Skeptics: make your best case

This thread provides an opportunity to put forth skeptical arguments related to the topics broadly covered by the IPCC WG I Report The Physical Science Basis. This thread is designed for academic and other professional researchers as well as citizen scientists.

From academic and other professional researchers, I am looking for:

  • a published paper that you feel has received insufficient attention or has otherwise been marginalized
  • a manuscript that you believe has been unfairly rejected for publication
  • other reports or analyses  that you think are significant and would like feedback on

From citizen scientists, I am looking for

  • a website or link to a manuscript with your analyses

Please don’t submit half baked ideas, I am looking for ideas that are fairly well developed with supporting analyses.  Make Climate Etc. look good for attempting this :)

Format:  Limit your post to 750 words and provide web links to your analyses, manuscript, or more extensive argument.  Use your 750 words to identify which aspect of the climate problem you are addressing and succinctly describe your argument, evidence, and method of analysis.  Use your 750 words to convince the reader to actually click on your links and look at your material in more detail. Please make sure you have posted a brief biosketch at Denizens thread.  This thread is only for the topics broadly covered by the IPCC WG I Report The Physical Science Basis. Please do not submit anything on energy technologies or arguments that CO2 is good or not dangerous.

Moderation: Commenters, pls reply to the specific post with your brief comments or questions.  There will be some room for discussion on this thread of the individual posts; I will start a new thread for comments if needed. Depending on what actually gets submitted (and I realize that the submissions will trickle in slowly), I will start new threads for certain topics or topical areas, as appropriate.  If you want to make general comments about this thread, please make them on the tread “Raising the level of the game.”

600 responses to “Skeptics: make your best case

  1. This is my analysis on Canadian Surface Temperatures.

    The data shows that the summer max temps have been dropping since 1900. In some cases since the mid 1940’s. This is seen all across the country. I’m also getting data that shows this is also happening in other places than just Canada. This peer reviewed paper:

    Temperature and Precipitation Trends in Canada During the 20th Century
    Xuebin Zhang, Lucie A. Vincent, W. D. Hogg, Ain Niitsoo
    AtmosphereOcean (2000)Volume: 38, Issue: 3, Pages: 395–429

    Confirms this with their conclusion that:

    Like other parts of the world, Canada has not become hotter (no increase in higher quantiles of maximum temperature), but has become less cold.

    Winter TMin is indeed rising, faster than TMax is falling, which is why the mean temp (a meaningless number is increasing. Because TMax and TMin are converging, then at some point, regardless of the amount of CO2, they must start to diverge in the future. Hence, the logical conclusion is that this “warming” trend is part of a natural cycle.

    My other analysis challenges the notion that wind can replace other fossil fuel types of power. In Ontario we have the Green Energy Act, which was brought in to reduce CO2 emissions. Wind is the source of choice for this replacement. But in this analysis I show that 50% of the time wind produces less than 7% name plate in the summer. Wind is nothing more than short interval spikes that happen when frontal systems move through. This rarely happens when we need the power the most. So all the wind power we produce in the province is exported to the US.

    • Michael Larkin


      1. Your third link doesn’t seem to be working.
      2. You say:

      “Because TMax and TMin are converging, then at some point, regardless of the amount of CO2, they must start to diverge in the future. Hence, the logical conclusion is that this “warming” trend is part of a natural cycle.

      I’m not sure I understand how your last sentence follows from your first. Maybe this is covered somewhere in one of your links and all I need is pointing to a specific section.

      • Strange it did not copy right:

        If TMax and TMin are converging, then at some point in the future the two would have to meet. At that point the hottest summer day would be the same as the winter coldest night. Then there after the winters here would be warmer than the summers.

        Since that is not physically possible, eventually something must change and TMax and TMin will start to diverge again — even if CO2 was 3 times current levels. CO2 can’t make winters hotter than summers in Canada.

        This data to me suggests that the MWP wasn’t “hotter” at all, but had long cool summers, longer growing season, and short mild winters. Both of which appears as an increase in the average temperature. The LIA was deep long cold winters, short growing seasons, but also short very hot summers (as we had some of in the 1930’s).

      • Michael Larkin


        Thank you for the corrected link and the clarification.

    • Have you identified any differences in seasonal patterns or whatever between the warm bump circa 1940’s and the current warm period?

      • Nice suggestion, would be an interesting test. I have issues with looking at spring and fall however, looking for patterns in those two seasons. These are transition seasons. If the winter is mild, the following spring MUST be “warmer” because it has less distance to go to get to summer. Reverse will be true for the fall. Fall will appear “warmer” if the following winter is mild, less temperature distance to drop.

        I guess what you are asking is if there is some statistical differences between winter increase in TMin up to 1945 as compared to Tmin from 1998 to today. Same with TMax. That would be interesting to see, and can do. Something to check into over the next few weeks.

      • Judith, I’ve had a looked at some stations, and I’m not sure one can parse out any trends between the two time frames. Winter TMin has pretty much been increasing in a steady since the mid 1940’s, slightly undulating in pattern. There is some trend from 1900 – 1945 of the winters getting colder, even though the summers were getting hotter. But after that, winter TMin is pretty steadily increasing. I don’t see anything standing out during the 1945-1975 drop in temps the anomaly graphs show for winter TMin. It’s there for summer TMax.

        It might be worth while looking through each month separately to see which were contributing to the 1945-1975 drop in average temps. Will get on it after Steven and I are done quibbling over what constitutes valid data.

      • continuing to break the analyses down provides insights into the mechanisms

    • Jr:

      while I applaud your downloading of data you seem not to grasp the fundamentals of certain concepts like Tave or anomaly:

      Another example of the warmists manipulation of semantics is in their use of graphs that show the temperature “anomaly”. What this is is they take the average mean yearly temperature and plot it as a difference from some arbitrary flat line. Thus temps above the line are positive anomaly from that line. The use of the temp anomaly may be understood in the scientific community, but to the public and policy makes, anomaly means “an incongruity or inconsistency” as defined in the dictionary. That is, the
      temperature above the flat line should not happen and we are to blame for this “inconsistency” in the recent temperatures.”

      1. the meaning of the word anomaly is deviation from normal.
      2. An anomaly is not calculated as the difference from some “arbitrary” flat line, and its not calculated on a years basis
      3. Nobody claims that we are responsible for measures “above the line”. Measure above the line will always happen.

      Let me explain for you what anomaly means and how it is calculated.
      To define a “normal” an analyst selects a period of time, typically 30 years but it could be the entire length of the time series. I can tell you that it doesnt matter which period you pick the answer you get is the same.
      Given your time period you then create averages for that time period: You average all jan, all feb etc etc. Then you can create an anomaly or deviation from that normal. This mathematical operation does not change the shape of curve. it doesnt change slopes or the magnitudes of difference between points. It merely “scales” the curve by subtracting a constant. Why do we do this? well, you noted that some canadian records are short and others are long and you worried about the weighting. Well anomalies help us with that problem. If you want to actually know how an anomaly works and why you should use them just write.

      Next, the argument of AGW is not as you present it. We do not argue that because the temps are above the line man must be the cause. The argument goes like this:
      1 over 100 years ago the physical theory and prediction was made that adding C02 to the atmosphere would warm the earth. the prediction came before the effect was observed.
      2. As science has progressed that theory and the prediction have been refined. There is still much uncertainty but our best science, the only science we have says that adding C02 will warm the planet, not cool it.
      3. The observations of average temperature confirm that theory. they do not disconfirm the theory.

      So, we’ve had a theory about C02 ( and other GHGs) warming the planet for over 100 years. That theory has predicted a warming before it ever happened. The GUTS of that theory ( radiative transfer) is so fundamental that engineers use it to build devices that actually work. The observations we have collected ( instruments since 1701) satellites since 1979 all confirm the theory. they all give us more reason to believe in the theory, not less.

      You have some other misconceptions, particularly about the “meaning” of average temperature that I find commonly in the skeptical world. Finally if you are going to post analysis of temperature data in todays world you should post code. None of the citizen scientists I know, None of us who yelled at scientists to post code will give your work much credence unless you post the code. If you did, and I missed it, please provide a link. Otherwise, I don’t think reviewing the work is worthwhile, especially given the misunderstandings about fundamental issues.

      • Steve. The “code” is sql statements based on the following fields: Year, Month, Day, MaxTemp, MeanTemp, and MinTemp.

        The SQL to show the yearly range is simple SQL:

        SELECT [Station Data].Year, Max([Station Data].[Max Temp]) AS [MaxOfMax Temp], StDev([Station Data].[Max Temp]) AS [StDevOfMax Temp], Min([Station Data].[Min Temp]) AS [MinOfMin Temp], StDev([Station Data].[Min Temp]) AS [StDevOfMin Temp], Avg([Station Data].[Mean Temp]) AS [AvgOfMean Temp]
        FROM [Station Data]
        GROUP BY [Station Data].Year
        ORDER BY [Station Data].Year;

        if I want to see what the TMax is doing for the summers I do this:

        SELECT [Station Data].Year, Max([Station Data].[Max Temp]) AS [MaxOfMax Temp], StDev([Station Data].[Max Temp]) AS [StDevOfMax Temp], Min([Station Data].[Max Temp]) AS [MinOfMax Temp], Avg([Station Data].[Max Temp]) AS [AvgOfMax Temp]
        FROM [Station Data]
        WHERE ((([Station Data].Month)=6 Or ([Station Data].Month)=7 Or ([Station Data].Month)=8))
        GROUP BY [Station Data].Year
        ORDER BY [Station Data].Year;

        I have several other SQLs to get other trends such as the number of days above 30C, etc. It’s not rocket science. There is no computer code except that I wrote to download the data, and put the data into Access databases, one for each station.

      • I have several other SQLs to get other trends such as the number of days above 30C, etc. It’s not rocket science. There is no computer code except that I wrote to download the data, and put the data into Access databases, one for each station.

        you obviously dont recall the error that lead to NASA’s mistake that Steve McIntyre caught. Go research that error. And you obviously are not aware of the error another fellow citizen scientist made “just” downloading australian data

      • No idea what you are refering to.

        There is no errors in the downloading of the data I got from EC. Though I do understand that some of their data does have errors in it. But there is no way to know which it is, where it is, with the data and EC isn’t telling anyone.

      • I know what anomalies are and how and why there are used. I even used it in one of the posts. The problem with anomalies is they must AVERAGE the means. Averages and means lose detail. If you want to see what is happening all across Canada, for example, anomalies won’t show it. How can anomalies show that TMax is dropping? Or that the number of heat wave days has been dropping since 1900? They can’t. You have to look at each station over a wide range of locations.

        One test of averages vs means I did shows there is a huge difference. Mean is simply (TMax+Tmin)/2. But if you look at each hour’s temp profile and average all those hour’s temps you get a different number, more often LOWER. So Mean is OVER STATING the “warmth”. TMax for any given day may last only a few minutes. The rest of the hot periods of the day would be not as hot, thus lowering the average, but not the mean.

        That is why I reject anomalies as a valid method for determining temperature trends.

      • “I know what anomalies are and how and why there are used. I even used it in one of the posts. ”

        1. if you know what they are then why misstate what they are?

        “The problem with anomalies is they must AVERAGE the means.
        Averages and means lose detail. ”

        1. Anomalies need not average the mean.
        2. There is no loss of detail. the detail does not vanish. the detail is characterized mathematically.

        are you taller than normal. That answer tells me MORE than the detail that you are 5′ .86543765″

        “If you want to see what is happening all across Canada, for example, anomalies won’t show it. How can anomalies show that TMax is dropping? Or that the number of heat wave days has been dropping since 1900? They can’t. You have to look at each station over a wide range of locations.”

        Unfortunately, you characterize this as an either or type of situation. can anomalies show that Tmax is dropping. Yes. That the number of heat wave days are dropping? yes. You just have to learn how to do the math. You can of course do an anomaly of Tmax and an anomaly of heat wave days. neither of those is going to tell you what you want to know, which is the “average” temperature. Even Tave doesnt tell you the average. It is only an unbiased estimator of the mean, where we define the mean as the integrated temperature over the entire day.

        “One test of averages vs means I did shows there is a huge difference. Mean is simply (TMax+Tmin)/2. But if you look at each hour’s temp profile and average all those hour’s temps you get a different number, more often LOWER. So Mean is OVER STATING the “warmth”. TMax for any given day may last only a few minutes. The rest of the hot periods of the day would be not as hot, thus lowering the average, but not the mean.

        That is why I reject anomalies as a valid method for determining temperature trends.”

        Unfortunately comparing (Tmax+Tmin)/2 to the integrated temperature over the day has been done before and much more comprehensively than you have done. If you like you can go download CRN data ( 5 minute slices from 3 redundent calibrated instruments) about 7 -10 years of data from up dozens of stations. Or you can look at J Brennan’s decades long data from 190 stations in hour increments, or you can google for the published studies on this. In short, (Tmax+Tmean)/2 is an unbiased estimator, not biased low as you suppose. EVEN IF it were biased low that is not an issue. Why? because of anomaly. The estimator would have to have a different bias over time to effect trends.

        When you analyze 190 stations over years ( ask I will point you to the data, the work is already done) or analyze dozens of stations ( reporting every 5 minutes, again ask I will point you at the data) over years then you have something to work with.

      • I’m also going to show you with an example why I distrust anomalies as indicators of trends. I will need time to set it up and run the data. But I will show that as you go back in the years, where there are fewer stations, the trend gets biased towards just those stations and you lose the real trend. I know this is the case because I have done it, but the example I will make will show it very clearly.

      • Lastly, your CO2 GHG part of your argument.

        I fully understand that, the theory that is.

        Question #1. Do think that the rise in average temp from 1800 to 1945 was because of our CO2 emissions?

        Question #2. The prediction from AGW was that there would be more heat waves. That is, more summer days in the higher temp range. But that is not what I see. How can increasing CO2 LOWER TMax? How can CO2’s GHG properties give us FEWER heatwaves?

      • JR

        Do you mean that at any given place the climate/weather could be cooler but the mean shows an increase or the other way round. Thus making the mean a poor indicator of actual climate albeit changing?

      • What the data shows, which you can see with this example: is a convering of the two extremes of the year.

        Notice the centre line, the average of the daily means, shows an increasing trend. That’s the number that is used to claim the planet it heating up. But the top line, which is the hotest day of each of the years, it is clearly trending down. Summers are becoming less hot. The bottom line is the winter’s coldest night temp for each year. Clearly trending up faster than the summer is trending down.

      • i think your questions show you dont understand the theory and its clear you dont understand how to test model predictions. As for your results, as they stand they are not reproducible. the analysis of ontario, for example, was visual and not quantitative. It was limited and unsurprising. If you want to assess a prediction of the theory you first have to quantify the theory’s prediction. Then you have to do complete quantitative analysis.

        Now, you have an interesting idea for an analysis, but you really haven’t carried one out. Start with detailing the prediction you think the theory made. That is, you should go find the quantitative prediction made by the theory for the metric you want to explore.

        Understand, the theory has limited ability to make regional predictions. So it doesnt really predict anything for ontario per se.

        Simply, the theory may or may not predict that there will be more heat waves going forward. That would be a global prediction made about global numbers calculated in a specific manner. WRT the existing record, you would have to look at lot more data than canada and use quantitative statistical methods.

      • Steven how is this not reproducable? Go download the data and do the anlysis, and you WILL get the same results I do.

        By “quantatative statistical methods” you mean “cleaning” the date, and throwing out the data. Inventing data to fill holes, right?

        Oh, and as far as other locations in the world showing the same trend as Canada:

      • Are you familiar with the Meehl analysis of US temperature extremes?

      • Now why would you use WUWT to learn something about a real science paper? Dig up the real paper, read it, then see how you can square it with your claims. Don’t take WUWT’s hearsay as fact.

      • Because Richard Alan Keen’s observation matches mine. The vast majority of the record max temps occured prior to 1940.

      • One station in Ottawa is representative of Canada as a whole? Wow.

      • Do you have a source other than the discredited Pat Michaels?

      • Look at all the stations, you will find the same thing.

      • Meehl looked at the US data, and didn’t find the “same thing”. Explain.

      • Meehl looked at the US data, and didn’t find the “same thing”. Explain.

        Oh, it looks like they did. Doing the same analysis they did, will post on the blog when I’m done. So far I’m finding that the record maxes are more than the record lowes, but those maxes are all happening in the early part of the last century.

        Look, I know this must be hard on you AGW believers to have your faith challenged like this. But the facts speak. Summers are cooling, across this continent at least. Your theory can’t explain that.

      • Ummm, it will take more than a blog post or two to prove the science incorrect.

        Consider publishing your work.

      • Show me. Show us all your data and all your code.

      • Show me. Show us all your data and all your code.

        The code I have already shown, simple SQL statements.

        The SQL I did for this last analysis was this:

        TRANSFORM Max([Station Data].[Max Temp]) AS [MaxOfMax Temp]
        SELECT [Station Data].Year
        FROM [Station Data]
        GROUP BY [Station Data].Year
        PIVOT [Station Data].Month;

        and this:
        TRANSFORM Min([Station Data].[Min Temp]) AS [MinOfMin Temp]
        SELECT [Station Data].Year
        FROM [Station Data]
        GROUP BY [Station Data].Year
        PIVOT [Station Data].Month;

        Data you can get from EC if you choose to download it. Or I can zip the raw data into a text file for you to dowload. Pick a station.

      • I’m interested in your analysis of *all* stations available via EC, not just “pick a station”.

      • I’m interested in your analysis of *all* stations available via EC, not just “pick a station”.

        Then you will have to down load it yourself. It’s gigabytes of data, 5 megs for each station of raw data from EC. The routine I wrote to hit their site and looping through all the records took 3 months to download.

      • Well, since you’re set on proving that summers in Canada are cooling, then you need to prove it by analyzing all the data. Otherwise, you’re just cherry-picking.

      • Why just station “4333”? Why not all stations?

        Likewise, the Meehl analysis wasn’t only the last 10 years.

        Near the end, you are beginning to realize that if the climate wasn’t being forced by warming, the ratio of record highs to record lows would be about 1:1. Meehl found 2:1. Explain.

      • Oh, and instead of scanning Tmax every month, why not just accumulate the high and low temps for each day of the year (365 days) and then note the year in which a new record high is set? Then you can analyze the resulting years-list to see if there is a trend.

      • why not just accumulate the high and low temps for each day of the year (365 days) and then note the year in which a new record high is set?

        You are not reading my analysis. Way ahead of you on that:

        You really should look at what I’ve done, you obviously have not.

      • Near the end, you are beginning to realize that if the climate wasn’t being forced by warming, the ratio of record highs to record lows would be about 1:1. Meehl found 2:1. Explain.

        I did, again you are not reading my posts:

        That trend is happening not because the summers are getting hotter, it’s because the winters are not getting colder. Thus the few times that one or two summer days hits a high (because of accounting reasons, not any warming) and none have hit record lows since the 1950s, well, DUH!

        Just because there are more record hot days than cold days does not mean the planet is heating up. That blog post proves it.

      • “That blog post proves it.”

        Best. Comment. Ever.

      • Steve.
        I know you don’t mean this:-

        2. As science has progressed that theory and the prediction have been refined. There is still much uncertainty but our best science, the only science we have says that adding C02 will warm the planet, not cool it.
        3. The observations of average temperature confirm that theory. they do not disconfirm the theory.

        The observations of average temperature confirm that it is warmer nothing else they cannot infer/confirm cause.

      • Or keep in warmth that was lost during winters.

        Your assumption is that winter temps are normal, and your perception is increasing winter temps is adding more heat.

        My assumption is that winter temps are abnormal, and from my perception milder winters means less heat loss.

        Explain how more CO2 is making summers cooler.

      • summers cooler?

        globally, its making them warmer.

        regionally and locally you may find the the effect is more pronounced in some areas, less pronounced in others and tiny to non existent in limited regions. With temperature trends you can even find some areas that are reversed in sign.

      • Steven, get with the program. Those are averages!!! Show me graphs that has the daily TMax ranges for the summers. Show me the numbers that made this graph done the same as I do. The full range. Show me the number of days each year that has a temp over a value, say 30C.

        The FACT is the highest TMax is DROPPING! The FACT is the number of heat wave days is DROPPING!

        How would more CO2 do that?

      • The answer is clouds.

      • Well, that would have to be proven by looking at cloud data. I suspect they did not measure too much cloud cover in the 1900’s.

      • Well, since you’re set on proving that summers in Canada are cooling, then you need to prove it by analyzing all the data. Otherwise, you’re just cherry-picking.

        Get with the program. I HAVE! Check these graphs from different locations across the country.

        Every single new location I choose to look at does the exact same thing, summers are cooling. Seems to me you are becoming the denier now. It also seems to me that you will pull no stops to try and discredit this. You must be afraid of what it will do to your faith in AGW.

      • I saw seven stations listed – and an Excel-based (that’s what it looks like) analysis is much too simplistic. I’d be more interested in seeing the anomalies, anyway. Hard to tell with absolute temps.

        You’re far – very far – from making your argument. There’s not enough meat to bother discrediting it.

        Oh, and don’t you think Canada’s climate science community has taken a look and perhaps done a wee bit more work?

      • Oh, and don’t you think Canada’s climate science community has taken a look and perhaps done a wee bit more work?

        Again, you have not read the blog:

      • I see. Have you done something akin to the procedures mentioned at


      • It would be interesting for Zhang to update their 2000 paper.

      • Steven I tested your claims about anomalies:

        If this is wrong, I can provide you with the raw data I used to do this. Don’t tell me I’m wrong, show me why I’m wrong.

  2. There is little doubt that increasing CO2 will have an effect in our atmosphere.
    The question is really how much effect and what else can account for the recent observed warming trend.
    Its a question of attribution of effects.

    So in order to show that CO2 isn’t the driving force behind the vast majority of any observed warming trend its necessary to look at results that describe other mechanisms.

    Firstly the Compo paper

    This paper investigates potential warming based on ocean temperature alone.

    Its abstract reads…
    Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide
    warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land.
    Atmospheric model simulations of the last half-century with prescribed observed ocean temperature changes, but
    without prescribed GHG changes, account for most of the land warming. The oceanic influence has occurred
    through hydrodynamic-radiative teleconnections, primarily by moistening and warming the air over land and
    increasing the downward longwave radiation at the surface. The oceans may themselves have warmed from a
    combination of natural and anthropogenic influences.

    Much criticism was aimed at this paper because they used AMIP rather than a fully coupled GCM but frankly in my opinion that is a strength of the paper because it has removed much uncertainty regarding the atmosphere/ocean interactions and indeed the ocean processes fullstop.
    The paper simply uses the SST as measured and looks at the resulting H2O based greenhouse effect.

    It finds that the majority of warming can be attributed to the ocean’s temperature alone.

    So now the question becomes whether CO2 drives SST particularly with respect to long term trends.
    CO2 cant warm the oceans as such, because the LW radiation cant penetrate further than the few few molecules at the surface. Rather slows the rate of cooling.

    So if CO2 were “warming the oceans” then we must observe slowed rates of cooling. Where better to look for this than the Arctic?

    Not with the Summer ice extents mind you, we need to look at the Winter maximum. If CO2 were slowing the rate of cooling, we ought to see the Winter maximum happening later and later each year and this is the trend that is important.

    As far as I know there is no trend in this. At least I’ve seen none reported and so the effect of CO2 “warming” must be very small indeed.
    Perhaps nobody thought to measure it yet.

    • OK, interesting paper. I think you (and they) are not saying that all the warming is due to the oceans warming globally, but just that some fraction can be explained by forcing from the ocean. However, AGW would say that the ocean warming is explained by CO2/anthropogenic changes, so there is no need for an additional global ocean warming mechanism that, besides, no one has a theory for as far as I know, and also violates energy conservation.

      • ” AGW would say that the ocean warming is explained by CO2/anthropogenic changes”

        …and the ocean heat content goes up and down. Since the oceans have an enormous heat capacity and CO2 is a constant forcing one might expect them to have more consistent warming trends.

        I’m not specifically attributing other causes because that would be non-constructive speculation. But there are plenty of candidates that dont violate any laws of energy conservation. Almost inevitably these revolve around clouds and the sun.

      • To my knowledge, any spontaneous global ocean change of this magnitude would be unprecedented.
        We’re sure to see some of those solar and cloud ideas on this thread, so we’ll get to those debates at some point.

      • quote The oceans may themselves have warmed from a combination of natural and anthropogenic influences.unquote

        Global Warming in the 21st Century: An Alternative Scenario By James Hansen et al. is more of an essay than a paper, lacking solid numbers., but it points to a variety of forcings other than CO2 which may be causing the warming.

        quote So if CO2 were “warming the oceans” then we must observe slowed rates of cooling. Where better to look for this than the Arctic? unquote

        If we are changing something in the oceans I’d look at the Sea of Okhotsk. Apart from the fact I have to look up its spelling every time it’s a perfect bellweather — enclosed so that any influence we have will be neatly confined, on the edge so that changes should occur with small inputs. What are the ice trends there?

        The Bering Sea, with its proximity to the North Slope of Alaska should also respond to whatever it is.

        Now, bearing in mind our hostess’s injunction quote Please don’t submit half baked ideas*, I am looking for ideas that are fairly well developed with supporting analyses unquote, I’ll shut up**….

        *lacking the rigor of academic training and access, the ideas of ‘citizen scientists’ can be nothing other than unfinished, hempen homespun, protean. A bit like that Hansen essay, I suppose, but I rather enjoy handwaving speculation.


    • I know of a new paper in the works that addresses the ocean/land heating issue. the issue with the arctic sea ice is that ice dynamics (e.g. winds) is just as important as temperature in determining sea ice extent.

  3. First, listen to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s forewarning about the danger from a government-funded “scientific-technological elite” on 17 Jan 1961:

    Then hear and see documented evidence that this tax-feeding “elite” distorted experimental data to give tax-payers misinformation about:

    a.) The Sun’s origin

    b.) The Sun’s composition

    c.) The Sun’s source of energy, and

    d.) The Sun’s dominant control of Earth’s climate

    Finally, read the new book, ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’ (Amazon, etc.), that debunks the basic theory of man-made global warming and exposes some of the filth that the UN, world leaders, Al Gore, science journals, research organizations, UEA, NASA, NAS, FRS, NOAA, etc. are still trying to hide.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    • Postscript:

      For an in-depth, scientific analysis of the causes of climate change, I highly recommend the book by Professor Ian Plimer, Heaven and Earth – Global warming/The missing science.

      This book (with 2,311 references to other scientific studies) is an excellent review of the historical record of climate change before industrialization.

      It concludes with several biting comments from Lord Christopher Monckton to the Local Government Association on 3 July 2008 – more than a year before Climategate e-mails revealed evidence of actual data manipulation.

  4. Good idea for a topic…there are a number of standing issues which deserve a high degree of skepticism, IMO.

    1) Large-scale patterns of changes in precipitation over the tropics, sub-tropics, and polar regions seems pretty robust across observations, expectations, and in models but at more synoptic to local scales the magnitude or even sign of precipitation anomalies remains highly uncertain. The United States, for instance, is largely in a transition region of increases in precipitation at higher latitudes and decreases in the Southwest and into Mexico, and future rainfall changes here cannot be predicted with high confidence.

    2) There is currently little confidence in projecting how the El Nino Southern Oscillation and its associated teleconnections will change in a warmer world. This has substantial impacts on regional climate anomalies in relevant temperature and moisture fields. Even with identical ENSO characteristics, the far-field responses to ENSO will change in a different climate, due to changes in other variables. Points 1 and 2 are topics of discussion in the recent NRC Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia (2010) report

    3) There is a need for improved observed interannual-to-decadal climate variations and the midlatitude ocean’s role in the climate system. This extends to predictions of future climate change on timescales of years to decades, which are sensitive to initialization and ‘internal variability’ as well as external forcing. Air-sea interaction variability in the western boundary currents (the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic or the Kuroshio in the Pacific) are related to important climate indices (the NAO or PDO)(e.g., Kelly and Dong, 2004). Multi-decadal variability in AMOC and its influence on, say, North Atlantic SST changes is still a topic of interest in the research community

    4) There are still substantial uncertainties in understanding aerosol effects, and the range of forcing uncertainties given in the AR4 (for even the direct radiative effect) does not appear to be shrinking, and may even be underestimated in the last assessment report (e.g., Loeb and Su, 2010). The influence of stratospheric circulation and exchange within the free troposphere, stratospheric chemistry feedbacks (such as on the ozone layer and its depleting substances) are not settled by all means.

    5) The observational record provides only insights into the transient climate response. The past is the most useful guide to the long-term equilibrium response to a given forcing, yet no perfect past analog exists to such a rapid injection of CO2 into the atmosphere with modern continental configuration and biosphere, human population and infrastructure setup, etc. Although constraints on climate sensitivity have been made (e.g., see review by Knutti and Hegerl, 2008), responses to volcanic eruptions, El Nino events, etc are not highly constrained templates for future change. Usage of satellites to obtain estimates for sensitivity has generally failed to give robust results, and along with the uncertainties in total forcing makes the modern record inadequate for diagnosing long-term future climate change.

    6) There is still considerable work being done in the hurricane community and lack of consensus as to how hurricanes will change in a warming climate. This is a difficult subject, and natural variability, coupled with imperfect records prior to satellites, makes it difficult to put modern hurricane trends into context.

    That is all for now, but there’s many other issues, and I’m just focusing on modern anthropogenic climate change…

    • Hi Orkneygal, any relation to Orkneylad?
      This seems similar to Scafetta’s 60 year oscillations, also noticed in oceanic oscillations and Length of Day Trends. There is something going on here, and the way it is excluded from models because it is currently not understood is pretty crazy. Of course, we don’t have long enough series of data to know if this 60 year oscillation will continue into the future, but it’s at least as likely as not, and should be part of the uncertainty study in my opinion.

      We could at least factor it in temporarily to see what it does to the sensitivity calculation.

      • Orkneylad? NO. My brother uses a totally different nom de internet.

        The fact that the cycle is excluded from the models is very telling about the willingness of the modelers to incorporate data from the real world. Don’t you think?

      • Well, they claim it’s not in the models because there is no understood physical mechanism which can be reduced to equations. But then also claim they can deduce a climate sensitivity without the rising trend from the positive phase of the 60 year oscillation and the rising trend from the little ice age with 90% confidence.

        It’s just GIGO science as far as I can tell.

        Nicola Scafetta’s recent paper on the coincidence of the 60 year oscillation with the 60 year signal in the motion of the Sun relative to the centre of mass of the solar system could turn out to be very important in my view.

  5. From the WG1, Ch3 executive summary: “A number of recent studies indicate that effects of urbanisation and land use change on the land-based temperature record are negligible (0.006ºC per decade) as far as hemispheric- and continental-scale averages are concerned because the very real but local effects are avoided or accounted for in the data sets used.”

    My analysis at
    suggests that in the period from 1970-2000 in the U.S., the effect of UHI may be over ten times the number mentioned above.

    Using the U.S. census data from 1970-2000 and the USHCN dataset, I calculate the trends of temperature, inflation-adjusted income, and the type of workers in rural industries for the place that each station is located in. Then, by comparing nearby stations, I am able to find that changes in these variables correlate with the changes in temperature.

    Studies that simply compare rural vs. urban trends, or methods that employ pairwise comparisons to remove UHI effects, may not be that useful if both types of stations are experiencing these effects over the course of time. I wanted to focus specifically on how the proxies for urbanization/land-use (e.g. population, economic development) change over time rather than simply look at the current state of a station’s location to classify it.

    • nice dataset find. there is also a 30 arc second gridded pop data set for the US I can point you at.

      You need more discussion of TOB. The differences between TOB and F52 WRT UHI have been noted by others. F52 does a pretty good job of removing it. More when I get time.

      • Thanks. If the gridded population data set you’re referring to is the NOAA one from 1930 on, Zeke has previously sent me the link and I’ve done a bit of work with it.

        With respect to TOB vs F52, as I hint at in my post, I’d like to start with the TOB and then perform both 1) station move and instrument change adjustments and 2) re-apply the same test in my post, and make my own corrections for UHI based on the results. I should then be able to compare the resulting trends of TOB + 1 + 2 to that of F52. The trick is figuring out how to do #1 (perhaps reproducing the old Karl and Williams (1987) way?).

        With the current pairwise homogenization algorithm, we can’t tell which corrections are made for (1) vs. UHI. I would be very grateful for any help pointing me in the direction of previous work showing TOB vs F52 WRT to UHI.

  6. Here’s my first link:
    I am completely unconvinced that the behavior of the temperature in recent time is any different from any other interglacial period cited. If anything, out current peak seems to be attenuated on the high end, which seems to me to be worrisome. I am a lot more worried about cooling than warming since other interglacials have gone considerably higher than where we are now, but glacial cooling has been awful at its extremes.

  7. Here’s my second link:
    Especially Fig. 4. Our current position on the curve leads me to believe that CO2’s contributory effect is spent, neglecting feedback. As far as I can tell, this is a key issue, and I have not seen anyone yet who can state definitively whether the feedback is positive or negative. My understanding is that most, if not all, of the current GCM’s assume a positive feedback, but without a clear understanding of the mechanisms involved I think the uncertainty is simply too high to draw conclusions. At 350 ppm I think the doubling requirement is a severe taskmaster – the next mark will be 1400.

    I also have questions about the effect of closed and open systems on the ‘greenhouse effect.’ My understanding is that a greenhouse is really a very poor analogy for the effect for this reason.

    • Sorry, I meant that the next mark after 700 will be 1400.

    • I spotted this statement on your link:
      “Even though most of the so-called greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor, about 1-2 degrees of our current empirically-measured temperature of roughly 288 K (59° F) can be attributed to carbon dioxide.”

      This is of relevance to David Wojcik’s point re Lindzen’s statement. (I don’t see a reference for this statement)

      • I’ve read that site before and picked over the references.

        The second paragraph in “The Greenhouse Effect” section is the part where he gives his references to the composition. In it you’ll find references to a paper published by the Cato institute, sites that now return 404 not found and publications not accessible online. The only actual paper given is “S.M. Freidenreich and V. Ramaswamy, Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models. Journal of Geophysical Research 98(1993):7255-7264 ” and I wasn’t able to find an online version of it that I could access.

      • I am primarily interested in the graph of Fig. 4 and the idea of CO2’s contribution to temperature being saturated. Is anything on this graph in dispute?

      • ” Is anything on this graph in dispute?”

        Yes of course. Look at the way he builds his numbers e.g.

        “Between 1900 and 2000, atmospheric CO2 increased from 295 to 365 ppm, while temperatures increased about 0.57 degrees C (using the value cited by Al Gore and others). It is simple to calculate the proportionality constant (call it ‘k’) between the observed increase in CO2 and the observed temperature increase:”

        He takes the start and end points of C02 measurement, takes the temperature trend over the same period and assumes that must be the total possible increase for that proportion of increase.

        His initial estimate 1.85 degrees warming from a doubling of a C02 is derived from that rate of change.

        He then tries to constrain that rate of change by fitting a curve of temperature back to 255k and zero ppm C02. Since the rate of change to get temperature down to 255k has to be much more extreme than any observed change he therefore finds that the rate of change slows significantly as you approach modern C02 measurements and when he runs that same rate into the future he finds almost no change from future increases of C02.

        You may notice the complete lack of references in that section except for temperature/C02 measurements. That’s because what he’s describing bears no relation whatsoever to physical reality. He’s simply running numbers arbitrarily back and forth and then applying those conclusions to reality.

      • OK, I believe I understand what you are saying. But my question is related to the shape of the curve. Is this not what you would expect if temperature went up a certain amount for each doubling of CO2 concentration? And if it is, are we in the saturation range or not? I confess I wondered how anyone managed to generate the early part of the curve (especially prior to the first doubling). My question really isn’t the start point of the curve, but rather where we are on the curve now.

      • I suggest reading these two articles on saturation

        “My question really isn’t the start point of the curve, but rather where we are on the curve now.”

        I don’t know if anyone has made a curve of the type you describe. Most of the disagreement isn’t over C02 saturation but over total climate sensitivity to increasing C02. Doubling it gives you about 1 degree warming purely from the C02 alone. Total sensitivity is thought to be in the range of 2 to 4.5 degrees with 3 being the likely value. Spencer and Lindzen think total sensitivity is low, they don’t dispute the greenhouse effect itself or the direct contribution of C02.

      • I read the article and I have to say I was put off right away by the title, which is a an obvious putdown, and the replies by the RC guys, which feature pretty extensive ad hominem attacks. It is this attitude that poisons the AGW arguments in my opinion.
        In the first place, I was confused about whether they were talking about CO2 being saturated in the atmospher or its effect. I did the graph myself, its a no-brainer for shape. For every doubling of concentration you get some increased temp. The graph looks as depicted in the article. It is hard for me to imagine that after billions of years of earth’s history, we aren’t in the saturation portion of the curve for effect (if we are in the linear region periods of no warming make little sense). As they point out in their responses the issue is sensitivity and here they acknowledge considerable disagreement about the numbers. The science hardly seems settled about an issue of tremendous importance.

      • Something had been bothering me about the RC article and I realized what it was when I thought about it further. Doesn’t the graph of of CO2 vs temp in the chart in this link show saturation? If you assume that CO2 is driving the temperature change (I don’t) then its effect saturates pretty well at the concentration corresponding to 22’C. Based on the chart, this has been the predominant temperature for the past 800 million years. But there are periods with high temperature and low CO2 concentrations and vice versa. And this occurs over long periods of time. This is one of my main complaints about RC – they seem to prefer theory to history. If CO2 ‘s effect doesn’t saturate at live-able temperatures then why does the temperature hold at 22’C for so long and over such a range of concentrations? The Jurassic was very friendly to life, with no lack of biodiversity. The temperature diference between then and now is about 10’C. This may seem scary at first, but Phoenix varies by over 20’C during the year and even San Francisco by about 7’C. I still don’t see the problem. Adaptation, in my opinion, remains a cheaper and better approach than thinking we are in control of the climate.

      • “This is one of my main complaints about RC – they seem to prefer theory to history. “

        I don’t know what you’re basing that on.

