response would stray far from being neutral. It is the strongly temperature dependent water vapor feedback response (due to the exponential dependence of the Clausius-Clapeyron relation) that is a robust characteristic of climate sensitivity in the terrestrial climate system.

      • @A Lacis,,,

        First of all, I’d like to thank you for your response to my previous comment. I don’t want my lack of response to be taken to mean I agree with you. We seem to be talking past one another, something that often happens when people who’ve internalized some of the more important implications of non-linear dynamics try to criticize (in effect) the worldview(s) of those who haven’t.

        I’m responding to you here to try to persuade you somewhat towards my view, something others have already done, evidently without success. If I make the assumptions (AFAIK) inherent to your paradigm, your arguments (which I’ve taken the time to read) seem to make perfect sense. However, where I’m coming from is outside that paradigm.

        I want to address the following:

        However, what actually defines the SW forcing (for a 0.3 global albedo) is the amount of solar energy that is absorbed by the climate system. This, for the sake of this discussion, we will take as being equal to 240 W/m2.

        There is, of course, no a priori reason to assume the “global albedo” to be a constant 0.3. More importantly, there is no good reason to assume the “global albedo” is a constant at all. Thus “clouds” (actually cloudy air, since cloud boundaries are an important aspect of albedo; one far too small to be included in GCM’s as anything but parametrization):

        [… G]enerating clouds in climate GCMs must necessarily rely on empirically based parameterizations (designed so that model performance resembles real world cloud distributions and their variability).

        Actual cloud behavior is determined by a large number of factors that act on too small a scale to be included in GCM’s, how do you know the parametrization process is even including all those factors, much less using the appropriate formula for their assumed value?

        Clouds typically occur in updraft regions, while downdraft regions tend to be clear. In a convecting atmosphere, this basically means that the global cloud cover should remain close to 50% whether the global climate warms or cools.

        This doesn’t follow. For instance, in many more local convecting situations, updrafts are very rapid compared to subduction of the surrounding air. Many factors that impact the width of the cell, and especially the extent of spreading anvil at the top, operate at a local scale but could easily be global in extent. Even if the average ratio of cell area to surrounding subducting area remains constant (and I’m not aware of any reason to assume they should, though you may be), the relative area of the anvil could not (IMO) be assumed to remain constant in response to a variety of local changes to the tropopause, changes to stratosphere conditions, and most importantly changes to aerosol regime. And the latter has at least two critical dimensions for variation: size and hygroscopicity.

        IIRC the deep tropics/equator do involve a large-scale alternation between humid and dry regimes, but I wonder whether a detailed examination of even the current models for how this works would justify an assumption that the ratio would remain constant with changing CO2. Also, how reliable the current models actually are, relative to dramatically different potential replacements.

        The basis for constructing the cloud parameterization is cloud data from field campaigns, satellite measurements, and cloud-resolving models. The other principal constraint is that the climate GCM output must resemble the current terrestrial climate. Specifically, the GCM should reproduce the global mean planetary albedo of about 0.30, the global mean surface temperature of about 288 K, and the seasonal and land-ocean variability of clouds, including their optical depth, particle size, and cloud altitude distributions, based on satellite and ground-based measurements.

        Getting a good cloud model that can adequately reproduce all those constraints in terms of the grid-box physical variables can be tedious and time consuming. But once all of the adjustable cloud parameters have been ‘tuned’ to reproduce current climate cloud variability, they are ‘frozen’ in place, thus defining that particular GCM version.

        This, IMO, represents a gaping hole in the entire schema you describe. I don’t know how many actual “parameters” you feed into the system that performs grid-scale calculation, but I would intuitively say any less than 20 would be hideously simplistic. Given what I (an amateur with moderate familiarity) know, my guess is I would start by expecting at least 40 and become very suspicious of my conclusions if the number were significantly lower than that. But let’s say between ignorance and pre-conceived notions my estimate is high. 20 seems like a good number to begin discussion.

        20! (factorial) = 2,432,902,008,176,640,000. Call it 2.4×10^18, which gives a rough order of magnitude of the number of ways 20 parameters could be combined in calculating a grid-scale value for cloudiness. Only rough of course, since there are many different ways each parameter could be applied. More importantly, there would be enormous overlap where millions or billions of “different” combinations actually represent the same process.

        Still, I believe I’m entitled to be highly skeptical that the number of orders of magnitude of possible combinations could be carved down to the point that you could be sure you had the right parametrization scheme. And all the tuning in the world of the wrong scheme will only produce a model that works under a limited range of conditions. Without a complete theoretical understanding of all the factors that help determine cloudy air conditions, there is a high chance that the selection of a parametrization scheme will be driven primarily, or at least strongly, by preconceptions.

        This may well be acceptable within the paradigm of a science not critically involved in extremely expensive policy decisions, But “climate science” is so involved, moreover the entire paradigm it’s built on is under challenge by developments in non-linear dynamics. The fact (AFAIK) that a large fraction, probably a majority, of researchers into the depths of non-linear dynamics are highly critical of the assumptions behind the current climate modeling paradigm reinforces my own amateur and intuitive opinion that the paradigm is obsolete.

        In conclusion, then, I’m trying to argue that the paradigm you’re working within cannot be relied on, and its conclusions, indeed the entire paradigm, must be justified against the wider criticism arising from recent studies in non-linear dynamics. Arguments based on assumptions built into the paradigm, especially regarding the value of averages as inputs to subsequent calculations in modeling, might be perfectly acceptable within the paradigm but are actually highly circular in the larger context of a paradigm rightfully under challenge.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘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

      In practice cloud cover is broadly negatively correlated with sea surface temperature.

      e.g http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Clementetal2009.png.html?sort=3&o=152

      IR and SW balance out – cloud cover remains at 50% -the tedious recapitulation of long winded narratives and not a nod to actual data. It is all such utter nonsense.

      If we put together what is measured for IR emissions

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=145

      With what is measured for albedo.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=107

      A very compelling analysis emerges.

      ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ AR4 – WG1 – s3.4.4.1

      With CERES/MODIS it becomes very obvious.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_MODIS-1.gif.html?sort=3&o=178

      Hell – on the strength of Newton’s fourth rule of natural philosophy – I’d opt for clouds being the major driver of the global energy dynamic in the satellite era.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘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

      In practice cloud cover is broadly negatively correlated with sea surface temperature.

      e.g http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Clementetal2009.png.html?sort=3&o=152

      IR and SW balance out – cloud cover remains at 50% -the tedious recapitulation of long winded narratives and not a nod to actual data. It is all such utter nonsense.

      If we put together what is measured for IR emissions

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=145

      With what is measured for albedo.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=107

      A very compelling analysis emerges.

      ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ AR4 – WG1 – s3.4.4.1

    • Chief Hydrologist

      With CERES/MODIS it becomes very obvious.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_MODIS-1.gif.html?sort=3&o=178

      Hell – on the strength of Newton’s fourth rule of natural philosophy – I’d opt for clouds being the major driver of the global energy dynamic in the satellite era.

    • Andy,
      Thanks for your detailed answer.

      I’ll look at that more carefully, but just a question on one detail. You write:

      This suggests that cloud bottoms will tend to occur at higher altitude (thus increasing the cloud greenhouse effect) as the global climate warms.

      Intuitively I would have expected a reference to cloud tops rather than cloud bottoms in that. When both the temperature and absolute humidity go up, cloud bottom might stay at the same altitude, but cloud top move up. That would also affect the GHE in the way you tell, while I cannot see any effect from cloud bottom.

    • ==> “Andy, we’re all blind fools feeling the elephant. You and yours have touched a horn, a CO2 climate control knob, and are tooting it alarmingly, but you haven’t got the elephant.’

      What a beautifully reasoned argument, kim.

      In contrast to Andy’s simplisitic argument by assertion, you weigh in to give a clear and concise and specific description of the physics related to climate. It’s a wonder that he can’t just see the overwhelming evidence that you present. You know, horns and elephants and all. They’re all there in the climate if you try hard enough to “connect the dots,” eh? You know, all you need are “horns and dots sympathies…”

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Josh, in a typically ill considered, tin-eared, depressingly shallow attempt at a convincing drive-by sneer quotes Kims wonderful apt metaphorical description of humankinds limited understanding of the natural world:

      ==> “Andy, we’re all blind fools feeling the elephant. You and yours have touched a horn, a CO2 climate control knob, and are tooting it alarmingly, but you haven’t got the elephant.’

      ‘What a beautifully reasoned argument, kim.’ (etc, bleh, blah)
      *******

      Comment is sufficient unto itself, Josh. We’ll let it stand in perpetuity as a kind of monument to the wisdom of fools.

    • Geez. I try to pay kim a compliment, and look what happens…

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Some compliment, Josh. Guess we’ll have to file this one under, “no good deed goes unpunished.”

    • Waaah, and I was so proud of my ‘clear and concise and specific description of the physics related to climate’.
      ===============

    • Some think it’s love.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ AK

      ” Arguments based on assumptions built into the paradigm, especially regarding the value of averages as inputs to subsequent calculations in modeling, might be perfectly acceptable within the paradigm but are actually highly circular in the larger context of a paradigm rightfully under challenge.”

      Climate Science in a nutshell: postulate CO2 as the control knob of the Earth’s thermostat as an axiom, produce a model based on the postulate, and adjust the model (and, traditionally, the data) until the model output confirms the validity of the axiom.

      • Climate Science in a nutshell: postulate CO2 as the control knob of the Earth’s thermostat as an axiom, produce a model based on the postulate, and adjust the model (and, traditionally, the data) until the model output confirms the validity of the axiom.

        That certainly seems to me to fit the process led by the IPCC since its formation. Along with something analogous to using the ouput of represented by each report as a sort of Bayesian Prior to the process leading to the next.

        I’ve called it a “manufactured paradigm” for this reason; the real thing (a la Kuhn) developed in an unforced process among scientists. But it’s built, ultimately, on the old radiative model that assumed that averages could almost always be used in place of the detailed structure. That assumption is obsolete.

    • Matthew R Marler

      A. Lacis: Pekka –
      Cloud formation is far too complicated to be calculated in any fashion that resembles first principles physics. Accordingly, generating clouds in climate GCMs must necessarily rely on empirically based parameterizations (designed so that model performance resembles real world cloud distributions and their variability).

      That was a good post on clouds.

      I have a simple question related to clouds and the hydrologic cycle. If the downwelling LWIR were in fact increased by 3.7 W/m^2, what would be the actual effects on the non-dry regions of the Earth surface? How much of the increased radiant energy would go merely to increased warming of the water, and how much to increased vaporization? The latent heat of vaporization of water is so much greater than the specific heat of water, that it is not hard to imagine that, in summer daytimes in places like Guam, the Philippines, and the US, the increase in dwlwir would mostly go into larger clouds, greater rainfall (as has been documented for the US between the Rockies and the Apalachians since about 1950) and concomitant increased non-radiative transfer from the surface to the upper troposphere, and very little would go into increased warming.

      The theory that you wrote of earlier in the thread mostly works with spatio-temporal averages, but everything that happens is governed by the specific conditions of particular places and times. The errors introduced by working with the averages is larger than the computed responses to dwlwir increases.

    • The errors introduced by working with the averages is larger than the computed responses to dwlwir increases.

      Got a linkable ref for that?

      I mean, intuitively it certainly seems to me that it almost has to be true, but AFAIK even Tomas’s well-argued (and ref’ed) post doesn’t really justify anything stronger than ““Any assumption that the errors introduced by working with the averages aren’t larger than the computed responses to dwlwir increases is unwarranted.” Note that the statement is weaker. But more probably correct.

    • Dave Peters

      Dr. Lacis,
      Re: Clausius Clapeyron.

      GISS tells you to Don’t Never refer to the absolute surface temperature, before divulging their best estimate as 57.2 F. That makes it 516.87 Fahrenheit above absolute zero. A 1% hike brings that up by ~5.17 F. to 522.0387 F. (Lower than the Charney mid-range hike for 2X CO2). Using my trusty on-line Clausius Clapeyron vapor calculator, the water saturation at the current temperature would be 14,112.2 ppm(v), and a one percent hike raises that value by 5,306.5 ppm(v), to 19,418.7 ppm(v). Dividing the Delta by the current saturation, we get a 37.6% increase in the Earth’s airborne vapor, should the relative humidity not be phased by such a trivial alteration in temperature. Relatively speaking, that seldom discussed little non-linearity has always absolutely terrified me, generally.