        You’re looking at a graph of temperature and C02 over a period of 600 million which includes numerous changes to solar output, continental configuration and orbit.

        Nobody is proposing that Co2 is historically the primary force for climate change, in fact it generally acts as a feedback for other processes. It’s only a forcing in modern times because we’re talking about relatively short periods of time and because human activities are altering it.

        “The Jurassic was very friendly to life, with no lack of biodiversity”

        The Jurassic atmosphere was somewhat different to the modern one and consequently the current biosphere is different to the current one. If you flip instantly from one atmosphere to the other you stand a good chance of wiping out or at least significantly damaging both biospheres.

        On geological timescales the biosphere will generally do fine. It’s survived almost total annihilation more than once.

        However humans don’t live on geological timescales. The prospect of waiting a few million years for life to adapt won’t rate as much of a “success” as far as environmental policy goes.

        “This may seem scary at first, but Phoenix varies by over 20′C during the year and even San Francisco by about 7′C. I still don’t see the problem. “

        You don’t see the problem because you’re conflating entirely different things.

        Some regions of the Earth have more than a 10 degree season variation that doesn’t mean you can therefore push up the global average by 10 degrees and have everything be ok.

        For one thing an average of 10 degrees increase globally means some regions experience a lot more than 10 degrees of an increase.

        For a second thing not all regions have a wide seasonal variation and therefore a 10 degree increase means they’re now permanently in a completely different climate than the one they were.

        “Adaptation, in my opinion, remains a cheaper and better approach than thinking we are in control of the climate.”

        That’s nice and all but tens of millions people living along coasts in poor countries might disagree with you. Millions more reliant on glacial melt for their fresh water might also disagree with you.

        If you want to decide this won’t be a problem for you personally go ahead but don’t pretend it won’t be a problem for anybody. It will.

      • I would just say that the best fit to the gradient in last 30 years is about 2.5 degrees C per doubling. You can fit this to the last 100 years, but will notice excessive warming from 1910-40 (probably solar in my opinion), and cooling from 1950-1975 (global dimming due to aerosol effects). However the lines are parallel since 1980.

      • Aside from the fact that this page is 10 years old and many of his references now return 404s I have absolutely no idea where he gets the idea that almost all of the atmospheric c02 increase is of natural original.

        His central claim is that water vapour is 95% of the greenhouse effect and his reference for it is “Global Deception:The Exaggeration of the Global Warming Threat” which a booklet published for “Center for the Study of American Business”. It contains the sentence “Over 95 percent of the earth’s natural greenhouse effect is from water vapor, and about 3 percent of it is from carbon dioxide” but doesn’t reference it.

        I hope you understand that the “Center for the Study of American Business” putting something in a booklet doesn’t make it authoritative.

        You’d reasonably a expect a claim like that to point to an actual research paper in which someone demonstrates that to be the case or at least provides some good evidence for it.

      • I should have stated upfront that I’m not putting this forward as the Word of God. I ran across it while searching for the Freidenreich and V. Ramaswamy paper.

      • I think that his statement is inherently flawed. Lacis et al.2010 and Schmidt et al. 2010 show that CO2 represents 20% of the greenhouse effect and that the greenhouse effect shuts down without CO2 because of the water and cloud feedbacks being reliant upon its initial warming.

  8. My next link is:
    Correlation is not cause. In the article the author speaks about elimination of alternate explanations (and I think this come up a lot with AGW), but I think this requires that all alternative explanations be well developed and understood – I simply do not believe that climate science is advanced enough to make this leap. In my opinion, given the ‘man is destroying the earth’ meme present in much of the popular press (if not the academic), this is matter currently reflects confirmation bias.

    • Whilst correlation indeed does not mean causation rising temperatures as a result of increased GHG emissions were predicted, they are n0t a post hoc justification. What’s more these predictions are based on well established physical principles and there are other observed effects such as stratospheric cooling and polar amplification which are also consistent with warming from GHG emissions and thus strengthen the case for AGW.
      Finding another plausible mechanism which could have caused increased temperatures in recent years does not invalidate AGW, it wuld still be neccessary to demonstrate why our understanding of the effects if increased GHGs is wrong.

      • There is no question in my mind about increasing CO2 levels affecting temperature, just whether it is consequential in comparison to that brought about by natural sources. Also, the physical principles you mention (I assume you mean the ‘greenhouse effect’) are subject to feedback mechanisms in nature which by no means (in my opinion) guarantees an expected result based upon laboratory conditions. For example, the recent lack of warming certainly shows no correlation with increasing CO2 levels. This is the essence of my questions. I do not believe climate science currently understands natural processes at the level needed to make longterm projections with any confidence.

      • Chip,

        My understanding is that to a large extent long term projections are easier to make than short term ones because over longer periods some of the natural processes such as ENSO, volcanic activity etc. will even themselves out and the signal from forcings such as GHG’s will show themselves more clearly. If you look at temperatures since the mid 1970’s there is clearly a strong warming trend but there are also periods where temperatures have fallen in the short term.
        I think that to an extent the skeptics are guilty of “having their cake and eating it” (as we Brits say) when discussing natural variation – they stress that it can cause warming independently of external factors such as GHG emissions but ignore the fact that it can also have a cooling effect and so mask a warming trend in the short term, as we have seen over the last decade.

      • Joe Sixpack might examine your argument and see that it coems down to:

        ‘When the temperature goes up it’s due to CO2 because we can’t think of anything else to explain it.

        And when it goes down, it’s really going up, but that thing we can’t think of is affecting it also so that it goes down overall

        And when it was at least as warm in the past, that must have been also because of that thing (or some other things) we can’t think about. Actually we don’t really know, but it must be CO2.’

        That, I submit, is having one’s cake and eating it.

      • Joe sixpack had bectter brush up on his comprehension skills in that case.

        When the temperature goes up it’s due to CO2 because we can’t think of anything else to explain it.

        Nope, the lack of alternative explanations helps the case of AGW but is not central to it. GHG emissions were predicetd to lead to rising temperatures before it actually happened.

        And when it goes down, it’s really going up, but that thing we can’t think of is affecting it also so that it goes down overall

        No, the lesson is not to draw any conclusions from short term trends.

        And when it was at least as warm in the past, that must have been also because of that thing (or some other things) we can’t think about. Actually we don’t really know, but it must be CO2.’

        Not at all, it could have been due to something else entirely. In some cases we have a very good idea about what caused past climate change, in other cases less so. And just because we lack to data to come to a firm conclusion that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good aidea abou the possible causes.

  9. Here is my 4th link:
    The existence of carbon offsets says to me that people in the AGW community are not serious about reducing carbon dioxide. First, if you believe that CO2 emissions are potentially making the earth uninhabitable, you should take the offset action anyway and at the same time stop doing whatever it is you are doing to increase CO2 levels. It is not ok for you to continue to destroy the earth just because you can afford to buy your way out of culpability. I see no difference between carbon offsets and the medieval church’s sale of indulgences to buy one’s way into heaven.

    Sorry, Dr. Curry, I realize this is not strictly technical, but it is a sore point with me and one that has lead me to doubt AGW claims from the beginning. In my opinion, the folks who say they are the most worried act like it the least.

    • Chip,

      As you can probably tell from my reply to your previous comment I am an unrepentant “warmist” but I have to say I agree with a lot of the above. I don’t think they tell us anything about the reality or otherwise of AGW but they are certainly a relatively painless away for well off people to salvage their consciences without actually changing their behaviour.

      • Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate your candor. I am enjoying this site because I think people are making an effort to have an honest discussion. I am learning a great deal. Much of what is discussed is difficult to wrap my mind around, but I have never felt that it was beyond me. Part of the problem for me has always been that governmental pronouncements always sound to me like they think it is beyond me (perhaps because they don’t really understand it themselves).

      • Chip,

        Your last sentence reminded me of a political discussion show I watched a few months ago. Amongst the pannelists were three fairly senior politicians from different parties, two of whom had actually been in government quite recently. A question about climate change came up and they all started by saying something along the lines of “well I don’t understand the science myself but the scientists tell me there is a big problem”. Now obviously politicians have to rely on expert advice on a lot of subjects but given the importance of this issue I found it depressing that they hadn’t made the effort to gain at least a reasonable understanding of the scientific arguments. I don’t know how representative they are – there are certainly some politicians who I do think have a decent grasp of the subject, but clearly if politicians want to persuade the public that action needs to be taken it certainly helps if they come across as if they know what they are talking about.

  10. There has been little if any regression analysis of the relative roles of trends in [H2O], solar radiation at the surface, and [CO2] and other potential determinants of either local or global temperature change, and none at all in the chapter by Hegerl and Zwiers et al. in AR4, WG1, 2007. The many papers on “detection and attribution” of human non-human causes of climate change by Hegerl and her multiple co-authors undertake no regressions. My submitted paper “Regression Analysis of Temperature Change” seeks to fill a gap and establishes some surprising results. It is available on request from tcurtin

    My paper’s multivariate regressions indicate that contrary to the conventional wisdom in the IPCC’s Solomon et al. (2007), the relationship between rising anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and temperature changes both globally and anywhere in the USA (and Australia) can even be negative, not positive, and is anyway never statistically significant. Its results show that by far the strongest independent and primary climate variable determining temperature changes at a range of locations over nearly 50 years is atmospheric water vapour [H2O]. This has long been recognized to be a greenhouse gas, and one that is quantitatively much larger than the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ([C2O])but which has always been relegated to a secondary role by climate science, a role usually considered to consist only of positive feedback effects that reinforce the warming effect of [CO2]. Yet here we find no statistical evidence that rising [CO2] raises [H2O] through the former’s effect on temperature and thereby on evaporation, as clearly there is no statistically significant effect of [CO2] on temperature, and therefore none on [H2O] (see SI). Instead changes in solar radiation and in temperature largely determine [H2O], and then, recursively, temperature again.
    This evidence does not necessarily constitute a refutation of the fundamental postulate of the “global warming consensus”, stretching back even before Arrhenius (1896 that a rising level of [CO2] could produce some global warming. But it does suggest the quantitative significance of [CO2] as a greenhouse gas is greatly overstated, and certainly very much less than Arrhenius’ 5.5oC for a doubling of [CO2] from the supposed pre-industrial level of 280 ppm (parts per million) in the face of other unrelated variables, notably Arrhenius’ “aqueous vapour” [H2O], that as he himself showed (1996: Table III), but also on the evidence presented here, has potentially at least as much of an effect on observed temperature changes at any given location.

    The IPCC’s AR4 claims “90% certainty” that “most” of apparent global warming of the last half of the last century is due to increasing atmospheric CO2 (2007:666). My paper’s main finding is that there is zero statistically significant evidence either globally or in situ to confirm that.

    The unconventional findings of my paper, showing the trivial and not statistically significant role of increasing [CO2] as an explanatory variable for observed local and thereby also global temperature changes since 1960, is due to the minuscule comparative effect of such rising [CO2] relative to the unrelated roles of variables like Arrhenius’ “aqueous vapour”, and solar surface radiation (Lindzen 1991). The problem with all the IPCC Reports, and especially Hegerl et al. (2007), is that they are generically Procrustean, in the sense that instead of searching for the best line fits to scatter plots of data, they seem first to choose the line they want, and then select only the data that appear to match it, disregarding data that do not.

    This paper’s finding from regression analysis of the greater upfront significance of [H2O] than of [CO2] has added significance because, as Pieter Tans notes, “water vapour is not at all controlled by human activities. Global annual evaporation equals ~500,000 billion metric tons. Compare that to fossil CO2 emissions of ~8.5 billion ton C/year…” (pers.comm). It is clearly implausible that increments in global mean temperature attributable to changes in [CO2] if any could have more than a trivial effect on evaporation relative to that of the sun, as inferred by Tans.

    Reducing the availability of [CO2] for photosynthesis as proposed by the IPCC will unavoidably have negative impacts on the NPP of global agriculture, livestock, forestry, and fisheries. As there is reason to doubt increases in [CO2] play a significant role in raising global temperatures, any measures to reduce [CO2] from the present nearly 390 ppm to say 350 ppm are unwarranted and potentially hazardous.

    • “Instead changes in solar radiation and in temperature largely determine [H2O], and then, recursively, temperature again.”

      It may interest TRC Curtin that I discovered an interesting correlation between specific Humidity near the altitude of the tropopause and solar activity levels.

      I think that as well as supporting his thesis, this correlation indicates that the NCEP reanalysis of radiosonde data may not be as unreliable as is often insinuated by proponents of the AGW hypothesis. I suspect the motivation for casting doubt on the radiosonde data and the ISCCP data is because the evidence provided by these data sets runs counter to the AGW hypothesis.

    • More regression analysis

      I would like to see a serious “consensus” response to these papers. If they are wrong, explaining clearly why they are wrong would be a useful exercise. I don’t think Gavin Schmidt’s response to the second one

      was serious.

      • I took at glance at these in the rocketscientist journal, I agree they are serious analyses and deserve more discussion. The main thing that caught my interest was the analysis of Wang’s solar reconstructions.

      • I think the so-called blip from 1910-1940, that can’t be explained by CO2, is largely due to that solar increase. Later the solar irradiance has not increased so much, so CO2 explains the more recent period minus an aerosol effect up to the 70’s.

  11. Dear Dr. Curry,
    the ISCCP shows on their web page
    declining cloud cover since about 1987. This in turn means 1 – 2W/m2 increased insolation in this time period.
    The IPCC writes in AR 4 chapter 3 on pages 277 and 278:
    “ERBS record (Figure 3.23), outgoing LW
    radiation over the tropics appears to have increased by about
    0.7 W m–2 while the reflected SW radiation decreased by
    roughly 2.1 W m–2 from the 1980s to 1990s (Table 3.5).
    Since most of the net tropical heating of 1.4 W m–2 is a
    decrease in reflected SW radiative flux, the change implies
    a similar increase in solar insolation at the surface that, if
    unbalanced by other changes in surface fluxes, would increase
    the amount of ocean heat storage.”
    Scientifically speaking I think we cannot attribute the warming between 1980 and 2000 unambiguously to CO2 or greenhouse gases. Therefore I think measuring cloud cover is the most important topic in climate science. Much more important than computer simulations.
    The attention that uncertainty due to cloud cover gets in the discussion is usually very low. Per example the “Copenhagen Synthesis Report 2009” did not mention clouds at all. I do think this ought to change.
    Best regards
    Guenter Hess

    • Guenter,

      While agreeing absolutely with your post, I thought Dr Curry was hoping for something which would e.g. explain the problem with clouds, 750 words with references. Was I wrong?

      I was expecting posts such as the Open Thread Julian Flood | November 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm but with numbers, studies etc, which I couldn’t do because I don’t think anyone knows the numbers as no-one has looked. Even when the Gulf Oil spill was in full flow the chance to check the effect over the spill on aerosols was missed because of equipment availability. Without numbers — and in a problem of this complexity, computer runs to try to tease out the results of numbers gained by new get-your-feet-wet measurement — then I don’t see how anyone can meet the required criteria. Professor Lindzen doesn’t think the Kreigesmarine Effect is large enough to make a difference, so there must be such numbers somewhere (unless of course, he was just winging it… no, no, perish the thought…). is spot on though. If I had room I’d shove that in…

      Citizen scientist manqué (Manqué: having failed, missed, or fallen short, esp. because of circumstances or a defect of character)

      • Julian,
        I don’t understand your argument. The ISCCP has measured a forcing of approximately 1 – 2 W/m2 by my own back of the envelope calculation using a textbook from Thomas and Stamnes: Radiative Transfer in the Atmosphere and Ocean.
        Using a climate sensitivity parameter of 0.3 – 0.8 K/(W/m2), the usual range according to literature, I get a possible warming by clouds of about 0.3 to 1.6°C from 1980 to 2000. So I gave a number.
        So, we do have a second explanation, backed by actual measurements, for the observed warming of about 0.6°C. It is the job of climate science to falsify this hypothesis, if climate science touts about an anthropogenic signal within the temperature record not mine, since the hypothesis is in the data.. I just used the classical scientific methods to look for alternative explanations in the data. I found it even in the IPCC report. But not much of that makes its way towards the summary for policy makers.
        Best regards

      • Thanks, I was reading you too hurriedly.


      • Actually, the rules aren’t strict. Lets see how this evolves. I’m not expecting solutions (would be happy if some appear), just ideas/analyses that raise important questions.

    • I am very familiar with the ISCCP dataset, but hadn’t seen these plots before. While cloud fraction is decreasing, we see an increase in cloud optical depth. The increase in optical depth implies some combination of more aerosols, more liquid clouds (relative to ice), or more overall condensed water. There is a small decrease in cloud top pressure (meaning more clouds at the higher levels), but with little change in cloud temperature. So in addition to change in cloud fraction, i am seeing hints of some changes in cloud vertical distribution (and phase). Note, there are two different efforts that calculate surface and top of atmosphere radiative fluxes from ISCCP clouds: one from Bill Rossow (in charge of ISCCP) and the other is the SRB dataset from NASA Langley. Someone should take a look at the surface fluxes (I don’t think ISCCP data can be used for trends in TOA radiation fluxes).

      • Judith,
        thanks for the hint. I put forward this argument almost 18 month ago in Prof. Rahmstorfs Blog Klimaloung. I’ve got no conclusive anwser. He promised me to find a cloud scientist to give an article. I am waiting since, and nobody could ever anwser my question that is imposed in this issue. My humble opinion is that every climate scientist who tells me that CO2 caused mainly the global warming between 1980 and 2000 should be able to answer my question in a scientific conclusive manner. So, maybe you can invite Prof. Norris to give a guest post. I would appreciate it.
        Of course I know the Hargreaves et al. paper which doubts the ISCCP data, but maybe you get Dr. Rossow to answer us. And if Hargreaves et al. are correct. ISCCP should remove their data.
        Best regards

      • Earth’s cloud albedo is critical to understand, and we have started to get some good datasets. I have not yet seen any showing how the albedo changes are geographically distributed. Are the recent increases associated with industrialization in certain areas, making them anthropogenic, like the global dimming effect, or are they somehow a natural response to warming temperatures? These are important questions.

  12. Judith – can we have a “Sceptics, make your best Disconfirmations” thread? Believers are inordinately fond of demanding that sceptics “prove” their “theories”. Indeed such a demand is often the first sign that one is dealing with someone whose grasp of Scientific Method differs from one’s own to a degree likely to make debate futile.

    Setting up such a page would assert the truth of Darwin’s observation that “To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”. I also think that “counter-theory” and “disconfirmation” are useful distinctions in the (admirable) exercise you have embarked on. Sorry this isn’t a scientific contribution, perhaps I should have posted it elsewhere…

    • Yes, a lot of geniuses seem to think: “if this theory is wrong, what is your explanation?”. They do not seem to understand that no new explanation is necessary to disprove an existing theory.

      When the boy points out the emperor has no clothes, it is the job of the emperor to go and find some clothes to wear.

    • Tom,
      scientifically speaking, you can “disconfirm” the hypothesis that CO2 caused the warming between 1980 to 2000, by offering the hypothesis that the observed cloud cover change by the ISCCP, could have caused the same temperature increase.
      Now the game is in the ball ark of climate science.
      They have to adress both hypothesis.
      Best regards

      • Guenter thank you but as I understand it you are offering counter-hypothesis. Few people are capable of doing that, and I doubt if I will ever be one of them. And of course a successful counter-theory would, by extension, disconfirm its rival. By “disconfirmation”, what I meant was argument which disconfirms a significant plank of CAGW theory either through observation (for instance the missing hotspot), or through articulation of a logical flaw it contains, but WITHOUT providing a counter-hypothesis. These are the disconfirmations Darwin had in mind, and as he makes clear, they are as valuable, by their ability to kill an error, as rival attempts to explain the same phenomenon. And I believe the purposes of this thread would be best served by keeping them distinct.

      • Tom,
        but this is a significant plank. One of the pillars of detection and attribution is made by Hegerl et al. using the optimal fingerprint method. In order to detect an anthropogenic signal their method requires that the natural variability is known. This is an implicit assumption. They detected the anthropogenic signal within the time period of 1980 to 2000. If in this time period the cloud cover change has caused this temperature rise, a plank is removed, since we can not yet rule out natural causes for this cloud cover change.
        It is futile to try to find a logical flaw in a simple hypothesis that CO2 has caused the warming, since it could have caused the warming according to fundamental physics. However, we deal with a complex nonlinear system and CO2 might not have caused the whole warming of the 20th century. All climate science can do is measure the cloud cover and investigate the causes for cloud cover change. Expecting logical flaws in fundamental physics from sceptics is a smart argument, but also a set up that is used by some players as an excuse for not having certainty about the root causes. It is not the scientific way to support your own hypothesis by asking others to disprove it. It is the other way round. The burden of proof is on the guy who made the hypothesis.

        Best regards

      • Guenter I think you misunderstand me. Yes, it is a significant plank. It’s a beautiful, knot-free plank, and I believe you rightly reveal it to be made of styrofoam:-)

        But you do so by means of counter-hypothesis. Other disconfirmations do not. They use either physical observation or logical criticism, but NOT rival theory, but are no less valuable. Indeed, for obvious reasons the former (large in number) often support, and may be the starting point, of the latter (few). But I think it is important to distinguish the disconfirmation from the rival theory with which it my be associated.

      • Tom,
        I understand you, but I also think that this is a catch-22 in the climate debate. Many conclusions I read in papers are based on implicit assumption. The Hegerl et al. argument per example. Their conclusion is according to my understanding:
        “If the models simulate natural variability correctly, then we have detected an anthropenic signal.”
        If I remove the implicit assumption that models simulate natural variability correctly then I have disconfirmed the second part of the sentence, since it cannot be deducted anymore.
        Many arguments in the climate debate for my opinion have such implicit assumptions attached that have only the character of hypothesis, so how can you disconfirm the whole chain of arguments other than by counter-hypothesis.
        An argument in the climate debate is rarely purely based on logic or put forward because of a purely physical observation. Even measurements of longwave radiation or shortwave radiation and the temperature data-sets are based on implicit assumptions, because we cannot argue about the raw data of satellites, we would see nothing.
        So, if someone uses the argument from assumption A follows B, we can disconfirm it directly by showing that from A can also follow C by an experiment, but also by showing that A is not a confirmed assumption.
        Best egards

    • Disconfirmations are mainly what I am expecting here.

  13. Andy Lacis:
    the climate time rate of approach to equilibrium. The ocean mixed layer takes about 5 years and accounts for about 40% of the total equilibrium heating. About 60% is reached in about 100 years, with the balance taking as long as 1500 years, as heat diffuses into the deep ocean.

    So if the heat from the atmosphere is going to diffuse into the ocean in Hansen’s view, then where is Trenberth’s ‘missing heat’ hiding? Not in the ocean obviously. Trenberth says:
    ““we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”
    This is one of the (few) things I agree with Trenberth on. Dr Curry says she wishes NASA wold remove their newer energy budget graphic because it doesn’t show the up and down longwave radiation fluxes separately, and that this is misleading. I contend the Trenberth Kiehl diagram is misleading too. The overall net flux of longwave is less than the totals for convection (including latent heat contained in freely convecting water vapour), yet the caption under their diagram in says:
    “The broad arrows indicate the schematic flow of energy in proportion to their importance. ”
    Perception counts for more than a lot of people realise. It is misleading because convected heat is transported polewards and escapes to space where there is a lot less water vapour in the air to retain it. Atmospheric transport of heat takes over from the oceans as the major mover of heat from the higher latitudes to the poles, according to eminent oceanologist prof. Arnold Gordon, who has over 130 oceanography publications stretching back to the mid ’60s.

    “Fluxes across the sea-atmosphere interface: Heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere is a product of a number of processes: solar radiation heats the ocean; net long wave back radiation cools the ocean; heat transfer by conduction and convection between the air and water generally cools the ocean as does evaporation of water from the ocean surface”

    “The annual heat flux between ocean and atmosphere (Fig. 5) is formed by the sum of all of the heat transfer process: solar and terrestrial radiation; heat conduction and evaporation. While the ocean gains heat in low latitudes and loses heat in high latitudes, the largest heat loss is drawn from the warm Gulf Stream waters off the east coast of the US during the winter, when cold dry continental air spreads over the ocean. An equivalent pattern is found near Japan, where the Kuroshio Current is influenced by the winter winds off Asia. It is in these regions that the atmosphere takes over as the major meridional heat transfer agent.”

    And by what mechanism does Hansen propose the atmosphere is going to heat the ocean anyway? The ocean is on average 3C warmer than the atmosphere. Longwave radiation can’t penetrate the ocean beyond it’s own wavelength. So the downwelling energy is concentrated at the surface where it causes evaporation, a net loss of energy from the ocean. The Minnett skin differential theory is a crock, because low windspeeds over the surface will tend to keep the surface and the water immediately below it mixed to a state of thermal neutrality.
    “Under low wind speed, the sea surface can be cooler or warmer than the subsurface due to overlying thermal conditions, and the skin layer can be neutral as the transient process between them.”

    The back radiation to the surface isn’t going to get mixed down much by this though, because free convection keep the less dense warmer molecules of water moving upwards…

    The reality is that the climate works the other way round. The Sun heats the ocean. Reduced cloud cover between 1980-1998 as empirically measured by the ISCCP increased insolation *at the surface* which led to the ocean warming. This extra ocean heat content raised SST which radiated at a higher rate into the atmosphere, warming it. The lower troposphere temperature changes lag 3-6 months behind SST changes so the arrow of causality is pretty clear. The heat in the atmosphere then escapes to space via radiation from the upper troposphere. The altitude at which it does this is the only issue regarding the greenhouse effect we need to be concerned with. The increase in co2 has theoretically raised this altitude around 100 meters, but how much has it been lowered by the reduction in specific humidity since 1948 at the tropopause? And why does the level of specific humidity correlate with solar activity levels?

    Ocean heat content has dropped since 2003 after cloud cover increased again after 1998 (Palle et al) . Co2 is increasing at the same rate it has for a long time. Ocean heat content correlates better with a cumulative count of solar energy output departing from the ocean equilibrium value than it does with co2 levels.

    • Tallbloke in your Nailing The Solar Activity…. post you write

      ” Last year to get a handle on this, I integrated the total sunspot areas as a running cumulative total departing from the long term average.”

      Is this written as a post? i couldn’t find it. I’m basically interested in how you generated the cumulative sunspot area graph.


    • I and some colleagues are working on a new high resolution satellite data set of ocean surface latent heat (evaporative), that works under conditions of extreme fluxes found in the high latitude oceans, warm currents, and hurricanes. More on this soon.

      • This sounds very interesting Judith, I’ll look forward to seeing a post devoted to it. Reading between the lines, and maybe you wouldn’t be more direct about it out of professional courtesy, you agree with me that the Kiehl trnberth analysis has not helped our understanding of the great heat engine which drives the dynamics of Earth’s weather systems and climate.

        Willis Eschenbach’s paper on thunderstorms and convected heat bypassing the greenhouse effect up to the top of cumulo-nimbus clouds in the tropics is part of the big picture here. Also, Stephen Wildes ideas on the latitudinal positions of the jet streams changing to re-equilibriate Earth’s response to climate forcing factors.

  14. I am Sceptical about ‘Skeptics: make your best case’.
    Of course the top tier of the ‘sceptics’ is not going to participate. It sounds like carefully set up ‘bear trap’ for bunch of so called ‘loonies’, whose ideas, right or wrong, can be quickly deconstructed by the academia’s climate establishment.
    Reminiscent of the methods (I have experienced) used in some totalitarian regimes: ‘There is a freedom of speech here, tell us what do you think we should or should not be doing’.
    There was always one ‘foolhardy’ volunteer, later to be ignored forever (if lucky), or often worse.

  15. Judith,

    I believe Vukcevic is correct at this time. I was going to submitt with references and websites of how this planets atmosphere has generated too much atmospheric pressure.
    History has shown anyone too far ahead of their current time, will have a very uncomfortable outcome.

    So, all I can do is try to show how current science has generated massive amounts of mistakes which has severly damaged our current knowledge base. Until such time, as the science base is corrected, redicule can only come of this.

    • Well, if you have strong belief in your ideas, why not put them forward? Nastiness is not allowed here, and ridicule, while it appears here occasionally, does not carry any weight in arguments. I would have expected this to be an ideal forum for you to put your ideas forward, rather than continuing to make brief assertions that no one really understands. I have put forward my ideas and have taken a lot of heat for it, even ridicule (if you doubt me, check out Michael Tobis blog.) Does that stop me? Definitely not. Check out the thread, some interesting things are showing up.

      • Judith,

        Has the process of evaporation been fully understood?
        What are all the mechanism required for H2O to leave a body of water?
        Obviously planetary mechanics(rotation and all the energies generated) is NOT a factor in current science.

        So, how is current science to understand a highly complex system such as climate if not all the factors are explored?

      • This is the crux of the problem – the ‘skeptics’ are largely pseudo-sceptics, and when cornered to articulate a rationale proposition, are unable to, as Joe demonstrates.

      • You truly do not know how damaged your basics in science are. Too many years of outside factors that science had to “keep happy” for funding or excommunicated(such as religion) has influenced how and why we currently see science.

      • So please tell us the truth about the basics in science. You can’t keep saying “you’re wrong” without saying how we’re wrong.

      • A very long subject but here is the best I can do in a short version.
        Current science has created a snap in time of theories for this moment in time. These fail when you change the factors of speed of our planet in the past. This changes the current LAWS such as relativity as falling at 9.8m/sec/sec/ is now at 10.5 m/sec/sec a billion years ago. (Can’t break these LAWS as they are carved in stone in physics)
        Motion and the circle are also at this current time in measurements do not work in ACTUAL motion of both moving. The center of mass in a circle is the center of the axis in a no motion state. In motion, it is 2/3 fro the center of axis as now this is a circle within a circle with a circle having very different energy an configuration.
        Better stop here.

      • Sorry Joe but I can’t even recognise this:

        “Motion and the circle are also at this current time in measurements do not work in ACTUAL motion of both moving. ”

        as a sentence in English – never mine whatever science it is trying to say.

        Are you sure this is the sentence you meant to write? Are there a few typos or edits missing (I’m being serious here – I’m really trying to understand your meaning).

      • Sorry Louise,
        Current measurement on a circle is the distance of the diameter, circumference or radius. This is stationary and unmoving. The mass balance is the center point where the axis is. If filled with molecules of the same mass in this circle, nothing would change.
        In a circle with motion, and the radius line is to the center, the motion and mass is very much different. All the molecules line up to be a circle within a circle within a circle. The axis point is no longer the center of balance. The center of balance is 2/3 from the axis and shifts the density with the speed of how fast the circle is rotated. 2/3 from the axis is the mass is the same on both sides of the radius line in motion.
        In motion, the faster the motion, the more stored energy as the shifting of this center of balance(that you do not see by eye but can be replicated by use of a coil spring in experiments).

      • Michael Larkin


        I don’t think anyone understands what Joe is on about, sceptic or no. You can’t generalise from the inarticulate comments of one person to all sceptics. Or to all proponents, for that matter. Until and unless Joe can summon up the missing articulacy as a bare minimum, I’m sure I’ll not be alone in skipping rapidly by his posts.

      • Okay,
        Measure the distance of the planet at the equator. Now measure the distance latitude lines as you move to the poles. They are smaller yet the planet rotates at the same constant. The distance in land surface is smaller in measurement, so, it must be traveling at a different speed as it is also in more distance from the sun(mathematically).
        The same can be done when understanding that the core rotates at a different speed than the planet due to the different size. The unknown is that it is not attached to the planet crust, which means the rotational speed could be faster due to the liquid encapsillation. If all things were equal, then it should be slower do to the smaller diameter measurement.

      • well i would say the process of evaporation is understood on a molecular scale, and also on a bulk scale. Over the ocean when wind speeds exceed about 20 m/s, things get rather complicated because of sea spray and spume, and ocean waves complicate evaporation, but we are starting to gain an understanding of this. what is it that you think we don’t understand about evaporation?

      • Judith,

        The planet need not rotate in your explanation of evaporation.

      • Sorry Judith,
        I do not mean to be evasive on the subject. We are talking about gases that are compressed into a liquid with the force of atmospheric pressure generated by planetary rotation. Compressing any gas into a liquid stores energy. Centrifugal force is always trying to exert out and when a low pressure system appears, the compressed gases are allowed to escape the compression. It is more complicated than this but it gives you some idea of the scope and range of this area. We have a good general idea of when evaporation started to occur with the lessening of salt being a density holder to the water molecules from escaping out of the atmosphere. The first Ice Age occured 2.5 billion years ago. The next started to occur in the current series a billion years ago. No life forms before then above the ocean surface. So, it is very easy to speculate that the first Ice Age was from an impact event that generated massive cloud cover. As the planet started slowing, the salt was diapated to what we currently have today. The oceans will become fresher as the planet slows and centrifugal force slows, making the gravity more heavier.

      • > I have put forward my ideas and have taken a lot of heat for it, even ridicule (if you doubt me, check out Michael Tobis blog.)

        Here we go again. Trying to convey the idea the Michael Tobis has tried to ridicule Judith Curry is not very charitable, to say the least:

        There are other places where Michael is spelling out his standpoint:


        Perhaps this satire might be closer to what JC has in mind:

        PS: Yet another comment that has not appeared through RSS.

      • On Tobias:

        The problem I see is while stating he wants to rise up to a higher level of argument MT never seems to be able to leave behind commenting on JC’s possible mental state, private motivations or professional standing.

        The multiple updates are hilarious.

        Stating a future intention to “focus on her reasoning” in the first update.

        Only to speculate “Is she doing not-science because a) she knows it is not science and wants to fool others b) she is no longer capable of doing science or c) she was never capable of doing science?” in the last.

        Continue your explorations JC, I’ll continue to enjoy them from here in the peanut gallery.

      • > Stating a future intention to “focus on her reasoning” in the first update.

        This is what is being done here:

        Interestingly, this post does not seem to have raised much interest.

        Old bruises are tough to heal, more so when they’re useful.

    • Judith,

      I respect your courage. It is the responsibility of scientists to communicate what we have found, even when others who have not studied the data in as much detail call us crazy for saying, for example, that the interior of the Sun is made mostly of iron and heated by neutron repulsion!

      [It is, but I will not stoop to returning insults to those who call me crazy or loony.]

      In 1976, I observed an organized effort at ridicule: I had been invited to present the case of a supernova birth of the Solar System before Nobel Laureate and former Chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission under Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon – Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg – at the ACS meeting in San Francisco, CA.

      When I finished my presentation, there was a well organized chorus of hoots and laughs.

      In 1999, Dr. Seaborg and I organized an ACS Symposium on the “Origin of Elements in the Solar System: Implications of Post-1957 Observations”

      • Oliver,

        I believe you for the fact that as the sun slows, the gravity becomes stronger due to the lessening of centrifugal forces that are directly linked with the speed of rotation.

      • Well Oliver – I hope you’re happy that Joe Lalonde believes you (for the reasons he does)

      • Louise, your comment is unnecessary. This blog, as all blogs, benefit greatly from the absence of comments like yours which carry no value and are placed for no other reason than for cheap, snide sniping.

  16. The IPCC WG I Report The Physical Science Basis claims in section FAQ 1.2 : “What is the Relationship between Climate Change and Weather?” that:
    “ A common confusion between weather and climate arises when scientists are asked how they can predict climate 50 years from now when they cannot predict the weather a few weeks from now. The chaotic nature of weather makes it unpredictable beyond a few days.
    · Projecting changes in climate (i.e., long-term average weather) due to changes in atmospheric composition or other factors is a very different and much more manageable issue.
    · As an analogy, while it is impossible to predict the age at which any particular man will die, we can say with high confidence that the average age of death for men in industrialised countries is about 75.
    This claim is unacceptable in many respect, which is discussed in about 1100 word at:

    It is not about the unilateral amending of the UNFCCC term on ‘climate change’ (Summary for Policymakers, Footnote 1), to include all possible causes, as mentioned by Dr. Curry in a comment on the 8th Oct.2010 (dangerous climate change) here: , but the absence of any reasonable terminology on weather and climate.

    An interesting comment at on Thanksgiving, said: “I am in a relationship with weather” (see Comment No. 9, November 26th, 2010, 4:20 am), which is very crucial point in this respect, as I tried to express in a reply (excerpt from Comment 19):
    “Not only the cited text, but your whole comment touched me, and science should be confronted with it. Not only you are “affected by these (weather) things”. Not only to you they (the weather) exert power and influence, and not only to you “it’s hard to write about this”, but every person around the globe has his personal relation with the daily weather, and the “average weather” (climate), and that since the stone age.
    But since recently a branch of science has hijacked these words, and talk about climate system, climate variability, climate change, etc, by merely using layman’s expression. The UNFCCC has no climate definition at all. WMO says that climate is “average weather”, but has only this to say about weather: ““At the simplest level the weather is what is happening to the atmosphere at any given time.” (more at: ). ……”,
    Concluding with the remark: that the words WEATHER and CLIMATE are scientifically irrelevant, “and if used by academics in their professional work, or in communication with the general public and politics it is causing “confusion” and misunderstanding, to say the least.” More at: .
    The suggested biosketch reference is here:,
    Arnd Bernaerts

    • If you want some real confusion, NOAA refers to anything beyond 15 days as “climate.”

      • Do they ? That seems strange because their definition of ‘Climate’ is this :

        Climate – The average of weather over at least a 30-year period. Note that the climate taken over different periods of time (30 years, 1000 years) may be different. The old saying is climate is what we expect and weather is what we get.
        Climate Prediction Center

        Where do they mention the “15 days” definition ? (I wasn’t able to do a search on their site, for some reason)

      • I hear it all the time, trying to find something on it. Look at the webstie for noaa’s climate prediction center, it deals with issues like one month and three month “climate” outlooks, El Nino, MJO, blocking.

      • This reminds me of a post I saw about the tail of averaged datasets (wish I could remember where). 30 years ago puts us at 1980 for completely generated datasets, everything since is short. I had a lot of problems with how the scientists involved ‘filled-in’ the most recent years (which I would hope would aslo be the most accurate). The topic made me as itchy as the idea of ‘homogenizing’ data elsewhere. It may have to do with making things homogeneous, but it sounds like boiling to me :-). Statistical manipulations seem to me to be the very devil for this branch of science and that makes it all the more difficult to understand. I have trouble wrapping my mind around curve-fitting, never mind some of the things going on here.

      • Richard S Courtney

        J Murphyy:

        Sorry, but this ’30-year climate length’ meme is a misunderstanding.

        The International Geophysical Year in 1958 established 30 years as a Standard Climate Period to use for comparison purposes. They chose 30 years for the purely arbitrary reason that it was then thought that only 30 years of reliable data existed. So, for example, when establishing global temperature anomalies CRU, GISS, etc. compare an annual datum to the average of a 30-year period (but they use different 30-year periods).

        Clearly, if a climate datum were for a minimum time of 30 years then CRU, GISS etc. would each have a maximum of 4 data points for their temperature time series that begin around 1880. In fact, they each provide annual data. Indeed, they provide anomalies for individual months.

        The 1994 IPCC Report used 5-year periods for assessment of changes to hurricane frequency.

        Any period length can be used for climate assessment so long as the period is clearly stated and explained.

        And 30 years would be a silly choice as the minimum climate datum period for several reasons: e.g. 30 years is not a multiple of the Hale Cycle.

        But I fail to understand what any of this hgas to do with skeptical arguments concerening AGW.


      • The weather forecasts of the NOAA extend out 14 days. I imagine extended time period forcasts are climate forecasts. Obviously not the same as evaluations but could be the source of confusion.


    Here the accelerated warming of the IPCC:

    Here is how the IPCC interprets the above data:

    1) Global warming rate for the 150 years period (RED) from 1856 to 2005 was 0.045 deg C per decade.

    2) Global warming rate for the 100 years period (PURPLE) from 1906 to 2005 was 0.074 deg C per decade.

    3) Global warming rate for the 50 years period from (ORANGE) 1956 to 2005 was 0.128 deg C per decade.

    4) Global warming rate for the 25 years period from (YELLOW) 1981 to 2005 was 0.177 deg C per decade.

    IPCC then states:
    “Note that for shorter recent periods, the slope is greater, indicating accelerated warming.”

    Let us apply this “IPCC interpretation of data” procedure to compare the global warming rates in the last 25 years to that in the last 13 years going backward from 2010 as shown in the following plot.

    This result gives:
    1) Global warming rate for the 25 years period (RED) from 1986 to 2010 was 0.166 deg C per decade.

    2) Global warming rate for the 13 years period (GREEN) from 1998 to 2010 was 0.003 deg C per decade. (Nearly no warming)

    Like the IPCC, a skeptic can state.
    “Note that for shorter recent periods, the slope is smaller, indicating decelerated warming.”

    When this is the reality and it is the decadal trends that are important, the AGW camp has shifted the goal post to talking about individual year’s temperature by saying “we have had one of the hottest years on record.”

    Someone living in the 1940s could also have said “we have had one of the hottest years on record.” ?

    Yes, the globe was also warming at 0.15 deg C per decade starting 100 years ago from 1910 to 1940 at the same rate as the recent warming.

    There is nearly no warming now for a decade.

    Feynman stated the following on doing science:
    “Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them.”

    An alternative interpretation to the accelerated global warming of the IPCC is a cyclic global mean temperature pattern with an overall warming of only 0.06 deg C per decade as shown in the following plot?

    • Girma highlights one of the worst of the IPCC’s misleading claims about temperature trends (the false comparison of short and long trends). It is so obvious and blatantly deceptive that many people have commented on it. I have written about it here.
      What is particularly interesting is how it got into the report. It was not in either the first or second draft versions that were commented on by scientific reviewers, but was inserted into the final version. One government reviewer objected to it, but was ignored by the IPCC.

  18. Global Warming in the 20th Century: An Alternative Scenario
    Julian Flood

    AGW may have causes other than CO2, e.g. alternative GHGs, soot, and land-use albedo change. There is another forcing to be considered which may limit estimates of CO2 sensitivity.


    NASA gives figures for oil pollution: [].
    Oil effects on water have been known for millennia [Pliny, Plutarch, Bede, Kipling]. Franklin’s experiment [] allows the rough calculation that 5ml of light oil will smooth one hectare and that enough light oil flows onto the oceans to cover them completely every fortnight. Surfactant pollution also smooths the surface, with the contribution of synthetic surfactants being particularly interesting.

    A smoothed ocean surface means fewer breaking waves []. A breaking wave drives bubbles down to where gas exchange is facilitated and organic debris entrained. When the bubble subsequently bursts it releases cloud condensation nuclei as salt and dimethyl sulphide from stressed phytoplankton (dimethyl sulphide, DMS, is produced by phytoplankton and converts to particularly effective cloud condensation nuclei (CCNs)). Fewer waves, therefore, mean fewer CCNs. Only near shorelines and in very shallow water will the normal amount of stirring and CCN generation occur.

    An oily oceanic boundary layer generates oily water droplets which are more prone to join together and fall back [Garrett 1978], further reducing the number of CCNs. Polluted CCNs are less hygroscopic [Fuentes et al Feb 2010]. Polluted nuclei will grow more slowly and local relative humidity around them will be higher. Droplet size will be larger and the resultant cloud — oceanic stratocumulus — will have lower albedo.

    A smoothed ocean surface has lower albedo and lower emissivity than one ruffled by wind.

    Reduced wind/wave coupling over a smoothed surface will slow currents and reduce upwelling of nutrient-rich water. Wave action stirs the upper ocean, replenishing nutrients which are continually depleted by phytoplankton and pumping in atmospheric CO2. Fewer breaking waves means lower nutrient levels in the upper ocean.

    Plants fix carbon by different methods: C3, good when there is an abundance of CO2 and nutrients; C4 which needs less of both; CAM, the same; and C4-like, employed by diatoms. Only the first discriminates strongly against the heavier carbon isotopes.

    The System Of The World

    Oil covers the oceans. The wind/ocean interface decouples. Evaporative cooling slows. [ G. Meyers, J. R. Donguy & R. K. Reed 1986] The stratocumulus layer above becomes less opaque and with a higher relative humidity as the number of mechanically-produced CCNs falls. The smoothed surface exposed to sunlight warms more readily and, at night, cools more slowly. The surface layer warms. Less CO2 is absorbed.

    Warm water stabilises and the upper ocean becomes stratified. Mixing, already slowed by the lack of wave action, reduces further. The starved waters feed fewer phytoplankton and the amount of DMS falls. Warmer air slows cloud formation. Stratocumulus cover is further depleted. The cumulus heat pump slows.

    Starved phytos revert to C4 carbon fixation or are replaced by obligate C4 species: a light isotope signal is left in the atmosphere.

    Silica from farming runs into the oceans or falls as dust. Diatoms flourish as limiting silica is more readily available. Their C4-like metabolism adds to the atmospheric C12 signal. [Dugdale and Wilkerson 2001, Neff et al 2008]

    Phytoplankton populations collapse [Boyce et al, 2010] and ocean albedo reduces further, while oxygen fixation falls.

    Oceans have reduced biological production and lower DMS generation. Relative humidity rises above them and water vapour GHG heating warms the surface. Warming surfaces discourage low level cloud formation.

    ‘Natural Experiment’ Demonstrations

    The WWII Kriegesmarine offensive caused vast oil spills and a temperature ‘blip’ []

    PETM [], a leaking oil reservoir heated the oceans beyond the clathrate tipping point.

    The Gulf oil spill where the slick can be seen rotting clouds around its edges [ ]

    The Andaman Sea []

    Lake Tanganyika’s anomalous warming. [Verburg, Piet, and Robert E. Hecky
    The physics of the warming of Lake Tanganyika by climate change ]


    Oil and surfactant polluted oceans have lower albedo, higher emissivity, less evaporative cooling, and produce fewer DMS and salt CCNs, reducing the albedo of oceanic stratocumulus cloud and slowing the cumulus heat pump. These effects warm the surface and limit the value we can put on CO2 sensitivity.


    • Given my interest in air/sea interactions, I definitely want to give this one more thought. Your mechanisms make sense, but i have no idea whether the magnitudes are significant. There were some measurements made in the Gulf of Mexico this summer (including aerosol), we should see some papers on this soon.

      • Judith,
        In the 1980’s there were thousands of visible oil slicks outlining the major shipping routes around the world.
        Book: Planet Under Stress, Oxford University Press
        Page 142 is a world map of all the oils slicks at that time from the shipping industry.

      • “I have no idea whether the magnitudes are significant”

        We need numbers. Wet wellie science is needed, also sitting in the back of a luxuriously-appointed HS146 science. Lots of things to look at, biological and smoothing albedo change, biological and mechanical aerosol changes, ditto aerosol absorbtion changes etc etc. All leading in the same direction. At least Noziere should have some hints as to surfactant effect on cloud physics.

        Mony a mickle mak’s a muckle… Or, at least, mony a mickle limits CO2 sensitivity.


    • Julian, I think your investigations are very interesting, and offer a valuable insight into the contribution of ocean surface biology. Anyone who has read James Lovelock’s first book: Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth will understand that it is the bacterial and invertebrate life which is the major contributor to the way our atmosphere is made up, not large species like humans. The fluxes are enormous compared to human caused anything.

      Regarding your oil hypothesis, I just wondered why your analysis didn’t include natural oil seepage from the sea bed. I don’t know much about this topic, but givn the small amount of oil required to affect a large area, is it possible that natural seeps will predominate? Or is only ligher fractions which have the effects you discuss.


      • If you Google “oil seeps gulf of mexico” and go to images you’ll find some NASA pics of seeps. Look for the image with the series of seep lines but with a couple of great big smooths shining away to the east. Those big nes are from the Mississippi run-off, oil changes, rinsed-off salad oil, the oily detritus of civilisation. It’s a neat illustration of the different sizes of the problems.

        This run-off makes the Gulf less than ideal to test the aerosol changes from the spill, but less-polluted oceans (no ocean is clean) like the Pacific off Chile may give a baseline of what aerosols are like normally. However it may be possible to assess the effect of river run off is the figures can be .. er… figured out…

        And I’ve wondered about San Francisco fog.

        You are spot on with the biology remark: if somene had written a paper saying that half the life on land had suddenly vanished there would have been newspaper panic, but because it’s just plankton no-one did more than twitch.

        I liked Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis and even wrote a Daisyworld on a BBC A microcomputer (with the memory increased to a massive 32k) which actually worked. I like the idea of a homeostatic Earth but the problem we have is that we are dirtying the daisies.

        possibly a repeat posting as the other has vanished.

      • The low plankton count could be due to various factors couldn’t it? SOlar U.V. was historically high in the 30 years to 2003, the 60 year ocean phases see rising an falling of fish stocks which indicates a change in the food available.

        We”ll have to wait for the cold phase of the oceanic cycles to deepen and the solar grand minimum to progress to see if that leads to a recovery in plankton and ozone levels. Meantime I’ll take more care over disposal of oils. Thanks again for your insights.

      • tallbloke, have a look at:

        I find it confusing. Its summary is:
        :Intriguing correspondence between DMS fluxes and changes in cloud cover.
        :Changes in cloud cover are not reproduced in current climate models
        :Changes in cloud cover appear to be real: independent confirmation by ERBE.

        :There remains to find an explanation that fits.

        Have you got a reference for huge productivity swings in the ocean? I expected small variations but nothing like the drop shown by [Boyce et al, 2010]


      • Julian,
        The FAO document I tracked down for someone (not you was it?) on an earlier thread here has some interesting info on the correlations of fish stock variation. I can’t remember whether absolute quantities were given.

        I would want to see more studies before drawing to many conclusions from Boyce et al, because fish are migratory, and that’s an indication their food source might appear in greater concentrations in different places at different times.

  19. First of all, my position on AGW is much more parsed than can be summarized simply. I’m rather in the Roger Pielke Sr. camp regarding the unsung impact of land surface cover change. And I’m one who constantly seeks the bigger picture into which this discussion fits – global socioeconomic forces being massively non-linear and largely unpredictable feedback mechanisms to any climate change.

    Now, to the topic: Two papers I’ve written that have skeptic connotations are a conference summary of the First Conference on Global Warming and the Next Ice Age and a paper entitled Icehouse Effect: A Selective Arctic Cooling Trend Current Models are Missing which describes Arctic fall and early winter counter-feedback mechanism, most strongly operating over the ocean surface, that has a simple theoretical basis but lacks sufficient quality data to support it. (The smoothed monthly data shown in Fig. 2 is particularly telling because of the characteristic central dip in the stability dependency of the cooling—an effect explained by my theory but not by any other mechanism I can imagine).

    The first paper was submitted to the Bulletin of the AMS but was never published after multiple efforts to get the editor to act. I claim no conspiracy on the part of the AMS—BAMS was undergoing a transition at the time. Nevertheless, after being given confirmation from the AMS that the paper was acceptable and would be published, it never was. My interaction with the AMS on this issue left such a bad taste in my mouth that I discontinued my AMS membership.

    The Icehouse Effect paper is a more interesting topic to me. Anyone who gives the theory some thought quickly realizes that if the Icehouse Effect is occurring, it is a confirmation of Human Influence on climate, AND that it entirely depends on a warming trend in adjacent (usually land) areas that then advects over the locations where Icehouse cooling becomes manifest. The hypothesized effect does not preclude the summer warming that has depleted Arctic Ocean sea ice, nor would it prevent (or be incompatible with) a net annual warming from dominating the observed climate trend.

    I am a boundary layer meteorologist who spent a great deal of time studying the very difficult stable boundary layer, in which very shallow layers near the surface can have profound effects on the vertical transport of heat and momentum, and in which turbulent intermittency makes parameterization truly difficult. I wrote this paper as a call for climate modelers to recognize how sadly lacking climate modelers are at modeling near surface stable boundary layer processes. This continues to be the case to this day.

    My parameterizations of land surface-atmosphere interaction processes have found their way into Global climate models, and were thoroughly tested in the early PILPS (Project for Intercomparison of Land-surface Parameterization Schemes) so I have useful experience rubbing shoulders with the climate modeling community, and have a deep understanding of GCM limitations. I have also worked with and developed boundary layer cumulus parameterizations. Both cloud and boundary layer processes are among the weaker parameterizations in GCMs, and it is my experience that the inadequacy of the parameterizations of these small scale processes may be significant enough to call GCM predictions of future warming into serious question. My personal position is that “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”. Since about 2002 I converted from being an overall AGW skeptic to one who accepts that it seems highly improbable that the rapid recent warming trend of surface temperature is only a result of some über-natural cycle of as-yet unidentified process or synchrony of natural processes. Occam’s Razor tells me that the simplest, most plausible explanation is the CO2 increase.

    In January I was attempting to summit Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina Border in the middle of the dry season of the Atacama Desert where precipitation almost never occurs, and was snowed out with a week of nearly continuous snowfall, apparently due to the intense central south Pacific ENSO event. When I got home to Maryland, I was slapped in the face with Snowmageddon. Anecdotes, yes. And we all love to believe we ‘live in interesting times’, but I continue to watch with interest the accumulation of AGW-‘compatible’ extreme events.

    ‘Nuff rambling.

    • I think i might have been a reviewer for the icehouse paper. I am planning a series on the arctic (hope to work on it over xmas break), will definitely incorporate the icehouse.

  20. The +5 degree step change in temperature that occurred in Alaska between 1974 and 1976 and remained for 30 years without additional warming is inconsistent with a ‘gradual warming’ caused by AGW.

    • I haven’t seen this before, it is quite stunning. I have mainly been looking at the big warm bump in the arctic circa 1930’s, 1940’s.

    • When did Alaskan oil production take off? Is it very thick oil or light?

      I suspect ice might concentrate oil pollution, releasing it on melting, slowing bacterial degradation. The photoshopped image of the poor ickle polar bear on an ice floe interested me mainly because there was a smooth on the water. I see the damn stuff everywhere.

      If I’m allowed massive handwaving, I’d love to look at the life under ice floes and see if they are modifying their environment at all. Presumably a sea smoothed around a floe would erode it more slowly. And high DMS production would fog the area out, slowing warming.

      Too much Lovelock. I’ll get me coat.


  21. I like to visualize a cubic meter of atmosphere in front of my face. It has a thermal mass and a temperature. The thermal mass is overwhelming contributed by N2 and O2. I ask myself: how did this cubic meter of mostly N2 and O2 get its average temperature? That’s easy enough; the most effective method of acquiring a temperature is via conduction. So a lot of the atmosphere’s temperature is acquired by conduction from water and earth to the air. The next most effective way of acquiring a temperature is via convection where warm molecules physically move from place to place. What other sources of heat are there? There are lots, like direct heating by insolation (with small long wave (LW) content, but it’s not zero). There are other contributors, too.
    Oh, I almost forgot one. Outgoing LW energy will stimulate CO2. Hmmm. If the teeny-tiny thermal mass of CO2 can do anything to the much, much greater thermal mass of N2 and O2, then it must get very hot. Hence my concept of Little Carbon Dioxide Suns.
    Let’s face is squarely, my friends. The idea of Little Carbon Dioxide Suns is somewhere beyond absurd…about as absurd as thinking “greenhouse gases” contribute 10% (33K) to our surface temperature. It’s much more likely we get that 33K number by screwing up when applying Stefan-Boltzmann’s black body equation to our rotating gray ball. I don’t deny that LW-stimulated CO2 contributes something to the cubic meter of air in front of my face. However, I think the contribution is small and immeasurable. If it’s small and immeasurable in the cubic meter in front of my face, then it’s small and immeasurable everywhere else too, regardless of handwaving by progressive-activist climate scientists.
    I don’t care about correlations, storylines, models and theories, particularly from self-loathing eggheads. They are cheap and easy. Any idiot, including myself, can come up with them by the bushel. Without provable and falsifiable linkage from point A to point B to point C to point D, you got nothing to justify conflating a tiny amount of warming from the little ice age to present into global death and destruction.

    • I don’t care about correlations, storylines, models and theories, particularly from self-loathing eggheads.

      Reading is fundamental.

      • Not that you need it, but you have my permission to believe what you like. A CO2 molecule couples its heat energy to surrounding molecules, mainly through collision. I don’t care that O2 and N2 are “transparent” to outgoing IR. Do you suggest N2 and O2 molecules don’t have a temperature? If they have a temperature, where did they get it? With such an overwhelming mass of N2 and O2 and so many collisions, it’s far more statistically likely the CO2 gets its temperature from N2 and O2 than the converse.
        In general, N2 and O2 cool warm CO2 and warm cool CO2. In general, the CO2 does not heat the N2 and O2. Its 390PPM. How can it do much of anything?
        You don’t buy it? That’s fine. Act according to your conscience. Vote. Support causes you’re sympathetic to. But don’t reach into my pocket for tax money…you’ll pull back a stub.

      • Ken,
        The anthropocentric style of writing tends to detract from your point and tedious to read and understand. It tends to lead to a loose style of writing that IMO has to be re-interpreted to give it rigor. Case in point – I have to repeatedly ignore molecules having temperature. I know it has kinetic energy. Another — it being more likely that a CO2 molecule getting its temperature from O2 or N2, loses me completely.

      • Alexander Harvey


        You gave us:

        Reading is fundamental.

        Now I do not know you wrote that piece but I query whether they really knew enough. There is a big danger when people think they know more than they do. The danger being that when you are teaching something it is a good idea not to state things that may not be true.

        I am going to say why I think the author is wrong and whether this be due to incompetence or laziness.

        From the right hand diagram on the first row we have:

        An illustration of IR absorption by a change in quantum rotational state but why follow it with the unnecessary annotation:
        “(For H2O absorption in the microwave: the principle of the microwave oven)”

        I really do not think that this is the principle of the microwave oven where we have dielectric heating which is a completely different effect. This is not a big issue but the following is a big issue.

        The left hand diagram on the second row is captioned:

        “A greenhouse gas needs a “dipole””

        It is follow by diagrams that show that HCl and H2O have dipoles (H2O also has a quadrupole). Now any student worth his smarts might ask about CO2 (quadrupole only). This wouldn’t be so bad (a bit of arm waving could gloss over it) but in the right hand diagram we have the categoric statement:

        “EM waves only excite molecules with electric dipoles”

        The ground state of CO2 does not have a dipole but it can be excited by EM waves. I think the author is categorically wrong.

        Again on the third row left hand diagram:

        “N2 and O2 have no dipole, so they are not greenhouse gases”

        Again if a diagram of CO2 had been included in the same way it would lack a dipole and hence would not be a GHG.

        Were I trying to make the case that CO2 cannot be a GHG I could cite this illustration as an authority.

        ((CO2 has no dipole) & (no dipole => not a GHG)) => CO2 is not a GHG.

        There is all too much of this kind of thing. Now I am not an expert so I am prone to such errors but I am not trying to teach this stuff so I could be excused. I wonder how many people would read that illustration of the principles behind what makes some gasses GHGs and come away with not just an incomplete, but an erroneous concept of how such stuff works.

        I mentioned some required arm waving. That is that CO2 vibrational state changes are I think mediated via a dipole transition but that is not the same thing as the molecule having a dipole in the sense that the author illustrates.

        Now I find it interesting that the author chose HCl and H2O to illustrate how GHGs work and not the obvious choice of H2O and CO2. I suspect that was because the author knew that CO2 does not have a dipole that can be illustrated in that fashion. If that be the case the author has not been neglectful but deceptive; by going on to deliberately choose to state something known to be false, perhaps out of laziness.


      • Alexander Harvey


        Now I do not know you wrote that …

        should be:

        Now I do not know who wrote that …

      • Dear Alex,
        The notes are from David Archer, an atmospheric chemist, who is aware that CO2 has a zero resting dipole. You can find more here . See here for more details. The problem with people who complain about climate scientists not responding in a polite manner, is that the discussion starts with a tone that assumes fraud and deception. Little surprise then!

      • Also, see here for why bending a bond is easier than stretching.

      • Also, oxygen and nitrogen do have collision-induced absorption which make a weak contribution to the greenhouse effect as outlined here .

    • Ken, this seems to be a common misconception. Here is how the CO2 warming warms up the N2, O2. CO2 is a linear triatomic molecule. Given the mass of the atoms and the nature of the bonds, CO2 absorbs at selective wavelengths in the infrared. This absorption excites vibration motions in the molecules (for an illustration of this, see Scott Denning’s video.

      Once the CO2 molecule begins vibrating, the molecule starts moving faster. Note, the temperature of an ideal gas is proportional to the average kinetic energy (proportional to the velocity squared) of the molecule. The CO2 molecule then bumps into the N2 and O2 molecules, transferring some of its momentum to these other molecules, and so speeds up the motion of these other molecules. The average temperature of the cubic meter of air in front of your face thus increases.

      • Unless you’re saying an N2 molecule (as an example) cannot impart part of its kinetic energy to a CO2 molecule, then I have no problem whatsoever with your explanation. Your comments are 100% consistent with what I said.
        Which is orders of magnitude more likely? More measurable? Of overwhelming influence? Pick one.

        1. 781,000PPM of N2 will couple significant energy to 390PPM of CO2
        2. 390PPM of CO2 will couple significant energy to 781000PPM of N2?

      • For an explanation of how this works, see feynman’s lecture on the kinetic theory of gases

      • Very clever to pick someone I respect, then tie me up with a download that will take a few hours. Ha! Regardless, so far, I don’t see anything to contradict the idea that N2 and O2 molecules have a temperature and that 390PPM of CO2 cannot possible have any measurable influence on that temperature.
        What happens if I walk into a room where the CO2 has been scrubbed out of it and turn on an IR heatlamp? I broil? I freeze? Or, go the other way. I fill my house with 3,000PPM of CO2 and turn on an IR heatlamp? I fry? Or, in either case, the temp change is so minuscule, not only don’t I notice it, but my handy +/- 1C thermometer does not notice it either?

      • If the N2 and O2 molecules are already moving at a certain speed, then scrubbing CO2 isn’t going to do anything and turning on a heatlamp isn’t going to do anything. Near sea level, the mean free path between molecules is about 10**-7 m at the surface (about 1 m at 100 km altitude). Molecules near the surface are bumping into each other like crazy, and the momentum gets distributed among the molecules. Try this site, look at kinetic temperature and local thermodynamic equilibrium.
        (and hang in there for Feynman, he’s worth it :) )

      • I’m afraid you overplayed your hand, there ;). The rabett is not supposed to have good threads on anything.

      • Credit where it is due, but I have not often found credit due in this direction.

      • Eli, I sense Dr. C meant a deeper ACK of credit than and ACK of her credit due you.

      • Alexander Harvey


        I think that many a quick explanation is necessarily neither helpful nor illustrates the physically possible.

        You gave us:

        “Once the CO2 molecule begins vibrating, the molecule starts moving faster.”

        May I disagree? That seems to imply that vibrational energy can spontaneously convert to translational energy which I think falls hazard to the conservation of linear momentum.

        Now the original absorption to the higher vibrational state might have made the molecule move faster or move slower (the EM quantum had translational momentum) but that is by the bye.

        I do not know how vibrational energy is converted to translational enrgy in this case but I can hazard a guess that linear momentum is conserved, and that implies that in the two body collision case viewed in the frame of the centre of momentum, both bodies gain both translational energy and translational momentum. But my reach exceeds my grasp.

        Ken & Judith:

        With reference to CO2 warming the atmosphere, in general (i.e. net global effect) I do not think it does. More generally the GHGs (and clouds) act to cool the atmosphere in the direct radiative sense (most of the OLW radiation originates in the atmosphere). The atmospheric energy budget is largely supplied by sensible and latent heat, largely mediated by non-GHGs (and cloud formation) before being transfered to GHGs from which it is radiated into space with additional radiation from clouds.

        This is one of the “apparent paradoxes” that GHGs act to cool the atmosphere but to warm the surface. Yet I think it be precisely the atmosphere being cooler at altitude (an effect maintained by the balance of radiative emission from the atmosphere into space and the flux from the surface largely due to latent and sensible heat), that would give rise to a GHG effect by requiring a raised surface temperature to maintain the necessary effective radiative temperature of the globe (as seen from outer space) necessary to balance the energy budget.

        Sorry to be pedantic (and you are not the main focus of my ire) but I do not think that the GHG effect (as I understand it) is readily discernible from the illustrations commonly given. Its explanation requires a lot of detail and “apparent paradoxes” need to be confronted and resolved. To my mind there is a lot of short-changing or dumming-down in the general net based “illustrations”, in particular the glossing over bits that might give the reader the “wrong idea” (such as GHGs act to cool the atmosphere by their net radiative effect). I have tried the “GHGs act to cool the atmosphere theme” on other sites and gotten trodden on. I suspect for being “unhelpful”. The simple truth is that far more radiative energy is emitted from the atmosphere than is absorbed. Anyone can check this on an appropriate energy balance diagram.

        Now most of what Ken says in his first two paragraphs above is quite reasonable. I would say that some of the magnitudes of various effects are wrong (e.g. conduction) but I think he has grasped a bit of what I would describe as “apparent paradoxes”. These need addressing if he is not to be short-changed.

        He has I think correctly spotted that a lot of heat enters the atmosphere in ways other than radiative transfer. I think he needs to go further in that this is a net inward transfer in compensation for net GHG radiative transfer into outer space.

        He states:

        “If the teeny-tiny thermal mass of CO2 can do anything to the much, much greater thermal mass of N2 and O2, then it must get very hot.”

        Now this is problematic unless one considers that the bulk transfer is due to the huge rate of small individual transfers. Again it might help him to consider that the net thermal transfer is from the non-GHGs to the GHGs and that the transfer might be best viewed as not so much driven by temperature differences (a macroscopic property of the gas as a whole) but by an imbalance in the partition of the available energy between the various available translational, vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom. EM emission from GHG molecules primarily acts to deplete the occupancy of the available rotational and vibration quantum states below their equilibrium values. To my mind, my trying to couch this in the GHG component being in anyway cooler (as in a lower temperature) than the non-GHG component would be a nonsense. Simarly his “then it must get very hot” would not convey much of what I understand of the science of his example. His case where GHG are transfering energy to non-GHG , if driven by absorption of EM giving rise to a non-equilibrium partition of vib and rot energy, this is not well described by any notion of temperature (viewed as dependent on the average translational energy) differences or gradients.

        I guess my understanding may differ from that of others. It is certainly incomplete and doubtlessly in part erroneous, but does reach out to Ken’s viewpoint. He states a lot of things I would see as being legitimate observations but then arrives at conclusions that I could not, for I do not see that they follow.

        For what it is worth and if I can still multiply:

        I think that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere above each square metre amounts to (assuming 385 ppm) 3.85 Kg which is quite a lot of gas to mediate its small fraction of the 240W per metre squared that is radiated to outer space. Viewed as a a net transfer of energy from the non-GHGs to CO2 by weight the amount seems quite modest to me. There are of course many factors to take into consideration but it does not ring alarm bells due to order of magnitude considerations in the way that a stating its small ppm contribution might seem to.


      • Also, see web sites on the equipartition of energy:

      • It was my understanding that translational energy is not quantized, and that at temperatures characterized by translational energy that is small compared with the energy involved in quantum transitions (e.g., those involving CO2 vibrational modes), there is no translational component to the excitations resulting from photon absorption – i.e., the equipartition principle doesn’t hold. Is there a source showing this to be incorrect?

      • Alexander Harvey


        I am not an expert but …

        “It was my understanding that translational energy is not quantized, …”

        True in a free environment but not in a box, the atmosphere is a very big box so the qunatum states would blur into a continuum.

        “and that at temperatures characterized by translational energy that is small compared with the energy involved in quantum transitions (e.g., those involving CO2 vibrational modes), ”

        I think that is wrong, the energy levels for vib transistions of GHGs are in the central part of the translational energy spectrum lest they would not be effective GHGs.

        “there is no translational component to the excitations resulting from photon absorption – i.e., the equipartition principle doesn’t hold. Is there a source showing this to be incorrect?”

        In the first part: there is a translational component in the absorption becuase photons have translational momentum that must be accounted for. Similarly an emitting molecule recoils in the centre of momentum frame of reference.

        I cannot see how your second part, regarding equipartition follows.


      • Alex – Like you, I am not an expert, but the statement of Judy’s that I questioned was the following: “Once the CO2 molecule begins vibrating, the molecule starts moving faster. Note, the temperature of an ideal gas is proportional to the average kinetic energy (proportional to the velocity squared) of the molecule. The CO2 molecule then bumps into the N2 and O2 molecules, transferring some of its momentum to these other molecules

        I questioned whether an excited CO2 molecule transfers its energy to surrounding molecule primarily because it is moving faster in a translational sense..

        Regarding your reference to a “continuum”, I’m not sure exactly what you mean, but continuum IR absorption is not a general characteristic of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, as far as I know (unlike water). The CO2 spectrum can be resolved into hundreds of individual lines, although of course these are broadenend (but not eliminated) by energy transferred by collisions. Did I miss a point you were trying to make?

        Regarding the failure of equipartition in atmospheric gases at their average temperatures because (presumably) average kinetic energies are insufficient to add to the quantum-specified degrees of freedom , one source is the reference
        Judy cited earlier – Equipartition – see the section on Diatomic Molecules.

        Your point about recoil is well taken, but it differs from the question as to whether a vibrationally excited molecule is moving faster. Also, most excited CO2 molecules transfer their energy via a collision rather than via photon release, and so recoil from the latter would not be a major mechanism whereby CO2 gains its ability to increase the kinetic energy of neighboring molecules.

        If you know of additional sources where I can go to understand this in greater detail, I’ll be interested in visiting them.


      • Well, OK, the atoms in the vibrationally excited molecule are moving faster, but FWIW that is a very semiclassical way of thinking about stuff which is way old fashioned.

        As to the continuum in a handwavy way, the continuum results from smearing of energy levels due to interaction between molecules during collisions. Since water vapor has a permanent dipole, those interactions are much stronger than interactions with CO2 which does not, so the continuum associated with CO2 is much smaller than the water vapor continuum and can be pretty much neglected.

      • Another source, although it doesn’t add much detail:

        It implies that average kinetic energies are inadequate to excite vibrations in atmospheric CO2. Also, it reminds us (unless I misinterpreted it), that quantum theory requires all of a photon’s energy to go toward a quantum transition (e.g., vibrational excitation), so that none would be left over to accelerate the molecule to a state of higher kinetic energy.

      • Average kinetic energies are quite useful for exciting the low frequency bending vibration in CO2. To put everything on the same playing field wavenumbers are the best unit.

        Wavenumbers (cm-1) are related to energy by multiplying them by hc (Planck;’s constant and the speed of light in cm/sec) . The thermal energy is kT where k is Boltzmann’s constant. Run through the numbers and 300K is ~200 cm-1. The CO2 bending vibration is ~670 cm-1, so the equilibrium population of vibrationally excited CO2 in the bending mode at 300K is about 6% which is not zero (there are two equivalent bending vibrational modes).

        N(v2=1)/N(v2=0) = gv x exp( -Evib/kT) where gv is the degeneracy =2, Evib/hc = 670 cm-1 and kT/hc = 208 cm-1. Numbers are from memory but close enough.

      • Fred Moolten’s second point about quantum transitions is interesting. For the transition itself, the coupling to translational energy is zilch. However, if the molecule started in a high rotational state , the excess energy remaining in the rotational state above the thermal average, could be coupled by collisions relatively rapidly into translation.

      • Alex, you are correct. Radiation acts to cool the air and warm the surface via the GHGs. There is the concept of convective-radiative equilibrium that explains the tropospheric temperature profile, but simply put, convection warms and radiation cools to provide this equilibrium. Without radiative cooling to supply the instability there would be no convection in the equilibrium state.
        The biggest effect of GHGs is to not let the surface cool as much as it would without the blanket.

    • It turns out that conduction in gases is inefficient. What is efficient are the other things you mention, first convection, the movement of gases from warmer to colder regions. Styrofoam, and other insulators work by trapping air in pockets so that it cannot move (no convection, but conduction is allowed, it is just not very efficient) If there are IR active gases in the gas (methane, CO2 and water vapor) radiation is effective, and if there are condensible gases, then condensation and vaporization are extremely efficient in moving heat around.

  22. The best indicator of what something will do is what something has done.
    “Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected” Schwartz et al J. Climate may 2010 indicates the reaction to forcing over the industrial era is that which is consistent with a climate sensitivity 40% that expected or approximately 1.2C. The arguments regarding long ocean lag times and/or large long term climate sensitivities may be valid but those presenting these arguments must either show an attribution of these characteristics on previous forcings or explain why they do not apply. The argument that there is a large energy imbalance is contradicted by the recent lack of heat accumulation in the oceans: “Recent energy balance of Earth” Knox, Douglass IJG 2010 vol 1.

    That the Earth should not be showing the expected warming is compounded by other evidence that there are errors or omissions in the models which have significance. The stratosphere is not cooling as modeled: ” Ozone and temperature trends in the upper stratosphere at five stations of the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change ” Steinbrecht et al International Journal of Remote Sensing 2009. The troposphere is not warming at the modeled 1.4 ratio to the surface :” What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?” Christy et al Remote Sensing 2010. And the sea level rise is not accelerating as expected : “Reconstruction of regional mean sea level anomalies from tide gauges using neural networks”
    Wenzel, Schroter JGR 2010.

    While some of these, and maybe all, are disputed in the literature by other studies, the idea that so many different aspects of the models are disputed and the warming itself has shown itself to be less than anticipated leads to the conclusion that the highest probablity lies in the climate sensitvity being over estimated.

  23. Richard S Courtney

    Dr Curry:

    I share the concern of vukcevic which he explains at November 27, 2010 at 5:44 am .

    Whatever your good intentions in estabishing this thread, there is severe risk of the misuse of comments to it in the manner that vukcevic expresses.

    Importantly, there is a summary of “skeptical arguments related to the topics broadly covered by the IPCC WG I Report The Physical Science Basis”. It is the NIPCC Report that can be read at
    In my opinion, any consideration of the “skeptical arguments” should include review of that Report’s contents.

    However, to demonstrate that I think your establishment of this thread is sincere, I provide an example in response to each of your requests for

     a published paper that you feel has received insufficient attention or has otherwise been marginalized
     a manuscript that you believe has been unfairly rejected for publication

    The published peer reviewed paper I cite is
    Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005)

    The IPCC relies on the Berne Model for its determination of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    But our paper demonstrates the assumptions of that model are not reliable because other models give better fit to the empirical data for increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over recent decades (i.e. since 1958 when measurements began at Mauna Loa).

    Our paper reports attribution studies that have used three different models to emulate the causes of the rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the twentieth century. These numerical exercises are a caution to estimates of future changes to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The three models used in these exercises each emulate different physical processes and each agrees with the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration. They each demonstrate that the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration may be solely a consequence of the anthropogenic emission or may be solely a result of, for example, desorption from the oceans induced by the temperature rise that preceded it. Furthermore, extrapolation using these models gives very different predictions of future atmospheric CO2 concentration whatever the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Each of the models in this paper matches the available empirical data without use of any ‘fiddle-factor’ such as the ‘5-year smoothing’ the IPCC uses to get the Bern model to agree with the empirical data.

    So, if one of the six attribution studies of our paper is adopted then there is a 5:1 probability that the choice is wrong. And other models are probably also possible. And the six studies each give a different indication of future atmospheric CO2 concentration for the same future anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide.

    Data that fits all the possible causes is not evidence for the true cause. Data that only fits the true cause would be evidence of the true cause. But the above findings demonstrate that there is no data that only fits either an anthropogenic or a natural cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Hence, the only factual statements that can be made on the true cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration are

    (a) the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have an anthropogenic cause, or a natural cause, or some combination of anthropogenic and natural causes,


    (b) there is no evidence that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has a mostly anthropogenic cause or a mostly natural cause.

    These findings starkly contrast with the IPCC’s certainty that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has an anthropogenic cause.

    My paper that failed to obtain publication was subject of discussion in a ‘Climategate’ email and I reported the matter as evidence to the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry into those emails. The Select Committee’s Report can be seen at

    The paper that failed to obtain publication was attached to my submission of evidence to the Select Committee. That evidence said the following.