      I realize full saturation exaggerates what I attempt to illustrate here, but if we were to undershoot Charney @ equilibrium, contenting ourselves with the above 5.2 F. temperature increase, each of the required 280 CO2 molecules would mobilize ~19 H2O radiative accessories. And, each of those would wield the potential, in liquid phase, to interfere with non-specific reaches across the IR spectrum?

      Are these values anywheres near to being correct? Thirty-eight to one? And, am I properly informed that climatologists assume no change in relative humidity, atmosphere wide, across a percent or two of temperature increase?

  62. “Assuming for a moment that the radiative calculations can be performed with 100% accuracy, the GCM calculated response to a radiative forcing (say, doubled CO2) should then be representative of the Earth’s climate system response (to the extent that atmospheric dynamics of the GCM simulation can produce a GCM-generated climate that closely resemble that of the Earth).”

    But they are not in practice. The models are all over the charts, so to speak, and virtually all have predicted substantially more warming over the last 17 years +/- than has been seen in the reported temperatures.

    Even if the response is “the heat is in the oceans,” it seems to me that all that tells us is that the models are way off on the ocean’s effects on surface temperatures specifically and on climate in general. And surface temps are what the debate has been all about since Hansen’s Senate testimony in 1988.

  63. So much climate science is just weather-based opportunism. The numbers come later, to fit the narrative.

    Anybody desperate for some unseasonal heat? I know you’re out there. Well, eastern Australia is having a very warm May, and our BoM has not wasted the occasion, doing the predictable finger-wagging. MSM co-operating, of course, Murdoch press included. (Admittedly, the Murdoch journos just want you to hit links. Their hearts aren’t in it like the Guardians’.)

    I decided to check my local records for May, which go back to 1907. This is our eleventh warmest May (on the average so far). Most of the hottest May monthly max temps were recorded in the early 1900s, especially around WW1. (Wasn’t that the last time we had a quiet sun? Looks like the ice agers need a new beatup, as well as the warmies.)

    By the way, our driest May was as late as 1957. Interesting, since most of our driest months were decades before that. Our driest and scariest May-winter conditions, perfect for a spring fireball, occurred in 1895. We got the fireball, and because it’s not the outback here (ahem) there was plenty to burn.

    None of this will stop climate experts warning us of coming drought disasters. (In fact, you can’t go wrong predicting drought in Oz, you just have to avoid mentioning what happened in the 190 years prior to 1980.)

    But warmies win on persistence. “Experts” who can ignore all that Antarctic ice and the sheer lack of any remarkable sea level rise could ignore a mastodon in their Prius passenger seat. And if June is extra cold around here? I’m sure they’ll have an explanation for that, a warm one.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Hellishly long, cold winter here in eastern U.S. reminiscent of the winters we used to have in the 70’s… when many of these same people were warning of an impending ice age. Cool-ish spring. I see there’s still plenty of ice left in Lake Superior which is keeping things unnaturally cold for this time of year.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/27/still-ice-on-lake-superior-never-before-seen-in-satellite-era/

      But of course the game is rigged. Heads they win, tails we lose. Hot, cold, wet, dry….it’s a pseudo-scientist’s dream

    • Yes, Al, but in the seventies it was just cold weather. Now it’s a polar vortex…and it’s your fault.

      The Dustbowl and that Texas drought from 1950 to 1957? They just happened. The recent drought, however…your fault!

      Stop doing everything you’re doing, Al. Either that or send money.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Mos,
      The usual suspects are attempting to debunk the 70’s ice age alarmism as a primarily media driven event. http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm

      Perhaps they have a point. But they conveniently overlook the role the media currently plays in sensationalizing global warming. One would have no clue that the IPCC’s actually toned down much of the more dire stuff based on the NYT’s etc.

      • Many were trying it on, but the cooling scare never got as much traction as the present warming scare.

        We have to remember that scientists in the 1970s still felt bound by Enlightenment values of empiricism and observation. All gone now, of course.

    • There is a huge asymmetry of danger however. Cooling is disastrous, warming beneficial. When will they ever learn?
      ==============

    • There are only two tipping points in the Paleo. One is glaciation and the other is de-glaciation. One devastates the biome and the other stimulates it. I can tell you which one we face.
      ===========

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      It’s a puzzlement Kim, one among many, how warmer got to be so thoroughly demonized. There are a several possible general outcomes, one of which is that any warming proves to be a net benefit. Another possible outcome is nothing meaningful happens at all that can be directly traced to CO2. So not only might the cure be worse than the disease, there might not even be a disease. Or irony of ironies, what’s purported to be a disease, is actually the opposite, which is to say a beneficial planet wide greening ensues..

      Now that’s a green party I could get behind.

    • pg, there was a fundamental miscalculation in demonizing warming, and using it as a hook to push a narrative of guilt and fear. The miscalculation may have been deliberate; more likely merely incompetent.
      ==========

    • A clear indication that you have lost.
      The minimization and rationalization takes place.

      This is nicely described on the Denial Wikipedia page.

      A resignation to warming but rationalization that it won’t be bad or may even be beneficial.

      Above all, rightwingers can never admit to losing cuz that is part of their paternalistic doctrinaire. Read up on George Lakoff.

  64. Michael Larkin

    To those who gave answers to my question about initial value and boundary value problems, I extend my sincere thanks. Fred Moolten was correct in that he attempted to answer it in terms that a layman could understand, which is what I asked for.

    But then I learned that I was, in all innocence, asking a question that probably couldn’t be answered in the terms I desired. I simply lack adequate training in, and understanding, of mathematics, which I’d guess applies to the majority of the population.

    That said, I don’t have to be a mathematician to see that there is a lot of uncertainty and ignorance about the complex climate system. Given that fact, it constantly surprises me that some people can be so vehement in opining that CO2 is like a control knob.

    By consensus, including that of most sceptics, it appears to be accepted that CO2 has a significant role to play in the climate system, but it’s only one of many factors, some of which we currently might not even suspect exist.

    By consensus, again on both sides, it’s accepted that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have historically been significantly higher than at present. Is the rate of increase in its concentration from a relatively low level of around 280 ppm over a comparatively short period a significant factor? I’ve seen that mentioned before. But if it is, why would that necessarily be a problem? Would it take the climate system into a new state outside boundaries the world has never seen? Even during the period when humans have been around?

    Who the heck knows? I certainly don’t. And the more I read comments from people less mathematically challenged than I am, the more my sense is that no one else does, either. Is it any wonder that non-specialists like me look at the temperature hiatus, and–noting that it hasn’t corresponded to a hiatus in increasing CO2 production–have become more sceptical? It’s not what was expected or predicted, and we can’t see why from a disinterested scientific viewpoint, the insistence on impending catastrophe continues. Which leads to the strong suspicion that the viewpoint isn’t scientifically disinterested; isn’t principally concerned with empirical data.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Needless to say I think you are wrong. As was Fred in referring to linear equations in relation to sensitive dependence – which is what meant by an initial value problem for nonlinear equations in climate models.

      I answered Fred – who promptly went of on a rant about ignoring me, how I was wrong, a show off, offensive, etc. It’s how he rolls. C’est la vie.

      Did you download the Java applet? It will show you what is meant by graphing solutions to the original sensitively dependent equations used by Edward Lorenz to discover chaos theory. Just plug in slightly different numbers and press play.

      In climate the equivalent is called abrupt climate change.

      ‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

      Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

      The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.’ US National Academy of Sciences. – http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

      Non-warming for a few decades – which is what is happening – in a chaotic climate is little real comfort.

    • Michael Larkin

      Is this a reply to me? If so, what am I wrong about, exactly? That isn’t clear to me.

      Did I download a Java applet? No. I have no clue what you are talking about. I’m a layman, right?

      Did I say anything about abrupt changes being impossible? I think not. And if they could have changed abruptly in the past due to natural factors, why not in the present due to natural factors? If they are changing abruptly, that is. Is 0.8 deg C since 1880 or so abrupt? You tell me.

      Lastly, I’m not looking for comfort. I’m looking for the truth. Oh, and Fred Moolten may be right or wrong in his views, but he seems to me to be a gentleman, whereas your behaviour seems a mite prickly.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      http://judithcurry.com/2014/05/26/the-heart-of-the-climate-dynamics-debate/#comment-571573

      You obviously have no inclination to explore the notion you asked about. And you wrong everything Michael – simplistic nonsense that I was glossing over. I was just trying to be helpful – but if you are going to be a prick about it.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Sorry… and you are wrong about everything Michael…

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Robert I. Ellison and Generalissimo Skippy

      “Needless to say I think you are wrong. ” and “Sorry… and you are wrong about everything Michael…”

      Michael asked for specifics as to exactly which part of his comment was ‘wrong’.

      I read his post and didn’t see much that he could be ‘wrong’ about. It was mostly a summary of his view of the state of ‘Climate Science’ most of which, after reading blogs such as this one and others specializing in ‘climate change’, would come under the heading of ‘belaboring the obvious’, and described how his observations influenced his outlook on climate change and its implications.

      So I will chip in with Michael: Aside from a blanket ‘You are wrong, and simple (generalissimo) to boot.’, what did he say, specifically, that justified that response?

    • Dave Peters

      This infinitely repeated Annie Oakley over the shoulder shot at “pause” really bugs me, Michael. In twelve months, late ’97-’98, the near surface was measured to take on 35 year’s worth of CO2 thermal drift. Nothing in the physics prepares us to assume that CO2 could sustain such an untoward excursion in the thermal equilibrium. If there are several moving influences that interact in chaotic fashion, and some like a really huge El Nino can temporarily dominate the proposed secular influence by two orders of magnitude, why ought not the persistence of a plateau following the year 2000 instaed argue for vapor-boosted persistence? Based upon observed warming across the breadth of the past century, we would not yet be due for further CO2 driven increases from the post ’97 plateau. Not for another decade or two.

  65. Generalissimo Skippy

    Abrupt climate change versus dinosaur thinking is far from the true heart of the climate dilemma. The true heart is how we evolve as a global civilization this century to provide health, education, safe water and sanitation, sufficient food, security, opportunity and freedom from oppression. It is emphatically not this – http://judithcurry.com/2014/05/24/are-climate-scientists-being-forced-to-toe-the-line/#comment-569486 – frankly I’d send the lot to Minnesota and let God sort them out. Don’t they know that we will go to the barricades with guns and blood before surrendering to their life negating ambitions?

    I sometimes describe myself as a climate catastrophist – in the sense of Rene Thom. Thom was a French mathematician who studied earthquakes and landslides. It is essentially an application of chaos theory. Chaos theory in climate implies a mathematically finite risk of catastrophic climate change in as little as 10 years. Just one possibility in a broad range.

    This seems a bit cold blooded for our friends from the Borg collective cult of AGW groupthink space cadets (BCCAGWGSS for short). They need dramatic tales of impending apocalypse to sell a new and bucolic UNtopian nightmare in which families again wander across the savannah trying to avoid being lunch. Seriously – it’s in their vision statement. This requires – inter alia – the destruction of industrial society and the cloning of smallpox from infected victims preserved in glaciers. Articles 5 and 8 of the new economic manifesto.

    The climate equation is thus.

    Impact = population X affluence X (fossil fuels + black carbon + tropospheric ozone + land clearing + loss of soil carbon + nitrous oxide + methane)

    One solution might be to increase the cost of fossil fuels so horrendously that affluence and population crash. Especially if the smallpox can be engineered in time – say the next 500 days.

    Reminds me a bit of the sensei at my dojo.

    Sensei: What do you do if someone grabs your shoulders?
    Me: Push your hands though their arms – grab their shoulders – headbut – knee to the solar plexus – rabbit punch to the back of the skull.
    Sensei: I see – that will work. Say – why don’t we try something a little less lethal?

    Population pressures are the easiest to address. In principle the 8 Millennium Development Goals – http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ – are in combination the best approach to constraining population growth. Ignore for a moment that this is a UN program and so doomed to failure. All of our western governments have committed to raising aid to 0.7% of GDP and this is probably best not sent off to the World Bank but used to supplement existing bilateral aid programs.

    You may note that the eradication of extreme poverty is one of the laudable goals. This is in fact best achieved by free trade and the adoption of democracy and models of fair and transparent market regulation. Perhaps it might be best not to use the US as a model. Affluence allows the moderation of most factors in the brackets of the equation – and is quite a good thing for people and the environment.

    This is as good a starting point for actual progress on development and multi-gas mitigation as any – http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Climate_Pragmatism_web.pdf

    But other than returning the human race to a hunter gatherer state – the only thing that is going to moderate the burning of fossil fuels is technological innovation. This is not a quandary but an opportunity. I am proposing a billion dollar global energy prize stumped up by the UN. That should get people’s attention. And no I don’t care that giving people cheap and abundant energy would be like giving a child a machine gun.

    • Dave Peters

      Skip — Suggest you direct your ire at statist attempts to coerce you to pay for someone else on the grid NOT buying a kwh. That deserves our most animated political wariness. Set mobility aside for a decade, and immediately adopt the French solution for stationary source carbon-free power. They did it for free. Proven. Forty years ago.

      Ire directed at climatology baffles me. We have learned a million-fold more about climate than we knew when Charney planted the goal posts in 1979. At that time, we knew that gentle astro-cycles paced Pleistocene glaciations, but were clueless as to how such tiny zrphyrs could build mile thick ice. And then melt it away. Hence, the planet looked hyper-sensitive to anyone who contemplated the issue, and lead such pioneers as Carl Sagan to fear both a man-induced ice excursion, and runaway heat, on camera, within the same bunch of sentences. Until 1985, when Vostok gave up the secret sauce. And yet today, those posts have not moved a whit. Who would deliberately concoct an alarm over a threat that consists of a three-fold range of potential impact? The sure part of the problem is a nice fraction of the Pleistocene wobble, and no one knows the extent to which the unsure amplification will exacerbate the excursion. Unfortunately, that looks to be the circumstance within which we are deciding what we bequeath posterity

  66. Peter Lang

    Judith, I’ve just read this post and I really like it.

    It’s all good, but I’ll pick on this paragraph to use to support my arguments about the information that is needed for rational policy analysis (including ‘Robust Decision Making’):

    Regardless of the cause of climate variability, we don’t really yet have a good handle on regional vulnerability to climate variability (both hot and cold, extreme events). Even if it was somehow convincingly demonstrated that a certain temperature threshold was ‘dangerous’ given our current vulnerabilities, we don’t know when we might actually encounter that particular threshold. If the threshold is at least a half century in the future, we have no idea what future regional vulnerabilities will be or what technologies might be available. If we are 100% convinced that a warming of say 3C will occur say by 2300 from anthropogenic CO2, does a near term (i.e. now) policy response make economic and political sense? These are clearly not issues for science to resolve, but the scientific debate, particularly regarding the time scale, is relevant to the policy debate. Attempts to argue that ‘dangerous climate change’ is already here depends on dubious links to anthropogenic climate change of extreme weather and rapid sea level rise in some locations (tied primarily to local geological processes and land use practices).

    Policy relevant climate questions

    These are some of the questions we need answers to.

    1. What is the value of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) and Transient Climate Response (TCR)? This question is asking for the ‘value’; James Annan explains on ClimateDialogue: http://www.climatedialogue.org/:

    One rather fundamental point need[s] to be clearly understood at the outset of the discussion: there is no “correct” pdf [probability distribution function] for the equilibrium sensitivity. Such a pdf is not a property of the climate system at all. Rather, the climate sensitivity is a value (ignoring quibbles over the details and precision of the definition) and a pdf is merely a device for summarising our uncertainty over this value.

    2. Is ECS and TCR relevant given that climate changes abruptly [1], [2], [3], not as smooth projections as commonly portrayed by IPCC and assumed in the analyses by Treasury, Ross Garnaut, Sir Nicholas Stern, William Nordhaus, Richard Tol and virtually all the damage projections and economic analyses.

    3. What effect will increasing atmospheric GHG concentrations have on the climate – will it make the next abrupt change happen sooner or later, increase or decrease the rate of climate change, increase decrease the magnitude of the total global average temperature change, make the impacts more or less severe? To answer these questions we need to be able to compare the pdfs of scenarios with and without man’s GHG emissions for these consequences for the next abrupt climate change:

    • Time until the next abrupt change (years)

    • Sign (direction of the change, i.e. warming or cooling) (+ or -)

    • Duration (years) and total magnitude (degrees C or K) of the change

    • Rates of change (degrees C or K per year)

    • Damage function ($ per degree global average temperature change and/or per rate of change ($ per K per year)

    • Damage function per climate category ($ per degree global average temperature change and per rate of change) for each of these categories: Storms, Agriculture, Water, Sea Level Rise, Health, Ecosystems, Energy (e.g. Richard Tol, 2011, Figure 3: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf )

    • Net positive or net negative economic impact

    Important questions regarding proposed climate policies are:

    4. Policy analysis needs to estimate the ‘Expected Benefit’ of the proposed policy and compare it against the opportunity of the other policies forgone. The policy analysis needs to estimate the benefit (climate damages avoided) if the policy is 100% successful and the probability of the policy being successful.

    5. What is the probability that the advocated mitigation policies would succeed in delivering the claimed benefits (climate damages avoided), given real world issues with implementing and maintaining such policies (e.g. carbon pricing)?

    • To answer this question we need to understand the short- and medium-term economic impacts of the proposed policies for each nation state, and consider how each will respond so as to maximise its advantage (game theory) through the situations that could occur over the next century or so.

    6. What is the probability that alternative polices are more likely to succeed (such as removing the political and regulatory impediments that are preventing the world from having low cost nuclear energy and allowing lightly regulated markets to deliver the benefits at least cost)?

    References:

    [1] James Annan, ClimateDialogue, ‘Climate Sensitivity and Transient Climate Response’, http://www.climatedialogue.org/

    [2] Wallace S. Broecker, 1995, ‘Chaotic Climate’, http://www.slc.ca.gov/division_pages/DEPM/Reports/BHP_Port/ERRATA_CSLC/Vol%20II/EDC%20Attachments%20Vol%20II-02.pdf

    [3] Jose A. Rial, et al, 2004, ’Nonlinearities, Feedbacks and Critical Thresholds within the Earth’s Climate System’, http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/global/pdf/pep/Rial2004.NonlinearitiesCC.pdf

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Our results have profound implications for climate science. So far, support for the idea that tipping points can be the explanation for dramatic climatic shifts in the past has been based on models of specific mechanisms. Although compelling cases have been built, there is always considerable uncertainty because it is simply very difficult to prove what had been the mechanism behind such events in the far past. The slowing down that our analysis suggests does not point to any specific mechanism. Rather, it is a universal property of systems approaching a tipping point. Therefore, it represents an independent line of evidence, complementing model-based approaches, suggesting that tipping points exist in the climate system. Clearly, this is an important insight because it implies that, in principle, internal feedback can propel the climate system through an episode of rapid change once a critical threshold is reached.

      Obviously, detection of critical slowing down has two faces. In hindsight it may help to tease out whether past dynamics may be explained by the existence of critical thresholds. With respect to predicting future climate change, it may give us an indication of whether we are entering a situation in which the parts of the earth system may amplify rather than buffer human-induced climate change. Clearly, there are challenges and limitations. Long time series of sufficient quality are needed, and resolution needs to be sufficient to capture the characteristic time scale of the internal dynamics of the system. Similarly, good detrending is challenging but critically important, because unfiltered trends may lead to patterns in autocorrelation that are not related to the system’s dynamical response to perturbations we wish to probe. An important fundamental limitation we should keep in mind is that slowing down will only occur if the system is moving gradually toward a threshold. Therefore, transitions caused by a sudden large disturbance without a preceding gradual loss of resilience will not be announced by slowing down. Certainly, current trends in atmospheric carbon are rather fast compared with the dynamics of ice caps and ocean heat contents, and fluctuations of such variables may therefore not show detectable slowing down on century scales. By contrast, slowing down could possibly be detected in faster subsystems that might have tipping points such as regional atmospheric circulation patterns. In view of our current inability to predict potential abrupt climate shifts (1), having slowing down as a clue for detecting whether such parts of the climate system may be approaching a threshold is a marked step forward in projecting future climatic changes.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14308.full

      This idea of an increase in autocorreation – slowing done – in a time series relates to behavior of the class of dynamical systems. It seems a bit clumsy and approximate for precise prediction.

      Hui Ding et al 2013 used a modeling approach.

      The researchers used a climate model, a so-called coupled ocean-atmosphere model, which they forced with the observed wind data of the last decades. For the abrupt changes during the 1970s and 1990s they calculated predictions which began a few months prior to the beginning of the observed climate shifts. The average of all predictions for both abrupt changes shows good agreement with the observed climate development in the Pacific.

      “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.”

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822105042.htm

      There are decadal approaches using ocean and atmospheric indices and statistics.

      e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/USdrought_zps2629bb8c.jpg.html?sort=3&o=133

      We are currently in a cool multi-decadal mode – and last in the instrumental and proxy records for 20 to 40 years. Whether we shift to a warmer mode – or to a yet cooler – after is an open question as well.

    • Robert I Ellison

      … these last in the instrumental and proxy records for 20 to 40 years

  67. Stephen Segrest

    Robert I Ellison — Layman question. Only with regard to CO2, under Hypothesis 1 and 2 do we “eventually” end up in the same place? I understand that the “progression” would be different between the two hypothesis, but (again only on CO2) is there a “big picture” commonality under the two? Remembering I’m a layman trying to understand from our teachers — maybe this is bad or irrelevant example: If CO2 levels double from 400 ppm to 800 ppm and then stay “exactly” at 800, eventually (again only regarding CO2) does Hypothesis 1 and 2 take us to the same place? Thanks.

    • Robert I Ellison

      In reference to the Ghil sketch. 1 shows gradual warming without periodical variability – II shows gradual warming with natural variability. So the same mean but one with regular ups and down.

      Both are technically known as dinosaur thinking. Ghil’s third sketch – ‘and now for something real’ – is the obvious way to think about it. Reread Hyp III up top.

      Climate is an emergent property of a complex system – the feedbacks are much more powerful than the forcing and can result in rapid and extreme change.

      ‘Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.’ NAS

    • Why is Wally Broecker trying to figure out a way to strip a whole bunch of tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere? Lol.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      If you want to talk technology – OK – but you’ll have to stop making like Muttley.

    • Stephen Segrest

      You ask the Chief this layman question.

      : If CO2 levels double from 400 ppm to 800 ppm and then stay “exactly” at 800, eventually (again only regarding CO2) does Hypothesis 1 and 2 take us to the same place?

      Let me give you a “layman answer”. The answer is “no”, and here’s the explanation.

      Hypothesis 1 suggests that CO2 is a major driver of our climate (the “control knob”). This is based on model predictions supported by laboratory data on CO2 LW absorption characteristics and subjective interpretations of dicey paleo climate data from carefully cherry-picked periods of our planet’s geological past, but no empirical scientific evidence.

      Hypothesis 2 suggests that climate is, in fact, much more complex than that, that natural forcings, for some of which we do not yet fully understand the mechanisms, are the principal drivers of changes in our climate, some of which could occur abruptly in a step-wise fashion and that CO2 plays only a very minor role; it is based primarily on physical observations rather than model predictions.

      So (using IPCC’s range of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 1.5C to 4.5C), and a 2xCO2 transient climate response of around two-thirds of this value, Hypothesis 1 would have temperature rising by 1C to 3C as a result of doubling CO2 from 400 to 800 ppmv, eventually increasing to 1.5 times these values at some hypothetical “equilibrium” stage.

      Hypothesis 2, on the other hand, suggests that CO2 plays only a minor role in shaping our planet’s climate, so the 2xCO2 impact could be 0.5C, but most of the change in climate would come from natural factors, which (although the mechanisms are not yet fully understood) are likely to show cooling over the next couple of decades before returning to the long-term underlying warming trend we have seen since we have been emerging from the Little Ice Age; so that, if we were to reach a level of 800 ppmv by the end of this century, the combined natural and anthropogenic factors could result in warming of about 0.7C to 1C above today’s value (with no additional “bump” from reaching a theoretical “equilibrium”).