    This submission concerns the importance of an email (see Appendix A) from me that was among the files hacked (?) from CRU. It demonstrates that in 2003 the self-titled ‘Team’ knew the estimates of average global temperature (mean global temperature, MGT) were worthless, and they acted to prevent publication of proof of this.
    Climate change ‘attribution studies’ use computer models to assess possible causes of global climate change. Known effects that cause climate change are input to a computer model of the global climate system, and the resulting output of the model is compared to observations of the real world. Anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) global warming (AGW) is assumed to be indicated by any rise in MGT that occurred in reality but is not accounted by the known effects in the model. Clearly, any error in determinations of changes to MGT provides incorrect attribution of AGW.
    The various determinations of the changes to MGT differ and, therefore, there is no known accurate amount of MGT change. But the erroneous MGT change was being input to the models (garbage in, GI) so the amount of AGW attributed by the studies was wrong (garbage out, GO) because ‘garbage in’ gives ‘garbage out’ (GIGO). The attribution studies that provide indications of AGW are GIGO.
    I and others tried to publish a discussion paper (see Appendix B) that attempted to explain the problems with analyses of MGT. We compared the data and trends of the Jones et al., GISS and GHCN data sets. These teams each provide 95% confidence limits for their results. However, the results of the teams differ by more than double those limits in several years, and the data sets provided by the teams have different trends. Since all three data sets are compiled from the same available source data (i.e. the measurements mostly made at weather stations using thermometers), and purport to be the same metric (i.e. MGT anomaly), this is surprising. Clearly, the methods of compilation of MGT time series can generate spurious trends (where ‘spurious’ means different from reality), and such spurious trends must exist in all but at most one of the data sets.
    So, we considered MGT according to two interpretations of what it could be; viz.
    (i) MGT is a physical parameter that – at least in principle – can be measured;
    (ii) MGT is a ‘statistic’; i.e. an indicator derived from physical measurements.
    These two understandings derive from alternative considerations of the nature of MGT.
    If the MGT is assumed to be the mean temperature of the volume of air near the Earth’s surface over a period of time, then MGT is a physical parameter indicated by the thermometers (mostly) at weather stations that is calculated using the method of mixtures (assuming unity volume, specific heat, density etc). We determined that if MGT is considered as a physical parameter that is measured, then the data sets of MGT are functions of their construction. Attributing AGW – or anything else – to a change that is a function of the construction of MGT is inadmissable.
    If the thermometers (mostly) at weather stations are each considered to indicate the air temperature at each measurement site and time, then MGT is a statistic that is computed as being an average of the total number of thermometer indications. But if MGT is considered to be a statistic then it can be computed in several ways to provide a variety of results, each of different use to climatologists. (In such a way, the MGT is similar in nature to a Retail Price Index, which is a statistic that can be computed in different ways to provide a variety of results, each of which has proved useful to economists.) If MGT is considered to be a statistic of this type, then MGT is a form of average. In which case, the word ‘mean’ in ‘mean global temperature’ is a misnomer, because although there are many types of average, a set of measurements can only have one mean. Importantly, if MGT is considered to be an indicative statistic then the differences between the values and trends of the data sets from different teams indicate that the teams are monitoring different climate effects. But if the teams are each monitoring different climate effects then each should provide a unique title for their data set that is indicative of what is being monitored. Also, each team should state explicitly what its data set of MGT purports to be monitoring.
    Thus, we determined that – whichever way MGT is considered – MGT is not an appropriate metric for use in attribution studies.
    However, the compilers of the MGT data sets frequently alter their published data of past MGT (sometimes they have altered the data in each of several successive months). This is despite the fact that there is no obvious and/or published reason for changing a datum of MGT for years that were decades ago: the temperature measurements were obtained in those years so the change can only be an effect of alterating the method(s) of calculating MGT from the measurements. But the MGT data sets often change. The MGT data always changed between submission of the paper and completion of the peer review process. Thus, the frequent changes to MGT data sets prevented publication of the paper.
    Whatever you call this method of preventing publication of a paper, you cannot call it science.
    But this method prevented publication of information that proved the estimates of MGT and AGW are wrong and the amount by which they are wrong cannot be known.
    (a) I can prove that we submitted the paper for publication.
    (b) I can prove that Nature rejected it for a silly reason; viz.
    “We publish original data and do not publish comparisons of data sets”
    (c) I can prove that whenever we submitted the paper to a journal one or more of the Jones et al., GISS and GHCN data sets changed so either
    the paper was rejected because it assessed incorrect data
    we had to withdraw the paper to correct the data it assessed.
    But I cannot prove who or what caused this.
    It should also be noted that there is no possible calibration for the estimates of MGT.
    The data sets keep changing for unknown (and unpublished) reasons although there is no obvious reason to change a datum for MGT that is for decades in the past. It seems that – in the absence of any possibility of calibration – the compilers of the data sets adjust their data in attempts to agree with each other. Furthermore, they seem to adjust their recent data (i.e. since 1979) to agree with the truly global measurements of MGT obtained using measurements obtained using microwave sounding units (MSU) mounted on orbital satelites since 1979. This adjustment to agree with the MSU data may contribute to the fact that the Jones et al., GISS and GHCN data sets each show no statistically significant rise in MGT since 1995 (i.e. for the last 15 years). However, the Jones et al., GISS and GHCN data sets keep lowering their MGT values for temperatures decades ago.
    Methods to correct these problems could have been considered 6 years ago if publication of my paper had not been blocked.
    Additionally, I point out that the AGW attribution studies are wrong in principle for two reasons.
    Firstly, they are ‘argument from ignorance’.
    Such an argument is not new. For example, in the Middle Ages experts said, “We don’t know what causes crops to fail: it must be witches: we must eliminate them.” Now, experts say, “We don’t know what causes global climate change: it must be emissions from human activity: we must eliminate them.” Of course, they phrase it differently saying they can’t match historical climate change with known climate mechanisms unless an anthropogenic effect is included. But evidence for this “anthropogenic effect” is no more than the evidence for witches.
    Secondly, they use an attribution study to ‘prove’ what can only be disproved by attribution.
    In an attribution study the system is assumed to be behaving in response to suggested mechanism(s) that is modelled, and the behaviour of the model is compared to the empirical data. If the model cannot emulate the empirical data then there is reason to suppose that the suggested mechanism is not the cause (or at least not the sole cause) of the changes recorded in the empirical data.
    It is important to note that attribution studies can only be used to reject hypothesis that a mechanism is a cause for an observed effect. Ability to attribute a suggested cause to an effect is not evidence that the suggested cause is the real cause in part or in whole. (To understand this, consider the game of Cludo. At the start of the game it is possible to attribute the ‘murder’ to all the suspects. As each piece of evidence is obtained then one of the suspects can be rejected because he/she can no longer be attributed with the murder).
    But the CRU/IPCC attribution studies claim that the ability to attribute AGW as a cause of climate change is evidence that AGW caused the change (because they only consider one suspect for the cause although there could be many suspects both known and unknown).
    Then, in addition to those two pieces of pure pseudo-science – as my paper demonstrated – the attribution studies use estimates of climate changes that are known to be wrong!
    None of this gives confidence that the MGT data sets provide reliable quantification of change to global temperature.


    • Richard, a quick comment. Concerns about “misuse” were rampant in the CRU emails, and we saw where that led. We need to ignore such issues and get on with exploring the science. All submissions will get a respectful hearing at Climate Etc.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dr Curry:

        My reference to possible “misuse” meant by ‘misuse by others’; n.b. NOT by you.

        Indeed, I said,
        “However, to demonstrate that I think your establishment of this thread is sincere, I provide an example in response to each of your requests …”.

        I apologise for my obvious lack of clarity with the understandable offence which that has caused. Sorry. And I hope this reply has corrected the matter.


    • Richard, is there an online version of your paper available?

    • If you direct some skepticism towards the NIPCC report, you’ll see what it’s worth.

      • Richard S Courtney

        And if you direct some skepticism towards the IPCC AR4 Report you will see it is worth less than the NIPCC Report. So what?


    • I also have published a paper showing that multiple models fit the historic CO2 data and give very different future trajectories.
      The estimation of historical CO2 trajectories is indeterminate: Comment on “A new look at atmospheric carbon dioxide”
      Atmospheric Environment, Volume 44, Issue 18, June 2010, Pages 2257-2259
      Craig Loehle

      • Richard S Courtney

        Craig Loehle:

        Thank you for that. I hope Dr Curry will take note of your paper, too.

        This issue goes to the basis of the AGW hypothesis. If the cause(s) of change to atmospheric CO2 concentration are indeterminate then valid assertions of AGW and possible AGW mitigation options are not possible whatever the mechanisms of climate change.

        In my opinion, the seemingly deliberate attempts to avoid proper evaluation of the climate cycle and its affect on atmospheric CO2 concentration is the most serious flaw in “IPCC science”.


        PS I have popped-in here between other duties so please do not be offended if I fail to reply to any responses to this comment until tomorrow.

      • Eli took note of your paper and well-illustrated its problems:

      • Richard S Courtney

        If Halpern had arguments against Loehle’s paper that Halpern believed had merit then he would have published them under his own name in the journal which published Loehle’s paper (i.e. Atmospheric Environment). Indeed, as an academic employed at a university Halpern benefits his career by publishing any paper in a refereed journal.

        So, the fact that he chose to make an attack on Loehle’s paper on a blog and under an assumed name proves that he knows his attack is not sufficiently worthy for him to put his name to it.


      • Not a professional scientist, but just a casual observer, of possible or otherwise natural events correlations (being well aware of ‘correlation is not causation’), without pronouncing on the validity or absurdity of the results, found that both the Leohle and Ljungqvist temperature reconstructions have an apparent but not validated, ‘resonance’ with the geomagnetic field.
        No un-substantiated conclusions should be drawn from the above.

  24. The Saros cycle is a period of 6585.3 days (18 years 11 days 8 hours) due to the repeating locations of the inner planets and the orbital parameters of the Moon, that causes the eclipses of the Sun and Moon to repeat.

    Looking at the separate orbital parameters of the Moon, phase, declination, perigee apogee, progression of the nodes, etc. I found that the declinational position in its 27.32 day cycle was tied to the rotation of the magnetic poles of the sun. The Saros cycle is 241 lunar declinational cycles in length, there is a four fold pattern in the Rossby wave propagation and jet stream movements. Comments about how it works;

    So to best synchronize the past couple of cycles together in order to see if there was a resultant cumulative effect of the combination of the inner planets and the Moon’s orbital dynamics on the weather data, I chose 6558 days or 240 lunar declinational cycles as the fundamental base of the compound signal. The results were significantly similar, the results for the first cycle gave an 82% correlation to the current cycle, the second cycle back gave an 87% correlation to the current cycle and the third cycle back gave a 78% correlation to the present cycle.

    Averaged together and plotted out as daily “forecast maps” for High and Low temperatures, and all precipitation amount from all three cycles plotted together, were tested against the NWS 5 day fore cast by the local newspaper in 1990 with they NWS forecast coming closer to the actual temperature one more day than I did over a 6 months trial. HWS 91 days to my 90 days, the local editor went with the NWS forecasting service even though I gave him the forecast data print out 6 months before the trial even started. Maps for the past 3 years, and the next three years can be viewed;

    Further explanation on how this method can be used to improve weather forecast methods currently used by the NWS, UKWS or BoM are in this page;

    On going research by self and others can be found at this page;

    Recent comments from blogs (not my own) have been brought home and appear in this page;

    The above link is interesting in that it gives you a glimpse of extended peer review in action as do a lot of the tails ends of threads on lots of blogs when the trolls and “That’s what I think too” peeps move on to the next hot topic, and are no longer interested in the “Meat of the subject” gone off searching for more jabs, gotchas, back slaps and cookies.

    That the repeating patterns of the inner planets, and lunar declinational periods, when combined as a natural analog are able to generate a forecast much superior to the outputs of the numerical models for an up to 18 year long period. With about 80%+ accuracy to me means that the natural patterns of variability discovered by this method can account for most of the short and mid term changes in the weather. With systematic application of the use of these cyclic patterns, on longer time scales with the consideration of the outer planets affects as well, would be well applied to long term climate trends that will blend into the Milankovitch cycles.

    It is my hope that this additional information can be applied to sorting out the amounts of natural background variability so that the real effects of CO2 can be differentiated from the “Noise” that is the background signal from the lunar and planetary effects. Some times the most progress is made by rapidly clearing the dross to access the ore.

    If you want to be able to visualize these lunar declinational and phase interactive effects on the global circulation, I would suggest superimposing a circle at the Lat Long of the moon upon global animated Satellite maps similar to these;

    Richard Holle says:
    November 19, 2010 at 6:08 am
    How good is your computer graphic interface into looking at past hourly data, could you assemble subsequent hourly patterns of past data back as far as 1979?
    If you took these maps and sequenced them into a movie with each frame one every hourly map until you had 27.32 days, then tile a second coordinated 27.32 day set to the right of the first until the progression is back to the start of the cycle again, keep adding tiled stacks so you can view the maps that are in phase by the North to South declination of the moon. You should be able after four set after starting the fifth tile it should look much like the first as the whole lot changes in synchrony every hourly maps simultaneous progression……..

    or on these maps;

    If you look at the animations from 18 years ago you can get a free glimpse the repeating patterns that will be close to the same as this years storms.

    • Richard, the analogue method has some devoted followers and many apparent successes. I am also somewhat familiar with the work of Irving Krick, does your work in any way relate to Krick’s?

      • I got the chance to talk to him on the phone twice it was just after the assault on him and his wife, she was still alive at the time. His method was to look for patters that were the same, he indicated that he had not looked at lunar declinational patterns but that the timing of the 109 day repeats were “about right” for some of the periods he had found. Basically it is just a cyclic pattern he agreed was there but he had not investigated it, global circulation pattern recognition was his key resource.

        Had a lot of contact with the Planalyitics[sp?] folks who bought his business, communication was one way, they asked questions, and volunteered no information. When they had what I could suggest as advice the conversation stopped.

      • The Planalytics folks came to visit me. They don’t use krick’s methods, rather they use NOAA forecasts (they say their customers want the regular stuff). The were looking for a university group to apply modern methods and data to assess krick’s methods. Too much work, not enough $$, and I wasn’t sufficiently convinced that this was worth looking at.

  25. OK, I ‘ll ask the kindergarten questions.
    Do we all agree that temperatures exceeded today’s levels as recently as 1000 yrs. ago during both the MWP and prior during the Roman warm period? At the same time, CO2 levels were not “extreme” nor above their “natural levels” — whatever that is. Human population was a fraction of what it is today, there was no industrialization. And yet, natural climate variation was comparable to today.
    (1) So what is the scientific reason for believing that climate is now being “driven” by CO2 change, whilst that same drive was absent during the most recent warm periods? Politically there is an ideological basis for this proposition: what is the scientific one?
    (2) Absent of the asserted link to temperature change, what is the problem with increased CO2 levels? (Again, scientifically, not politically).
    I have yet to see any clear answers to these two questions. Dismissed, yes. Derided, yes. Told to read a book, yes. Given complex molecular explanations on how the greenhouse effect functions, yes. But what has changed scientifically in the earth’s atmosphere (and when) that caused CO2 at 280ppm to be unrelated to temperature levels and today to be a source of Armageddon?
    I do not think I am the only one who struggles with comprehending this basic piece of information.

    • Do we all agree that temperatures exceeded today’s levels as recently as 1000 yrs. ago during both the MWP and prior during the Roman warm period?

      No. But there was a MWP even if there is no strong evidence it was warmer than today’s levels, or of the extent to which it was a global phenomenon.

      So what is the scientific reason for believing that climate is now being “driven” by CO2 change, whilst that same drive was absent during the most recent warm periods?

      Because we know that CO2 levels have increased sharply and we know that CO2 is a GHG and so increased levels would be expected to lead to increased temperatures.

      Absent of the asserted link to temperature change, what is the problem with increased CO2 levels?

      It’s a meaningless question, as there is a link to temperature change.

      • No, there is a CORRELATION between the temperature increase and CO2 increases. But you well know that correlation does not mean causation (even Al Gore’s CO2 vs temp plot , when ‘zoomed in’, showed temperatures led CO2).

        Personally, I think a small percentage of the temperature increase may be a result of the CO2 increase. But other effects – the AMO, PDO, and solar activity (not just TSI, but sunspot and magnetic field activity ) from the information I have researched are much more likely candidates for the predominance of the temperature increases.

      • No. But there was a MWP even if there is no strong evidence it was warmer than today’s levels, or of the extent to which it was a global phenomenon.

        Dr. Craig Loehle’s work shows an MWP warmer than today, and this tends to corroborate written records. Meanwhile the Idso brothers have also done a lot of work showing that the MWP was global ( and not regional. Do you know something the Idsos do not or are you repeating an assertion?

        Why as a layperson, educated or otherwise, should I (or anyone) reject Dr Loehle and/or the Idso brothers? After all, isn’t one of them the same Idso who collected BCP data with Graybill? Surely Idso must not be a crackpot. Why is Loehle wrong? Why are the Idsos wrong?

        I’m not a self-identified skeptic per se but I’ll admit to being highly dubious of claims like yours. It’s an assertion, seemingly part of the “proof by repeated assertion” movement despite the contrary evidence from the Idsos, Dr Loehle, and so on. In fact look below and you’ll see that Dr. Loehle is taking on (i.e. questioning) paloedendro stuff…

      • G.L. Alston,

        I am aware of Dr Loele’s work. Of course I could ask you a similar question – why do you choose to accept his work and disregard the many other reconstructions?
        From my perspective the other reconstructions tend to support each other’s findings and have not been subject to the strong criticisms of their methodology as has Dr Loehle’s paper. What’s more given that Dr Loehle’s reconstruction ends in 1935 I don’t see how you can claim it proves anyting about the MWP relative to today’s temperatures.

      • aa, there is a special reason that ‘other reconstructions tend to support each other’s findings. ‘ See if you can figure it out. Hint: Yamal, BCP, Tiljander.

        And have you not realized that even the ‘Team’ now admits that Mann’s first reconstruction, his famous hockey stick, is not reliable earlier than 1500 AD?

      • Kim,

        A lot of the fuss over the hockey stick has been about statistical methodology, which is separate from the question of what are the most appropriate proxies to use. In any case there are reconstructions using all kinds of proxies, with or without the ones you mention. Mann 2008 showed the results with and without Tiljander, it made no difference to the result.

        And of course MBH1998 has been superceded by more recent work, including Mann’s own. Wich makes me wonmder why the “skeptics” are so fixated on it.

      • Of course I could ask you a similar question – why do you choose to accept his work and disregard the many other reconstructions?

        Wrong question. My point is that there is compelling evidence that doesn’t agree with that of team stick, hence answering as you did is assertion, not fact.

      • My point is that your evidence is rather less compelling than you think.

    • Absent of the asserted link to temperature change, what is the problem with increased CO2 levels?

      Ocean acidification, for one.

      • Wrong. See the below website, of the Monterey Aquarium for ocean pH from 1996 to 2009.

        Also see here:

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        See James Barry’s work at MBARI on ocean acidification . Judith worked with him on other topics as well.
        See also the NRC’s ‘Ocean Acidification’ (2010) available free online.

      • Sorry, that doesn’t cut it. I looked at the power point presentation from Barry and the MBARI website, and it is the typical alarmism.

        And the NRC site has this statement:
        Ocean chemistry is changing at an unprecedented rate and magnitude due to human-made carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. The average pH of ocean surface waters has decreased by about 0.1 pH unit —from about 8.2 to 8.1–since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and model projections show an additional 0.2-0.3 drop by the end of the century, even under optimistic scenarios of carbon dioxide emissions.

        A change from 8.2 to 8.1 since the beginning of the industrial revolution is an unprecedented rate ? ! ? The pH can change 0.5 or 0.6 points within a year due to sea activity.

        You can makes the claims all you want about ‘ocean acidification’, but it isn’t an issue at all.

    • Dr Michael Cejnar

      And again the inconvenient physical observations such as that by Mr Smith seem to get ignored by climatologists here, including Dr Curry, for all her good will, while they focus on the minutiae of theoretical modelling arguments in a chaotic system. And you wander why the public is skeptical.

      Was not the MWP considered real by many branches of science and in AR1 and AR2 until replaced by Mann’s infamous hockey stick?
      Andrew Adams’ answer “there is no strong evidence it was warmer than today’s levels, or of the extent to which it was a global phenomenon” is hardly a refutation to a serious counter-argument to CAGW.

      On the other hand, is every study in this global compendium of MWP studies wrong?

      And how truly global is surface AGW today anyway? Seems Antarctic is not that warm while Arctic has ‘amplification’ . Australian BOM records are a disgrace and NZ temperatures are so unjustifiably manipulated that now they are now officially ‘unofficial’ (and please don’t anyone bother to make a straw man of this side question).

      The public understands MWP and Viking graves in Greenland and if scientists can’t answer these ‘kindergarten’ questions, it seems to me the public have a right, no duty, to consider CAGW as a political scam.

      • Was not the MWP considered real by many branches of science and in AR1 and AR2 until replaced by Mann’s infamous hockey stick?
        Andrew Adams’ answer “there is no strong evidence it was warmer than today’s levels, or of the extent to which it was a global phenomenon” is hardly a refutation to a serious counter-argument to CAGW.

        As I said above, it is generally considered that the MWP was real – just not warmer than today. Secondly, the existence of the MWP is not a counter-argument to AGW.

      • It shows that there is at least one mechanism that has operated in the past that can produce appreciable rise in temperature that is not CO2.

        So though it does not entirely disprove the case for AGW, until that mechanism is thoroughly understood and explained, and shown not to be operating today – or so slightly as to be insignificant – then it weakens the case for CO2 driven warming considerably.

        It takes the ‘A’ out of ‘AGW’. Which has considerable implications for the political/advocacy debates.

        And also explains why (according to sworn testimony before Congress) leading Climatologists were so concerned about its existence that they wrote ‘We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period’, as all the historical and archaeological evidence was piling up that it had existed and AGW theory could not explain it.

        And then, just in the nick of time – A Miracle Occurred! An obscure postdoc suddenly produced a paper (The Hockey Stick) that purported to show that the MWP had never existed. AGW was saved! Today’s warming was unprecedented! Praise all round and Gorey Be!

        It took diligent research over a decade – against a giant effort of obfuscation and obscurantism (I am being charitable) – for this piece of work to be shown to be ‘scientifically unsound’ (I am being even more charitable). But the perpetrators careers went from strength to strength and, for a while until its fundamental weakness was exposed by M&M, Wegman and others, AGW theory stood unchallenged.

        But now it is in tatters. AA shows that the latest admission is not that MWP didn’t exist, it merely wasn’t as warm as it is today. H’mmm.

        This whole sorry saga of ‘inappropriate’ statistical methods, concealment of method and results, sloppy ‘science’ and shoddy professional behaviour was one of the main things that made me peer behind the curtain of ‘The Science is Settled’ into climatology. And I did not like what I saw. The more I peer, the less I like. Sadly I see no signs of the perps mending their ways.

        But now the MWP is back in fashion. The old Menn who wrote about the warm temperatures and lived their lives accordingly didn’t do it just to embarrass the Menn of today. They did it because that was the world as they found it. And it still cannot be explained by AGW.

      • Latimer,

        Firstly, no one disputes that there are other mechanisms other than CO2 increases which can cause rises in temperature. That’s never been part of the argument for AGW so finding evidence to the contrary does not disprove AGW. Of course it is difficult to know exactly what forcings were in play 1000 years ago, but we do know what ones are in play now and we can make a strong case for AGW based on that knowlege regardless of arguments about the MWP.
        And if those forcings 1,000 years ago did result in a more pronounced warming then that is an indication of high climate sensitivity, which supports current AGW.
        The MWP was considered to exist before MBH98 was published yet AGW became widely accepted, the IPCC was set up, Kyoto was signed. The notion that scientists needed to get rid of the MWP simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
        MBH98 was of course the first major reconstruction of its kind so in a fairly young field so it’s not surprising that it has been superceded by more recent studies with slightly differing results as methodologies have been improved. And yes, it was flawed in some ways, although none of them made a substantial difference to the result and it’s findings were broadly upheld by the NAS report and by Wahl & Amman. And even if people may think it completely rubbish on scientific grounds there is not a single shred of evidence of any misconduct or dishonest intent on the part of the authors.
        I just don’t get your last comment. No one is trying to use AGW to explain the MWP, nor is there any contradiction between them.
        The existence of the MWP does not change what we know about the radiative properties of CO2, makes no difference to question of whether CO2 levels have risen and whether human activity is responsible, and does not indicate lower climate sensitivity then current estimates – if anything it does the opposite.

      • Quote Andrew Adams: “Of course it is difficult to know exactly what forcings were in play 1000 years ago, but we do know what ones are in play now and we can make a strong case for AGW based on that knowlege regardless of arguments about the MWP.”

        I don’t think this is true Andrew. We still have very high uncertainty regarding the natural variations of solar, clouds and water vapor, biological response, and oceanic heat exchange that have driven climate change for all time. To use the words from IPCC AR4 WG1 ” still poorly understood”. We have a pretty clear model that doubling CO2 will cause a rise of 1deg C in the absence of feedbacks. Beyond this our crystal ball gets very cloudy. We have theories and speculation, but no measurable, observed positive feedback linked to a rise in atmospheric CO2. Without significant positive feedbacks the AGW climate models don’t work.

      • @ivpo

        I think the important element that you (and I) miss is
        ‘Faith’. Just have enough Faith and all will be well. ‘Faith’ is what you have when the pesky experiments don’t give you the ‘right’ answer (if you actually bother to do any).

      • ivp0,

        The IPCC admits that certain factors are still poorly understood but that doesn’t prevent it from making an estimate of the likely range of climate sensitivity. There has been a large amount of research on this subject – see Knutti & Hegerl (2008) which summarises various different estimates based on numerous different lines of research (not just based on models) and comes up with an overall figure of 2 – 4.5C, in line with the IPCC’s estimate. So the fact that the uncertainties exist (and uncertaintly is of course reflected in the IPCC figure) does not prevent us from trying to estimate the net effect. In fact scientists are increasingly confident that the true figure is around 3C and that, importantly, there are pretty strong contraints on the top and bottom ends of that range – indeed more so at the bottom end than at the top end. A climate sensitivity much lower than the IPCC estimate is simply not compatible with what we know about changes to climate in the past.

      • Andrew,
        Unfortunately the IPCCs range of estimates are still little more than academic speculation with no supporting empirical evidence. The last ten years of satellite observation and measurement do not support the IPCCs estimates of sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 ( see Christy). I (and most scientists) will choose actual data over a range of estimates with huge assumptions and error bars every time.

        Using paleo evidence to support CO2 sensitivity and feedbacks is a circular argument because our paleo evidence has huge assumptions and error bars as well. We don’t really know why it warmed in the past and we know very little about why it is warming now (ref: IPCC- AR4-WG1). We do know that in the absence of feedbacks, a doubling of CO2 will likely cause a temp rise of 1 deg. C. This is science. Our current limited knowledge of sensitivity and feedbacks still lies somewhere between science and science fiction.

      • 1. The existence of the MWP has been known for centuries, and its existence was a major stumbling block in the acceptance of AGW. Simply put – if the MWP was warmer than today – and people wrote about the bountiful weather, good crops, and general good things happening, then how were we to be convinced that some more warming (of whatever cause) was going to be a bad thing?

        And especially when we had been brought by early climatologists to believe that a new Ice Age was looming and that a release from that would be a good thing.

        Hence the need to remove the MWP – to remove it as a powerful counter argument. And when the ‘removal’ had occurred, lo and behold – all systems go on AGW. What an amazing coincidence. Funny old world innit?

        2. Kyoto may have been first signed in 1997, but by the end of 1998 only Tuvalu, Fiji, Antigua and Barbuda and The Maldives had ratified it – countries with an apparent very direct interest in the topic. By the end of 1999 only another 16 had ratified it, and still none of the major industrialised countries. Countries of the EU for example, did not ratify the treaty until 2002, four years after MBH 98.

        The treaty did not come into force until 2005.

        3. ‘And even if people may think it completely rubbish on scientific grounds there is not a single shred of evidence of any misconduct or dishonest intent on the part of the authors’

        Few who have read the detailed history of this sorry affair would be inclined to be as charitable as you in their interpretation.

        4. ‘And if those forcings 1,000 years ago did result in a more pronounced warming then that is an indication of high climate sensitivity, which supports current AGW’

        Sorry – I have read this a zillion times and I still can’t make sense of it. You will have to explain to me the phrase ‘then that is an indication of high climate sensitivity’, because you have lost me.

        Essentially your argument seems to be that ‘The Hockey Stick showed that there was no MWP – so AGW is right. But even if there was an MWP and it was hotter than today, that would support AGW as well’.

        As far as I can see – according to that logic – you are having your cake and eating it once more.

        Hot before CO2 rise = AGW is right
        Cold before CO2 rise = AGW is right
        Stable before CO2 rise = AGW is right

        A brilliant trick if you can pull it off. But t makes any paleo reconstruction completely useless. I wonder why people bother?

      • The existence of the MWP has been known for centuries, and its existence was a major stumbling block in the acceptance of AGW. Simply put – if the MWP was warmer than today – and people wrote about the bountiful weather, good crops, and general good things happening, then how were we to be convinced that some more warming (of whatever cause) was going to be a bad thing?

        Human civilisation is rather different now from how it was in the middle ages and there are rather more of us, sio you can’t compare the impact of sudden changes to our climate now and then.

        Kyoto may have been first signed in 1997, but by the end of 1998 only Tuvalu, Fiji, Antigua and Barbuda and The Maldives had ratified it – countries with an apparent very direct interest in the topic. By the end of 1999 only another 16 had ratified it, and still none of the major industrialised countries. Countries of the EU for example, did not ratify the treaty until 2002, four years after MBH 98.

        So what? These things take time because of the politics involved. The process would not have got under way at all if there wasn’t widespread agreement that AGW was a real threat.

        Sorry – I have read this a zillion times and I still can’t make sense of it. You will have to explain to me the phrase ‘then that is an indication of high climate sensitivity’, because you have lost me.

        If climate sensitivity is high then it makes the climate more variable so you would expect to see more and more pronounced changes in climate from reconstructions of the past.

        Essentially your argument seems to be that ‘The Hockey Stick showed that there was no MWP – so AGW is right. But even if there was an MWP and it was hotter than today, that would support AGW as well’.

        My argument is really that the case for AGW stands on our understanding of what is happening now. Past changes in climate are interesting and can help us in our understanding of how our climate works, and that can provide evidence to support (or undermine) the case for AGW. But the existence or otherwise of the MWP doesn’t in itself make much difference to the argument. At least until we have a better idea of the factors which were in play at the time which were responsible for it.

      • Sorry, slight problem with the italics there.

      • 1. Human civilisation is rather different now from how it was in the middle ages and there are rather more of us, sio you can’t compare the impact of sudden changes to our climate now and then.

        Why not? This is just a silly statement that sounds warm and cuddly until you actually think about it. We still need at heart to grow things to eat, and keep warm in the winter. With more people to feed, growing things becomes even more important, not less.

        If you think that there really have been fundamental changes in humanity since 1400 that mean that what was goo dfor them then would not be good for us now, then list them and we’ll debate them. Mere assertion ‘its all different now’ is trite and unscientific. Present evidence!

        2. You raised Kyoto being signed in 1997. I pointed out that though this was a first step, it is ratification that counts. Anybody can sign a piece of paper full of aspirations – ‘honest I’ll still love you in the morning’ is a nonredeemable promise. But ratification is what counts. And that did not occur until after MBH98 had grabbed the climate agenda for several years…wrongly as we now know.

        3. ‘If climate sensitivity is high then it makes the climate more variable so you would expect to see more and more pronounced changes in climate from reconstructions of the past’.

        4. ‘But the existence or otherwise of the MWP doesn’t in itself make much difference to the argument. At least until we have a better idea of the factors which were in play at the time which were responsible for it’

        But there wasn’t an MWP. Mikey Mann proved it! The Hockey Stock shows so. Therefore climate sensitivity must be very low. Nothing to worry about. 1C warming and we’re done. Pack up and all go home.

        You can have your breakfast fall butter side up or toast side up. You can not have both.

        Alternatively here’s a strategy. We already know all the factors that are in play today – you asserted so several posts ago. Should be a very simple matter to go back a wee bit (rewind the models which are so good and should be even better with one factor (CO2) removed from the equations) work out what they all were doing only 600 years ago. And since our understanding of how climate works is already complete (according to you), then you will get a terrific correlation between ‘reconstructed’ data and the rewound theory.

        Slam dunk for AGW… and a cracking set of papers to make one’s reputation as well. All full and above board, publicly auditable of course. And what a great demonstration of the completeness of our knowledge.

        I can’t wait to see the outcome.

      • Apologies…Andrew had probs with italics, now I had probs with paras. I hope it is understandable – whether you agree or not. LA

      • Actually, what’s revealed in your comment isn’t that the putative MWP damages AGW, it’s that your personal ideological comfort zone is threatened by AGW, so you’ll seize on anything, even flawed nonsense like M&M, Wegman, &c, to keep yourself in that comfort zone.

        Moderation note: this kind of comment is not allowed on a technical thread.

      • The MWP is only an issue because AGW promoters edited it out when it was clear that having it undermined the case for manipulating tree ring data to scare people about CO2. Blaming skeptics for pointing this out or for the falsity of doing this is not really productive for the believing community, but have at it.

      • Wow!

        That’s a very scientific analysis. I must dust off the Nobel nomination forms immediately. I’m sure it will do your career prospects no harm in the field of climatology. But don’t think of straying into a ‘hard science’.

        Would you like to engage with the points I made, or would that be taking you into unfamiliar territory?

        If you’d like a refresher beforehand, the subject is handled admirably – with more checkable references than you can shake a stick at – in Andrew Montford’s excellent book ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’

        For the avoidance of any doubt, as I know it will be your first thought, – I have no financial or other interest in the sales of this book. But it is a throroughly well-documented history of a sleazy episode.

        If you choose to make a career in Climatology, this story will haunt you for years, so it really is in your own interests to read it. If, having done so, you can rebut it, please feel free. Do not be fooled by the one star ratings on Amazon…there is no evidence in their reviews that any of them have even opened the book – let alone read it. And there are four times as many five star reviews. Enjoy!!

      • This is a scientific thread, as Dr. C emphasizes. Yours is a content-free ad hominem comment, such as we are used to seeing at Real Climate.

        No serious criticism of either Wegman, the North NAS committee (which supported both Wegman and M&M), or for that matter the work M&M themselves, which both Wegman and North endorsed, has ever been offered, only armwaving on the basis of the same cherry-picked proxies.

        If you have a substantive criticism of any of these studies to offer, please do so. This is not a thread for rhetorical contests.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        …it’s that your personal ideological comfort zone is threatened by AGW…

        OK, I have a non-rhetorical, non-ideological question. I am curious. Please correct my knowledge gaps and understanding.

        I am aware of several studies based on ice-core data that have shown a roughly 800 year lag for a rise in CO2 to a rise temperatures. Given that the MWP has been established and it peaked 800 or so years ago, what portion of today’s CO2 rise can reasonably be attributed to an expected delayed increase from the MWP temp increase?


      • BlueIce – I don’t want to preempt the right of Skeptics to make this thread their own, so I’ll respond only briefly, hoping that any need for an extended discussion can be met in a different thread.

        1. The “800 year lag” describes a peak to peak disparity, but in general, rises in CO2 have begun promptly in response to warming, rather than waiting to begin after a long flat interval.

        2. The anthropogenic signature of most of the elevated CO2 can be found in the declining ratio of the C13 carbon isotope to the principal form of carbon, C12. C13 is handled inefficiently by plants and so is depleted in fossil fuels (which originated in plant life).

        3. Most importantly, for a rise in CO2 to follow warming as a consequence rather than precede it as a cause requires that the warming increase the atmospheric concentration at the expense of a loss of CO2 from oceanic (and to a lesser extent terrestrial) reservoirs – e.g., a shift from oceans to air . There are a number of mechanisms involved, including the reduced solubility of CO2 in warmer water. However, the current rise is accompanied by an increase rather than a reduction in oceanic CO2, indicating that the rise can’t be explained by a transfer from ocean to air as a result of warming, but must come from a source extraneous to both.

        These phenomena deserve a more detailed description than the above, but I hope this gives you some idea of the nature of the evidence. If the topic becomes a subject of discussion elsewhere, I’ll try to elaborate.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Fred Moolten

        Thank you.

        All of your explanations are sensible to me except for #1. My recollection of the graphs (3 years ago) is that the lag was the general case and not the exception. Have those earlier graphs been corrected and so are now more in agreement with what you are saying?

      • I think the word you are looking for will be ‘adjusted’ rather than ‘corrected’.

        ‘Corrections’ are what you do when you have definite measurable external evidence of actual error in the value recorded. And record your changes accordingly with before and after values available.

        ‘Adjustments’ is a climatological term used to describe the alteration of data to better fit the latest predictions of AGW theory. It is not necessary nor usual for these to be recorded , or even acknowledged. To save space in the filing cabinet only the after images are kept.

        Please do not confuse the two…us chemists and physicists and engineers get all upset if you do.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        I think the word you are looking for will be ‘adjusted’ rather than ‘corrected’.

        In the context of ice-core graphs, ‘corrected’ is what has happened previously, no? For a time, least one US gov. site offered a (claimed) leading correlation as ‘proof’ that CO2 drove temperatures. Later, the CO2 leading temp interpretation of the ice-core data was corrected.

        …us chemists and physicists and engineers..

        You are presumptuous to exclude me from this group, however I do not mind. If I am a fool, then let Socrates speak.

      • BlueIce – Regarding my point number 1, I wasn’t challenging the lag interval. My point is that when warming starts to shift CO2 from oceans to atmosphere, the process starts immediately (i.e., there is no prolonged flat interval), but is slow enough so that any level of rise on the warming curve is not matched by an equivalent level on the CO2 curve until after a lag.