      Maybe the Chief can give you a scientist’s (rather than a layman) answer to your layman question – but that’s mine.

      Max

    • Peter Lang

      Manacker,

      but most of the change in climate would come from natural factors, which (although the mechanisms are not yet fully understood) are likely to show cooling over the next couple of decades before returning to the long-term underlying warming trend we have seen since we have been emerging from the Little Ice Age; so that, if we were to reach a level of 800 ppmv by the end of this century, the combined natural and anthropogenic factors could result in warming of about 0.7C to 1C above today’s value (with no additional “bump” from reaching a theoretical “equilibrium”).

      That all ignores that, if man’s influence on climate is negligible, we are probably heading towards the next ice age over the next 80,000 years or so. Ref. Hansen and Sato (2011) Figure 1 here: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf .

      If that is true, our emissions may actually be delaying the next abrupt cooling or reducing it’s magnitude and rate of temperature decline. That’s something that few climate scientists seem to mention.

      And I still haven’s seen a persuasive case that, if warming does occur, it will be net damaging. This paper (you have seen but others may not have) suggests warming would be net beneficial, at least for most of this century and perhaps beyond. I find the paper makes sense to me.

      The net benefit-damage function for the planet is something that is very poorly understood and poorly researched. But it is what wen really need to know.

      Objective, rational scientists and economists have a lot of work to do on these issues. It’s a disgrace that so little work has been done on this in 25 years.

    • Peter Lang

      Agree completely.

      I left out the part on “impact on humanity and our environment” because Stephen Segrest only asked the “what if” temperature comparison for a doubling of CO2 (from 400 to 800 ppmv) with Hypothesis 1 versus Hypothesis 2.

      The study by Richard Tol, to which you refer, would show that the next 2C warming above today would be net beneficial for humanity (the level would be even higher if energy costs could be kept low), so we would have:

      Hypothesis 1: beneficial for humanity, but possibly exceeding the “breakeven point” toward 800 ppmv and becoming net detrimental, if energy prices cannot be kept low.

      Hypothesis 2: totally beneficial for humanity, no matter what CO2 level is reached

      Max

  68. Hypothesis II is that there is an as-yet unknown natural perturbation that is several times larger than AMO or PDO, and tends to manifest itself more over the land than the ocean (where it would have been discovered by now), and especially in Arctic areas where the warming has been fastest. It is a product of the ABCD mindset.

    • It is a product of the what about water vapor mind set and it has manifested itself. It is called mixed phase clouds and caused K&T to miss 18 Wm-2 in their antiquated Earth Energy Balance. The atmospheric “window” is where most of the scary spectral broadening is supposed to take place. Over estimating the window by 100% could be problematic.

    • The ABCD mindset appears to dismiss any possible changes in water vapor as minor, so I am not sure what you are saying, cap’n.

    • Jim D, “The ABCD mindset appears to dismiss any possible changes in water vapor as minor, so I am not sure what you are saying, cap’n.”

      That there is more to water than water vapor. Because of the three phases, water varies the absorption and emissision of energy over several times scales. So while there is no definite “negative” feedback, as in driving the system into cooling with the addition of CO2, there are reductions in the gain or sensitivity. Because of the thermal mass of the water, changes in forcing can have impact centuries later. You and Lacis continually assume the worst case while avoiding the evidenced that is slowly accumulating, climate just ain’t as sensitive to CO2 as previously estimated.

    • Yah, Cap’n, and it is a good thing, too. We’d be naturally cooling rapidly with a high sensitivity, and Man’s meager output barely holding the line, for now.
      ==========

  69. Well Lacis and Easterbrook (who seems to have developed this latest argument for ignoring observational data) seem to want us to believe that an assumed gross simplification of a complex system is fully descriptive of that system without bothering with any proof. Not only that, Lacis clearly didn’t even understand Easterbrooks babblegaff because whether it is a boundary value or an initial value problem the fact remains that climate is indisputably an average of weather over a specified time period as Bengtsson and Easterbrook agreed. Lacis might have said that the boundary value issue was a qualifier to the statement but he didn’t – he said Bengtsson was outright wrong. Maybe you should understand the argument before repeating it Andy!

    In any event if CO2-as-dominant-driver models do not match obs over 17 years of ever increasing CO2 then they are palpably wrong regardless. If you want to argue that we need to wait 30 to 60 years so that natural events even out then you need to accept that your pessimistic predictions based on 1998 – 1978 = 20 years of warming are not worth a bucket of spit and your models need to incorporate more natural variability – as model-savvy skeptics like myself have repeatedly tried to teach you for the past 25 years. This will inevitably mean a very small CO2 sensitivity and zero alarm.

    Face it – there is no way to argue that models are more dependable than the observations that must validate them. If you argue that then you are just relying on the stupidity of reporters and fellow climate scientists. Real scientists and engineers just think you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

  70. Ben Pile has put up an excellent post concerning the decay of science broadcasting.

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2014/05/the-diminished-horizons-of-science-broadcasting.html

  71. Way off topic, but does Solar IR vary much during and across solar cycles?

  72. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    I am not comparing my knowledge of atmospheric physics to that of Andrew Lacis, but I do have some questions which need to be answered:
    I will embed my questions (with preceding arrows – >>) into his recent paper
    Since this paper has not changed in quite a while, I will asume that the scientific basics are solid and have been completely vetted.
    I suspect many of your readers here can assist me in understanding.
    Thank You
    ———————————————————————————————

    by Andrew Lacis

    Atmospheric CO2: the greenhouse thermostat
    Basic conclusions that can be drawn from this exercise:

    (1) The terrestrial greenhouse effect is comprised of two distinct components:(a) the non-condensing greenhouse gases that
    provide the ‘radiative forcing’ that sustains the terrestrial greenhouse effect; (b) the ‘feedback component’ by water
    vapor and clouds that acts to amplify the radiative effect of the non-condensing greenhouse gases.

    >>I think it needs to be studied that CO2 is the mechanism that causes atmospheric H2O to behave the way it does. Can
    atmospheric H2O exist without atmospheric CO2? If yes, how can CO2 be the cause of H2O variations?

    (2) The radiative forcing by the non-condensing greenhouse gases is accurately known, and fully understood. Of the GHGs,
    atmospheric CO2 is the principal contributor, hence the principal control knob that governs the strength of the
    greenhouse effect and global temperature. The greenhouse physics, and the increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases as
    the fundamental basis for global warming, are well founded.

    >>Are there no upper or lower boundaries whereby CO2 has no additional effect?

    3) Water vapor and clouds account for about 75% the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, but are feedback
    effects that require sustained radiative forcing to maintain their atmospheric distribution. Their radiative effects
    are accurately known. The magnitude of their feedback sensitivity is also reliably known, to within order of 10%.

    >>There are no empirical studies that back up this claim. If the atmospheric H2O has a three times greater effect at
    delaying exiting heat from terrestrial earth, why would it not dominate the CO2 presence? We know the H2O is variable, why would it not ‘swamp’ the effects of the CO2?

    (4) The temporal record of global climate change can be separated into two distinct components: (a) global warming – this
    is the steady and predictable increase in the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect that is caused by the
    increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases resulting from human industrial activity; (b) natural variability – this is the
    unforced and mostly unpredictable inter-annual, regional, and decadal variability of the climate system that is
    superimposed upon the steadily increasing global warming component.

    >>Has there been accurate studies of the human industrial activity, so we know that is the driver of increased CO2. Are there other large components increasing the
    concentration? Are there contemplated studies to determine accurately the effects of natural variability?

    (5) Global warming, the climate change component that is driven by greenhouse gas increases, is the reason for concern
    because of its increasing impact on ecosystems and polar ice caps/sea level rise. Whether humans like it or not, and
    whether humans realize it or not, global warming has been so, and continues to be, fully under human control via fossil
    fuel burning. Smaller contributors such as changes in aerosols, solar irradiance, and sporadic large volcanoes exist.
    But aerosol forcing is also anthropogenic and/or short lived. Solar forcing is cyclical and small, while the GHG
    residence time is very long.

    >>How was it determined that GHG residence time is very long?

    (6) Natural (unforced) climate variability is the principal reason for the uncertainty manifested in the largely
    unpredictable temperature and precipitation fluctuations that occur on regional spatial scales, and on inter-annual and
    decadal time scales. Arising from changes in advective energy transports and poorly understood interactions with ocean
    dynamics, this is where uncertainty reigns supreme. However, these advective transports must globally add to zero, and
    the unforced fluctuations are necessarily fluctuations about the global equilibrium reference point. Nature conserves
    energy very carefully. Hence, large deviations from the global equilibrium cannot be sustained. So, this unforced climate
    variability cannot significantly impact the long-term global temperature trend, but its effects on local and regional
    climate will remain the main source of uncertainty for the foreseeable future.

    >>It is the regional aspects of AGW that is the key – they will determine what effective measures of adaption and avoidance
    can be realistically proposed.

    (7) Global climate change is far too complex to be understandable in one swoop. Fortunately, the global warming component,
    it being tied directly to the growing strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, is a uniquely radiative effect that
    can be addressed independently of the other climate complexities. The basic physics of the greenhouse effect is rooted to
    the conservation of global energy. Precise measurements of the rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 are irrefutable,
    leaving no doubt that global warming is happening. Geological evidence shows that 450 ppm of atmospheric CO2 is the
    critical level that is needed to sustain polar ice caps, although the time scale for the melting of polar ice caps is
    many centuries.

    >>Personally, I accept that global temperatures have, and continue to, increase in the atmosphere. I have accepted that
    global atmospheric CO2 concentration has, and will continue to, increase. I do not accept that CO2 is controlling the
    entire process. Such a conclusion exists only in computer simulation – there is no empirical evidence.

    That is the scientific perspective on global warming. Deciding what, if anything, to do about global warming is a
    political problem, but the politicians should keep the science in mind.

    >>I urge my politicians to not act until we have more, and better, evidence of the phenomena. We have time to correct
    what needs to be corrected, or adapt to its’ effects.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Jeffrey, you write “Since this paper has not changed in quite a while, I will assume that the scientific basics are solid and have been completely vetted.”

      Bad assumption. The so-called “physics” that Andy Lacis uses is just a load of scientific garbage.

  73. The Modeling technique is inherently useless for climate forecasting because models with such a large number of variables simply cannot be computed or indeed even initialized with sufficient precision and accuracy.
    see

    The IPCC itself has been quite open about this and in practice the modelers have known for some time that their models have no skill in forecasting and have indeed said so in the WG1 reports. The IPCC AR4 WG1 science section actually acknowledges this fact. Section IPCC AR4 WG1 8.6 deals with forcings, feedbacks and climate sensitivity. The conclusions are in section 8.6.4 which deals with the reliability of the projections. It concludes:
    “Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining the future projections, consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed”
    What could be clearer. The IPCC in 2007 said that we don’t even know what metrics to put into the models to test their reliability.- i.e. we don’t know what future temperatures will be and we can’t calculate the climate sensitivity to CO2.This also begs a further question of what erroneous assumptions (e.g. that CO2 is the main climate driver) went into the “plausible” models to be tested anyway. This means that the successive SPM uncertainty estimates take no account of the structural uncertainties in the models and that almost the entire the range of model outputs may well lay outside the range of the real world future climate variability.
    The key factor in making CO2 emission control policy is the climate sensitivity to CO2 . By AR5 – WG1 the IPCC is saying: (Section 9.7.3.3)
    “The assessed literature suggests that the range of climate sensitivities and transient responses covered by CMIP3/5 cannot be narrowed significantly by constraining the models with observations of the mean climate and variability, consistent with the difficulty of constraining the cloud feedbacks from observations ”
    In plain English this means that they have no idea what the climate sensitivity is and that therefore that the politicians have no empirical scientific basis for their economically destructive climate and energy policies.
    In summary the projections of the IPCC – Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them are based on specifically structurally flawed and inherently useless models. They deserve no place in any serious discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money. As a basis for public policy their forecasts are grossly in error and therefore worse than useless.
    In spite of the above much of the comment on this site and the blogosphere in general still revolves around the IPCC model type- multivariable based approach to climate forecasting. If ones interest is in forecasting it
    It is important to note that it in order to make transparent and likely skillful forecasts it is not necessary to understand or quantify the interactions of the large number of interacting and quasi independent physical processes and variables which produce the state of the climate system as a whole as represented by the temperature metric.
    A new forecasting paradigm is required .
    For forecasts of the possible coming cooling based on the 60 and 1000 year quasi-periodicities in the temperature data and the neutron count – 10 Be data as the best proxy for solar activity see several posts over the last two years at

    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

    The key uncertainty in the forecasts is the timing of the 1000 year peak – it appears that the recent temperature peak was probably a peak in both the 60 and 1000 year periodicities. See Figs 3,4,5 and 6 at

    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2013/10/commonsense-climate-science-and.html

    It seems almost impossible for the establishment academic scientists ,western politicians and the MSM to escape from the model based mind set and turn to this simple ,reasonable and transparent approach to climate prediction. It has come to the point that all data must be forced into supporting the CAGW credo by the academics for their professional survival and all noticeable weather fluctuations whether hot or cold ,floods or droughts are cited as proof of coming warming caused disasters by most politicians and the MSM propagandists for the CAGW cause.

  74. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Jim Cripwell
    You write: ” Bad assumption. The so-called “physics” that Andy Lacis uses is just a load of scientific garbage.”
    is too inflamatory for me. I am trying my hardest to understand the physics.
    I have been taught to be a critical thinker, and my business success is partly a result of that. so, I am told to respect the science of Dr Lacis’ thoughts. If I can pose the questions I do, then the solid underpinnings of CAGW are not very solid. One trouble is that they don’t listen to me and they won’t answer my simple questions – telling me to “go away and do your own research”. I am not a trained Atmospheric Scientist, so i sort through it as best I can. But, I am actually afraid they have the ear of the politician, who may implement some of these dumb ideas they have; such as what the EPA is just about to do next month….

    • Jim Cripwell

      Jeffrey, you write “is too inflammatory for me.”

      Sorry about that. I call ‘em as I see ‘em.

      You also write ” so, I am told to respect the science of Dr. Lacis’ thoughts.”

      I suggest you get some advice from someone else. You are absolutely right. Our politicians are implementing some awfully dumb and EXTREMELY expensive ideas on the basis of what the people like Andy write. Just try and find ANY empirical data with shows that as you add CO2 to the atmosphere from recent levels it has anything other than a negligible effect on anything to do with temperature.

  75. Pingback: Lacis: What is it that determines the terrestrial climate and how it changes? – Stoat

  76. What continues to obfuscate the dynamics of ever-changing climate is the
    resort to unrealistic notions of “forcings and feedbacks” by modellers in
    treating the thermalization of solar radiance by oceans and land masses and the consequent multi-factor heat transfer through the semi-transparent
    atmosphere to space. Contrary to the assumption of “boundary-value”
    equilibrium that is amenable to linear solution in terms of time-average
    radiant energy fluxes, the problem is one of nonlinear, non-equilibrium
    thermodynamics, wherein only semi-steady states may be achieved.

    Nor is the situation clarified any by conflating physical dynamics with purely kinematic conceptions, as exemplified by the three archetypes of temperature variability presented by our hostess on this thread.

  77. John S You say
    “Nor is the situation clarified any by conflating physical dynamics with purely kinematic conceptions, as exemplified by the three archetypes of temperature variability presented by our hostess on this thread.”
    Exactly right – at 3:34 pm above I say
    “It seems almost impossible for the establishment academic scientists ,western politicians and the MSM to escape from the model based mind set and turn to this simple ,reasonable and transparent approach to climate prediction”
    Judith’s comments illustrate this point very well. Although she is obviously more skeptical than almost all the academic establishment she has still not understood that for forecasting the quasi 1000 year periodicity is the key factor and that models would need to be tuned backwards for +/- 3000 years
    to have any hope of accuracy. You can’t do this with numerical computation or by arguing about physical mechanisms occurring during the last 100 years or so.
    You can gain useful insights and make useful predictions by looking at the periodicities in the temperature data as in the figs linked in my 3:34 pm post.

  78. Pingback: Lacis: What is it that determines the terrestrial climate and how it changes? [Stoat] | Gaia Gazette

  79. Brandon Gates

    Dr. Curry;

    I’m hoping that at some point soon, climate scientists will get fed up with trying to play politics with their science and get back to researching and debating these fundamentally interesting and unsolved issues in the science of climate dynamics, rather than attacking their colleagues for suggesting that there are other ways of thinking about climate change.

    I have long since gotten sick of the political intrusion into a field of study that I find quite fascinating. One expects politicians to bait and undercut their opposites as a matter of course, making the process of sorting out plausible truths from the noise an oft tedious but necessary challenge. Such will never change.

    I’ve rubbed shoulders with, and occasionally worked alongside, enough research scientists in other fields to have observed how arrogance and ego can sometimes lead to sharp words. This in a tradition of inquiry where blunt skepticism and critique already rule the day. But I appreciate that sort of plain speaking even if sometimes punctuated by some good old fashioned yelling matches. I can and do learn from that kind of debate.

    It saddens and infuriates me how far climatology has fallen from the tradition of ruthlessly attacking crap arguments as a method of pounding them into something useful. Now what I mostly see is a slugfest of hacking apart colleagues as a method of hewing to political orthodoxy.

    As a hobbyist cruncher of climate numbers, I hold to the general consensus views on climate change. Hard for me to argue against the majority, I have not the expertise to do so. For some time, my overall impression of your work has been favorable but often doubtful. How could I not be, so far removed from the actual work?

    I can say that I share your fascination for the interesting questions so far as I understand them. I’m sure you have orders of magnitude more of them than I. That, for me, is the essence of true skeptical investigation of the sort that leads to discovery and better understanding. This is the best tradition of investigative truth seekers everywhere, and I very much appreciate your efforts.

  80. All of this modeling work is driven by the notion that CO2 is the climate driver when there is nothing in the paleo data that would make an objective observer conclude such a thing. Richard Alley’s book about the Gisp2 ice cores even specifically rules CO2 out (and methane too) as the drivers because they cannot explain the Younger Dryas, not several other smaller but rapid climate events. And nobody seems to know what caused the little ice age. So far we have identified only natural cycles – none of which seem to have any connection with CO2.

    So by questioning climate scientists I’ve been trying to understand why modelers and paleos nevertheless think that CO2 is the control knob of climate and it seems to have come entirely from the Petit Antarctic ice cores that showed temperature and CO2 to be tracking each other. That CO2 is only a heating amplifier so the cooling parts of the cycles cannot be explained by CO2 and hence whatever caused the cooling likely caused the warming seems to have totally escaped the notice of paleos. As many times as I point out this conundrum to paleos they never answer it. Of course how could they? – A rational mind could only conclude that obviously there is a much bigger control knob that dwarfs CO2. Mind you a rational mind wouldn’t argue that it’s ok to use a proxy upside-down in a reconstruction so we can rule out rationality. However they also seem to be guilty of the syndrome of ‘looking for your keys under the light’. ie they don’t really know what drives climate but they do know about the greenhouse effect and they think they know how to predict an enhanced greenhouse effect so in the absence of anything else….. Of course they always come unstuck with rapid cooling events because Greenhouse physics cannot explain them, so they are usually blamed on sporadic outbreaks of aerosols from some source that just comes and goes as deus ex-machina.

    When cornered with facts and logic these concerned scientists either go away, refer to someone else or just go back to the old memes that;
    a) We are conducting an experiment on Earths climate with unknown outcomes.
    b) The climate system has shown huge instability in the past and we are poking it with a stick.
    c) CO2 is higher now than it has ever been for xx millenia.

    Which goes straight back to the dogma that CO2 is the control knob of climate when all the data available, (including todays temperatures) shows that it isn’t. It’s all farcical groupthink! ie CO2 is the climate driver because – well it just is! Of course a) and b) are easy to refute for a rational person:
    A) We conducted that experiment already up to 450ppm and nothing happened.
    B) if the climate has shown huge changes on a macro scale then why not on a micro scale? Why not conclude that the current 0.6K/century rise is nothing more than a natural return from the little ice age?

    But c) is still difficult to refute. Since every other hockey-stick is bogus, experience dictates that the CO2 hockey stick is likely bogus too – but it may not be. I buttonholed a paleo about this – suggesting he perhaps just chose the Antactic data because they fit his hypothesis and then rejected the stomata and Arctic data that do not support the hypothesis on the flimsiest of excuses. I await but don’t expect a reply. To my mind the CO2 may be mixed at a certain height but down on Earth it’s all sources and sinks so little of the ground based CO2 data are likely to be informative.

    • Good stuff, JamesG. I’m grateful to the alarmists for pointing to paleo, where there is evidence of great resilience and massive forces moving through the system. CO2 fizzes up the mixture a bit.
      ===========

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      “So by questioning climate scientists I’ve been trying to understand why modelers and paleos nevertheless think that CO2 is the control knob of climate…’

      I find the control knob metaphor moronic given how much is not known about how the climate works. It’s a self-evidently disingenuous attempt at simplification …and of course entirely predictable. (Kim, see comment above re your elephant metaphor).

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      “So by questioning climate scientists I’ve been trying to understand why modelers and paleos nevertheless think that CO2 is the control knob of climate…’

      I find the control knob metaphor ludicrous given how much is not known about how the climate works. It’s a self-evidently disingenuous attempt at over-simplification …and of course entirely predictable. (Kim, see comment above re your elephant metaphor).

    • pg, I’m trying to figure out where on the elephant the CO2 climate control knob has been fixed by evolution. So far, I suspect it’s among the hindparts.
      =========

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      I’m guessing armpit, Kim.

    • Well, they certainly have it up their noses.
      ==============

    • Good stuff, JamesG. . .
      I can appreciate all the frustration in trying to comprehend the global warming problem. But as Napoleon pointed out over 200 years ago, there is no need to invoke conspiracy when a simple explanation of incompetence will suffice.

      There is indeed a bigger climate control know than atmospheric CO2. It is the Sun. Solar illumination has increased by about 25% since about 4.5 billion years ago, and it will continue to increase for another 4.5 billion years or so, until the Sun finally blows up. The Earth of course will have been incinerated long before that.

      Fortunately, that rate of solar irradiance increase is exceedingly slow by human standards, so we don’t really have to worry about it. On the more recent time scale of decades, satellite measurements have shown solar illumination to be virtually constant, with only a 0.1% oscillation associated with the 11-year sunspot cycle. Thus for all practical considerations, the SW climate control knob has remained fixed, leaving the LW climate control knob associated with the steadily increasing rise in atmospheric CO2 in charge as the current principal controlling factor driving global climate change.

      If you are considering performing CO2 experiments on the microscale, make sure that the measurements are also appropriately designed to be microscale to measure the relevant effect. Just blowing CO2 into a breath analyzer might wind up measuring something else.

      You have be patient with global climate. There are other factors that influence the global temperature besides CO2 like El Ninos, La Ninas, volcanoes, and decadal oscillations that can temporarily make the global temperature go up and down. There is an awful lot of thermal inertia locked up in the ocean, so shifting ocean circulation patterns can easily produce these temporary global temperature oscillations. But these natural variability oscillations average out in the long run and do not constitute a trend in global climate. It is the small warming contributions from the CO2 greenhouse effect that keep piling up. And, because of the immense thermal inertia of the climate system, once global warming as accumulated to the point where it is causing real damage, it will be too late to correct the problem.

      The problem may simply be that you do not understand how the greenhouse effect works. Check Google for Wikipedia.org and type in “greenhouse effect”, and you will get a good idea what is involved. Try thinking for yourself instead of listening to the farcical groupthink stuff promoted by ignorant climate deniers.

    • Clang, clang, clang. ‘Thus for all practical considerations, the SW climate control knob has remained fixed’. Don’t they warn y’all that it is all about the albedo?
      ===========

    • Matthew R Marler

      A Lacis: Try thinking for yourself instead of listening to the farcical groupthink stuff promoted by ignorant climate deniers.

      Who denies climate?

      I requested a reference — was that an example of farcical groupthink?

      I also asked questions — were those also examples of farcical groupthink?