        Incidentally, I should have added a fourth point above. There is a fairly good record, at least among the industrialized, energy-intensive societies, of the rates of energy generation from fossil fuels. The calculated CO2 emissions significantly exceed the quantity of extra CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere, and is consistent with a combination of atmospheric accumulation plus addition to the oceanic and terrestrial reservoirs (including eventual removal of some of the carbon from the climate system via ocean floor subduction zones).

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Fred Moolten

        Thanks again for your explanations – although the lag thing still bothers me. There’s another thing that someone else might have mentioned – I don’t know.

        It’s nonintuitive for the oceans to be absorbing CO2, especially given that August, 2009 had the warmest Global SST on record. What if the ocean’s CO2 rise was coincident with a rise in volcanism? How confident are we that volcanism is not a factor in the ocean’s CO2 increase? I’ll trust you not to BS me. Thanks.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Oops. Someone has mentioned volcanism. Substitute earthquake activity for volcanism in my questions, if you like.

      • Hi BlueIce – Atmospheric plus oceanic CO2 increases can be accounted for on the basis of known emissions from fossil fuel consumption, deforestation, and cement manufacture (the latter a small contributor). There is no evidence I’m aware of in the published literature to suggest that submarine volcanic eruptions have been increasing even though terrestrial volcanoes are not showing such a trend. Obviously, one can’t exclude undetectable events, but they are not necessary to explain the observed changes, nor is there any reason to believe that submarine volcanoes would differ dramatically in their trends from land-based counterparts.

        I don’t have primary sources at my fingertips, so I’ll be lazy and refer to Terry Gerlach’s webzine article (Gerlach is a volcanology expert) – Volcanoes and CO2 . The only thing I would add is that the C13/C12 ratio in volcanic CO2 exceeds that of atmospheric CO2, and so undetected but massive volcanic contributions should mediate a rising rather than falling ratio. We see a falling ratio, which is what is expected from fossil fuel burning.

      • It also occurs to me that since volcanoes emit more sulfate (which forms a strong acid) than CO2, which is only weakly acidic, massive undersea volcanism should have lowered ocean pH far more than has been observed. One also should be able to detect the extra sulfur, although I don’t know how extensively this has been investigated.

        I don’t see earthquakes per se as being relevant.

      • Regarding increased SSTs, warmer water dissolves less CO2 at a given atmospheric concentration, but as the concentration (and thus the partial pressure) of CO2 rises substantially, the net effect of increased partial pressure outweighs the reduced solubility.

      • The lag is in fact the general case; I’m not sure what Mr. M means by “promptly”, when the ice cores are unequivocal. Few proxies have resolutions on the order of a week. The lag — 800+ years — is of the same order as ocean overturning from the deep water (where most of the CO2 resides because of the cold and high pressure) to the surface region.

        We do see seasonal ups and downs, and reactions to El Niño conditions, in the CO2 concentration, but these are below the resolution of any proxy I know of.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Fred Moolten:

        Much of what you say is clear, but some of your arguments are dubious.

        I cite two examples.

        You say concerning the current rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration;

        “However, the current rise is accompanied by an increase rather than a reduction in oceanic CO2, indicating that the rise can’t be explained by a transfer from ocean to air as a result of warming, but must come from a source extraneous to both.”

        Sorry, but it is simply not true that “the rise can’t be explained by a transfer from ocean to air as a result of warming, but must come from a source extraneous to both”.

        If the carbon cycle is adjusting to a change in its equilibrium state then the slow rise in atmospheric CO2 could be expected as a result. Within each year and with the seasons, the air and oceans exchange (in both directions) an order of magnitude more CO2 than the annual anthropogenic emission of CO2. A small change to the oceanic CO2 sequestration rate as a result of changed equilibrium would result in the gradual rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration that is observed.

        There are several possible reasons for this. For example, sub-sea volcanism releases sulphur ions that dissolve in the water near the volcanic vents. Such ions dissolved in the thermohaline circulation would return to ocean surface centuries after they were dissolved. And they would then alter the pH of the ocean surface layer. Hence, the pH of the ocean surface layer would vary with variation in sub-sea volcanism that occurred centuries earlier.

        An immeasurably small change of ocean surface layer pH of 0.1 would result in a change to atmospheric CO2 larger than has been observed recently.

        Nobody can know if this possibility (or other possibilities) has happened. But the fact that this is a possibility disproves your assertion that “the rise can’t be explained by a transfer from ocean to air as a result of warming, but must come from a source extraneous to both”.

        Also, your argument concerning the 13C:12C isotope changes are not well founded. Indeed, the isotope data can be used to make the counter argument.

        The isotope ratio change differs by a factor of 3 to 6 from expectation of its being caused by the anthropogenic emission. This provides doubt to the suggestion that it has an anthropogenic cause.

        Also, atmospheric CO2 concentration is highest near the Arctic (i.e. to the north of anthropogenic emissions) and decreases with distance from the Arctic all the way to the Antarctic (although the concentration gradient also has a near-sinusoidal component). The isotope ratio change varies with this concentration gradient.

        So, both the concentration and the isotope ratio change have maxima to the north of industrial activity. They could both be expected to have maxima over the regions of industrial activity and at latitudes of maximum industrial activity if the rise in atmospheric CO2 and the isotope changes were caused by the industrial activity. Indeed, it is difficult to find an explanation forthem having maxima to the north of indusrial activity

        In conclusion, much more needs to be known about the carbon cycle before anything definitive can be said about the cause(s) of recent rise to atmospheric CO2.


      • Also, your argument concerning the 13C:12C isotope changes are not well founded. Indeed, the isotope data can be used to make the counter argument.

        I’ve always been fascinated by the isotopes.

        If CO2 persists in the air for say 20 years then gets sequestered by the oceans, then oceans are emitting that which is received last (last in first out) which would skew the ratios. That would mean that the ‘wrong’ isotope claimed to be mankind is also being RE-emitted by the oceans rather than belching freshly from cars.

        Anyone here know anything about this?

      • “2. The anthropogenic signature of most of the elevated CO2 can be found in the declining ratio of the C13 carbon isotope to the principal form of carbon, C12. C13 is handled inefficiently by plants and so is depleted in fossil fuels (which originated in plant life).”

        Of course the same could be said for present plantlife so a change in the biomass of Earth would have to be calculated in.

      • Regarding various points above, I again hope that these might be discussed in more detail than as part of an answer to BlueIce’s question – perhaps Judy will devote a thread to the topic of anthropogenic emissions, given its obvious importance. Briefly, however, the oceanic increase is I believe well-documented; it is not merely a matter of dissolved CO2 but of total “DIC” (dissolved inorganic carbon), of which CO2 is a small component. The declining C13/C12 ratios indicative of a plant origin can’t be attributed to current plant life unless we were to postulate that we have been consuming and burning most plants on Earth for many years without their being replaced by new growth, in which case there would not be too many plants left.

        One relevant article is Ocean Carbon Uptake

      • I had no intention of trying to explain all the isotope with loss of biomass. The burning of fossil fuels adding carbon to the environment passes what I would consider the common sense test and would leave it to those who disagree to show otherwise. I only mention it because it is nice to keep all the factors in mind.

      • Hi Steven – I assumed you weren’t trying to attribute isotope change to net biomass loss, but I figured that readers unfamiliar with the concept might wonder why we couldn’t invoke current plant life to explain the change, and so I thought it would clarify the concept to point out that you can’t change the ratios if CO2 derived from the consumption of plants is simply recycled into new plants.

      • Well I can’t say for sure because the lack of an interest in developing a clear picture of this limits me to pure guesswork, but if I had to guess my guess would be a net loss in biomass based on things like deforestation and dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. This would probably be a small factor regardless of which direction it goes and I can’t state with any clarity that I even know the sign much less the magnitude. I’m sure there are some that do have a good idea.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Fred Moolten:

        You assert;
        “Briefly, however, the oceanic increase is I believe well-documented; it is not merely a matter of dissolved CO2 but of total “DIC” (dissolved inorganic carbon), of which CO2 is a small component.”

        Ignoring for a moment the problem of sampling, the change assumes stasis which has not happened. For example, it has been claimed that oceanic phytoplankton mass has substantially decreased. The carbon in that biomass went somewhere and it was already in the ocean surface layer.

        The problem with asserted certainty of an anthropogenc cause for recent rise in atmospheric O2 is that it says “observations are consistent with an anthropogenic cause” then ignores all other possible explanations and all the data which are not consistent with it.

        The cause of the rise may be anthropogenic but detemination of the truth of that is inhibited by superstitious assertions that it is known to be anthropogenic.


      • Craig Goodrich

        “the existence of the MWP is not a counter-argument to AGW”

        No, but it is an argument in favor of the null hypothesis. Consider:

        X happened in the past. We don’t know why, but it couldn’t have been caused by Y.

        X is happening now. It correlates with Y. Therefore Y must be causing X now.

        This argument obviously makes no sense, particularly when the correlation is over less than a single quarter-century, while, for example, the cosmic-ray/cloud formation hypothesis has shown good correlations over periods ranging from months to millions of years. (ref: numerous papers by Svensmark, Shaviv, and others; see e.g. or )

        As to the MWP being local, if it was a North Atlantic phenomenon as the RealClimate group seems to believe, it is odd that strong evidence for it and the Little Ice Age has been found in Japan, China, South Africa, New Zealand, and the Andes. See the numerous studies listed at

      • Two additional points:

        1) As even Gavin Schmidt admits (in a 2005 paper he co-authored), a 1% to 2% change in cloud cover would account for all the observed warming 1975 — 1997. We know from satellite data that upper-troposphere humidity has dropped steadily over that period, and there is some (fragmentary) evidence that low-cloud cover did decrease by a comparably small amount over the same period.

        Thus the notion that CO2 is the only possible cause of this warming is nonsense — as is the claim that the warming rate is “unprecedented”, since we see precisely the same rate 1850-1880 and 1910-1940, according to CRU’s own data!

        2) An additional source of information — both blog posts and published papers — on cosmoclimatology (“the Svensmark hypothesis”) is Prof. Shaviv’s blog at

        Enjoy, enjoy.

    • Dr Michael Cejnar

      Apologies for links:


    • (1) So what is the scientific reason for believing that climate is now being “driven” by CO2 change, whilst that same drive was absent during the most recent warm periods? Politically there is an ideological basis for this proposition: what is the scientific one?

      It has been warming while the sun has been relatively quiet. The stratosphere cooled while the troposphere warmed. Counterintuitive, and a ‘fingerprint’ of greenhouse gas warming. The milankovich cycles are not producing a significant forcing at this point in time.

      • Are all forcings and feedbacks well accounted for in current climate science? No.
        The sun until very recently was at a very active period, by the way.
        I think ignoring the PDO and the other oceanic oscillations is a way to demonstrate weaknesses, right up there with clouds.

      • “The stratosphere cooled while the troposphere warmed. ”

        If this is a fingerprint of GHG warming then it should be occurring regardless of natural forcings. The fact that it isn’t happening for the last 15 years indicate either a) there is no GHG warming for 15 years, I would consider this unlikely or b) it is not a fingerprint and other factors also influence the stratosphere besides those we are aware of and attribute.

  26. Fair enough Judith. I don’t subscribe to being called a skeptic if it somehow implies having arrived. In that respect I am an unconvinced explorer. I started this under the “Why engage with skeptics?” thread. (Sorry about confusing your name there!) although not fully dressed with all references etc, looking for time/resources to continue, and very willing to honor constructive help, especially where it refrains from things like pretending to know what I have come across and not – mostly such is more a matter of “boarding time”.

    My take is that there are these empirical correlations between multi-decadal to multi-centennial climate shifts (18O-based) and solar forcing (14C and 10Be-based) as seen in various proxy records. They seem quite convincing, still overall not entirely.

    Solar forcing of GCMs and OA-GCMs has its history of using direct solar irradiance, a succession of TSI reconstructions, converging towards at least bulk TSI varying by only little. Earlier modelling prescribed a larger solar effect directly, and the WG I Report, section, describes recent EMIC simulations doing that. Indeed, its prime example is what directly led to the well-spread notion that the most recent warming can not be solar and is to be understood using feedback-enhanced CO2 only.

    It is there that I cannot yet clearly see, although working on it, how the prescribed solar forcing is carried into and through the 20th century in particular, a century ending with bomb isotopes and the satellite record. I want to learn whether a more or less flat, direct TSI forcing was somehow spliced somewhere onto the prescribed forcing which is constructed differently.

    If this would turn out to be interesting, I would like to engage modellers for use of a prescribed solar forcing to be more comfortable with. Alternatively, to see modellers incorporate a low-order description of a TSI- or GCR-effect enhancement, even if that would need to be speculative, with a solar or GCR-albedo effect, and to learn of what this would require in terms of aerosol tuning and CO2 sensitivity. Like I wrote earlier, I suspect it might otherwise call for revision of the latter downwards. If all this has been dealt with already to satisfaction, then it may just need to be described more convincingly in IPCC’s Report.

    • I agree that a serious consideration of the different solar reconstructions is missing in the IPCC reports; hopefully this will receive more attention in the AR5

      • Keep hoping, and we’ll keep researching solar variables. Somehow I doubt the status quo has much to gain by admitting the uncertainty that underlies our measurements of solar activity.

        This is not a graph, but it is worth looking at.

    • Soren
      Recently I had a closer look at Greenland 10Be records (NGRIP and Dye-3). You might find some info here:
      not available anywhere else, as far as I know.

      • Thanks all! I’ll see to any non-seriousness and might come back then.

        I should add, I wonder, like I just asked at WUWT on the recent non-trend in GCR, whether this might not be just a relatively low non-equilibrium GCR level resulting in surplus incoming shortwave by way of relative brightening, having caused warming in 1975-2000 (roughly).

        Also, GCR reconstructions are interesting, as in interstellar, independent of solar.

    • David L. Hagen

      Compare Nicola Scafetta on ACRIM adjustments.
      43) Nicola Scafetta and Richard Willson, “ACRIM-gap and Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model”, Geophysical Research Letter 36, L05701, doi:10.1029/2008GL036307 (2009) .PDF Supporting material.PDF

  27. It is the politics that is the issue..
    the politics and lobbying that hype up, worst cast scenrios of projections and ‘runs’ of computer models, that are laughably claimed to be ‘experiments’

    is the summary for policy makers, and the greenpeace, Gore, wwf, pressure group distortions of the science…

    Working Group 1 seems solid enough, with copious caveats, maybes, uncertainties, etc…

    Take a look at the low lying islands in the reports, ALL the factors threatening the islands are mentioned, only a fantasy sea level rise in 50-100 years time is talked about… Ignoring many MAN made environmental issues (like on Tuvalu) that are the islands real problems.

  28. Given that extremes have been reached already (no ice at the poles, (ice at the equator, (CO2 levels of 7000 ppm in the Cambrian and around 2500 in the Jurassic I find it hard to accept any idea of runaway greenhouse effect or a climate that is somehow unnatural. If the earth ‘recovered’ (at least from the humna viewpoint) before, what is it that makes people believe it will not do so again? This makes me ask the question, “what temperature should the earth be?” If the environemnt is capabale of being that extreme all on its own, isn’t it our responsibility to adapt. I think the AGW idea comes from an anthropocentric viewpoint that is very limited and arrogant concerning humans’ impact on the climate of the earth.

  29. Best skeptical shot #1.

    The satellite temperature record probably falsifies AGW.

    The argument begins with the premise that we should use the best data we have. My basic claim is that the satellite estimates are far superior to the surface reconstruction, so they should govern for the period from 1978 to the present.

    My argument for this basic claim is that the surface estimates are based on a complex statistical procedure that is mathematically weak. This has nothing to do with UHI or any data quality issue, although those certainly exist as well. The satellites have their own problems but they pale in comparison to the mathematical problems with the surface estimates.

    For example, not only are the surface samples not representative, but different samples carry very different weights, samples are extrapolated and interpolated, etc. Several fundamental requirements of statistical sampling theory are seriously compromised in these complex surface temperature models.

    Assuming that the satellite estimates govern, we find the following. The UAH satellite estimates present the following pattern. Prior to the big 1998-2001 ENSO cycle (El Nino + La Nina) there was no significant warming. The trend is flat, with a slight up or down slope depending on the start and end points chosen.

    Following the ENSO cycle there is also no warming, but the flat trend is higher than before the cycle. There is therefore no overall 1978-2010 warming trend, in the physical sense of a gradual increase in temperatures underlying the annual oscillations. Mathematically we see instead a “step function” with two flat periods, the second period being higher than the first. The step up itself is obscured by the ENSO cycle.

    It is this flat-step-flat pattern that climate science needs to explain, not the gradual warming shown in the questionable surface statistical models. I see no prospect that a gradual buildup in GHG’s can explain this 32 year flat-step-flat pattern, which appears to be associated with a very large ENSO. An entirely new mechanism seems to be called for.

    Moreover, if we accept the surface statistical model estimates as the best estimate available prior to 1978, we find no significant warming going back to around 1940. That is, this single ENSO related step function is the only warming in the last 70 years. It seems obvious that this pattern of a single step-up of warming over the last 70 years falsifies the theory of GHG-induced global warming.

    A corollary of this argument is that climate science is making a mistake by focusing its efforts on explaining the 30+ year temperature profile estimated by the surface statistical models. It should be trying to explain the satellite profile. Of course if it can explain both so much the better, but that does not seem to have happened to date.

    David (

    • We should “hide the incline” by appending the satellite temp records to the instrumental record. Ha!

      • Exactly, but instead if “hiding” or ignoring the problems with the proxy estimates we are ignoring the faulty surface estimates.

      • Right. I wonder why The team never thought of cutting the instrumental record in 1978 and pasting in the sattelite data from there?

        Afterall, they seem to prefer this method in most other cases – Hockey stick, sea level, etc.

      • Because the sat record does not show warming.

      • It doesn’t? This sure shows warming:

        Explain how you get “does not show warming” from the above.

      • Did you read my post? It only shows the step function warming, not the gradual warming that AGW requires.

      • Where do you find that AGW “requires” “gradual warming”? A paper reference would be nice. In the meantime, you can look up Easterbrook and Wehner’s paper.

      • It is basic physics. A steady rise in GHG’s steadily increases the greenhouse effect. Each new molecule takes effect immediately. Is this not so?

        It may be possible to get from that to a single warming step in 30 (or 70) years but I would have to see it. I imagine it will look like “theory saving” which is elaborate secondary hypotheses invoked to fit a theory to disagreeing data.

      • Have you looked at a 10-year running average of the UAH data?
        It is extremely obvious that there is a gradient with a comparatively small oscillation superimposed. The gradient is about .167 C/decade. CO2 can’t account for the small oscillations, but it can account for the background gradient which is the important part to focus on for future projections.

      • Yes, the overall record shows an oscillation imposed on a “tilt” of about .5 deg C/century since the mid-19th century.

        OTOH, we know with a high degree of certainty that the Little Ice Age was the coldest period in the last 8000 years (nearly the whole Holocene). It would be odd, purely from a statistical point of view, if we didn’t have a gradual warming recovering from this.

        Your point is?

      • The solar increase coming out of the Little Ice Age occurred in steps that stopped by the 1950’s. What we have now is a new independent increase since solar forcing is quite flat. Furthermore, as I have posted elsewhere, the forcing from doubling CO2 is at least seven times the change in solar forcing from the LIA. People don’t seem to realize this important fact.

      • 1) You are basing your solar forcing solely on TSI — which ignores, for example, changes in UV and solar wind that accompany the Hale cycle. On what grounds are you making this assumption?

        2) Where are the actual measurements demonstrating that “the forcing from doubling CO2 is at least seven times the change in solar forcing from the LIA”?

      • It makes no sense to use a 10 year running average when looking at 10 or 20 year intervals. Do a linear trend analysis of the two periods in question, namely before and after the big ENSO cycle. Each is flat.

      • How else would you remove cycles related to El Nino and solar changes? Of course it makes sense. Try it and see how much more solid the gradient looks than with the monthly UAH. The steps you see are artifacts of these short oscillations reinforcing each other and they have nothing to do with CO2, so the best way to see a CO2 signal is to remove as much as you can of the short-term oscillations, which also rules out these factors in the cause given their frequencies.

      • “… the best way to see a CO2 signal is to remove as much as you can of the short-term oscillations …”

        What actual evidence, scientific measurements, do you have that the remaining signal you see is due to CO2? According to Prof. Jones, this is simply an assumption from ignorance — “I can’t think what else it could be.”

        Model outputs are not evidence, they are expressions of a hypothesis.

      • I don’t see how a running average removes anything physical, although it may mask it. If the oscillations average out to no warming then there is no warming, and that is what we see in the two periods.

        The fact that there was no warming prior to 1998 is well known, as it was a big issue. What is now important is that there is also no warming following the big ENSO cycle, but average temps are flat at a higher level. This is the basic data that climate science needs to explain. I see no prospect of explaining this using enhanced greenhouse theory.

        If you want to run a complex statistical algorithm, that is fine. The results also have to be explained. But your algorithm cannot negate the pattern I am pointing to, which is both simple and clearly there.

      • By the way, it sounds like you are running your 10 year average right through the big ENSO cycle, so you are picking up the step increase I am talking about. Even a straight line annual average of the entire period will show a warming trend but there is no physical trend there, just a step function.

        Plus you only get your first data point at the 10 year mark so you are compressing the 30 year period into 20, which may steepen the gradient.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Please read my submission to a UK Parliamentary Select Committee copied in my post above.


      • Very interesting Richard. The fact that the surface statistical model temperature profiles keep changing retroactively is testimony to their statistical fragility. You also raise a major point tangentially that I have not seen much discussed. The surface statistical models are just measuring temperatures in the boundary layer, but the enhanced greenhouse effect occurs in the entire atmosphere. So they are estimating changes in heat content in a large volume using measurements taken on just one face of that volume. Moreover, the boundary layer has lots of unique physical properties, vis a vis the atmosphere, so this is a pretty shaky approximation technique. It too speaks to the superiority of the satellite estimates.

    • David Wojick: You wrote, “Following the ENSO cycle there is also no warming, but the flat trend is higher than before the cycle.”

      I illustrated this in the following post, using the TLT Hovmoller from RSS and a number of graphs comparing NINO3.4 SST anomalies to TLT anomalies for a couple of latitude bands. The TLT anomalies for most of the globe (South of 20N) rise and fall with NINO3.4 SST anomalies. There is little to no trend at those latitudes, other than that imposed by the volcanic eruptions. North of 20N is another matter. There, the TLT anomalies rise in response to the 1997/98 El Nino, but then remain at the elevated level during the 1998/99/00/01 La Nina. There is also a step up in 1986/87/88/89 in response to the El Nino/La Nina that took place then, but the rise is less noticeable.

      So that post confirms and expands on your observation.

      You continued, “It is this flat-step-flat pattern that climate science needs to explain, not the gradual warming shown in the questionable surface statistical models.”

      Refer to my reply to Judith’s challenge on this thread:

      In it I posted an animation of Global SST anomalies that spans the 1997/98 El Nino and 1998 through 2001 La Nina. Here it is again:

      As you will note, the area east of Japan, the Kuroshio Extension, warms significantly during the La Nina. The warming there is caused by a number of factors. Leftover warm waters from the El Nino are spun up into that area by the western boundary current, and there is an increase in tropical Pacific DSR caused by the La Nina that warms the tropical surface waters, which is also spun up into the Kuroshio extension. Here’s a map that shows the correlation between Kuroshio Extension SST anomalies and Northern Hemisphere TLT anomalies. It appears as though a good portion of the Northern Hemisphere north of 20N should warm in response to a La Nina, if the La Nina includes a significant warming of the Kuroshio Extension:

      And here’s a link to the post with videos that includes the above animation:

  30. My question is simple:In the past, CO2 levels were 3 to 10 times higher than today’s levels according to ice core and other studies, why didn’t runaway global warming occur ( in fact, some ice ages started with CO2 levels significantly higher than today’s)? Again, keeping things simple, that implies to me that other factors, whether orbital/axis variations, low sunspot count/radiation flux, or something else had a greater influence on global temperature than the CO2 levels.

  31. The thermometer was invented [ around 1714] and records started around 1860 at the end of the Little Ice Age. Since then it has warmed .7 ° C. So what wouldn’t you expect. Warming ? Attributing it all to CO2 is ridiculous. The sun was in it’s maunder minimum dormancy so when it warmed of course the planet warmed. The alarmists posit feedbacks taking hundreds of years, so why should all effect of sunspots occur immediately ?


    Here is a chart which shows how the temperature of the earth has varied since the beginning of records. It consists of a ½ ° C per century ramp and a sine wave with a 60 year period. The ramp is because of recovery from the Little Ice Age and the sine wave is caused by ocean currents. [ADO and PDO]

    Here is a peer reviewed study [I think] by a different author which comes to the same conclusion.

    It is posted on the UAF.EDU website [University of Alaska Fairbanks]

    There is a chart on P7 which explains a lot of “mysteries” of the temperature record much better than a CO2 based explanation does.

    When the sine wave went up in 1970 to 1998 the climate scientists went ballistic. They projected that to mean 3 ° C warming by 2100.

    When the sine wave started down in about 2000 they were left looking foolish.

    The above studies agree with what Mojib Latif of NOAA predicted, namely possible 20 years of cooling before temperature goes up again. He got his tail kicked by his bosses but I think he was right.

    In any case the warming by 2100 should be less than 8/10 ° C from current values , which is beneficial to mankind on the whole.

    • Netdr
      You can trace this sine like wave much further back as we have many records pre 1850.

      This is a study I compiled with Verity Jones. It illustrates that individual stations are at various stages along this 60 year cycle. We identified the many hundreds now in cooling mode. They are overwhelmed and disguised by aggregating all stations into a ‘global average’ of which most are currently warming. You can clearly see the sine like wave.
      If you like old records I keep them here, many of these would be the ones Phil Jones worked with for his 1850 data set.


      • Tonyb

        Interesting study. The 60 year sine wave is fairly pronounced.

        Couple that with the slow warming I might have panicked around 1998 when I looked back on 20 years of rapid warming. They looked around and couldn’t explain the rapid warming without putting CO2 into their models. They must not have tried the ADO and PDO. The rebuttal I have heard is that the sine wave doesn’t cause any buildup of warming.

        That is true but when it is at it’s most positive it scared the climate scientists into thinking there was more warming coming than was the case. The long slow ramp may have other causes too and they should be looked into. [increasing cloud cover is one possibility but that might be the feedback.]

        What if positive feedback is true but CO2 warming is very weak or non existent ? The warming from the ending of the Maunder Minimum was amplified and extended in time by the feedback. The explanation is that the solar increase is not enough but if you multiply it by 3 to 6 it just might explain the slow warming portion.

        The scientists in 1998 failed to look back 60 years and see the same amount and duration of warming just starting lower and ending lower.

        The downward part of the cycle may be made less visible by the ramp [which makes it seem less] and the UHI which hasn’t been adequately corrected for in my opinion.

        Someone with the right credentials needs to take this idea and review it skeptically and find any holes if they exist.

        I believe Christy or Spencer proposed a similar theory a year or so ago.

      • netdr

        I agree with your points. UHI has been known about since Roman Times yet still we routinely dismiss it by believing it to be a tiny amount, then averaging it over the globe, most of which isn’t affected by this factor.
        This from the IPCC;

        “Clearly, the urban heat island effect is a real climate change in urban areas, but is not representative of larger areas. Extensive tests have shown that the urban heat island effects are no more than about 0.05°C up to 1990 (from 1900) in the global temperature records used in this chapter to depict climate change. Thus we have assumed an uncertainty of zero in global land-surface air temperature in 1900 due to urbanisation, linearly increasing to 0.06°C (two standard deviations 0.12°C) in 2000.”

        In the IPCC statement (SPM 2007, page.5): “Urban heat island effects are real but local, and have a negligible influence (less than 0.006°C per decade over land and zero over the oceans).”

        UHI needs to be applied to those places actually recording temperatures used in the records, in which case it can be very significant.

        I wrote about it here and there is also an interesting contribution by Prof Ole Humlum.


      • I agree that UHI is much under rated. The IPCC downplays it as unimportant, and they might be right if surface stations were uniformly distributed over the globe but that is far from being true.

        In Dallas for example a cow pasture became DFW airport [around 1977] and a small city grew up virtually overnight surrounding it.

        The runways and jet exhaust had to have an effect. Surface stations tend to be put in such places for ease of data collection . Even if the station is sited as well as possible the UHI has to be significant.

        Here are DFW’s temperature records

        To me it looks like a “U” shape.

        How much of the right side of the “U” is UHI

        Here is a record from a small town close by.

        As an experiment I drove to downtown Dallas around dusk on a hot summer day.

        I took temperature readings:
        1) downtown
        2) in a city park
        3) 35 miles out on a country road. [I drove the legal speed limit]

        Thee was a 7 ° F difference between downtown and the country, and 2 ° F difference between downtown and the city park.

        Those who say a surface station with good siting in a city is accurate are wrong !

  32. Three physical reasons why GHGs won’t measurably heat the oceans:

    There is no observational evidence for influence of CO2 on present or past climate:

  33. Dr. Curry,
    Here are some quick thoughts about about some of the problems I see in the claims that we are facing a global climate disruption caused by CO2. I hope this is appropriate for this thread. If not, please accept my apology in advance:
    1- the scale of the problem as presented is well within the range of historic variability.
    2- the data is noise filled and requires a great deal of dubious processing to derive a signal showing what proponents of global climate disruption claim is shows.
    3- Proponent’s reaction to critical questions and critical reviews of their work is in large part evasive, full of bluster and reflects a lack of substance to their claims.
    4-the climate science proponents have often presented themselves as experts on choices more appropriate to civil engineering and mechanical engineering and agriculture, etc.
    5-A history that shows other claims of impending doom have been incorrect.
    6-The rejection of adaptation as a strategy.
    Even if CO2 is driving the current cliamte changes we are experiencing, it is not at all clear that we are being driven any place unusual extreme or dangerous. IOW I see this period of increasing CO2 as not significantly different from periods when other drivers took the lead in shaping climate. I see no reason credibly presented by the climate science consensus to change that perception at this time.
    We have a lot of holiday obligations at this time, so please excuse the brevity of this summary.


    Here is the plot for the 30-years trend for the GMT:

    It shows:

    1) 30-years of slight cooling from 1880 to 1910
    2) 30-years of warming by about 0.45 deg C from 1910 to 1940
    3) 30-years of slight cooling from 1940 to 1970
    4) 30-years of warming by about 0.45 deg C (nearly identical to that 60 years before) from 1970 to 2000

    Assuming this pattern that was valid for 120 years is valid for the next 20 years, we can reasonably predict:

    5) 30-years of slight cooling from 2000 to 2030

    How does the trend since 2000 looks like?

    Here it is:

    6) GMT trend flat at 0.4 deg C for 10 years!

    Because of this GMT pattern, the cause of this pattern seems to be natural, and the effect of human emission of CO2 on the GMT appears to be negligible or non existent.

    • Great post.

      The 60 year sine wave with a 1/2 ° C ramp seems to be easily shown.

      I liked your woodfortrees plot. [Particularly the first one]

      One small quibble:

      The second one shows a
      “#Least squares trend line; slope = 0.00285082 per year”
      For 2000 to 2010
      You can see the values by clicking on “raw data” at the bottom right of the plot.

      [But .3 ° C in 100 years is pretty flat. ]

      If you just take the trend since 2005 it gets really dramatic.

      #Least squares trend line; slope = -0.0149655 per year

      Sure that is “cherry picking” but it shows that the sine wave has really started down by 2010.

      If you are right the next 20 years of cooling or “failure to warm” should be fun for skeptics.

  35. Noblesse Oblige

    The onus is on proponents to demonstrate the case for serious GW, not on skeptics to demonstrate the absence of a case. So, the question at hand is, “What is the case for serious future global warming due to greenhouse gases?” And more precisely, “Serious” means a climate sensitivity greater than 1 deg C for doubling of CO2 or, equivalently, more than about 0.3 deg C/W/M2.

  36. Hi Judith: I’m not presenting a theory; I’m presenting observations from SST data.

    I have been writing posts for a couple of years about the SST anomalies of a subset of the global oceans (about 25% of the global ocean surface area), the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans (coordinates 60S-65N, 80E-180)–in technical terms, a chunk of the globe. That subset can and does warm cumulatively in response to El Niño and La Niña events. To witness the cumulative response, the El Niño has to be significant, like the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events, and it has to be followed by a significant La Niña, like the 1988/89 and 1998/99/00/01 La Niña events. Obviously, in order to witness the effect, the ENSO signals cannot be overwhelmed by explosive volcanic eruptions as they were in 1982 and 1991. So here’s a portion of an upcoming post on the same subject.

    The following link is to a gif animation of global SST anomaly maps. It presents the 1997/98 El Niño followed by the 1998 through 2001 La Niña. Each map represents the average SST anomalies for a 12-month period and is followed by the next 12-month period in sequence. The 12-month averages eliminate the seasonal and weather noise, like smoothing data with a 12-month running-average filter. To the right of each map is a graph that fills in with time. It presents scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the SST anomalies of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans. Both datasets are smoothed with a running 12-month filter to coincide with the maps.

    The fact that the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans can warm in response to both El Niño and La Niña events of course contradicts the popular belief that ENSO represents only noise. It also illustrates that the effects of ENSO are not linear and cannot be removed from the global temperature record by subtracting a scaled ENSO proxy (NINO3.4 or CTI SST anomalies) from global surface temperature anomalies as they attempt in Thompson et al (2009).

    Compo and Sardeshmuk (2008) “Removing ENSO-Related Variations From The Climate Record” found that about 40% of the trend from 1871 to 2006 is ENSO related. Instead of noise, they treated ENSO as a process with four distinct phases.

    But Compo and Sardeshmuk missed the counterintuitive warming of the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans during La Niña events. By doing so they may also have missed the warming of the North Atlantic during specific La Niña events. As you’ll note in the animation, much of the warming during the 1998 through 2001 La Niña takes place along the North Pacific western boundary current extension, the Kuroshio Extension. The following is a correlation map of Kuroshio Extension SST anomalies (30N-45N, 150E-150W) with Northern Hemisphere SST anomalies. So it appears as though the North Atlantic could also have cumulative warmings in response to El Niño and La Niña events, as long as the La Niña event included a significant warming of the Kuroshio Extension. (Makes one wonder if the AMO needs to be rethought.)

    And here’s a “smoothed” SST animation that includes an infilling graph of SST anomalies for the “rest of the world” between the latitudes of 60S-65N just in case you were wondering.

    That’s enough for now. I’m sure there will be questions from others like: But, Bob, what provided the fuel for the 1997/98 El Niño? The answer, of course, is the increase in tropical Pacific downward shortwave radiation associated with 1995/96 La Niña. Here’s a graph of NODC (Levitus et al 2009) tropical Pacific OHC versus NINO3.4 SST anomalies:

    And this subject was discussed in detail with graphs and animations of the anomalies for lots of variables (TLT anomalies, Downward Shortwave Radiation, cloud amount, Ocean Heat Content, precipitation, sea level, etc.) in the following post:

    Since the videos were geared toward those without strong scientific backgrounds, the post also includes links to many of the earlier posts on the subject.


    • Very interesting observations Bob. I have followed your posts here and on The Blackboard for some time now. I think understanding ocean heat exchange will provide a very big piece in our understanding of the global climate puzzle. Have you formed any conclusions based on these observations or is it still too soon to tell?

      • ivp0: The vast majority of year-to-year, decadal, and multidecadal variability in Global SST anomalies, including the trend and what is considered the AMO, should be explainable as responses to the discharge, recharge, and redistribution phases of ENSO. And since land surface temperature anomalies are simply exaggerating the variations in the Global SST anomalies, ENSO should explain the most of that variability as well. The energy source for ENSO is downward shortwave radiation and is “regulated” by the recharge phase, La Nina, through variations in tropical Pacific total cloud amount.

        The multidecadal variations in the Southern Ocean SST anomalies are elusive due to the very sparse measurements, but since Southern Ocean SST anomalies have been dropping for a decade or two (depending on the dataset), it’s not a major concern.

      • This is an area of study that has not received nearly enough attention. Because of the massive thermal inertia of the oceans, I see SST as our best predictor of near term climate change. What lag times are you seeing between solar recharge/ discharge and distribution?

      • Ivp0: The only lag is between the charge during the La Niña, the discharge of the El Niño, and then the redistribution during the subsequent La Nina. The 1995/96 La Nina provided the fuel for the 1997/98 El Nino and then the leftover warm water was redistributed during the 1998-2001 La Niña.

  37. IMHO, one of the most compelling arguments put forward that question some of the fundamentals of our understanding of climate are those put forward by the likes of Dr. Demetris Koutsoyiannis (of Athens Tech Uni) and Dr. Timothy Cohn (of the USGS).

    A common point of debate between sceptics and climate scientists are the issues surrounding natural variability, and the behaviour of complex, possibly chaotic, systems. The consensus view typically dismisses this by claiming natural variability averages out at large scale, separating “weather” (short term variations) and “climate” (averaged out, long term variations). This is enshrined in climate science through the use of classic autoregressive statistic models and alluding to complex models with boundary conditions that impose limits on the extent of the system trajectory – the Lorenz equations being a classic example quoted in many places.

    Problem: while some complex systems do converge on an equilibrium quickly, not all do. And this is a popular study area for complex systems. An important component of this is the rate at which scale averaging causes the local average to converge on the population average. For some systems – such as classic autoregressive systems – this occurs quite quickly, with the error in the local sample average being the square root of the number of samples taken, once the scale exceeds the time constant of the system.

    For another type of system, such as exhibiting some degree of self-similarity, this averaging rate converges more slowly. The rate at which the local sample converges on the population sample related to a system parameter called the Hurst exponent, and from this comes a whole branch of mathematics – developed analytically by Kolmogorov, observed in nature by Hurst, and the principles further developed and popularised by Mandelbrot (sadly recently deceased).

    To me this raises questions – which is this most appropriate definition of natural variability? The classic autoregressive, a self-similar definition, or perhaps something else? And what are the consequences of this definition?