      Admittedly I am ignorant — that is why I ask questions and follow links to papers and buy books recommended by writers such as Chris Colose (who recommended “An introduction to dynamic meteorology” by James Holton, one of the books that I have bought; he also recommended “Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Dynamics” by Jonathan Martin.) You provide the references and I will most likely read them. It’s from reading that I am learning where the holes in the scientific evidence and theory are.

    • Matthew R Marler

      A Lacis, please allow me to introduce myself:

      http://www.linkedin.com/pub/matthew-marler/15/21b/9a9/

      You may also look me up in ResearchGate.

    • Rob Starkey

      A Lacis writes:

      “leaving the LW climate control knob associated with the steadily increasing rise in atmospheric CO2 in charge as the current principal controlling factor driving global climate change.”

      My perspective- A Lacis may believe that the additional CO2 released by humans is what is driving climate change, but the evidence does not appear to support the belief. CO2 will have an impact, but the principle factor driving changes in the climate—that is an unsupported belief. Unless you are able to fully quantify natural variability of the climate, how can you be so certain of your belief that CO2 is driving change more than other changes in the system???

    • Yeah, Rob, that was an amazing, but revelatory, sentence. Both clauses just about as dead wrong as can be.
      ===============

    • Andy

      There is no better example of the rapid cooling,and warming events, that James refers to! than the instrumental record of CET showing the bone chilling cold of the 1690’s that gave way to the heat of the 1730’s that was , according to Phil jones, only fractionally below the hottest decade of the entire record, the 1990’s, from which our climate has since declined.

      This was part of a series of notably warm and cool events we can observe in close juxtaposition from the warm 1540’s to the very cold 1580’s, the very cold early 17th century to considerable warmth a decade or two later. Dickens bone chilling early decades of the 19th century gave way to the warmth of the 1820’s. And so the climate dance continues, warm, warm, cold, ….Cold,warm, warm, cold…

      The modern era looks uncannily like previous episodes of change. It wasn’t co2 then, why should it be now?
      Tonyb

    • i said earlier that Andrew Lacis encapsulates the senility of the CO2 Climate Control Knob argument, but he hadn’t yet put it so succinctly as he does in that magnificent sentence.
      =========

    • JamesG’s opening remarks sadly misrepresent Richard Alley’s perspective on this matter, which is better summarized in his AGU talk back in 2009 (Alley’s book is a great read too, but the emphasis there is specifically on the abrupt climate changes that dominated the last deglacial process, of which CO2 indeed played a secondary role relative to ice-ocean interactions that were superimposed upon the lower frequency orbital/CO2 climate change). Conversely, during the AGU talk, Alley articulately summarizes the large role that CO2 has had in Earth’s paleoclimate, across a number of timescales.

      There are a number of ways to interpret the “control knob” in a useful context. First off, how not to interpret it: as I discussed in my other comment on this thread, the salient issue is the signal-to-noise ratio associated with a climate signal. For “control knob” purposes, we are typically restricting our conversation to well-defined climate changes in the past that are global in scale and externally forced, and are readily detectable against the background internal variability set by ENSO dynamics, Atlantic variability, etc (which have very small amplitudes globally, but which nonetheless compete or dominate typical forced signals over years to decades–with the possible exception of volcanic eruptions, owing to their huge signal).

      Some climate changes in the past such as those caused by asteroid impacts, or large freshwater discharges into the ocean (that disrupted ocean circulation), are interesting as well. So in what sense in CO2 a control knob? Consider several cases:

      1) Earth’s climatology: As discussed by Andy Lacis, CO2 directly exerts a greenhouse effect that makes up about 20% of Earth’s total greenhouse effect. It is by far the largest non-condensable component of Earth’s greenhouse effect as well. This non-condensing “skeleton” of the greenhouse effect provides the underlying scaffold for water vapor to contribute most of its ~50% greenhouse effect, thus allowing the planet to be habitable as we know it. Because Earth straddles a state in which it would be ice-covered without a greenhouse atmosphere, it follows that CO2 is a fundamental constraint on Earth’s habitability.

      2) Climate change: The fundamental ways to change Earth’s temperature involve (a) changing the incoming solar radiation (b) changing Earth’s albedo (c) changing the efficiency at which the Earth sheds infrared energy back to space, i.e., the greenhouse effect. Item (a) exhibits changes either very slow or very small, while (b) is generally a feedback (from clouds or ice) in response to underlying changes in the climate, or a direct response to volcanic eruptions (that are short lived). We could live on a world orbiting a very active star that underwent much more climatically disruptive changes on human timescales, or one that exhibited rapid albedo fluctuations (such as Mars, as occurs with dust storms) but our experience over the Holocene is that item (a) and (b) tend to change by rather small amounts- perhaps enough to get things like “Little Ice Ages” but nothing more.

      These observations lead to the conclusion that item (c) is the most practical and readily available way to change Earth’s climate by large amounts. And since we’ve already established that most of Earth’s greenhouse effect is under the leverage of CO2, it makes CO2 worth looking at in detail. Other suspects must be of non-condensable nature under Earth’s prevailing temperature-pressure regime. Other gases (like CH4), however, typically exert a modest greenhouse effect relative to CO2 or are not long-lived in the current atmosphere. Thus, the Sun and non-CO2/non-condensing greenhouse gases are more like “fine tuning knobs” than control knobs, although their contribution must be acknowledged in a contemporary context to correctly hindcast global temperature evolution.

      3) The last point is borne out in the geologic record by a number of climate events. On a fairly rapid timescale, we have the PETM, or the CO2 changes associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. The latter involved carbon cycle feedbacks in response to orbital changes, but CO2 controls the magnitude of global temperature change and provides a way to communicate temperature changes away from the ice sheets into tropical latitudes and across hemispheres. On slower timescales, CO2 is invoked in almost every deep-time climate problem ranging from the slow climate cooling over the last 60 million years, including the inception of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, all the way to providing a means of offsetting the effects of an ever brightening Sun (the luminosity increases ~7-8% per billion years).

      In particular, the fact that CO2 concentration is regulated by a negative weathering feedback over geologic scales makes it a true “knob” in a long-term context. This mechanism provides an escape mechanism for a hard Snowball Earth, or a means to cool down after the post-Snowball hothouse aftermath. No other forcing agent can boast such immediate control over the evolution of our climate.

      4) Looking beyond Earth, CO2 is almost entirely responsible for Venus’ scorching temperatures. It probably made a large contribution in the history of Mars too. Most notably, explaining the faint Sun paradox on Mars is an even grander challenge than on Earth. Astrobiologists are interested in CO2 on any conceivable Earthlike planet toward the inner part of its own stellar system (CO2 cannot be important in the outer solar system because it becomes cold enough for it to condense).

      What makes CO2 attractive from a planetary standpoint, aside from its familiar importance on all the terrestrial planets, is its chemical stability, silicate-weathering thermostat mechanism (which should operate on any body with liquid water and plate tectonics– or conversely, predictably break down on bodies without one of those ingredients, as on Mars or Venus), and lack of need of a biological source to sustain the CO2 concentration. Radiatively, CO2 stands out because it absorbs right at the heart of the Planck emission spectrum for planets at Earth-like temperatures.

      In short, very little in Earth’s climate history or in comparative planetology would make any sense without CO2. Why abandon a framework with such immense explanatory and predictive ability for half-baked ideas with no such support?

    • The higher the climate sensitivity to CO2, the faster we would now be naturally cooling, in the absence of a rising CO2.
      ==============

    • maksimovich

      Most notably, explaining the faint Sun paradox on Mars is an even grander challenge than on Earth

      Parallel climate change on both earth and mars ie an ice age Mars coincident with Earth’s glacial Quaternary period is very hard to explain physically (intuitively this suggests a coupled system) which is difficult to explain in terms of orbital forcing.

      Your homework is to explain the reasons.

    • Chris Colose | May 29, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
      On a fairly rapid timescale, we have the PETM, or the CO2 changes associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. The latter involved carbon cycle feedbacks in response to orbital changes, but CO2 controls the magnitude of global temperature change and provides a way to communicate temperature changes away from the ice sheets into tropical latitudes and across hemispheres.

      It seems it’s difficult to end a glacial period. I am not sure it’s clear that orbital changes do explain that, but assume they do. The CO2 amplifies the small increase or regional redistribution of the solar radiation. Going over a threshold that held back change.

      Amplify or Control. It may appear we have a controlled rise in the GAT when leaving a glacial period. So does the CO2 know that we’ve arrived at the normal interglacial? Does the CO2 go into plants or something like that to stop it from amplifying?

      I think it’s accepted that CO2 lags temperature as in the exit from a glacial period. As we approach that normal interglacial period what brakes the rise if CO2 is increasing? As other have mentioned, it’s amplifying ability may vary. More commonly put as sensitivity varies.

      I get what you’re writing. CO2 holds the science together.

    • Chris Colose | May 29, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
      On a fairly rapid timescale, we have the PETM, or the CO2 changes associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. The latter involved carbon cycle feedbacks in response to orbital changes..

      An interesting take on leaving a glacial period:
      ..Our simulations suggest that a substantial fraction (60% to 80%) of the ice sheet was frozen to the bed for the first 75 kyr of the glacial cycle, thus strongly limiting basal flow. Subsequent doubling of the area of warm-based ice in response to ice sheet thickening and expansion and to the reduction in downward advection of cold ice may have enabled broad increases in geologically- and hydrologically-mediated fast ice flow during the last deglaciation. Increased dynamical activity of the ice sheet would lead to net thinning of the ice sheet interior and the transport of large amounts of ice into regions of intense ablation both south of the ice sheet and at the marine margins (via calving). This has the potential to provide a strong positive feedback on deglaciation.
      The timescale of basal temperature evolution is of the same order as the 100-kyr glacial cycle, suggesting that the establishment of warm-based ice over a large enough area of the ice sheet bed may have influenced the timing of deglaciation. Our results thus reinforce the notion that at a mature point in their life cycle, 100-kyr ice sheets become independent of orbital forcing and affect their own demise through internal feedbacks.

      http://www.geo.oregonstate.edu/files/geo/marshall-clark-2002-grl.pdf

      h/t scienceofdoom

      Too much ice in certain places collapses. Orbital cycles seem too thin to me. Escaping from such a stable deep hole on a near 1% change? I think Sornette was in the neighborhood of avalanches.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Chris Colose: In short, very little in Earth’s climate history or in comparative planetology would make any sense without CO2. Why abandon a framework with such immense explanatory and predictive ability for half-baked ideas with no such support?

      You wrote that in response to JamesG. For me, the questions are not about the past, but about the future: Will a future doubling of CO2 concentration (a standard for comparison, but not the only possible increase worth considering) produce a warmer climate? As far as I can tell, the answer is “maybe”. If it does, how much warming will it be? Every way to calculate an answer to that has liabilities (approximations of unknown error), but it looks now most likely less than 1.5K, with tremendous regional and temporal variation. Will the rainfall increase or decrease? It looks now like an overall increase in rainfall (as has been observed in the US since about 1950), again with much variability. Will the changes be bad? It looks now like the increase in CO2 will most likely produce an increase in plant growth rates, for crops and non-crops. The overall combination of increased temperature and increased rainfall will also most likely be good for plant life (again taking US since 1950 as an example.) The main point is not what my hunches are now, but that the scientific knowledge is too incomplete and insufficiently accurate for a good case one way or another.

      AND

      Other important questions without answers, as far as I can tell: Will the sun now display a Maunder Minimum-like reduction in activity? If it does, will that produce a Little Ice Age like cold trial for humans?

  81. Up to 400ppm i meant.

  82. nobodyknows

    Thanks for the interesting discussions. There is some question about the heating / cooling I wondered about. It is generally about the lapse rate feedback related to the latent heat. I can not see anyone taking up this in this discussion. There are some who claim that glaciers in the Himalayas is melting because of global warming. This would imply a change in temperature over 5000m. which would indicate a change in radiation, and consequently global cooling. If high troposphere warms up, it would mean higher radiation from TOA. What I’m wondering is if more heat from the surface will increase the height of condensation and icing, thus releasing energy in the higher altitude, then create change in emission hight. What do climate models say on this.

    • Steven,

      I given precise data, now you should give yours that shows the “trend is down” in OHC for the Atlantic, north or south.

      Please don’t tell me you’ve fallen prey to Chief Hydro Skippy Ellison’s nonsense, who will tell you repeatedly exactly the opposite of what is occuring.

  83. An excellent diagram showing how closely the climate is “the sum of all forcings”.

    http://tinypic.com/r/6iefsw/8

    • Heh, what’s the sum when you don’t know all the numbers?
      ==========

    • Very nice chart RG.

      That is essentially what my CSALT model tries to tabulate, the sum of all forcings.

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

      And for prediction purposes, it is nice to be able to be able to project the influence of the major contributing factors, one of those which is ENSO. That’s why I have tried to develop a simple model of ENSO:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/05/27/the-soim-differential-equation/

      The deniers should be rejoicing that someone is trying to characterize natural forcing by determining the sum of all forcings.

      Yet, to them, it actually amounts to the sum of all fears … or more like it, the fear of all sums. They hate it when anyone tries to do real science.

      …. pseudo-scientific poseurs that they are.

    • That chart seems to have been made by an AMO denier.

    • “That chart seems to have been made by an AMO denier.”
      _____
      Ha! Best laugh I’ve had today.

      Imagine that the the chart simply displays the actual sum of all forcing. Uh oh…where does that leave the much beloved AMO?

    • It takes a lot of imagination to imagine away the decrease in OHT and the drop in OHC to/in the N Atlantic. Maybe you should find something to deny that will take a little longer to prove you wrong.

    • steven,

      Indeed it does take very little effort to see that the Atlantic as a whole, both north and south, are seeing their highest heat content readings on record:

      http://data.nodc.noaa.gov/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/basin/yearly/h22-a0-2000m.dat

      All in line with the highest global ocean heat content on record:

      http://data.nodc.noaa.gov/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/basin/yearly/h22-w0-2000m.dat

      But continue on with your “Ode to Denialism”– I understand how ones identity can be caught up in such memes.

    • Go ahead and pin your hopes on an anomalous data point. The trend is down and unless that OHT picks back up that is the direction it will continue to go.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The chart is detrended – all it shows is the variability. Which some of us understood a decade or more ago.

      McLean et al were roundly attacked by the usual attack gerbils for suggesting in the discussion section that as ENSO was so influential on variability it might have decadal influences as well.

      Yes – one way or another it does.

      e.g. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

      It is hard to imagine a sillier group of post facto rationalizers – unless it’s a spaceship cult – with which there are startling similarities.

    • So it is. Go to climate4you Gates. they show the trend there. Down. Up to date.

    • Steven,

      I given precise data, now you should give yours that shows the “trend is down” in OHC for the Atlantic, north or south.

      Please don’t tell me you’ve fallen prey to Chief Hydro Skippy Ellison’s nonsense, who will tell you repeatedly exactly the opposite of what is occuring.

    • Steven, I can only surmise that you’ve fallen under the spell of some very
      Hallucinogenic Cherries, picked carefully for your consumption. And then of course Chef Skippy gives a link to absurdly old data.

    • Well I knew it looked just wrong but I failed to notice you were going down to 2000m. Look at the 700m data. You know, where the measurements are likely to be close.

    • So, in the North Atlantic, restricting our cherry picking to 700m, heat content is the highest since 2010, and Atlantic wide, it is the highest ever, as it is for the global ocean at both 700 and 2000m. And you think this restricted N. Atlantic cherry pick is evidence of what exactly?

    • Pretty short time frame you limited yourself to. Why not since 2003? oops, guess that wouldn’t work for you very well. Come on Gates just admit the obvious. OHT is slowing and OHC is dropping. That is the AMO heading south. The oscillation that is missing from the AMO deniers chart.

  84. Dave Peters

    On the back & forth between Tonyb and R Gates during the afternoon of the 26th;

    If you measure the CO2 drift across both treads and risers during century 20 (starting from 1907 when a 35-yr crawl of Hadley4 bottoms, and ending with the five-year average which straddles the Super ENSO), you get a maximum 1.5 hundredths F., per year. Warming has since accelerated to the most current complete 5-yr, by 45%, to 2.2 hundredths F. per year.. But, from 9/97 thru 8/98, 0.55 F. disgorged from the Pacific to the near surface, in a single year!

    That is 35X the max attributable avg. CO2 drift. Why, in the wake of that massive elevation of atmospheric heat, would not the expectation be for Planck IR at 4th power of the raised surface T, thru a sizable spectral window, to effect a relaxing, bleed down? Thus, far from a mystery of “why hiatus?”; I am bothered by those who would expect further warming, until a third of a century elapsed. Instead, post 2000, the surface temp “plateaued”, rather than relaxing back to levels prevailing before the great Pacific burp. This to me, indicates very strong evidence of robust vapor feedback.

    Why am I wrong in this intuition, Tony or low sensitivity allies? Thnx.

    • It’s the centennial and millenial scale forcings. High sensitivity is excluded, unless naturally occurring forcings are rapidly cooling. Let us hope, some may pray, that is not so.
      ===========

    • Dave,

      I think you and others might find this research very interesting:

      http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/6/art%253A10.1007%252Fs00382-012-1375-3.pdf?auth66=1401537515_ff699a57496cbd16405fdec23feb41a5&ext=.pdf

      But to your question, looking at the climate system energy imbalance without focusing on ocean heat content will lead to inaccuracies in perception of the dynamics. Focusing on tropospheric sensible heat, which is so strongly driven by ENSO over timeframes at less than decadal average scales, is a very poor proxy for the continued forcing from CO2. Ocean heat content is a far better proxy, and the releases of a bit of extra sensible and latent heat during an El Niño, or a bit less during La Niña periods does not decelerate or accelerate the consistent upward gains to net energy in Earth’s climate system. The system continues to accumulate somewhere on the order of 0.5 x 10^22 Joules per year, which is very much consistent with a TOA imbalance of around .5 to .6 w/m^2. In other words, the “hiatus”, from a full system perspective, never happened.

    • Bulking up EarthShip Moth with stored energy shields her winged flight from the flame of the glaciated attractor, but I think your hope is vain, RG; the energy has most likely been reflected back to space.
      ============

    • “RG; the energy has most likely been reflected back to space.”
      _____
      Then you’ll need to explain where all that energy is coming from that is warming the oceans and going into the latent heat of fusion that is melting all that ice in Antarctica and Greenland.

    • I’m speaking of Trenberth’s missing heat, and you exaggerate what we are actually observing.
      ==========

    • Not even Pielke Sr. believes your nonsense. He carefully added up the portion of the missing eat that has so far been found in the oceans. Some of it was reflected back to space. Some of it is in the oceans. Your twisting is astounding.

    • R. Gates, “going into the latent heat of fusion that is melting all that ice in Antarctica and Greenland.”

      The basal melt portion would be stored energy from 100k plus years ago, so you would need to figure out what portion of the melt is directly CO2 related. Why don’t you do a post on glacial energy balances?

    • “Not even Pielke Sr. believes your nonsense. He carefully added up the portion of the missing eat that has so far been found in the oceans. Some of it was reflected back to space. Some of it is in the oceans. Your twisting is astounding.”
      ___________
      So you call it “twisting” the fact that if you combine increased ocean heat content with latent heat of fusion from decreased glacial ice plus the overall longer-term warming of the troposphere you can see that there really is no “missing heat” as all those come quite reasonably close to the TOA imbalance.

      Interesting definition of “twisting”.

      Also, I don’t think you should say “not even Pielke Sr. believes”, as though he believes outrageous things. He was the first to point out how using sensible heat (as opposed to full moist enthalpy), gave an inaccurate perception of changes of energy in the troposphere if temperature is going to be used as a proxy.

    • Heh, RG, you got a little twisted up, there. Fack is, nobody knows to the degree you are sure.

      Uncertainty, Ho!
      ==========

    • “…you exaggerate what we are actually observing.”
      _____
      How could I know what “you” are observing? Fortunately, the as the data gets better, the uncertainty monster has less room to move around and eventually starts to be just a little fellow floating around in a teacup.

    • “The basal melt portion would be stored energy from 100k plus years ago.”
      —-
      The overwhelming factor in glacial melt for both Greenland and Antarctica is warmer water melting the tidewater glaciers from underneath. Nothing to do with basal melt heat from 100,000 years ago. That’s quite silly.

    • So, to follow up a bit– ocean heat content plays a direct role in melting these tidewater glaciers, and that heat goes into the latent heat of fusion melting these tidewater glaciers from underneath.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      This is the North Atlantic to 1900m graphed from the Global Argo Mapper – which uses gridded data based on the Roemmich, D. and J. Gilson, 2009, Argo climatology from the Scripts Institute.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ARGONorthAtlantic_zps2860cf85.jpg.html

      Gatesy is a ning nong – which wouldn’t be so bad if weren’t such a smug, self satisfied, proselytizing, misguided and aggressive ning nong.

      Consumer warming – this data must be cherry picked.

    • Skippy said:

      “Consumer warming – this data must be cherry picked.”
      ——
      Which is exactly what he did. When you look at his graph, please not the very tight constraint on location. If you look at the entire N. Atlantic or the entire Atlantic or global ocean, you see the clear upward trend:

      http://data.nodc.noaa.gov/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/basin/yearly/h22-w0-2000m.dat

      But of course, he loves his cherries.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      You were talking north Atlantic ning nong.

      Here’s most of the planet.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/OceanHeat_zpsb71f0636.jpg.html

      Distinguishing squat against large interannual variation in such a short record is long hair leaping gnome territory.

      BTW – here’s the salinity.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/OceanSalinity_zps1ac25cd9.jpg.html

      Now that’s some interesting data.


    • Distinguishing squat against large interannual variation in such a short record is long hair leaping gnome territory.

      That’s some sour grapes to mix in with the picked cherries.

      Amazing how so many gullible CE readers figure the cheefie to be some kind of genius. He is smart in the way that Karl Rove is smart. One of those guys that knows how to manipulate words to achieve an end.

      Just the usual Rovian tactics from the cheefie.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The line originated with Joseph Goebbels – the Rove connection is just US puissant progressives whining.

      Attribution is just something else they have problems with – http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_Net_zps9f7faaaa.png.html?sort=3&o=38

      Why is everything so trivial with them?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      … damn autocorrect – pissant progressive…

    • R. Gates wrote: Then you’ll need to explain where all that energy is coming from that is warming the oceans and going into the latent heat of fusion that is melting all that ice in Antarctica and Greenland.

      The energy that melt ice comes from the sun. The snowfall that is rebuilding the ice in Antarctica and Greenland faster than it is melting, is coming from the warm wet Polar Oceans. This will continue until there is enough ice and then the polar oceans will freeze and turn off the snowfall. This works every time. Look at actual data.

      • Ingvar Warnholtz

        Rain can be quantified. The rain gauge template is a one sq metre box in which 1mm of rain yields one litre. Thus, over 1,000 sq metres that means approx. 1 tonne of water. That was previously water vapour, the most important greenhouse gas, without which we would not exist.
        The heat or energy released when vapour condense to water is huge and returns to space, where it came from originally.
        Because you cannot get a reliable CO2 reading unless the water vapour is removed from your air sample, why is it now so important whether it is 1 ppm or 1000 ppm when, as ‘scientists’ have said, that we need water vapour to live. Are we really wasting our time debating various hypothesis when no one can identify the remaining 999,600ppm of gases in our air – note it should be wet air.
        I am just a simple onlooker/observer of natural events.

    • We need the oceans to be warm and wet to rebuild ice on land. Be patient, this will become easier to understand as more data becomes available. There is enough data now. The models say the data will rapidly go out of bounds. Every year that the data does not go out of bounds will get more and more people to think that maybe the alarmists are wrong. We know know that seventeen years is not enough. Will it be twenty of fifty or a hundred or even a thousand years. I think now.

      The king has no clothes on and more and more people do understand that every day. Look at actual data and look at model output and think, every day, what is wrong here?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Dave Peters: Why, in the wake of that massive elevation of atmospheric heat, would not the expectation be for Planck IR at 4th power of the raised surface T, thru a sizable spectral window, to effect a relaxing, bleed down?