    One way of characterising natural variability is to look at the temperature curves we have – from instrumental records (thermometers, satellites) through to proxies going back in deep geological time. The Hurst exponent itself is a direct measure of the rate at which local averages converge to the population average, and we can estimate this value. A value of 0.5 indicates “normal” convergence (classic natural variability). A higher value indicates slower convergence, up to a value of one which indicates no tendency of local averages to converge on population averages at all.

    When making this measurement, we find estimates for classic autoregressive parameters give conflicting measurements at different scales – this inconsistency suggests it is a bad model. Comparatively, estimating the Hurst exponent gives consistent values of around 0.95 – e.g.[1]. While this consistency is not proof, it certainly seems a more compelling model than that used by climate scientists.

    The consequences of this are quite significant. Self similar natural variability can appear to contain “trends” and low frequency variations at the scale being observed. In fact, the 20th century variation is quite consistent with natural variability on this assumption[2]. It also explains very well many tricky aspects of climate, such as the interglacials, perhaps better than conventional views.

    So how did the IPCC AR4 WG1 scientists deal with this issue? Simple: they ignored it. Despite many papers on the subject, it was not mentioned in the first order draft. A reviewer criticised this, and a paragraph noting this issue was included for the second order draft. By the final version, the entire issue was reduced to a sentence, dismissing as having no physical basis.

    The idea that it has no physical basis is strange. Several papers in the literature document how self similarity can emerge from non-linear systems, and they at least deserve an answer. This isn’t proof of its existence, any more than proof exists of boundary conditions that drive the climate to an equilibrium position in a short time frame. Yet no-one questioned this aspect. It appears that the AR4 WG1 authors were not aware of the literature on the subject, and did not understand the issues.

    My personal take is that the most likely cause is long term persistence in the hydrological cycle, which is driven by a multitude of factors. This skewers several pillars of climate science simultaneously. It does not change our understanding of radiative forcing of greenhouse gases. But it does suggest natural variability is much greater than we currently think, and could be a much larger component of the 20th century temperature change. Weather and climate may not be so different, after all. And it undermines the idea that water vapour feedback has a simple linear response to temperature – when in fact it may be much more of a driving force than we ever thought, itself the product of many complex interactions.

    A couple of refs below, as requested, plus a good overview presentation [3]. A bit over 750 words – sorry!

    [1] Markonis, Y., D. Koutsoyiannis, and N. Mamassis, “Orbital climate theory and Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics”, 11th International Meeting on Statistical Climatology, Edinburgh, International Meetings on Statistical Climatology, University of Edinburgh, 2010. Link.

    [2] T.A. Cohn and H. Lins, “Nature’s Style: Naturally Trendy”, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, L23402, doi:10.1029/2005GL024476, 2005. Link.

    [3] Koutsoyiannis, D., and T.A. Cohn, “The Hurst phenomenon and climate”, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2008, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 10, Vienna, 11804, European Geosciences Union, 2008. Link.

    • Well put, albeit technical. If I understand you it is what I call simply the “chaotic climate hypothesis” and it is indeed ignored despite considerable evidence. In layman’s terms the physical question is simply how chaotic is climate at decade to century scales or longer? If it is significantly chaotic then a lot of what we are doing in climate science is just wrong.

      Ironically there has been a big, long term international program called CLIVAR (Climate Variability and Predictability, that should have been looking at this fundamental issue but has not. Perhaps it is because there is no money in unpredictability. Instead of looking at the natural chaotic limits to predictability they focus on making predictions.

      Note by the way that the common practice of using ensembles of model runs does not work if climate is sufficiently chaotic, because the distribution of outcomes is far from normal. The mean is a rare event.

      • Well, the ensembles are useful if the there is a sufficiently large number of runs in the ensemble, although the ensemble mean is pretty meaningless. The ensemble should bound the actual outcome, although if the ensemble spread is too large, then this isn’t very meaningful or useful and the situation may be regarded as unpredictable. CLIVAR has a program called DEC-CEN, which is somewhat relevant. But the main WCRP group of interest is WGNE (Working Group on Numerical Experimentation) I used to be pretty heavily involved in WCRP stuff, but I have tuned out over the last decade. The actual exploitation and understanding of ensembles and the climate system as chaotic comes mainly from people in the UK that include Staniforth, Allen, Smith, Palmer, that I have referenced on previous climate modeling threads. Note, there is a current push in decadal predictability, see DEMETER and ENSEMBLES

      • If the ensemble spread is large that should be very meaningful and useful, as a measure of unpredictability. In fact chaos theory creates a new science of unpredictability but people don’t want to accept the idea that the limits to predictability are real and measurable. No one wants to say “okay, science must stop here.” On the weather side we still get 30 day and seasonal forecasts even though the math is clear that this can’t be done. It will take a long time to get past the Newtonian world view.

        Ten years ago the US National Assessment used two models, the Canadian and the Hadley, to predict regional rainfall changes in the USA over the coming century. In many cases the predictions were of opposite sign, increase versus decrease, and sometimes very largely so. I this those contradictions are probably correct. They reflect the minimum range of possibilities and there is no way to know what will actually happen.

        No amount of science or computer power can reduce chaotic uncertainty. If the system is sensitive to initial conditions to degree n then that is all we can know about what will happen. We should be trying very hard to find these limits to predictability, not pretending they do not exist.

      • i absolutely agree

      • I am familiar with some of these – I started reading Tim Palmer’s book, Predictability of Weather and Climate, after you mentioned it on CA, although admittedly have stalled part way through (must find some time) and I have had a short discussion with David Stainforth via a third party on other topics. We didn’t quite see eye to eye…

        I’m afraid most of what I read from them leaves me cold. They over-analyse the Lorenz equations, and other classic autoregressive systems, which do not test conditions for anything other than H=0.5. It leaves a huge hole in their understanding. They assume convergence on an equilibrium which is strictly defined within rigid bounds. This is true for some systems but inappropriate for a self-similar system, which has a moving target equilibrium state that the model “forgets” from one scale to the next. And the evidence suggests that the value of H for climate is far from 0.5.

        Thanks to David Wojick and Richard Patton for the supportive words – always appreciated!

      • Actually, I regard Leonard Smith as the best on this topic.

      • Interesting link – I’ll take a look at some of his papers. It is worth noting, of course, that the issues raised by Drs Koutsoyiannis and Cohn are wider than simply model uncertainties.

        I also wonder how you manage to find the time to read and respond to all the posts on your blog, it must take up a huge amount of time. To fit this in between other bits and pieces (like testifying to committees…) is very impressive. Are you sure there aren’t two of you?!?

      • i wish there were two of me :( it is definitely hard to keep up with everything. But at least over the weekend, i (ususally) have the luxury of reading and trying to learn new things.

    • Richard Patton

      This is well said and is also what causes me to be skeptical of claims of high climate sensitivity. It seems to me that all it takes is for a number of climate processes to be self-similar to result in a naturally wandering mean of the temperature record.

      Here is another link related to this subject:

  38. I have no idea if this qualifies as a theory but, although I have no doubt about the ability of CO2 to increase atmospheric temperatures, I have seen little solid indication that the rising temperatures noted over the past 140 years exceed what might be expected from natural variation.

    I don’t believe it was natural variation, or at least not all. The coincidence of rising temperatures with massive increases in industrial output, automotive take-up and the natural increase in population with all that that implies, to me points to a contribution to the temperature rises we have noted.

    And yet it does not seem to have been a remarkable rise, nor unusual.

    Instead of me proving climate science wrong (which I do not have the capability of doing), is it a legitimate argument to say that they just haven’t made the case yet?

  39. I am convinced that tree rings do not make reliable thermometers
    Climatic Change
    Volume 94, Numbers 3-4, 233-245, DOI: 10.1007/s10584-008-9488-8
    A mathematical analysis of the divergence problem in dendroclimatology
    Craig Loehle
    this is important because most of the paleo reconstructions are based on tree rings. I show in the above paper that the specific flaws likely to be exhibited by tree rings as a proxy lead to suppression of evidence for past warm periods. thus comparisons of the MWP with today will favor today as warmer simply because past temps are underestimated. This also has implications for testing/calibrating climate models on past climate.

    • Seems to me tree ring thermometry has been dead in the water since the ‘Bewitched Larch of Yamal’ came to light after Keith Briffa had hidden it for 10 years. That falsified the tree ring warming at the modern end of the record, and made the “hide the decline” problem more acute.

      Your reconstruction from non-tree-ring proxies gave us a broader based insight into past temperature, and the world owes you big props for that. The backup it gets from the archeological record (Viking graves on Greenland, medieval shoes on alpine passes) builds a case far stronger than the selective and narrow focus of the hockey jockeys.

  40. Steve Fitzpatrick


    Thanks for another interesting thread. I do not think skeptical papers/analyses will any time soon be able to ‘disprove AGW’, since the question is not the existence of GHG forced warming but only the magnitude. It is difficult (and currently impossible) to disprove the entire potential sensitivity range of 2C to 4.5C per doubling given the variability of the climate and the quality of the available data.

    That being said, the trend in ocean heat content (mainly Argo) over the last 7 years, and the measured surface and tropospheric temperature trends over the last decade, concurrent with ever rising radiative forcing, are already beginning to cast serious doubt on the high end of the IPCC sensitivity range. Should the trends for the last decade continue for another 5 – 10 years (and I personally expect they will) at some point claims of extreme future warming (over 3C per doubling) will simply no longer be credible. Determining with confidence how much below 3.0C per doubling the real sensitivity lies will take a very long time, with nearly endless political and scientific battles to come.

    • I wonder where the climate scientists come up with the doubling of CO2 by 2100.

      The readings at Mona Loa seem to be very linear at 1.44 PPM per year.

      That comes down to 130 PPM more than today by 2100 which is far from a doubling of today’s readings.

      Even if you imagine a slight geometric trend the value still doesn’t amount to much more. I did a curve fit using Excel and found it to be almost the same value.

      The values above give the earth 34 % of a doubling which should cause about 1 ° C of warming assuming 3 ° C for a doubling. [ I know it is logarithmic but linear is a good approximation]

      I am really asking someone with more knowledge than I have to explain the reasoning. I have even read the worldwide recession has caused the trend to turn down, but I don’t see that effect in the woodfortrees plot.

      • The answer is that by CO2 doubling, climate scientists use the “pre-industrial” value of 280ppm – not today’s value of 390ppm or the 1958 value.

      • Yet we are not experiencing a climate disaster now at 390pm, nor are we seeing any significant or unusual, much less dangerous, changes in weather patterns.

      • Interesting. So then the 3.0C for a doubling of CO2 really means from the 1850 baseline as well. Thus the real number is 3.0C – 0.8 C (already experienced), which leads to a 2.2C rise from current 2010 global average temperature.

        Am I the only one who missed this?

      • Certainly not the only one who missed it – and a big point not to miss. Those with more expertise please correct the following.

        Because the effect is logarithmic (as Arrhenius showed) and because the forcing caused by the increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases from before the industrial revolution till 2010 is believed (at least by Richard Lindzen) to be around the same as for a forcing caused by a doubling of CO2 there’s some explaining to do about the 0.8C.

        The ‘consensus’ view, the settled science, about which there is of course no debate, is that either

        a) an increase in aerosols depressed the temperature and nothing like this will get us off the hook again. Next time we’re for it.

        b) the additional heat’s all building up in the ocean or elsewhere, causing a lag between the forcing and a catastrophic increase in globally averaged surface temperature anomaly. We must act NOW, before this idea is proved untrue, I mean, in order to save the planet. (But can we really undo that lagged increase in heat anyway? Etc.)

        Lindzen’s arguments against the so-called consensus are I think worth summarising really well in this thread. As I discern it there are at least three other strands to his attack: the evidence of direct radiation data from satellites after a known surface warming, the idea of the iris effect and (by far the most convincing to me) the relative stability of the world’s temperature, staying within 20degK out of around 280 over 4 billion years, including the early faint sun episode, when the (negative) forcing was around 30%, unlike a puny 2% (is it?) from a doubling of CO2.

        Still, one of the most basic Lindzen points is the puny nature of the 0.8C measured since 1850 (and who knows, once UHI is properly accounted for, and other strangenesses in the adjustments not yet properly audited, the real figure could be 0.6C). This came out well in Lindzen’s testimony to the UK House of Lords in January 2005. 0.8C is not a figure that screams out crisis, not on its own. That at the least every policymaker on the planet should grasp.

        Sorry if this has been said elsewhere, I’ve not been reading Climate Etc. as avidly as I might. Corrections welcome.

      • Steve Fitzpatrick

        The Mauna Loa trend is anything but linear.
        Nor would we expect it to be. The annual emissions of CO2 worldwide have risen substantially since 1957, and a trend with gradually increasing slope is perfectly consistent with this. If you consider the trend over the last 10 years you see that the more recent trend is a bit over 2 PPM per year. If rapid economic growth continues in the Far East, then it is reasonable to expect that the trend will increase to well over 2 PPM per year. Even at 2 PPM per year, atmospheric CO2 would exceed a doubling of the pre-industrial level of 280 PPM. The future atmospheric concentration of CO2 depends on both future economic growth, the mix of energy sources, and on the extent to which the oceans and biosphere increase uptake in response to rising CO2, all of which are uncertain. But passing 560PPM before the end of the century is certainly a real possibility.

      • What this shows is that as the ocean warms in El Ninos it can’t hold as much CO2, so it stays in the atmosphere. This is why warming variability precedes CO2 variability.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Jim D:

        That oceanic degassing explanation does not explain why CO2 changes follow temperature changes at all time scales including the shortest. The shortest time scales are months (see e.g. Kuo, Lindberg & Thomson, Nature (1990) who first discovered this).

        The biosphere (both in the oceans and on land) plays a part in the carbon cycle.


      • It is not ocean degassing. It is resistance to uptake. This is very different. The net flow is into the ocean at all times, but modulated by its temperature.

      • Steve Fitzpatrick

        Many have tried to dissuade some people from believing explanations for rising CO2 that are in conflict with the data. Don’t expect much success if you continue to try.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Steve Fitzpatrick:

        I agree but a surprising number of people (including the IPCC) persist in believing the Bern Model despite its obvious flaws. The problem is that some people always prefer to “believe” instead of considering the information provided by empirical data.


  41. Dr. Curry,
    I’m not at all sure this is the kind of thing you are interested in but I’ll drop it in here in case it is of interest. My concern is about the claimed accuracy of long term temperature data.

    First off, let me start by saying that most of the first half of my working life was spent as an instrumentation and control systems technician. (Age, education, and experience eventually made promotion into management a near certainty that I escaped by side stepping over to engineering. :-) ) As a technician calibrated a wide variety of instrument types. This included lab calibration, field installation, and field calibration checks of weather monitoring sensors. My training and experience gives me sufficient background to judge whether the historic weather data is being treated correctly. It is not.

    There are two main issues: Instrument accuracy and measurement accuracy. The first is about how good the instrument is. The second is how well the instrument is deployed to measure the desired quantity.

    Considering instrument accuracy, until the 1980’s, high/low temperature reading were commonly measured with Liquid In Glass (LIG) thermometers. These devices had an accuracy no better than plus or minus one degree F. However, that was perfectly adequate for their intended weather monitoring application. The later MMTS electronic system improved upon that with some claims of accuracy as good as plus or minus a tenth of a degree. Regardless, roughly the first century of temperature data has no better accuracy than plus or minus one degree F. The important point about that is there is no correct statistical way to improve that accuracy number. You can smooth it and plot curves from it but the uncertainty will never be less than plus or minus one degree F. The fundamental confusion about this appears to be about treating instrument error as white, pink, or red noise. Instrument errors cannot be counted on to cancel out over time. In fact, instruments, even LIG thermometers to a slight degree, drift over time. If they are from the same manufacturer, they will likely drift in the same direction. You are always left with the uncertainty of plus or minus one degree in any value presented.

    Measurement accuracy is a whole different area. NCDC documents describe how atmospheric temperatures should be measured. Anthony Watts’ Surface Stations study photographically shows that the NCDC classification of only 32% of the nearly 1000 stations surveyed so far can claim an accuracy of better than plus or minus one degree F. Most are no better than plus or minus two degrees.

    The result of all this is that, looking at this as instrumentation person, century long temperature rise claimed so far is still in the range that should be described as in the noise. A trend in this kind of data is not really reliably detectable unless it is three to ten times the instrument accuracy.

    Now comes the use of proxy temperature records. If direct measurement can be claimed at no better than a degree or two F. accuracy, claiming that sorting diatoms or counting tree rings provides meaningful accuracy for showing temperature trends of only a degree or two C per century is definitely stretching credibility.

    Now, that does not mean there is no warming simply because we cannot tease its value out of our temperature records. There are sufficient small indicators such as river ice breakup dates, animal and plant range adjustments and such to reasonably say that some sort of warming may be occurring. It is wrong, however, to attempt to use those temperature records as a basis for projecting future planetary temperature excursions. Ignoring uncertainty in the temperature records does not improve decisions making about our climate.

    • GaryW

      Your excellent post is precisely the point of an article I am currently preparing on the baffling way in which data analysts believe the historic raw material they use (e.g. ‘global’ temperatures and SST’s) are so accurate and meaningful that they can be parsed to fractions and robustly interpolated to create their version of events that happened many decades ago.


    • Thank you for an excellent summary of a major source of the AGW problem.

    • After nearly 38 years working with industrial control systems a lot involving temp monitoring and control I can’t help but think you are being generous and understating the problems. Various people have analyzed the records and found them to be sound. I’m not sure what real experience of temperature monitoring and measurement they have or of the regimes required to accurately monitor temperatures to +/- 0.5degs or even 1 deg. Maybe the nice steady temperature displays that are seen everywhere nowadays instill unwarranted faith.

      • Yes John, I was being very generous. I doubt many folks outside the field of industrial control systems would believe what is required for accurate, repeatable, traceable process monitoring. Or why we often assume only 10% system accuracy in safety systems even though we calibrate the associated instruments to 0.5% accuracy.

      • Gary
        Earlier this year I read the installation/ service manual on the digital one used in the US its on the WUWT project site I think, anyway It goes through siting, connection and testing etc and under changing the sensor it just say connect the wires. No calibration is possible you plug a checkbox into the display which consists of a switch and 3 resistors (one is a precision resistor!!!) and for the sensor you plug a handheld display/ source and check the value against its value.
        The Nimbus Temp Display was actually state of the art in 1988 if you can find the site it has the circuits, spec etc for it, from memory it does have a crude temp compensating circuit and will be perfectly suitable for its purpose of weather monitoring. I doubt its repeatability would beat the old glass ones although readings should be better unless the employ blind halfwits.
        If you go to the site about it after reading Steve’s post do not hold drink or hold a drink or you will need a new keyboard.
        Climate Science should invest more money on instrumentation and less on Mathematical Magic if the want people to donate hard earned cash to Global Warming.

        Found the site for it.

      • Actually, I am a bit impressed with what was accomplished with the technology available back then. I would not have expected to see a thermistor sensor based device claim +/- 0.5 F degree accuracy when used in ordinary household/back yard installations. The thermistor itself is claimed to have a replacement accuracy of +/- 0.4 degrees C. I was not able to locate any description of checks on the equipment after a decade or more of installation so I am not sure how the sensor and electronics calibration has held up over time. I sure hope someone, somewhere has checked that.

        As near as I was able to figure out from Steve’s comments is that he expects that whatever a CRN ranking for a site might be, most of the reading on that site will be as accurate as CRN1 site because the CRN number describes peak error, not average error. I suppose that is supposed to mean that all sites, regardless of CRN ranking, are correct most of the time. I did not see a description of how we are to determine when a sensor is correct or when it is experiencing a momentary error peak.

        Quite frankly, I have no way to judge the reliability of the CRN ranking specifications. I am guessing there was a fair number of judgment calls in coming up with those specifications such as how far a sensor should be located from a paved area. It is also not quite clear as to whether a CRN ranking assumes perfect accuracy of the measuring sensor or if it is assuming MMTS Nimbus instrument accuracy. I am not at all sure though how important a difference of +/- 1.0 degree F versus +/- 1.5 degree F for a CRN1 site would be in the grand scheme of things.

        I suppose the concept that a site with a CRN5 ranking cannot be assumed to have better accuracy than the ranking allows might be difficult to accept. That is even though it might, at times, it produces readings that might match up with what a theoretical CRN1 site at the same location might produce. The problem, of course, is that we simply would never know which readings are theoretically CRN1 accurate and which are CRN5 accurate. As a concrete example, the CRN5 site may record a 5 degree higher reading than our theoretical CRN1 site when a light breeze is blowing across an air conditioning heat exchanger toward the MMTS sensor. Then again it may be that the sensor is on the north side of the house and is in the shade all winter and the area around it is warmed by the sun only in the summer. Which of those two gave it the CRN5 ranking? How might someone compensate for CRN5 class errors without knowing in detail what produced that ranking and exactly when it should be applied.

        Referring back to my original post: CR5 site = +/- 0.5 degree F instrument accuracy, +/- 5.0 degrees F site atmospheric temperature monitoring accuracy.

      • Gary

        Information on the accuracy issues:

        Actually with the 12 bit adc it had the potential to be a reasonable stable reliable device I’m not criticizing the design it was obviously cost driven and it is what it is a cheap and cheerful temperature indicator/recorder. I was surprised that there is not an op-amp in site! The paper above shows temperature stability problems its not clear how they tested them ie how many instruments cycles etc but I would imagine that they would vary between instruments . One thing I noticed the quoted 0.5 deg accuracy is just the instrument with no sensor connected it is presumably checked at span and midpoint with precision resisters. mind you there is nothing wrong with that it was never designed to be used to decide the future of the world.
        With all the possible and type of errors added up the repeatability of it is not that goodfor showing relative temperature anomalies.
        I have always thought seemingly wrongly that it matters that if the temperature is say 16.2 it records 16.2 and does the same every time it is 16.2.
        Strangely I get the impression that the calculations for the anomalies etc arbitrarily allows for the instrument errors without knowing there are any.

      • John,
        As I read the MMTS user manual, even though the readout is in tenth of a degree increments, the temperature is recorded to the nearest whole degree. The data from MMTS was recorded manually on temperature reporting forms that are not very much different from the ones that were used back in 1900. Of course they are not filled out with a quill pin and delivered by horse drawn wagon any more. (At least I don’t think so ;-) ) I am assuming that there is a computer program they can use to enter data now though I haven’t found a reference for it yet.

    • Gary

      The confusion persists about measurement accuracy despite repeated attempts to clarify the matter:

      “Measurement accuracy is a whole different area. NCDC documents describe how atmospheric temperatures should be measured. Anthony Watts’ Surface Stations study photographically shows that the NCDC classification of only 32% of the nearly 1000 stations surveyed so far can claim an accuracy of better than plus or minus one degree F. Most are no better than plus or minus two degrees.”

      This is incorrect. Let me provide the background. When Anthony began his volunteer effort to document stations I provided him with a link to the “CRN” scale that I found on NCDC site. This scale ranked stations from 1-5.
      The scientist who did this scale was dr. LeRoy. There was no paper backing up this scale. There was an ambiguity about what the scale meant. For example, people often write that a CRN5 has a 5 degree error. At the time on Climate audit we debated whether this was a MAX error or average error.
      A commenter named ‘sod’ argued that the average error could not be 5degrees. Other’s claimed the ambiguoous document could mean an average error of 5 ( or 4,3,2,1 depending on the rating)

      The confusion was clarified back in 2007 by Dr. Le Roy’s associate. a CRN2 for example can see an instaneous bias ( peak bias) of +- 2. The average bias is much lower. Almost 3 years later the debate was raised again, this time at Lucia’s site. Again Dr. Leroy’s assocaite came to the debate and supplied his field study. the average bias for CRN2-4 (5 was not measured) was on the order of .1. The PEAK bias however was +- 2-4 depending on the rating. What this means is this:
      IF the conditions are right ( sunny, calm, summer day) you will find some days where a CRN4 reads +4 higher than a CRN1 in the same area. If you average all the data from the CRN4 and all the data from the CRN1 the average bias is going to be +- .1. That’s because the siting effect is modulated by the meso scale factors. When it rains, when its windy, when its cloudy, the bias disappears.

      If you want the links to the orginal conversations on CA or the more recent ones on the Blackboard they are pretty easy to find if you just look for “sod” and I discussing this.

      This is the kind of thing that needs to be written up properly in a journal, but to date it hasnt. To recap: le Roy’s scale of CRN1-5 has no published science behind it. The only extant field test on the issue indicates that the average bias is 1/10th. That goes a long way to explaining why JohnV and I were unable to find any bias signal in the initial set of data back in 2007. It also explains why menne was unable to find any signal for microsite bias. the signal is small. The contribution to increased variance, however, may be detectable. I dunno, havent looked at that

      • Steve, I guess there is some confusion about what plus or minus 2% accuracy means in instrumentation terms. It means maximum error or what you call ‘peak bias.’ It also means you may not assume accuracy is better than that. ‘Average error’ is not used in instrumentation discussions other than to perhaps dump a vendor.

        Again, in instrumentation, unless you calibrate an instrument in a lab both before and after a measurement is taken, a nominal 1% accuracy (1% maximum error) cannot be claimed to have provided 0.1% accuracy. At that, the instrument itself must be tested in the lab under identical environmental conditions.

        Again, the issue is assuming you can smooth 1% maximum error measurements to achieve 0.1% accuracy. Doing so may be common practice in climate science but would not be accepted in industry.

        Sorry, I’m not trying to be difficult. I just dislike instrument measurements being misused.

      • Gary.

        I’m not referring to instrument accuracy. I’m referring to your quote about station siting. Please read what you wrote:

        “Measurement accuracy is a whole different area. NCDC documents describe how atmospheric temperatures should be measured. Anthony Watts’ Surface Stations study photographically shows that the NCDC classification of only 32% of the nearly 1000 stations surveyed so far can claim an accuracy of better than plus or minus one degree F. Most are no better than plus or minus two degrees.””

        You are wrong. The average Bias is .1 not 1 degree F.

      • Steve, I guess there is some confusion about what plus or minus 2% accuracy means in instrumentation terms. It means maximum error or what you call ‘peak bias.’ It also means you may not assume accuracy is better than that. ‘Average error’ is not used in instrumentation discussions other than to perhaps dump a vendor.


        you still misunderstand the point.

        in the field experiement there are two locations: Both locations use calibrated instruments. One instrument is located according to NCDC standards. The other instrument is sited in violation of the siting standards. Say a CRN2 ( see your reference to Anthony’s surface stations work)

        Daily measurements are taken at each site. The average temperature will only differ by .1 degrees. NOT 2 degrees. However, on certain days, the difference will be greater than the average and less than the average. the PEAK differences are +- 2 degrees.

        This is an entirely different issue than your instrument accuracy issue.

      • Ok, you are saying that two stations generally track each other with only about 0.1 degree difference except there are some times when they differ by as much as 2.0 degrees. One has a claimed accuracy of plus or minus 1 degree while the other 2 degrees. That does not say anything about their absolute accuracy. It just means they react similarly to similar conditions. Apparently many folks are comfortable with that to mean they are very accurate. It just would not be an acceptable assumption in industrial instrumentation. That’s all.

      • I guess those first two sentences came out weird. Let’s try:

        Ok, you are saying that a station with a claimed accuracy of plus or minus two degrees generally tracks the a nearby station with an accuracy of plus or minus one degree with only about 0.1 degree difference except there are some times when they differ by as much as 2.0 degrees. That does not say anything about their absolute accuracy. It just means they react similarly to similar conditions. Apparently many folks are comfortable with that to mean they are very accurate. It just would not be an acceptable assumption in industrial instrumentation. That’s all.

  42. Some of the most meritorious skeptical points made are not so much about the science that is IN the IPCC WG1 Report, but rather about the science that is OUT of it.

    Some would say that the most powerful skeptical argument can be found in the IPCC’s own statements of scope, which is reflective of the IPCC’s political, not scientific goals.

    From the IPCC WG1 Report-

    “Scope of the Report

    The Working Group I report focuses on those aspects of the current understanding of the physical science of climate change that are judged to be most relevant to policymakers. It does not attempt to review the evolution of scientific understanding or to cover all of climate science.”

    Therefore, anyone reading any part of WG1 should be skeptical on principle, because by its own guidelines, anything that is not “judged” to be “relevant” to politicians/bureaucrats is not included; even if it is sound scientifically, relevant to the topic under consideration, but illustrative of presumably non-human factors affecting climate.

    By its own rules, the IPCC report is not a complete scientific report on all the factors affecting the climate and not a full discussion of the known science. This problem is structural and systemic with the IPCC’s so-called “science”, which in reality is based upon political goals not scientific “truth”.

    So, all one needs to be skeptical of the WG1 is to ask “What did they leave out?” and then look for their listing of the missing bits. It is nowhere to be found.

    I wonder what Dr. Feynman would have to say about all of that?

    • Orkneygal,

      I have made a similar criticism in the past, though my argument was that WG1 ought to have been a discussion about why these particular bits are preferred, and those other bits are disregarded.

      When I put that PoV the reply usually is that the authors knew all that (!), and have simply told you what you need to know.

      That may be a somewhat unkind way of putting it, but that’s what I felt I was hearing.

      Like you, I don’t think that’s good enough, if the authors want me (us) to accept what they say.

    • The ‘what did they leave out’ is a key issue. In fact in AR4 WG1 there was conscious effort to leave out things that didn’t rank as “likely” or “very likely,” even though they left out a number of things that should be critical in the context of an argument with a causal chain. This gave the whole thing bootstrapped plausibility, by seeing so many “very likely”

    • As far as I know, Feynman did not mention human-caused “greenhouse gas” warming anywhere. I have my own thoughts on what he’d say (something more along the lines of Professor Lewis than Michael Mann would be my guess). I’d love to find a reference where he specifically mentions human-caused global warming.

  43. This is where I’m at currently:

    a) I find attempts at “statistical correlations > causation” rather unconvincing for a number of reasons, so these I put in the dubious box (please don’t try the tobacco analogy, climate is almost infinitely more complex)
    b) various constructions of past temperature ranges over a millenium to tenths of a degree are most unpersuasive. I’ve read through the proxy wars in detail (and I do understand the context for the Climategate emails) and am not at all persuaded of validity. The now-infamous and unexplained “decline” is persuasive to me in determining that trees make lousy proxy thermometers to track temperatures back 1000 years with any fine accuracy
    c) gridding for models typically uses very poor data distribution over area. Far too much interpolation is needed for comfort – Antartica is a good example of this
    d) by nature and long experience, I strongly tend to rely on observational data. If this contradicts a theory, no matter how elegant it may be, then the theory is modified or abandoned
    e) the following equation comes from Dessler’s argument at MIT on October 2010 (Lindzen was the other participant). Dessler stated that values for all of the feedback elements in this equation are derived from observation. For me, this is significant, far more so than any of a), b) and c) above. It’s the first time I’ve seen “Climate Sensitivity” directly defined by observational data. Likely due to time constraints, I found Dessler pushed this through a bit, so as can be seen, I’ve appended my own questions. [Aside: please don’t reply with some arm waving about Lindzen, I’ll simply regard it as a straw man)

    [I have no clue how to get WordPress to represent Delta as the normal triangle, so D will have to do. Same with subscripts]

    DTf = (1.2C)/(1-f)
    1.2C = warming due to atmospheric CO2 doubling [Dessler’s preferred value]
    where f = fwv + flr + fia + fcl [feedbacks]
    fwv = [water vapour] +0.6
    flr = [radiative loss] –0.3
    fia = [ ??? ] +0.1
    fcl = [clouds] +0.15
    so, f = 0.55
    and DTf = 2.7 [climate sensitivity]
    1) range of accepted warming due to atmospheric CO2 doubling alone is from 0.8C – 1.2C, so DTf actually ranges from 1.5 to 2.7, almost 80% variation. Is this correct ?
    2) variable “f” (feedbacks) has four (4) elements in the equation. Are there more ? How are these measured to become reliable observational data ?
    3) why cannot variable “f” be equal to 1 through variations in the summed elements ? Because if it is, DTf becomes infinite, which is nonsensical. So what is wrong with the equation ?
    4) Should it be:
    DTf “proportional to” (1.2C)/(1-f)
    so some further factor is required to achieve the “=” status ?

  44. Given that Phil Jones of Hadley/CRU still insists there is No UHI, why has there been no snow in London over the last 5 days, while the rest of the UK is covered in it?

  45. Judith,
    Here is the most compelling challenge you could face. The greenhouse gas theory is comprehensively refuted by 24 international authors in this new two-volume blockbuster, ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory.’
    A team of the world’s leading scientists, mathematicians and experts destroys the junk science once and for all. W’re taking no prisoners. This is the game changing publication you MUST confront. If you defend the junk theory then we demand you attempt to refute our equations and scientific arguments. We are now rooting out and ‘slaying’ the fraudsters one by one. Read the book and be astounded.

    • She confronted, and killed, the dragon slayers already.

    • Take your sales pitch elsewhere, fraud.

      • Derecho64, are you looking to be slapped with a defamation suit? Just repeat your ‘fraud’ jibe – go on!

      • Channeling Monckton?

      • He won’t. He hides behind a pseudonym.

      • Channeling Watts?

      • John O’Sullivan,
        Take this as free advice from a hard core skeptic:
        1) arguing against the greenhouse effect is not a winner. I will read enough of your book to see if it offers anything new, but I have low expectations.
        2) threatening defamation suits on the internet against someone in a free wheeling conversation about a book and its authors is even more likely to be a complete loser for you than if the NYT published an
        op-ed piece to the same effect: about zip.
        3)The greenhouse effect does not need to fail for catastrophic AGW (whatever its current marketing name) to fail. But offering pointless arguments under the skeptical banner, while your free choice, only makes noise to hide valid skeptical points.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      The visuals at your website are awesome, especially the astronaut with the dragon! PLEASE contact an agent asap and have it made into a ‘blockbuster’ 3D movie, you’ll make a fortune. ‘Slay the Fraudsters‘ would be a good title.

      • That website looks like it was designed by the ol’ Weekly World News tabloid. So many exclamation points – which means they’re right.


      • Derecho64, I would have expected a person of your scientific stature to take on this chapter point by point, not just guffaw at the whole thing. With what specifically do you take issue?

      • Anybody that references G&T with a straight face isn’t credible. And lo and behold, the chapter Judith linked does just that.

      • I agree that G&T aren’t credible, but that does not necessarily negate all the guy’s work.

      • Using G&T as a legitimate argument does create a huge credibility problem, much the same as dredging up “phlogiston” would.

      • You have a point there.

      • Never mind G&T, there’s another chapter that is more relevant to human co2 emission.

        “According to Miso the fatal assumption made by the IPCC is that the atmospheric concentration of the 13C isotope (distinctive in prehistoric plants) are fixed. They also assume C3-type plants no longer exist so would need to be factored into the equations. Indeed, as Miso points out such plants, “make up 95% of the mass of all current plant life.”

        Therefore, decay of 95% of present-day plant material is constantly emitting the 13C-deficient carbon dioxide supposedly characteristic of coal combustion—and CO2 emitted by plant decay is an order of magnitude greater than all human-generated emissions.”

        It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but if correct, it’s ‘Game Over’ for AGW.

  46. My ‘best case’ is, as usual, an appeal to rationality. If something doesn’t sound or quite is ‘rational’ I have the habit of looking deeper. And, often, I find the rather sad desiderata of a ‘personality’. To put this in context, think about how the science has become interpreted in ‘climate science’. Usually this kind of interpretation would have been a matter of a general public (including it’s ‘misunderstanding’ and it’s ignorance’) but now this ‘political’ element has been internalized and is starting to infect the whole (of science?) At the moment, it seems pretty depressing. Like Plato making a fool of himself trying to convert the Syracuse tyrant Dionysus to a philosopher.

  47. I have been a bit amused by the fact that the “global warming” has been limited to NH, not to tropics or SH. As IPCC stated:

    “Considering the recent instrumental and longer proxy evidence
    together, it is very likely that average NH temperatures during
    the second half of the 20th century were higher than for any
    other 50-year period in the last 500 years.”

    No mention of the tropics or SH. Steve McIntyre had an interesting post about this:

    However, this lack of truly global warming does not stop the IPCC from using it as an excuse to discount the possibility of earlier warm periods:

    “Centennial-resolution palaeoclimatic records provide
    evidence for regional and transient pre-industrial warm
    periods over the last 10 kyr, but it is unlikely that any
    of these commonly cited periods were globally synchronous.
    Similarly, although individual decadal-resolution
    interglacial palaeoclimatic records support the existence
    of regional quasi-periodic climate variability, it is unlikely
    that any of these regional signals were coherent at the
    global scale, or are capable of explaining the majority of
    global warming of the last 100 years.”

    There are studies that point to a different conclusion:

  48. I vowed, three weeks ago, not to post anymore because, I thought, why get het up about ephemera you cannot change nor would wish to. I lost it and didn’t like it. But, o well, who can help being a social human being concerned for others?
    There are a number of things that one must be aware of – history has an inertia of it’s own and however much we might like to change it or, indeed, reverse it, it cannot help rolling on. China and India etc will produce more ghgs than we have dreamed of. Nothing you can do about it. Secondly, human beings are much more technically able than is dreamed of in your philosophy, dear ‘climate scientist’. Flood, rain or disaster will meet us equal to the challenge. Third worst case scenarios are never too bad for what this mankind has done and seen and survived and flourished through. Fourth, the important questions are not existential, they are creative – what is done is far more important than whether anyone is left round to do it.

  49. Look I can’t give you 750 words but I can give you the latest publication I read today.

    Associations of diurnal temperature range change with the leading climate variability modes during the Northern Hemisphere wintertime and their implication on the detectionof regional climate trends
    Qigang Wu
    JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 115, D19101, doi:10.1029/2010JD014026, 2010

    and some numbers from it.

    “Approximately 87%, 76%, and 43% of the total Tmax, Tmin, and DTR trends over NH land are accounted for by the three climate indices together [AO,PNA,PDO], respectively; these numbers drop to about 13%, 38%, and 62% represented by the AAO index over the SH land. At the global scale, 1.41 K of 1.60 K of warming of Tmax, 1.64 K of the 2.02 K warming of Tmin, 0.25 K of 0.43 K of cooling of the DTR during JFM of 1951–2000 is linearly congruent with the indices of four circulation modes considered here.”