      That is an excellent question, doubly so if the driver of the warming were an increase in tropospheric CO2.

      Part of the problem, imo, comes from considering spatio-temporal average temperatures and humidities rather than place and time specific values. What are the humidities and cloud covers that have been effected (good word choice by you, not so incidentally) by the temperature change?

  85. Dave Peters

    Comment #2, in re: D. Hagan’s remark @ 5/26; 7:40 pm

    As an economist, there are two combustion problems: mobility and stationary. The French have demonstrated two generations ago, that decarbonizing residential power is costless, as is shown in Mr. Hagan’s cite. Since they now charge 2/3rds what the average of UK, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain and Denmark do. If we are stuck in a two generation, so far utterly fruitless tug of war between interpreting aerosol data/physics, v. natural rhythms, why not split the difference on the act or not act now issue, by coalescing upon moving now on the costless mitigation avenue, while leaving mobility (and forcing those politically adverse to the soft path menu from eating hated state-ist remedies on the stationary side), for a less uncertain day? The science underlying risks versus popular attitudes, concerning balls to the wall nuclear, is a zillionth less complex than wrestling the planet’s behavior to the floor. And the relative risks of downsides, especially as to probability of adversity, approach the infinite.

    • Gentlemen, start your reactors. In two decades we’ll know, and I hope you’re ready for the track by then.
      ============

    • Matthew R Marler

      Dave Peters: why not split the difference on the act or not act now issue, by coalescing upon moving now on the costless mitigation avenue, while leaving mobility (and forcing those politically adverse to the soft path menu from eating hated state-ist remedies on the stationary side), for a less uncertain day?

      Another interesting question. My first guess is that the people who claim to want to reduce CO2 mostly also object to nuclear power in any form.

  86. Dumbing down for the TV audience

    Cosmos Host Tyson Proclaims Global Warming Theory as Fact

    http://www.examiner.com/review/cosmos-host-tyson-proclaims-global-warming-theory-as-fact

  87. Andy,

    Thank you for the explanations and your patience.

    Would I be correct in saying that your computer simulations are run using ‘boundary value’ methods in order to investigate possible future climates rather than doing predictions? So the result is more that you produce a range or space of possible future climate states, with no timescale, and no preference for one over another.

    I’ve looked at some other web-sites which comment on this discussion at Climate etc and seen some unpleasant and off-putting attitudes. Climatologists should remember that there are very many more ‘concerned citizens’ who’re viewing these web-sites than there are commenting on them. Most are looking for clues about the climate arguments. Climatologists should avoid heaping scorn on folk who’ve just started to look into what the evidence really is and found things they’re surprised by.

    Kindness gives people time to think.

    Much appreciated,
    Ann.

  88. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Didn’t like Cosmos then, and don’t like it now.

  89. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Ann, greetings. I am trying to find any empirical evidence of a high, or very high atmospheric temperature to CO2 sensitivity. I’ve been looking since AR4 (2007). If you have run across something uinteresting in this regard, can you share it with me?

    Much appreciated!

  90. Jeffrey,
    There’s no empirical evidence either way. Nothing that says it’s not natural variability, and nothing which says it’s not CO2.

    Water’s the secret. On our little planet water managed to stick. Why?

    • Climate Models use CO2 and their output does not match real data. That is more than enough proof for me. The actual calculations show the influence of CO2 to be small. That is good proof for me. The feedbacks in the Theory and Models has not provided output that matches real data. That is more than enough proof for me. The math says CO2 has a small influence. The Models say CO2 has a large influence. Real data agrees with somewhere between zero and the small influence. That is more than enough proof for me. There is plenty of proof, just look at actual data and compare it with the alarmist data. They are not even similar.

    • Water, in all of its states, is Abundant. Water, in all of its states, does regulate the temperature of Earth.

  91. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Here in the US, come Monday next, we will be subject to rising electric rates, which will never go away. This will regulate the CO2 and we will avert the global consequence of CO2 concentrations over 350 ppmE. They are doing it to protect me from harm (Bless them all).

    At least, that’s what we have been told. No proof, mind you – not a single shred. But, our utility bills will go higher than those in the EU. Once the coal fired plants are turned off, they will limit (or eliminate) exportation of the coal, so that it cannot harm our atmosphere.

    Keep your eye on the Keeling Curve – I’ll project right now that it’s slope will only rise, regardless what the US does to try to affect it.

    • Jeffrey

      Its only the West that is going down this silly route. The rest of the world must be laughing up its sleeve as we try to destroy its own competitiveness whilst making its population poorer.

      Mind you, if you raise your energy prices-gas is currently a third of the EU- to ours it will make us more competitive. I am not sure what the US Public will think of it if and when the hike comes to bring your prices into line with ours,
      tonyb

    • Ah, but you need to be shrewd like us Aussies. We sell primo coal to Asia in enormous amounts but tax the hell out of it when burnt locally. (Even smarter, we don’t renew our coal power generation. It’s a form of recycling, like keeping an old 1980s Ford Falcon on the road.)

      Silly China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan will have atmospheres putrid with carbon…our Australian National Atmosphere will be the envy of the planet. Think of the green jobs, the eco-tourism, the brochures. And stuff.

  92. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Tony, this is just the latest of a whole series of bills that have made most people in the middle class poorer. This environmental stuff has been going on since 1960, or earlier. We are slowly being led to the cliff. And, so far, no way to stop it. No rescuer on the horizon, either.

    Coal and nat gas are the two main energy sources left. When they are gone I will get my electricity from the windmill down the street. If it’s not turning, oh well.

    • Jeffrey

      The latest madness here -bearing in mind our latitude-are 50 acre solar farms. For 8 months of the year the power they generate is virtually nil. Mind you they are good companions to the often motionless windmills close by.

      Quite frequently in winter we get periods of cloud and no wind. So that knocks out both these sources.

      Until Battery technology improves and the power that renewables produce can be used when needed, they are a shocking waste of money as well as monumentally ugly.

      Sorry to hear that the US are the latest Lemmings throwing themselves off the energy cliff
      tonyb

    • Tony,

      Is there even enough local energy to supply the population of Great Britain?

      If not, perhaps time to migrate?

    • RGates flicks his finger and wipes out another few tens of millions.
      =========

    • Rgates

      We have plenty of coal, now off limits. The EU is forcing us to retire our older nuclear power stations. At our latitude solar power is insane. The wind often decides not to blow.

      We are however an island with nowhere further than 70 miles from the sea so liquid wind and tides could provide much of our needs.

      Trouble is there is very little research going on into marine energy.

      Tonyb

    • Not to mention thick and frackable natural gas reserves.
      ========

    • kim | May 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm |

      RGates flicks his finger and wipes out another few tens of millions.
      =========

      Project much, you sickening MF’er ?

  93. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Tony

    Bet you don’t know this…the natural gas availability has skyrocketed here because of new technology, allowing for horrizontal drilling (fracking is key). However, all federal lands are off limits. All of the new gas development here is on private lands; and, the Feds own 30% of the land west of the Mississippi river!

    Here’s another one: it has been proven that corn ethanol discharges more CO2 than the equivalent amount of gasoline it replaces. The reason for developing ethanol is to reduce the CO2 emissions! When I go to fill up the car, I get a blend of gasoline and ethanol; I have no choice, other than to change cars to an electric, or bicycle. Meanwhile, it is so corrosive to engines, that we have additives to put in the engines to try to combat it; and, people are starving because we can’t grow enough corn to eat.

    lol! When will they ever learn?

    • Madnesses of the Crowd develop turbulence. It’s a good thing, too; had it remained laminar we’d be over the cliff.
      ================

    • Jim Cripwell

      Jeffery, you write “Here’s another one: it has been proven that corn ethanol discharges more CO2 than the equivalent amount of gasoline it replaces.”

      Which “corn ethanol”? That from the kernels, or that from the stover?

    • We are governed by a massive collections of dumbA$$es.

    • Jeffrey.

      I knew all about your first sentence but certainly not the second. Of course you are a much bigger country than us, but with so much land off limits presumably fracking is going to be a short lived energy source?

      The eu forced ethanol into the petrol mix some years ago. I personally would rather see the stuff going into feed.
      It’s ideology rather than common sense that seems to be uppermost at the moment.

      Tonyb

  94. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Jim Cripwell,
    I have not investigated the corn ethanol process here in the US, so I can’t answer your question. However, in general, my comments are accurate. I lean strongly toward kernels, though.

    Jim2
    “We” put them in office, time we get them out, I ‘recon.

  95. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Tony, I have not kept up with the figures, but the USA has enough proven reserves of natural gas to last 200 years at present consumption. I can only imagine what it would be if we could get to the Federal land — double that? I dunno, of course, they are expanding nat gas consumption to replace coal.

  96. I am perplexed about the way the term “boundary value problem” is being used in this debate. Having done a certain amount of numercal solution of differential equations, I thought I knew what the term meant.

    The way it has been used by Andy Lacis, and Prof Curry, and e.g. here http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2010/01/initial-value-vs-boundary-value-problems seems to imply something like “the problem of finding the average behaviour”, or perhaps finding the “boundaries” within which the solutions lie.

    But that has nothing to do with “boundary value problem” as normaly understood in maths and physics: A boundary value problem is one where there is a constraint on the solution of a differential equation, specified at a boundary.

    See the wikipedia page:

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

    “For example, if the independent variable is time over the domain [0,1], a boundary value problem would specify values for y(t) at both t=0 and t=1, whereas an initial value problem would specify a value of y(t) and y'(t) at time t=0.”

    What is the “boundary value” on climate change? Unless the climate modellers have, for example, fixed the temperature at 2100 in advance and are requiring everything else to fit (tongue-in-cheek) I don’t think there is one. The only fixed point is the present, and climate is an initial value problem just like weather, though perhaps one in which you are more interested in the ensemble average than in any particular model run. That is a different issue entirely.

    Perhaps this is just a strange usage that has arisen in climate science. But if someone like Andy Lacis is going to come up with a statement like:

    ‘Lennart [Bengtsson] states that “Climate is nothing but the sum of all weather events during some representative period of time.” Superficially, the statement is quite correct. But fundamentally, that statement is flat wrong. This is because climate is a boundary value problem in physics, while weather is an initial value problem.’ (in his post here: http://judithcurry.com/2014/05/24/are-climate-scientists-being-forced-to-toe-the-line ).

    then he had better get his terms right. Because yes there is a well-known difference between these types of problem, to which many people would think he was referring. But it is not relevant here.

    • Read the latest post at http://ContextEarth.com

      Boundary values can synchronize the time series and thus preventing it from following a random trajectory.

      The issue with the butterfly chaos theory is that only the single initial value was considered. In the real world, more periodic forcings are expected.

    • See my mail above – they’re just using the technique to start a model run by guess-work.

    • Thanks for the link, WebHub. A short extract:

      “The initial conditions of x(0) and x'(0) are also included but are weaker terms than the long-term cyclic forcings. This has to do with the fact that climate is based on boundary conditions whereas weather is based on initial conditions as described by Andrew Lacis [3] . In this case, the boundary conditions are set by the ENSO forcing functions, which will synchronize over time, thereby over-riding the initial conditions of any point in time”.

      Again, this is not the description of a “boundary value problem” as I understand it. A boundary value is a constraint on the *solution*, e.g. that the wave on a drumhead must have zero amplitude at the edges, where it is held down. I don’t think a time-variable forcing term counts as a boundary value constraint. But even if it does, that would not justify the statement that weather is an initial value problem whereas climate is a boundary value problem, since weather is also subject to strong time-variable forcings (on a 24-hour cycle, where I live). So on that definition they are both boundary-value problems.

      If what you are saying is that over the long term climate will be dominated by external conditions and that initial values are irrelevant then that is plausible, but I think quite hard to prove.

  97. Matthew R Marler

    Gaareth: The way it has been used by Andy Lacis, and Prof Curry, and e.g. here http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2010/01/initial-value-vs-boundary-value-problems seems to imply something like “the problem of finding the average behaviour”, or perhaps finding the “boundaries” within which the solutions lie.

    I agree with you. At best it is some ill-articulated analogy impeding careful analysis. In other contexts I have read that the “equilibrium” calculations define the “boundary conditions” of climate change, but without a careful analysis to go along with the assertion.