    That looks like a lot of internal natural variation contributing to temperature trends. A wider perspective…..there’s still a lot to learn.

    settled schmettled

  50. Has anyone an estimate for how long “greenhouse” gases delay outgoing radiation? Is it measured in microseconds or milliseconds?

    If you want to store heat, you must have thermal mass. If you want to store heat for a long time (let’s call hours a long time), then you must have a long thermal time constant. 390PPM of CO2 contributes nothing measurable to either thermal mass or thermal time constant. Anything CO2 can do disappears very nearly the instant the sun rotates out of view. Don’t you think it would be smarter to use our earth as an analog computer (as others have mentioned) to figure out our average radiation, then plug that back into Stefan-Boltzmann to figure out how gray we are instead of chasing ghosts?

    Hank Roberts once told me I could not find the CO2 signal in the global equation because its magnitude is less than 0.33% of the incoming isolation signal (or carrier as I prefer it). I might not be very smart, but I’m not the one conferring thermal mass to CO2 or claiming I know anything about less than 0.33% signals in our climate system.
    As I said earlier, some ideas are so absurd (like Trenberth’s energy balance) that only a climate scientist would believe them.

  51. It would be interesting to have even a rough taxonomy of all the arguments in this thread. My feeling is that few have to do directly with atmospheric physics. Many involve applied math, especially data analysis and interpretation. Many more involve logic and evidence. Almost all of them are about uncertainty.

    Commercial message: an issue tree would be even better but they are laborious.

    • That is the problem with this challenge – ‘skeptics make your best case’ – my understanding is that it isn’t the raw science that is the problem but it’s use and abuse in the political sphere and the internalization of this ‘politics’ in this science itself. As far as politics is concerned, it is of no concern to any scientists ‘authority’ how we decide to live or don’t. As far as scientists are concerned it is for scientists to determine if the science is right.

    • I’m trying to figure out how to handle all this. One thing I want to do is go behind paywall and post the cited papers on a web site. Then we can pick some overarching themes to tie some of the posts together. Lets give it another week or two to see what accumulates. I’m pretty pleased with what is appearing on the thread.

      • Set up a flow chart.

      • I think you must have replied to the wrong post – or, I don’t understand you – but to reply to your original question – What skeptics are askance about is the ‘politics’ not the science. Or rather the ‘science’ only in so far as it’s invaded by the politics. Aye, there’s the rub.

      • Narcissism, of course. I thought the reply was to me, it was to the more sensible David Wojick. Ups.

      • Dr. Curry. You might feed all of these threads into an archive that supports full text search, as fragments of the same issue appear in different threads. Beyond that, some engines like Apache Lucene now provide term vector “more like this” search capability as well, which would be very useful for zeroing in on a specific issue.

      • yes this is exactly the kind of thing that i need to learn more about, see the new thread on raising the level of the game, Part II.

      • David Wojick, I don’t think that is really possible and even if it were, ‘theoretically’, it would certainly be beyond the resources of Judith. I know it’s difficult to get head or tail of Judiths posts but the ‘head’ is the post and ‘tail’, commentary is like a discussion which, in the end, is ephemeral, but, hopefully, is productive towards something other. Ie a means or bridge to somewhere else. Hence, not that important in itself. You might think different, but I suggest your looking for entertainment, not substance.

      • Not sure what you men by “it” not being possible, Lewis. Full text search is easy and so MLT if you use Lucene. The discussion is far from ephemeral. In many cases the comment sequences go to the heart of the scientific debate. Their structure is an issue tree. I have a textbook on this:

  52. By the way, I’ll illustrate the invasion into science of irrationality: The other day the WHO (who else?) published a report claiming 600,000 deaths per year are attributable to passive smoking. A couple of years ago they said that 300,000, then bumped up to 600,000, were attributable to ‘climate change’. When this was totally debunked they quietly hid it. But smoking? That’s evil and any means to the end of eliminating it in this smothering, patronizes, authoritarian way is OK and no one has the guts to call the Emperor naked! But the stats are based on a mantelpiece fallacy, ie they assume what there supposed to prove – that ‘passive smoking’ produces deleterious affects. So, what we end up with is the fact that the poorer one is the more likely ones children are malnourished and live in an environmentally difficult condition etc and the more likely one is also to be smoking! Doh! And then it’s easy to connect the dots and write a stupid report. I hate smoking but I’m talking about rationality here. The evidence, in fact, taking account of socio-economics, is that ‘passive smoking’ is a fiction. But what ‘feels’ right matters!
    Judith, I’m sorry for bringing up the ‘S’ word but why, do you think it has become taboo – what anxieties do we hide in that minority activity of the poor and excluded?

  53. ‘Business as Usual’ scenario’s used to project future CO2 emissions and future climate change fail to take into account the economic boundary conditions for coal.
    I.E When coal is no longer the cheapest method to produce electricity we will stop burning coal.

    I would note that China exported steam coal for $27/tonne in 2002 and currently imports steam coal for $116/tonne.
    The economic boundary condition where nuclear power is cheaper then coal has already occurred in the Asia/Pacific region. The current limiting factor is the global industrial capacity of the nuclear power industry. Japan Steel Works, the worlds largest manufacturer of nuclear core forgings could only manufacture 4 core sets/year in 2008.

    • This is the best argument against a carbon tax or cap and trade. The markets will sort this one out. Now if only the government would quit subsidizing energy of any kind.

    • Except for environmental extremists supppressing nuclear power, we would have cleaner air and better quality electricity here and in many places around the world.

      • It would be fun to blame everything on enviro-whacko’s:)

        Unfortunately, inflation adjusted coal prices declined between the late 1970’s and 2002. Business people whose duty is to provide their shareholders with profits just couldn’t get the numbers for nuclear to add up. With an almost 30 year downward trendline for the the cost of coal anyone in 2002 who tried to make the case that coal would be dramatically more expensive in 2010 would have been laughed at.

        Even as late as 2008 various folks were sticking with the ‘declining coal’ price meme. Blaming rising coal prices on a bad winter here or a coal mine flood there or an accident someplace else.

        It’s really only been in the last year or two that people have begun to accept that with the exception of the American Mid West and Rocky Mountain States, the age of ‘cheap electricity’ from ‘cheap coal’ is coming to an end.

      • Richard S Courtney

        ‘Peak Coal’ is even more wrong than ‘Peak Oil’.

        Both are not going to happen in foreseable future.


  54. The ‘greenhouse affect’ is true if you had a ‘perfect’ laboratory in which it could be enacted. In the real world it means very little. For it is one possible causative mechanism, among many others, ie a stochastic mix. There is too little we know to say anything determinate. Hence, ‘skepticism’.
    Further, there is something very disturbing and sort of ‘Smidth’ like in thinking there is a stark distinction between layman and scientist. I’m lucky, I can glance at a thing and absorb it. But I know the ‘commonalty’ and they also do the same. They don’t remember the details but they grasp the essence. They’re not expert in numerical analyses but, I believe, they are expert in smelling bullshit. I, personally, don’t have a qualification to rub a brass farthing against but I probably know a bit more than some.

  55. Professor Curry,

    There is no doubt that data manipulation and other basic principles of science have been violated by government-funded scientists.

    The question is Why?

    Nobody who really knows is talking (Al Gore, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri) but “Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and IPCC Co-chair of Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change, told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (translated) that “climate policy is redistributing the world’s wealth” and that “it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization.”

    Perhaps world leaders and leaders of the scientific community felt that they had noble motives for violating basic scientific principles after the Cold War ended without a world disaster.

    In order to eliminate national boundaries and the threat of mutual nuclear destruction after the Cold War ended (When stockpiles of nuclear weapons could kill every person in the “Free West” and in the “Communist East” many times over), perhaps world leaders felt that this was their opportunity to ask for help from leaders of the scientific community:

    a.) To block other countries from getting nuclear weapons;
    b.) To identify a common enemy (AGW) of all nations; and
    c.) To simultaneously level the standard of living worldwide . . .

    I would appreciate comments from others on this possible motive. Although I personally oppose government deception, I do not necessarily oppose these goals if done “with the consent of the governed”.

    Is it a coincidence that the false threat of AGW, immigration problems, and economic collapse occurred at the same time?

    I don’t know the answer. It is time for legislative bodies here and elsewhere to obtain sworn answers from Al Gore, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri and other major players in this climate scam.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  56. Skeptics also think about the socio-economic dimensions of ‘climate change’. For instance, lets say there would be a significant rise in the CO2 level, ppm, if all Indians got electricity. What is the cost/benefit analyses there? It always boils down to political, ethical and philosophical questions and not science.

  57. I have dozens of examples of misleading bias and distortion in AR4 WG1 on my website.
    In particular there are lots of examples of papers the IPCC either ignores or unfairly dismisses – which is one of the things you ask about. These include:
    * 4 papers on increasing antarctic sea ice ignored by IPCC.
    * papers on Greenland ice sheet omitted or “spun”.
    * 3 papers showing wider past variation in CO2, ignored.
    * Finnish tree-ring recons that show no hockey stick – ignored.
    * Trenberth cites his criticism of a paper, but not the author reply.
    * Papers showing no hurricane trends ignored. IPCC emphasis on papers that show increase (Webster, Emanuel).
    * Biased reporting on McKitrick & Michaels
    * Biased reporting on Mc & Mc (“claimed”) vs Wahl & Amman (“showed”).

  58. I’ll be forwarding a review copy of ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’ to Dr. Curry as per her request. As someone who has garnered a deserved reputation for holding the ‘middle ground’ its only fair she be the one to speak for the ‘middle’ and accept such a challenge. Of course, anyone else who holds a PhD in climatology is more than welcome. We are keen to debate the science and demonstrate the fraud built into the greenhouse gas equations.
    Indeed, we’ve slayed all of the three ‘theories’ commonly alluded to. Take your pick as to which one you hold to and we’ll eviscerate it!
    Enough is enough, we say, and time to call a halt to all of the hand waving histrionics and let’s go for a full debate and do it in front of a live tv/radio audience. If us ‘extreme’ skeptics are so absurd surely a more ‘rational’ viewpiont will show us up as cranks.
    Most climatologists just cannot debate the finer points of the issue and that’s why they make excuses not to face up.My betting is Dr. Curry will not accept-nor will any climatologist who has no higher level math or physics training.

    • I’d be careful slinging around that word “fraud” – you might get a defamation suit against you!

      Moderation: no more fraud stuff.

      • Derecho64, I have training in the law. I measure my words precisely-do you?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You might measure words pretty good, but check out the kindle edition of your book. Did they get a co-author’s name wrong? Oliver are you here today?

      • I certainly do. I don’t sling around “fraud” lightly. On the other hand, what you’re really here for is hucksterism, and I don’t think this blog should be used to subsidize your advertising.

      • Did you read the chapter before making comment as Judith Curry requested? Which specific points do you refute scientifically?

        Will you now stop slinging around ‘Fraud’ as Judith Curry requested?

        Will you leave decisions on what is appropriate on this blog to Judith Curry, quit making inflammatory accusations about motive, and discuss the science as you have assured me you are qualified to do?

      • I did read the chapter over. A lot of rehashing of standard memes and heavy doses of conspiracy. I’ll let you look up the various debunkings of G&T on your own.

        I also wasn’t the first one to allege “fraud” – that would be Mr. O’Sullivan.

      • No scientific refutation of specific points then.
        As you were, I’ll go back to scrolling past your comments.

      • Perhaps you’ll find Mosher’s comments more enlightening.

      • So, Mod, how come O’Sullivan gets to use the word twice, against climate scientists (and the science, oddly), but doesn’t get a comment from you, whereas I use it jokingly and you notice?

      • you started it :) you are a regular here, people know how to take your comments (this is the first time John O Sullivan has stopped by, he clearly did not interpret this in a joking way). Plus I have been getting some email complaints. Thanks for your cooperation.

      • I didn’t realize that 9:54 am was earlier than 6:45 am. My apologies.

    • John, thank you for offering to send me a copy of the book, I will definitely read it and comment on it. I suggest that we defer further discussion on the book until people have actually read it.

    • “Rather than limiting the area in which heat-loss occurs, then, a radiant absorber constitutes no barrier to radiation at all — it’s merely a second radiator that relays heat away. And, just as there’s no such thing as “back-convection” — where a flame makes itself hotter by the air currents it creates — or “back-conduction” — where a colder object raises the temperature of what it’s in contact with — there’s no such thing as “back-radiation.”

      no need to read much further Judith.

      John, when a skeptic claims to have “disproven” a working physical theory, with a book, I know one of two things is true:
      1. either the words in the book are incorrect
      2. or the physical theory and experiments they are based on are incorrect. And further, the things many of us built using those theories should not in fact work. Some sort of miracle has occurred.

      Since, the things we built work, and since they rest on the physics the words in the book claim to disprove the choice can almost be made without reading the book. Because words never trump working things.

      When a skeptic such as Lindzen argues that feedbacks are not as high as GCMs indicate, then scientists, engineers, and congress will listen and not dismiss his claims out of hand. When a skeptic argues with words that working physics is wrong, then he has no standing.
      no miracles allowed.

  59. Judith, it’s my pleasure. I hope that you will be persuaded by the arguments presented and join with us in ending the GHE fallacy.

  60. Dear Professor Curry,

    Let’s stop arguing and act now to get to the bottom of this costly mess!

    Please join me in asking legislative bodies here and elsewhere to obtain sworn testimony from John O’Sullivan and coauthors of ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’, as well as Al Gore, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Dr. Ralph Ciscerone (President of the US National Academy of Sciences), Dr. Martin John Rees (President of the UK Royal Society), Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of the US DOE, and Dr. Philip Campbell, Editor of Nature.

    Someone is being much less than candid! Can weather and climate actually be predicted more accurately than the path of a twig or a leaf in a stream?

    To ignore the Sun – the driver of Earth’s climate – seems as irrational to me as ignoring the direction the stream is flowing.

    I would also like to know why Ottmar Edenhofer, the IPCC Co-chair of Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change, told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (translated) that “climate policy is redistributing the world’s wealth” and that “it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization.”

    Why use questionable consensus science to achieve globalization?

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear/Space Science
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  61. Judith

    One more reason to suspect the claim of the AGW camp is their own admission to hide the data in the following two crucial emails:

    “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who’ll say we must adhere to it !” Phil Jones

    “I would not give them *anything*. I would not respond or even acknowledge receipt of their emails. There is no reason to give them any data, in my opinion, and I think we do so at our own peril!” Michael E. Mann

    • Richard S Courtney


      With respect, I think your comment is misplaced on this thread.

      Few if any are more skeptical of AGW than myself, and I agree that the emails you cite do condemn some individuals by their own words. But so what?

      Dr Curry has asked for this thread to consider skeptical arguments of those (including me) who do not accept the claims of dangerous AGW. Behaviours of individual scientists and/or their motivations are not relevant to presentation and consideration of the skeptical arguments. And until now it has been very difficult to obtain proper consideration of those arguments by many who accept the claims of dangereous AGW.

      There is no hope that climate science can be unravelled from its existing political mess until both ‘sides’ of the AGW issue listen to each other and disagree without being disagreeable (and, yes, I know there should not be ‘sides’ but there are).

      So, I respectfully suggest that all who wish to debate behaviours and/or motivations of individuals do so on an open thread and not this one because in my opinion the opportunity provided by this thread is too valuable for it to be diluted.


      • the social aspect of the AGW movement is an important reason for many of us to doubt it.

        This is pure ideology masquerading as skepticism. If the scientific understanding is incorrect, it is incorrect no matter how many scientists support it. If it’s correct, it’s correct because the numbers work, regardless of whether Jones or Mann are nice people.

        If you disagree with the science, show why the science is wrong. The proposed political remedies then fall apart automatically. It’s nonsensical to argue against the science by raising political objections.

      • Richard S Courtney


        Why do you link that quotation to my post?
        I did not say it and I do not know who did.

        And what relevance has your comment to what I wrote or to this thread?


      • Indeed Hunter
        His reasoning seems typical! but if any change in the climate turns out to be mostly natural it then becomes the only argument. From my UK point of view I find it difficult to divorce the Uk’s interest in C02 from the 1980’s Conservatives near pathological need to rid the country of the scourge of Coal Miners and there filthy coal. Also it may be coincidental that the CRU got a shiny new building then but who knows. These seemingly silly things could turn out to be more important than the physics.

        Ps I believe in the Moon Landings and have spent many happy hour reading the Apollo logs and de- briefings

  62. I’ve noticed that AGW skepticism seems more concerned with data methodologies than the theoretical underpinnings of AGW itself. I’ve attempted an elementary variational analysis of climate sensitivity for non-equilibrium, stationary states in a brief pdf for those with a preference for mathematical analysis. Perturbations in terms of the external observables, flux and temperature, set limits to the extent which arbitrary internal parameters can alter thermal behavior when constraints for both energy balance and stationarity are considered. In particular, stabilization of the stationary state by internal degrees of freedom, e.g. convection, inhibits “positive feedback” enhancements.

    • Entropy is an under utilized piece of physics in all this. I need to go through your argument more carefully, but its already caught my interest.

  63. Judith,the inconvenient truth is that scientific comedy of manners is a highly repetitious genre.

    It has taken just 48 hours for a statistically significant spectrum of amateur cranks, representing creeds as novel as Iron Sun Astrophysics and antique as Saros Cycle Astrology to seize the low ground here.

    Now that all danger of intellectual seriousness has passed, and the usual suspects are once again firmly encamped, you may wish to flee the field before more mad hatters swing in on the Tea Party grapevine, and K-Street professionals appear in force to recruit for focus groups and pass the tinfoil hat for Dominionist charities and the Discovery Institute.

    • Russell Seitz-

      Thank you for dropping in.

      Did you happen to bring Dr. Trenberth’s missing heat with you?

      Or do you consider him in the “professional crank” camp?

      • @ orkneygal | November 28, 2010 at 11:23 pm

        Russell Seitz would appear to much rather stay in his safe, warm, cocoon of confirmation bias than to do the dirty work of sifting through an excavation of commentary which may unearth something of value to our understanding.

        I guess this would be a defining difference between armchair intelligencia and people of real scientific merit.

    • Russell,

      The experimental evidence for an iron rich interior of the Sun is shown in this video, ,

      And in this peer-reviewed paper [“The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass”, Physics of Atomic Nuclei 69 (2006) 1847-1856; Yadernaya Fizika 69 (Nov 2006) number 11]

      The Sun’s dominant influence on Earth’s climate is explained here [“Earth’s heat source – The Sun”, Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 131-144.

      Please cease name calling and address the experimental observations.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

    • Richard S Courtney

      Russell Seitz:

      Thank you for your clear and unsolicited demonstration of the problem this thread attempts to address.

      A reminder of the problem was needed to ensure that this thread satays on topic. So, I am grateful for your provision of such a reminder.


    • In 1982 I suggested to an oil tanker operator to fit air pumps to their fleet, to pump air bubbles at the tankers’ bow and sides to reduce the frictional drag of the hull. There was some initial interest, but soon oil price collapsed, and interest was lost.
      After reading one of your recent contribution, I realised that the idea , if it was implemented , would have an additional effect, considering size and routes of these vessels.

    • Russel,
      Bitter much?
      I am not surprised that you are, since ‘a bunch of cranks’ have shown how stupid your catastrophistic bs is.

    • Russell delights in the role of eyebrow arching highbrow physicist. I’ve tried to get him to come down out of the ivory tower before. He prefers his lofty and somewhat solitary aloofness.

  64. A paper that I wrote with two colleagues, professors Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter was published in JGR in July 2009. We were advised in November of 2009 of the journal’s intention to publish a criticism/comment and we responded, pointing out (a) that the comment had very largely appeared on the Internet 4 months earlier and had been formatted with the JGR boilerplate and (b) that the comment failed to address either the Discussion or Conclusions of our paper and it contained factual errors. Our response was rejected – the first time that my colleagues had ever seen this done – when reviewers of our comment largely criticized our original paper.

    The comment about our paper was flawed, for the reasons given above. The review of our response was way outside what JGR said a review of a response should be. JGR failed to enforce its own regulations regarding pre-publication of papers and comments, about the subject matter to be addressed by comments on papers, and the nature of reviews of responses to comments.

    More details can be found in our document that was subsequently published on the web, Censorship at the AGU: Scientists denied right of reply.

  65. Blast!

    Only just found this thread (perils of a heavily pregnant wife).

    I’ll knock something together and post it in a day or so- i tend to approach the problem from the other side, as it were- so hopefully it’ll be useful/interesting for people- if not they can point out where i’m going wrong.


    • some very engaging comments, some timely reminders of why this thread is so valuable and the first really dangerous post: never joke about a heavily pregnant wife or any way allude to “perils” — happy, happy, happy. (All the way through a climate blog to get the secrets to being a successful husband!).

  66. Why global mean temperature is not a valid scientific measure for global climate change.
    By Birger Wedendahl with comments by Frank Lansner

    “3. ‘Global Warming’ refers to an obscure statistical quantity, globally averaged temperature anomaly, the small residue of far larger and mostly uncorrelated local anomalies.”

  67. This sums it up for me:

    “Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating.” — Professor Richard Lindzen

  68. I think this is an important piece of research:

    “The main result of this research, is that the variations of the flux, as predicted from the galactic model and as observed from the Iron meteorites is in sync with the occurrence of ice-age epochs on Earth. The agreement is both in period and in phase: (1) The observed period of the occurrence of ice-age epochs on Earth is 145 ± 7 Myr (compared with 143 ± 10 Myrs for the Cosmic ray flux variations), (2) The mid point of the ice-age epochs is predicted to lag by 31 ± 8 Myr and observed to lag by 33 ± 20 Myr.”

  69. In the IPCC WG I Report 2007 there are only few informations about early instrumental temperature data from before 1850.

    In Chapter 6, Palaeoclimate, page 466, we are reading:
    “… at least 23 European stations, but only one North American station, spanning the first two decades, and the first Asian station beginning only in the 1820s. Four European records (Central England, De Bilt, Berlin and Uppsala) provide an even longer, though regionally restricted, indication of the context for the warming observed in the last approximately 20 to 30 years, which is even greater in this area than is observed over the NH land as a whole.”

    For Germany there are temperature series other than that of Berlin which reach back before 1800; for example:

    Karlsruhe, 1779 to present:

    Stuttgart, before 1800 to present:

    Hohenpeißenberg, 1781-2004:

    These series show a high temperature about 1800 which decreases to the end of the 19th century. Because of increasing temperatures in the 20th century, especially the curves of Karlsruhe and Hohenpeißenberg are almost symmetric.
    I think it should be a very interesting job for climate researchers to look what has happened “just before” the widespread temperature mearurements started.

    • Make very sure that you keep copies of the original records before letting a climatologist near them. Otherwise the older temperatures will be ‘adjusted’
      downwards and more recent ones upwards without any warning. They will then

      a. throw away the original records
      b. claim that the adjusted ones are their own personal property and not to be seen by anybody else
      c. if b. fails, claim that you signed a confidentiality agreement (that cannot be produced) so that even you are no longer allowed access.

      This is standard climatology pratcice with temperature records. See CRU, New Zealand etc

    • Supplement:

      In ARW4_Ch06, p. 467, there are two curves for early instrumenmtal temperature data: One for “4 European Stations” starting at 1721, and one referred to as “CRUTEM2v” starting at 1781.

      A manuscript of the reference of the second curve is online:

      Here we can see a table with the number of stations for these two and many other (later) temperature series.
      The lines “IMPROVE and NMSs very long” (2 + 9 stations) and “ALOCLIM” (9 + 6 stations) seem to belong to the early series. On page 3 the series of Hohenpeissenberg which I pointed out together with Stuttgart and Karlsruhe is mentioned together with De Bilt, Warsaw, and Krakow.

      For example, a further interesting article concerning the issue is

      In a graphic there the temperature in “Central England” is very low just before 1700 and very high around 1730 (I don’t know why).

      In this paper we can also read:

      “Instrumental records are by far the most reliable of all available climate data.”

      This is why I pointed out this issue.

  70. It seems NASA and Colarado University don’t think the Science is settled enough to make any statement about the amount of GW attributable to human impact:

    Prof. Peter Pilewskie of UC said, “The exciting thing about this collaboration is that we believe it will promote studies to help answer a key question about the climate system: how does Earth’s atmosphere respond to the sun’s variability, and how does that affect climate? This question is particularly important now, as we seek to quantify the human-induced impact on Earth’s climate.”

    • Great news! NASA has been trying to get a sun-climate program off the ground for several years.

    • You are right, Tallbloke.

      Imagine a group of government scientists and world leaders saying that they can predict the eventual position of a twig or a leaf in a fast moving stream without regard to the upstream/downstream direction of the water flow!

      The heat source “upstream” from Earth – the Sun – is variable star. Orbital motion of planets cause the Sun to be jerked, like a yo–yo on a string, about the constantly changing centre-of-mass (barycentre) of the solar system.

      “Earth’s heat source – the Sun”, E&E 20 (2009) 131-144:

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel


    This was the claim of the IPCC:

    “For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected”

    The current global warming rate is less than 0.2 deg C per decade.

    The current global warming rate is even less than the 0.1 deg C per decade projection for the case if CO2 emission had been held constant at the 2000 level.

    What is the current global warming rate?

    It is only 0.03 deg C per decade.

    The current global warming rate is 1/6th of the IPCC projection.

    As a result, IPCC’s exaggeration factor is about 6!

  72. Global warming is man-made. By manipulating adjustments and which stations are used, the globe’s temperature has been exaggerated.

    After the climategate story broke, I spent my holidays working up the raw data from NCDC

    Nothing fancy, just the routine preliminary data processing steps I’d go through with any project. Combined stations within 1×1 degree sectors, threw out temperatures >100C or <-100C, kept sectors that had continuous data 1900-2009, and plotted the results. I just wanted to see what was there, in the measurement records.

  73. Isn’t the decadal trend a better indicator of climate than Gavin’s “we’ve had one of the hottest years on record”?

  74. Nope.

    You need to understand the Golden Rules of Cliamtology

    1. If its unusually hot – that is total proof of Catastrophic Global Warming
    2. If its unusually cold, that is an unusual event. And more unusual events are even more total proof of Catastrophic Global Warming.
    3. If argument 2. is not believed, then unusual cold is just weather and you need to look at the long-term trend to show total proof of Catastrophic Global Warming

    The ‘having your cake and eating it’ principle.

  75. I’ve decided to be narrow and briefly focus on one aspect of the story (after two false starts trying to encompass the lot!) before making some general points.

    There are many uncertainties involved in discussing the climate, perhaps an obvious statement to most here, but it bears repeating and It is my opinion that our current level of understanding surrounding the climate, it’s mechanisms, natural cycles and forcing’s can be classed as abject.

    I think this is best exemplified by the current state of knowledge surrounding clouds, arguably one of the most important factors affecting climate, weather, suntans and deck-chair placement.

    The IPCC state the following re: clouds
    “At the time of the TAR clouds remained a major source of uncertainty in the simulation of climate changes”
    “In spite of this undeniable progress, the amplitude and even the sign of cloud feedbacks was noted in the TAR as highly uncertain, and this uncertainty was cited as one of the key factors explaining the spread in model simulations of future climate for a given emission scenario.”


    “Clouds, which cover about 60% of the Earth’s surface, are responsible for up to two-thirds of the planetary albedo, which is about 30%. An albedo decrease of only 1%, bringing the Earth’s albedo from 30% to 29%, would cause an increase in the black-body radiative equilibrium temperature of about 1°C, a highly significant value,”

    The IPCC clearly ‘understands’ that the current level of knowledge surrounding clouds is low, that it is inordinately difficult to directly model or include clouds in climate models and cites these difficulties as one of the reasons for a large spread in the climate models (another indication that the models / understanding of climate used for these models is incomplete).

    On clouds alone many other factors have been shown to affect cloud cover including the recent work on Galactic Cosimc Ray levels (something I find fascinating)…

    …which would suggest that even on this one particular aspect of the theory, there is a high level of unknown factors at play (that are seemingly dismissed).

    The level of knowledge on clouds in itself, while worrying, doesn’t completely torpedo the cAGW theory. However it is the level of uncertainty that worries me the most and it is has perhaps not been represented well even by Dr Curry here. Hopefully I can explain this point sufficiently:

    When talking about uncertainty in climate there is a tacit assumption that the uncertainty applies to the whole theory. I.e. that everything else is fairly well understood and the uncertainty is just applied to the application of this information (i.e. the predictions) and the minor details of the theory. This is not the case and it is something I’d like to see highlighted more.

    Currently there are uncertainties in:
    -The temperature record (paleo, proxy and instrumental, MWP etc),
    -The understanding of the climate (natural vs unnatural, internal vs external forcings PLUS the unknowns),
    -In the models,
    -in the methods (e.g. statistical)
    – and there are uncertainties regarding clouds.

    These are accumulative issues and greatly magnify the uncertainties in the theory as a whole. You simply cannot assign a confidence level of say, 95% to the theory when you are not 100% confident of the component parts. What confidence level would we assign to a positive forcing from clouds, 80, 60, 50 % ?

    While it is very important to debate the specific parts and highlight the uncertainties in these specific areas, this cannot be divorced from the uncertainties in the whole theory itself. The large level of uncertainty in the individual aspects of the theory (such as the cloud example given above) MUST imply a larger uncertainty in the theory itself.

    This needs to be highlighted much more than it currently is. As the level of understanding on climate increases and conversely shows just how much we don’t know, the level of confidence in the theory must be decreased, publicly.

    I very nearly posted a technical look at the UHI effect, but I’ve taken a more procedural view to examining the issue and I think as an industry trained research-scientist that this very practical methodology is ignored by the more academic aspects of scientific research.

    This type of methodology serves industry well, for good reason- it works and more often than not, prevents mistakes. Academia could do well to adopt some of these procedures.

    • Labmunkey “When talking about uncertainty in climate there is a tacit assumption that the uncertainty applies to the whole theory. I.e. that everything else is fairly well understood and the uncertainty is just applied to the application of this information (i.e. the predictions) and the minor details of the theory. This is not the case and it is something I’d like to see highlighted more. ”

      This is a variety of my concern about the Italian Flag. Labmunkey seems to be suggesting (and if he isn’t, I am) that the certainty of an entire theory can/ought not be higher than that of its least certain hypothetical component (which I understand he takes to be clouds).

      But even this objection only applies to a single theoretical edifice, whereas we know climate “science” has habitually disregarded evidence or lines of enquiry which did not lead to the conviction of carbon. Other theoretical edifices, vilified by the climate “scientists”, exist, and, had climate science been practised, instead of climate “science”, more might. But once the rival theories are brought into proper synoptic view, what then? How then are we to we evaluate the “uncertainties in climate science”, when it comprises, not the monomaniacal prosecution of carbon with which we are familiar, but a condign evaluation of rival, and mutually exclusive, theories? Not to forget our old friend (although climate “scientists”, if they understand him, detest him), the Null Hypothesis? Are we to favour the one with the least uncertainty in any of its components? How on earth are you going to integrate the uncertainties of AND within each theoretical edifice in such a way that they don’t violate the laws of logic?

      My own suspicion is that if we were at that stage to remove our “uncertainty spectacles” and put on our “parsimony spectacles” (these only work in the light generated by 2 or more rival hypotheses, so they don’t work at the moment) we might get closer to the truth. Both approaches seem to me to have elements of a beauty contest, so I think the objection of subjectivity would have to be a moot point – and resolved in any case by the evidence as it arrives.

      • Fairly close Tom. I think clouds actually are one of the most uncertain aspects- and one of the most critical.
        “that the certainty of an entire theory can/ought not be higher than that of its least certain hypothetical component”

        is bang on.

        Further, i wholeheartedly agree with your latter points. Specifically that the blinkered approach to C02 adds even MORE uncertainty- as the other ‘options’ aren’t even adequatley explored. Uncertainty, heaped upon uncertainty, upon uncertainty- but at a 95% confidence level….

      • yes the clouds bit is really subordinate to my main point – the want of parsimony of the ENTIRE climate “science” field.

        And you say “uncertainty heaped upon uncertainty” – well yes, but if that’s all it was, we could sort of compute them (as I understand Judith to be attempting to do), but how do you compute uncertainties of hypothetical components correctly, as between theories which are absolutely incompatible? I’m sure a mathematician could propose something, but would it be of practical use? Do you share my own misgivings about the whole uncertainty approach?

      • Yes i share your misgivings.

        I’m approaching it from a practical point of view and know that one uncertainty can bring a whole theory down- no matter how much apparent ‘confidence’ is allocated to the theory as a whole.

        I know it is possible to calculate the uncertainty of the component parts and then apply that to the whole theory, however this has next to no-practical use and i’d repeat your assertion that the theory as a whole must not be given a ‘confidence level’ highger than it’s constituent parts.

        I think the whole ‘uncertainty framing is wrong and of little practical use and agree that it must incorporate alternative theories.

        -general website note, im noticing considerable lag typing once a thread goes beyond around 300 posts. Is there a reason for this?

      • This is the kind of topic that will be addressed in Part II of the Italian flag thread

    • Latimer Alder

      Do the guys who estimate the probability of being right in the IPCC reports claim any special expertise in probability estimation? Like being bookmakers or actuaries or insurers or poker players – who deal with risk and probability every day as their careers?

      Or are they just any old Joe Sixpack who happens to do climatology so gets to write that bit when they come to do this very important task?

      I’m reminded of the story from the Challenger disaster when those very close to the coalface (engineering managers etc) had estimated the risk of total disastrous loss of the vehicle as 1 in 100,000 launches. When more professional risk assessors from outside did the same exercise they got a more plausible 1 in 100. I’ll try to find the exact reference.

      The story does not show that the NASA guys were necessarily incompetent or bad people…but that assessing risk and probability is not a game for amateurs to get right as a sideline. And the closer you are to a problem, the more ‘generous’ you will likely be in the assessment of your and your buddies work.

      • Latimer Alder

        Update. The estimates of probability of failure from NASA – and their gross errors are discussed by Richard P. Feynman in his report to the Challenger Enquiry.

        He also said in this context

        ‘For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled’

        Substitute ‘theory’ for ‘technology’ and I think, as ever, he left a lot for Climatology and Climatologists to ponder. A wise and truly great scientist. We need more like him.

      • Great link. thanks

      • Latimer Alder

        Just for fun – there’s a lot of him (but never enough) on YouTube.

      • Latimer, check out the thread on the Italian flag, where we are starting to delve into these issues

      • Latimer Alder

        Thanks…I looked at the homework list which seemed a bit daunting and, given limited time, decided to avoid that thread.

        With your encouragement, and a lot of unseasonable white solid weather driven global warming keeping me just about housebound today, I’ll give it another shot.

      • ok, i get the too much homework problem, but this is going to be a big theme here, that will hopefully help sort out all the tail chasing

        Re the downloads, you don’t need to read them, just look at the figures I refer to.

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m persuaded! Coffee pot on, snow snug around the front door (in London! in November!). I’m on it.

  76. My main reason to be skeptical of Man Made Global Warming is the deceleration of global warming rate shown in the following plot:

    The above plot shows:

    1) The global warming rate for the decade from 1990 to 2000 was 0.25 deg C per decade.

    2) The global warming rate for the decade from 2000 to 2010 was 0.03 deg C per decade.

    From the above result, we see declaration of global warming rate by a factor of 8.3 (=0.25/0.03).

    Seeing is believing.

    Either chuck the data, or chuck the theory of man made global warming.

  77. Girma – I don’t think that climate trends should be assessed in such short timescales. The climate is changing slowly and looking over 30-50 year periods is more appropriate. It is recognised by most climate scientists that there are other (natural) effects that influence temperature over shorter time periods and confuse the overall picture.


    • If that is the case they should have included them in their models. As it is at the moment it only requires 15 years of no ENSO adjusted warming to falsify the models at the 95% per “State of Climate 2008” BAMS. It appears we are at year 12 now. Makes the next 3 years worthy of popcorn.

      • steven, when you say “they should have included them in their models” what makes you think they didn’t?

        Everything I’ve read suggests that they do e.g.
        “Climate modelers are particularly interested in testing the variability of their models. Some variability is intrinsic, but modelers also study variability caused by changes in external forcings, such as in Earth’s orbit or in solar activity. Those studies are complicated by incomplete observations, the nature of satellite data, uncertainties in the forcings, and other issues.”

      • My reply is on the new string created for our extraneous arguments.

  78. Louise

    How about the two nearly identical global warming rates for the 30-years period shown in the following plot (the second one after human emission of CO2 for 60 LONG years!)?

  79. Latimer Alder


    ‘The climate is changing slowly and looking over 30-50 year periods is more appropriate. It is recognised by most climate scientists that there are other (natural) effects that influence temperature over shorter time periods and confuse the overall picture’.

    Would it be over-cynical to also observe that few climate scientists’ careers will last much more than 50 years, so they will all be happily retired (or beyond caring) before the reckoning of their forecasts comes in?

    • When looking at climate over 30-50 year trends, one can look to the past as well as to the future.

      If your skeptic argument is based on “climate scientists will say and do anything to keep their cushy job”, I don’t think it’s a particularly scientific view.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Climate scientists will say and do anything to keep their cushy job’

        I’d just put ‘Some’ at the beginning of that remark.

        Climategate showed us that integrity was not high on the lists of some in the field.

        Moderation: this is the kind of comment that needs to move to the other thread

      • Just as Judith posted “p.s. I am really pleased to see the discussion interest transitioning from climategate to the actual science” at the end of her new topic, you go and spoil it all.

        Typical of the response I have come to expect from some climate skeptics. Can’t answer the science so go for the personal attack.

  80. Latimer Alder

    I’ll post a reply to Louise on the Skeptics thread as requested

  81. Heikki Hartela

    I found Dr. Spencer’s paper “On the diagnosis of radiative feedback in the presence of unknown radiative forcing” very interesting.
    I think the paper demonstrates serious uncertainty on if water vapour feedback actually is positive. If cloud feedback is sufficiently negative, then manmade global warming could become a non-issue. The paper also discusses how cause and effect could have been misinterpreted when assuming water vapor feedback is positive, and it demonstrates why it so hard to measure feedbacks.

    The same questions are discussed in his blog.

    Maybe someone in the field could comment on the paper, and on uncertainty concerning water vapour feedback? I don’t know if it has been widely accepted or rejected.

    • Heikki – I believe that water vapor feedback will be addressed in an upcoming thread. The evidence it is positive is fairly substantial. Cloud feedback is more difficult to assess, although it is currently modeled as positive, with some supporting evidence, albeit inconclusive (ie. long term reductions in low cloud cover in correlation with temperature increases).

      The Spencer JGR paper doesn’t really address these issues, but rather cites data consistent with negative short term feedbacks in response presumably to perturbations arising in the ocean (e.g. ENSO changes), because these are the dominant mode of such short term perturbations. Their results differ from those obtained for other short term perturbations (Forbes et al for volcanic forcing) but resemble results from Lindzen and Choi. The problem is that short term feedbacks from temperature changes originating in the ocean and imposed on a previously unwarmed atmosphere bear no necessary relationship to long term feedbacks induced by changes in atmospheric radiative imbalances (e.g., from CO2) imposed on a previously unwarmed ocean.

      The Spencer paper acknowledges this – “Although these
      feedback parameter estimates are all similar in magnitude,
      even if they do represent feedback operating on intraseasonal
      to interannual time scales, it is not obvious how they relate to
      long‐term climate sensitivity.” That statement is very appropriate. I don’t believe it was in the original draft nor in Spencer’s blog article, and appears to have been inserted in response to the JGR reviewers. (I have seen the same caution applied in opposite direction, whereby an article draft concluding high climate sensitivity based on solar/temperature correlations was toned down for the published article to acknowledge that such a conclusion was only justified if one could exclude other contributing factors to the temperature change).

      • Fred Moolten | December 9, 2010 at 11:26 am | Reply
        Heikki – I believe that water vapor feedback will be addressed in an upcoming thread. The evidence it is positive is fairly substantial. Cloud feedback is more difficult to assess, although it is currently modeled as positive, with some supporting evidence, albeit inconclusive (ie. long term reductions in low cloud cover in correlation with temperature increases).

        The reduced cloud cover 1980-1998 as empirically measured by the ISCCP cloud project was the major cause of the warming, not a feedback effect to it. And what caused that reduction in cloud? We await the results of the CLOUD experiment, though a visit to Nigel Calders blog will show some reasons why it might be delayed. Suffice to say it was a lot more likely soething to do with our solar system environment than to do with co2 levels. Especially considering cloud has increased again, while co2 levels continue their slow post little ice age upward plod.

        Spencer knows cloud feedback is strongly negative. See what he has to say about the one individual reviewer who stonewalled publication of the paper for many months on his blog.

      • Fred,
        There’s absolutely no data or theoretical evidence to support strong net positive water vapor feedback. There’s a small, almost insignificant positive like feedback effect from increases water vapor absorption, but this is in the climate system control path and the net atmospheric absorption is already dictated by other requirements. There’s another component that’s consistently ignored by warmists. As the planet warms, evaporation increases. Increasing evaporation removes increasing amounts of heat from the surface as the latent heat of evaporation which manifests a very strong negative feedback like effect. Trentberth’s back radiation BS (and others) consistently counts latent heat as something independent, where it’s actually intimately tied in to the net effect of water vapor ‘feedback’. Similarly, the cooling effects of precipitation are also ignored. After all, how often is falling precipitation warmer than the surface?

      • I had not picked up on that short / long term thing. How those relate to eachother looks like one of the things that need more studying.
        I remember Spencer venting frustration on the review process, but finally admitted the changes they requires were justified, so you could be right about the addition by demand of the reviewers. I think he also had to leave some stuff out of the paper. Imo this doesn’t change that the paper demonstrates there is a lot of uncertainty regarding cloud and vapour feedback. (I sort of see them as the same thing, linked anyway).
        Interestingly Spencer just posted a comment on a yet unpublished paper that uses the same dataset, but reaches very different conclusions. This will probably be best discussed on the upcomming feedback post. For that discussion; am I correct when I assume most of the evidence for positive vapour and cloud feedback come from the climate models, where positive feedback fits the assumption that almost all warming is manmade?

      • The greenhouse gas warming properties of water vapor have been substantiated by observational data relatng OLR to tropospheric water vapor concentration – for one source, see Dessler et al . The basic principles reside in the radiative transfer properties of water molecules (see the radiative transfer thread and the greenhouse effect threads for more details), and the models provide quantitation.

        The rise in tropospheric water vapor with rising temperature (the basis for the positive feedback) is based on physical principles (the Clausius-Clapeyron equation), and again is quantified by models. It is now well substantiated by observational data from satellite monitoring, but there remains some controversy as to whether the increase in the mid to upper troposphere (the region most critical for greenhouse effects) is as great as modeled. This would affect the magnitude of feedback, but not its positive sign. There is also an older radiosonde dataset describing a reduction with rising temperatures. Most others datasets disagree with this, but it warrants further discussion regarding the technical issues responsible for the disparity..

      • Fred,
        You are failing to account forthe entire water vapor picture. The minor increase in GHG absorption is inconsequential compared to the increase in energy removed from the surface from additional evaporation. Your obsession with GHG absorption to the exclusion of the many other effects of water relative to the climate system is misguided by your preconceived ideas. Skeptics do not claim that CC and the ideal gas law are not valid, nor do any dismiss the GHG effects of water vapor. Indeed, water vapor is the big one and CO2 is a minor player. You fail to understand the difference between feedback and gain. GHG effects are gain, not feedback, but since nobody in the climate science ‘consensus’ understands the least bit about feedback control systems, it’s not all that surprising that you would parrot back same mistake.

        I’d like you to answer a simple question. How much of the power radiated by the surface is blocked from leaving the planet? I’ll give you a hint. The surface radiates 385 W/m^2 at it’s average temperature of 287K and the planet emits 240 W/m^2 at it’s average temperature of 255K. Now, try and reconcile this with the 80%+ that most warmists believe is prevented from leaving. If only 20% of the surface power escaped into space, the temperature seen from space would be only about 190K, not 255K.

      • Rather than continue an extensive discussion on this thread, which has already moved out of the attention span for most Climate Etc. visitors, and which appropriately displays a broad range of skeptic opinion, feedbacks deserve to be addressed in an upcoming thread devoted to that topic,and radiative balance can also be discussed there as well as in the ongoing radiative transfer and the recent greenhouse effect threads, all more focused on these issues.

        I’ll be glad to go into more detail there. For the present, I would say that your estimates of the relative roles of positive water vapor feedback vs negative lapse rate feedback reflecting evaporation and latent heat transport conflict with considerable evidence indicating that the net effect between the two is positive.

        Regarding radiative balance, I’m not sure where you believe it has been claimed that 80 percent of emitted radiatition is permanently “blocked”, and I would be interested in reviewing the source material for that claim. I wonder whether you are not confusing the observation of substantial back radiation with a deduction (unwarranted) that none of that radiation eventually escapes. The actual values of upward and downward IR, along with convective modulation of lapse rates, conform well to observed values.

        I’ll leave it there for now, and refrain from further exchanges on this topic within this thread in the absence of significant additional data, but I’ll be glad to respond in more detail in the newer and upcoming threads.

      • What Trentberth does with his back radiation BS is create loops of power between the surface and the atmosphere in order to provide degrees of freedom to fudge for his many other mistakes regarding the planets energy balance. A proper analysis considers the atmosphere as either a cloudy or a clear black box network between the surface and space and whatever happens within this box is irrelevant to the energy balance itself. Only it’s macroscopic properties of reflectivity and opacity matter, hence the distinction between the cloudy and clear atmosphere.

      • Fred, i am working on getting some more technical threads going on this topic, now that i have finished with the testimony

      • Considerable evidence indicates that the net effect of water vapor feedback after subtracting the negative lapse rate feedback from evaporation and latent heat transport is positive. For a useful search term for an extensive literature on this, use “water vapor/lapse rate feedback”.

        I’ve seen no claim that 80 percent of surface-emitted IR is permanently “blocked”, so that none of it eventually escapes. If you have a source for such a claim, I’d be interested in reviewing it. Current radiatiave balance/temperature calculations don’t rely on that claim – see the radiative transfer and greenhouse effect threads for details.

        The upcoming feedback/sensitivity thread wil be a good place for a more detailed discussion, and so I’ll refrain from further comments here in the absence of significant additional data.

      • Sorry for the repetitive posting in the last two comments. I wrote the second after the first one appeared to have vanished into cyber-oblivion.

      • Sorry, I meant 90%, according the Trentberth. I refer you to Fig 1 in this paper where he claims only 10% of surface power passes through the transparent window of the atmosphere.
        This value is so wrong it makes everything elsehe says meaningless. The actual values from Hitran simulations are that the clear sky absorbs about 62% and the cloudy sky absorbs about 82%, but only half of what’s absorbed finds it way back to warm the surface as the so called ‘back radiation’. Of course, the Trentberth model includes radiation from clouds back to the surface as ‘back radiation’, providing the false illusion that it’s from GHG’s. Given these numbers and that the planet is 66% covered by clouds, the net transmittance is, (1-0.66)*((1-0.62) + 0.62/2) + 0.66*(1-0.82) + 0.82/2) = 62.4% . This says that for each W/m^2 of surface power, 0.624 W/m^2 escapes into space. We can check that by starting with the 240 W/m^2 associated with the planets temperature of 255K, divide by 0.624 and get 384 W/m^2, which converted into a temperature becomes 287K and is exactly equal to the expected average surface temperature.

  82. Hi,
    This analysis uses ISSCP data to quantify the response of the planet to changes in solar forcing.
    The basic model is,
    Pi = Po + dE/dt
    where Pi is the power flux entering the planet, Po is the power flux leaving and E is the energy stored in the planets thermal mass. E is related to surface and cloud temperature, upon which Po is dependent, thus establishing a relatively simple, first order, LTI system.
    See: http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/LTI_system_theory
    When more power is leaving than arriving, i.e. Po is greater than Pi, the balance is made up as the Earth’s thermal mass looses energy and cools. When Po is less than Pi, the Earth warms. Pi and Po are easily measured. Pi is the power flux from the Sun and Po is the power flux leaving the Earth, including reflection. From gridded calculations, we can calculate the depth of ocean water that comprises the active thermal mass of the planet by knowing the heat capacity of water and/or land. From this model, whose behavior is confirmed by measurements, the precise sensitivity to doubling CO2, including the effects of all feedbacks, is determined to be about 0.6C, which is no where near as large as the alarmist 3.0C +/- 1.5C claimed, but never justified, by the IPCC.


  83. Sorry, the LTI link should have been,
    This next link is a slide set which looks at ice core data from Vostok, DomeC, satellite data and other data from other sources to illustrate behaviors and relationships that contradict a high sensitivity and/or support a low sensitivity.
    On a related note, here is DomeC, Vostok temperatures and orbital forcings, all integrated with 22K year averaging applied. The correlations should be self evident.

    Here shows a plot of the number of years per fixed width core slice, giving an indication of relative precipitation, vs. temperature.

    Zooming in to the most recent 15K years shows this relationship to be consistent, even at short time scales.


  84. Supplement 2:
    An interesting clarification of AR4WG1, ch. 6, p. 467, can be found in
    (Last updated: June 2000, Phil Jones).
    There is a graph of the temperature record for Central England, “the second longest instrumental record anywhere in the world”, starting in 1659.

  85. I saw a lot of hits to the links I posted, but oddly enough, nobody commented. I guess it’s time for the death blow to CAGW.

    The surface emits 385 W/m^2 at it’s average temperature of 287K. The power leaving the planet at 255K is 240 W/m^2. This tells us that for each W/m^2 that leaves the planet, the surface must emit 1.6 W/m^2. This is unambiguous evidence that the atmosphere has a net opacity to surface radiated power of only 37.5% and this includes the 2/3 of the planet covered by cloud since the power leaving cloud tops and being radiated into space mostly originated from surface power. This measured, net opacity is a long term (decades to centuries) average and already includes the net effects of all feedbacks, positive, negative, known and unknown.

    The first thing this points out is the factor of 2 error in the IPCC analysis where it assumes that 100%, not 50%, of the incremental absorption from doubling CO2 affects the surface. This by itself is sufficient to invalidate any finding of the IPCC. The second thing this points out is that for 3.7 W/m^2 of incremental ‘forcing’ to cause the 16 W/m^2 of incremental surface power associated with a 3C rise requires that the net atmospheric opacity be well over it’s 50% theoretical maximum.

    The physical fact that the Earth’s atmosphere can never have a net opacity greater than half of it’s absorption is completely ignored in all IPCC sanctioned results and methods.


    • Hi evilCO2 – Since this thread belongs to the skeptics, I probably shouldn’t have intruded, except that I did so in response to a question rather than for the sake of disputing particular points. Water vapor, as well as the temperature response to forcing without or without feedbacks, has already been discussed in other threads, including the recent one on radiative transfer (where observational data corroborate model results), and the particular issue of climate sensitivity will be addressed more thoroughly in an upcoming thread. I will try to reference some important recent data there regarding water vapor and other feedbacks.

      • Fred,
        By all means, make your case so I may thoroughly destroy it. I have yet to be presented with any pro CAGW argument that I wasn’t able to decimate with logic, data and science. I would prefer if you explain your position in your own words, rather than reference ‘peer reviewed’ climate papers. Simply referencing papers just tells me someone doesn’t have a clue. When they attempt to explain something in their own words, then one of 2 things result. First, when you are forced to actually think through your logic, many will identify the logical flaws and inconsistencies on their own. If the errors don’t bubble up to the top on their own, then I will be able to identify the flaws that led to the faulty conclusion. Again I emphasize, please show your work.

      • Fred Moolten

        This thread is for listing errors, distortions omissions or exaggerations in reports supporting IPCC’s CAGW claim. Rational skeptics of the IPCC claim are not specifically forced to come up with and justify alternate hypotheses for “climate change”, but simply to expose the “holes” in the CAGW claim.

        There are several examples that come to my mind, and I will list some of these separately here..

        It is immaterial whether or not a topic has “already been discussed in other threads”. This thread has been specifically set up for listing these.


      • PS to Fred: Welcome back. We missed you.

  86. I have found two skeptical arguments disturbing because difficult to dispute:
    Firstly, the contention that climate is solar/cosmic driven, which deniers say is backed up by Svensmark’s research on “The Cloud Mystery”, and also they claim, by changes to other planet’s ice sheets paralleling Earth’s . Secondly, by the obviously non-scientific but rather conspiracy-type argument that AGW science is funded by the financial services industry and carbon derivatives players. They throw names around like Generation Investment Management (Mr Gore’s $6 b. fund), and Goldman Sachs, and note their role in the recently defunct Chicago Climate Exchange, arguing massive conflict of interest. I have found it difficult to respond to the above two lines of argument and have tended to resile from participating in such public debates, yet am weary of seeking refuge in claims that “the science is in” and “consensus”. Any suggestions on how to more robustly counter this denialist disinformation and support the push towards a global carbon futures market would be appreciated. Thanks – Albert.

  87. Re Julian Flood | November 27, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Volcanic ash fuels anomalous plankton bloom in subarctic northeast Pacific
    Hamme, Roberta C.; Webley, Peter W.; Crawford, William R.; Whitney, Frank A.; DeGrandpre, Michael D.; Emerson, Steven R.; Eriksen, Charles C.; Giesbrecht, Karina E.; Gower, Jim F. R.; Kavanaugh, Maria T.; Peña, M. Angelica; Sabine, Christopher L.; Batten, Sonia D.; Coogan, Laurence A.; Grundle, Damian S.; Lockwood, Deirdre
    Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 37, Issue 19, CiteID L19604

    Using multiple lines of evidence, we demonstrate that volcanic ash deposition in August 2008 initiated one of the largest phytoplankton blooms observed in the subarctic North Pacific. Unusually widespread transport from a volcanic eruption in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska deposited ash over much of the subarctic NE Pacific, followed by large increases in satellite chlorophyll. Surface ocean pCO2, pH, and fluorescence reveal that the bloom started a few days after ashfall. Ship-based measurements showed increased dominance by diatoms. This evidence points toward fertilization of this normally iron-limited region by ash, a relatively new mechanism proposed for iron supply to the ocean. The observations do not support other possible mechanisms. Extrapolation of the pCO2 data to the area of the bloom suggests a modest ∼0.01 Pg carbon export from this event, implying that even large-scale iron fertilization at an optimum time of year is not very efficient at sequestering atmospheric CO2.

    I would add ‘in a region not deficient or limited in dissolved silica’ to that last line. AFAIK the usual limit on diatoms is dissolved silica for their shells, and given enough silica, diatoms will out-compete calcareous phytos. It would be instructive to see if the silica-feeding leg of my case above stands up to reality.

    One thing is resolved: diatoms pump down unexpectedly small amounts of CO2. If they actually are replacing calcareous phytos because of our silica export from the land, then the export of 12C to the deep ocean will be reduced (assuming that calcareous phytos do not exhibit the same unexpectedly small pull-down) and a light carbon isotope signal will be left in the atmosphere — and, of course, the amount of atmospheric CO2 in total will rise. Light signal, more CO2, must be anthropogenic. Or not.

    Anyone know the pull-down over a bloom of Emiliania huxleyi?

    Who has been to Sorrento and, while the management exclaimed over the food, the views, the shops, took lots of pictures of the oil smooths on the Bay of Naples.

    • Julian,
      does this mean that the reduction in plankton may have skewed the normal carbon cycle by a significant amount over the last years? What period, and how much? Roughly? :)

      • I don’t see how we can tell, but if we’ve lost 40% of the plankton then there will certainly be some effect.

        Ferdinand Engelbeen has a graph of 12C/13C isotope change which he says shows the industrial revolution kicking in about 1850. So it does, but it shows the ratio beginning to change from about 1750. This latter inconvenient fact, he claims, is natural variation, but he didn’t mention how he knows the difference.

        Agriculture causes run-off, dust deposition, which, presumably leads to silica increase. Diatoms win in a competition with calcareous phytos as long as there is enough silica. The paper certainly shows that diatoms don’t cause much of a CO2 pull-down. Have we increased the diatom population as well as knocking back the other phytos by stratification nutrient depletion? I don’t know. It’s a nice economical explanation, light isotope signal and CO2 increase in one tidy package.

        We got better (better in the sense that we made a bigger impact) at agriculture before the good men of Ironbridge began to make the iron wheels hum, so one would expect something to show somewhere in the climate record. This paper hints at where to look.

        Handwave, handwave, I know. Does a calcareous phyto bloom pull down light carbon? Until we find that out it’s just handwave.


      • While there may be academic interest, why all the fuss about where CO2 is coming from and where it’s going? This presupposes that incremental CO2 has a climate effect worth worrying about. To paraphrase Lindzen, from his recent congressional testemony, “AGW is trivially true, but the magnitude is far to small to obsess about”. The most supportable sensitivity measurements I’ve seen are about 0.7C +/- 0.2C for doubling CO2 and which has been arrived at by multiple researchers using many different observational data sets, including ERBE data, ISCCP weather satellite data and surface and ocean measurements. Anything more than this requires magic physical behavior that both violates first principles and defies the data.


      • George, I know I know.
        But co2 isn’t my principle interest anyway. However, I am interested in Julian’s marine biology, and the effect of humans on that for non climatology reasons. If atmospheric measurements can be worked out so that we can use them as a method of knowing what is going on in the marine biosphere, then that’s valuable knowledge.

      • Indeed it is very important. Phytoplankton is the largest ‘absorber’ of CO2, it has even strange ability of ‘cloud’ generation to protect itself from excessive UV radiation.

      • It’s politics, not science: every line of evidence needs to be understood to get them to do a U turn. Besides, cleaning up the oceans would be a good thing, they’re in a bad way — see [Boyce et al, 2010]

        I’d agree that the CO2 sensitivity is about .6 deg/doubling –not that I’ve got any reason for saying it, but after reading all the stuff it just seems right. We are talking here about a warming process which is completely separate — remember there may well be more than one warming caused by A. My attribution of the PETM to the breach of a massive oil reservoir is only slightly tongue in cheek — it’s as good an explanation as any I’ve seen for that event.

        Looking at the images of the Bay of Naples, with Vesuvius looming over the smooths,, I have been wondering what volcanic ash does to the marine boundary layer. Does it clean up all the oil?


      • Julian, if the oil cleaning properties of ash are a bigger factor in promoting plankton growth than the additional iron is, then that would add support to your oil films hypothesis.

        Sound like a good basis for getting a controlled experiment funded to me. And I mean that.

      • Well, there’s a series of experiments which would be worth doing.

        Oil spills: any major oil spill should be sampled, downwind for aerosol effects and down-current to see what the sheen is doing, how far it spreads etc. Analysis of satellite coverage might give evidence of aerosol modulation of low level stratus. Temperature sensing downstream/wind of oil rig complexes… etc

        Okhotsk: there’s a report on the Sea of Okhotsk which says that the rigs are clean as clean, no pollution at all. I’d like to see if that’s true — perhaps satellite coverage might give some clue. And the sea north of Alaska, is that clean? If ice does hold oil until it melts, exacerbating warming (another experiment) then even small spills might be important. I’ve read, but not checked, that the main cause of Arctic ice depletion is the fall in Bering and Okhotsk ice cover.

        Anomalous warmings: Why is Lake Tanganyika so warm? Why Andaman? The obvious thing to do is look and I’d start with the marine/lake boundary layer.

        Induced warming: well, maybe no-one would let me get a great big clean lake and spread it with oil. Maybe, though, someone would allow a big cleanup of a polluted one. How is ice doing on the Great Slave Lake? I’d advise against Lake Tanganyika at first glance, the area looks a bit difficult to operate in and one has to be thorough: 5ml of oil will smooth a hectare.

        Plankton: have the populations changed? Do cod fry eat a type of plankton which is suffering from the population crash — we see that sockeye salmon eat diatoms. What about elvers? I’ve a pleasant daydream that the Kriegesmarine hypothesis explains the fall in both species, the first from agricultural silica, the second from oil-mediated stratification.

        Aerosol lab experiments: what actually happens to droplets and aerosols generated from a polluted surface — oil and surfactants, particularly synthetic surfactants? I’ve got a fair idea, but I’d like to see confirmation.

        River pollution of adjacent ocean surfaces….

        If you’d like a really cheap one, some passing student could look through videos of tanker spills: I’m sure I’ve seen a big spill on a shoreline during very high winds and a line of thinned clouds tailing away downwind. Maybe the Braer?

        You couldn’t spare me a billion quid could you?

        Spreadng a few hundred tonnes of volcanic ejecta onto variously clean and dirty seas…

        Too much? I refer the Minister to the Climate Change Bill where the costs are estimated at £18 billion per year for forty years. My requirement, which might obviate the necessity for that expenditure, is, I am sure he would agree if he didn’t have his head stuck up…. if he were to reflect on the matter, a bargain.

        Who is amused to find that the Commons passed the Climate Change Bill at almost the exact spot where Canute ordered the tide to stop.

      • If you can get the funding, count me in. I make a pretty handy ships engineer, helmsman, navigator, data collector, instrumentation officer…

        I used to have a 20 tonne seagoing boat, built out of best Burmese teak on English oak frames. A bargain from the ‘Exchange and Mart’. :)

  88. tallbloke,
    One of the more interesting connections between CO2, biomass and temperature is that increased temperatures are preferred by biomass, moreover; increased temperatures must be accompanied with increased precipitation. Water, CO2 and energy are the raw ingredients of life. As the planet warms and rain increases, biomass increases to the extent it’s not CO2 limited. More biomass alive means more is dieing and being returned to the CO2 from which it began, thus sequestering naturally occurring CO2 by recycling it through the biological carbon cycle. This will increase ambient CO2 and CH4 levels as a consequence of the increased decomposition. It takes a while for enough CO2 to build up in the atmosphere to support a larger biosphere and this is the source of much of the delay between temperature and CO2 seen in the ice cores. Note that ocean outgassing is not delayed by 100’s of years and is almost concurrent with temperature changes. What the ice core CO2 record tells us more than anything else is the size of the planets biosphere at the time. Another point of the delay is that it’s asymmetric and shorter as temperature are increasing than when they are failling. This hysteresis can not be explained with outgassing, but is easily explained with evolutionary biology.


  89. Dr. Strangelove

    Dr. Curry,
    I’d like to get feedback on this study. I find it significant because it is not only about the inaccuracy of GCMs, it also reflects the inability of climate science to quantitatively model the climate. My understanding is it is not that our models are inaccurate but the climate is inherently chaotic and hence very difficult, if not impossible, to accurately predict in the long term.

    If true, the very idea of calculating the sensitivity of doubling CO2 is futile bec. other variables that also influence global temp. are unpredictable and will defeat the accurate sensitivity calculation. We can only predict in the short term maybe 10 yrs. ahead and with large margin of error say +- 50%.

  90. Dr. Curry,
    I would like to see a Thread on the Climate Theory of Ewing and Donn. To me, their theory is logical and does fit with the properties of ice and water and albedo. Modern Consensus Theory melted ice sheets, some of which were miles thick, while at the same time, they warmed the Earth. Ice and water does not work that way. In Ewing and Donn’s theory, the warming did not start until the ice sheets had thinned and started to retreat. The decreasing albedo did the warming. In Ewing and Donn’s theory, Arctic Ocean Effect snow covered the northern latitudes while the oceans were warm and the Arctic ice gone. This happened quickly and the Earth cooled rapidly because the albedo was high. This all makes perfectly good sense. Melting started, slowly, in the early part of the cold part of the ice age because when the Arctic froze, the snow stopped.
    On the other hand, a trace gas combined with minor orbit changes driving rapid temperature changes defies all logic and requires the Carbon Feedback Terms.
    I believe: Ewing and Donn did make some mistakes and their valid Theory was thrown out with the mistakes. As more and more Arctic Ice disappears, you will see more and more Arctic Ocean Effect Snow. Ewing and Donn will be vindicated and that may be soon. Arctic Ocean Effect Snow has and will again keep the Earth from getting much warmer.

  91. In the history of Earth, there has never been a warm period as stable as has been during the most recent 10,000 years. The best predictor of the future is the past 10,000 year history. It has gotten warmer and colder, but nothing like it did in the half million years before that. In the past 10,000 years, it did get warmer than now, multiple times. Every time it got warmer, it then got colder. A trace amount of CO2 can only make a trace amount of influence on this very stable cycle. Warmer melts Arctic ice and Arctic Ocean Effect Snow makes it cooler, again and again. This will continue until something major changes. A trace gas, CO2, is not that change.

  92. Do a Google Search of “winter storm punishes the Midwest” and look at all the snow stories. This is just a hint of things to come. As more Arctic Ice Melts, as the Summer Sea Ice Extent gets smaller, these Massive Arctic Ocean Effect Snows will increase. That will make massive increases to the Albedo of the Earth and Earth will cool, again, as it has time and time before. This has been going on for a long time. A trace amount of CO2 has little effect to this very stable, natural, cycle. It is time to put this flap about CO2 aside and dust off the old volumes of Climate Theory by Ewing and Donn.


    Glaciers are melting and revealing that this is not the first time they have melted. This is clear and positive proof that the current warming is not unprecedented. It has happened before, time and time again, without manmade CO2

  94. Here is a prediction for a severe winter that was correct.
    Consensus Climate Scientists did not and do not make correct predictions for severe winters. None of them, none of you, mention Albedo. You will never have a proper climate theory or models without proper attention to Arctic Ocean Effect Snow and its effect on Albedo.
    Look to accurate forecasts and see what they did different.

  95. The consensus fails to offer compelling evidence that climate is behaving in ways outside historical bounds in terms of frequency or intensity of weather events.
    The consensus fails to demonstrate with credible evidence that CO2 is triggering changes in the world climate system that are outside the range of historical variability.
    The consensus fails to understand basic things that influence climate, like clouds.
    The consensus fails to demonstrate that changes in the world temperature numbers are meaningful in either quality of data or significance of results.
    Additionally, there is a lack of significant changes in the other manifestations of climate to support the claims of significance of temperature changes.

  96. Best cases for my scepticism of man made global warming

    1) Look at the extremely poor agreement between model forecast and observation.

    2) Look at an identical warming to the recent one 100 year ago.

    3) Look at the oscillation in the global mean temperature data.

    4) Look at a top climate scientist admitting, they give data at their own peril.

    5) Look at the global cooling since 2002.

    Man made global warming is not supported by the data, and the climate scientists themselves have doubts in private:

    6) Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, used to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a longer – 10 year – period of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina etc. Speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also.

    • Girma, Nick Stokes has already taken your ‘science’ to the wood shed for a complete beat down. Ron Broberg did as well. I suggest you go to their blogs and defend your ‘work’.

  97. Awesome looking website. I recently built mine and I was looking for some ideas for my site and you gave me a few. May I ask you whether you developed the website by yourself?

  98. “Skeptics: make your best case”.

    Judith Curry has it backward, of course. It is those who put forth the AGW conjecture who have the onus of proof, or at least the onus of providing convincing scientific evidence confirming AGW.

    By ‘evidence’ I mean testable, measurable data such as ice core data, and convincing empirical observations conducted in a scientific manner, such as the Central England Temperature series. (Papers, whether peer reviewed or not, are not scientific evidence.)

    Funny thing is, there is no scientific evidence that confirms AGW in a measurable, testable way. AGW may exist, but until and unless there is solid evidence connecting human emitted CO2 with a quantifiable, measurable rise in temperature, AGW is simply a conjecture. An opinion. Possibly only a belief.

    The onus is on the alarmist crowd, and they cannot convince scientific skeptics of AGW without providing solid testable evidence directly connecting global warming with human CO2 emissions in a measurable and replicable way. That is how science works, and all the arm-waving over AGW is meaningless without convincing scientific evidence. And so far, there is little if any evidence for AGW. Which leaves opinion and belief.

    When reading the link below, keep AGW (and especially CAGW) in mind:

    • Nice links, thanks.

    • D Boehm


      The “onus of proof” (or in this case the need to demonstrate empirical scientific evidence) lies with the makers of the claim.

      IPCC’s “CAGW claim” is quite simple:

      AGW, caused by human GHGs (principally CO2) has been the primary cause of global warming since the mid-20th century and represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment, if human GHG emissions (principally CO2) are not curtailed drastically.

      This claim is not supported by empirical scientific data, e.g. from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation (Feynman). Furthermore, the claim as it stands is not directly falsifiable (a prerequisite for a scientific hypothesis).

      So much for the “onus of proof”.

      But I think we are discussing something else here.

      It is not up to CAGW skeptics to come up with empirical data to support some other hypothesis regarding “climate change”, but rather to express why they are rationally skeptical of the CAGW claim.

      Just pointing out errors, distortions or exaggerations in the IPCC’s AR4 WG1 report (or any other study used to bolster the CAGW claim) is a good start. And there are many.


    • “The onus is on the alarmist crowd, and they cannot convince scientific skeptics of AGW without providing solid testable evidence directly connecting global warming with human CO2 emissions in a measurable and replicable way.”

      A consensus (ie the vast majority) of climate scientists accept AGW precisely because the evidence has been convincing.

      You can’t expect all scientists to be convinced even when the evidence is strong, which it is. Some have entrenched ideologies to defend. Think about the impossible task of convincing creationist scientists that evolution is correct for example.

      • lolwot

        Cease and desist with the “creationist” tales.

        The fact is that the IPCC forced “consensus” never really was one.

        Sure, most scientists (and a lot of other folks) believe

        – that GHGs trap and slow down outgoing LW radiation
        – that CO2 is a GHG
        – that humans generate CO2 (and other GHGs)
        – that leves of CO2 and other GHGs have risen
        – that temperature has risen in multi-decadal alternate warming/cooling cycles of about 30 years each, since the modern global record started in 1850

        But not all of these believe the IPCC “CAGW” claim that most of the warming since 1950 can be attributed to increases in anthropogenic GHGs (primarily CO2) and that this represents a serious threat to humanity and our environment unless actions are undertaken to drastically curtial human emissions of GHGs (primarily CO2).

        That’s what the ongoing scientific debate is all about, lolwot – not about “creationism”.


  99. IPCC claim on Antarctic Ice Sheet 1993-2003

    A few years ago, Paul Matthews compiled several cases of IPCC errors, distortions and exaggerations in IPCC AR4 WG1 report:

    These were gathered on a now-defunct Climate Audit thread, with several contributors.

    Here is one specific example (copied from Paul’s summary with minor changes and my comments added):

    The WG1 SPM states (p 5) that

    “New data since the TAR now show that losses from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have very likely contributed to sea level rise over 1993 to 2003 (see Table SPM.1). Flow speed has increased for some Greenland and Antarctic outlet glaciers, which drain ice from the interior of the ice sheets. The corresponding increased ice sheet mass loss has often followed thinning, reduction or loss of ice shelves or loss of floating glacier tongues.”

    In Table SPM1 they attribute 0.21 mm/yr of sea level rise over the period 1993-2003 to Antarctic ice loss.

    These claims are contradicted by recent papers that show that the Antarctic ice sheet grew over the stated time period.
    – I. Joughin and S. Tulaczyk, Positive Mass Balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctic, Science 295, 476-480 (2002) – They found strong evidence for ice sheet growth in West Antarctica.
    – C.H. Davis et al, Snowfall-Driven Growth in East Antarctic Ice Sheet Mitigates Recent Sea-Level Rise, Science 308, 1898-1901 (2005) – They found that the East Antarctic ice sheet is growing at 45 Gt/yr, corresponding to a sea level decrease of 0.12 mm/yr.
    – D.J. Wingham et al, Mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet, Phil Trans Roy Soc A 364, 1627-1635 (2006) – They found that the Antarctic ice sheet is growing at 27 Gt/yr, corresponding to a sea level fall of 0.08 mm/yr. The study covered 72% of Antarctica and the period April 1992-April 2003.

    The IPCC cites the Davis et al paper in section 4.6 but ignores the Wingham et al paper (this paper came out in 2006, but other 2006 papers are cited).

    On the other hand, the IPCC cites other papers by Shepherd and Wingham that happen to support the IPCC agenda (for example “Warm ocean is eroding West Antarctic Ice Sheet”).

    The Joughin et al. and Davis et al. studies cover only a portion of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, but the Wingham study has calculated a mass balance for the entire AIS, based on continuous 7/365 satellite altimeter measurements over the entire time period mid-April 1992 to mid-April 2003 covering 72% of the AIS and has extended this to the whole AIS by adding estimates for the non-measurable areas too close to the pole and near shorelines, which are not captured by satellite altimetry.

    Wingham’s findings of 27 Gt/year mass gain are clearly not compatible with the IPCC claim of 71 Gt/year mass loss over the same time period.
    Instead of citing (or even acknowledging) the Wingham study, IPCC chose to simply ignore it.


    PS I will cite other examples from this summary in separate posts, with thanks and credit due to Paul Matthews, who provided several of the examples and compiled the summary.

  100. Greenland Ice Sheet over period 1993-2003

    OK, here’s another one, also from Paul Matthews’ compilation (cited above).

    The AR4 WG1 SPM claims (table SPM.1, page 7) that sea level rose at 0.21 mm/yr over the period 1993-2003, due to melting of the Greenland ice sheet. But several published papers have found that in fact the Greenland ice increased or was static over this time period:
    – H.J. Zwally et al, Growth of the Southern Greenland Ice Sheet, Science 281, 1251 (1998). They found an ice sheet thickening rate of about 5 cm/year.
    – C. H. Davis, C. A. Kluever, and B. J. Haines, Elevation Change of the Southern Greenland Ice Sheet. Science 279, 2086-2088 (1998). They found a small increase (1.5 cm/year) over the period 1978-1988.
    – R. Thomas et al, Mass Balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet at High Elevations. Science 289, 426-428 (2000). They find that “On average, the region has been in balance”.
    – O. M. Johannessen, K. Khvorostovsky, M. W. Miles, and L. P. Bobylev, Recent Ice-Sheet Growth in the Interior of Greenland. Science 310, 1013-1016 (2005) – They used satellite altimetry over the period 1992-2003, and found the “spatially averaged increase is 5.4 cm per year over the study area”.
    – H.J. Zwally et al, Mass changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992-2002. J. Glaciol. 51, 509-527 (2005) – Found an overall mass gain of 11 GT/yr.

    AR4 cites the last two of these (though they incorrectly refer to Zwally et al as 2006) but not the first two (which cover a different time period than 1993-2003). AR4 also incorrectly shows Zwally et al as showing mass loss in fig 4.18. AR4 also attempts discredit Johannessen et al (fig 4.18 caption) by saying that the results were ‘without firn densification correction’, and by showing it as a dotted line in their figure.

    Several alternate measurement methods were in use over the 1993-2003 time period. Most of these only covered a small portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Many were spot studies covering a few weeks or months. The only measurement method that continuously covered the entire GIS except coastal areas that cannot be captured is satellite altimetry.

    Johannessen covers essentially all of the GIS except coastal areas, but does not convert the elevation changes to a mass balance. Zwally provides information, which is not contained in the Johannessen study: namely, converting elevation change to mass balance, including the firn correction and extending the study area to cover the entire GIS. It covers essentially the same time period as Johannessen (mid-April 1992 to mid-April 2003), but truncates the 6-month colder period from October 2002 to April 2003 from the study. This leads to the supposition that Zwally’s reported gain in ice mass of 11 Gt/year may be understated, since it ignores the gain in snow mass from an entire 6-month cold season. Simply substituting Johannessen’s figures, which DO include these six months, for all the areas that could be measured by Johannessen and using Zwally’s numbers for the remaining non-measurable marginal areas results in a calculated increase of GIS ice mass from around 11 to around 23 Gt/year.

    With or without this adjustment, however, either result is clearly incompatible with the IPCC claim of a loss of 71 Gt/year over the same period.

    Again, IPCC has cherry-picked the reports it considers relevant and ignored the others.


    PS More to follow…

  101. Judith Curry

    Somehow this old thread got reactivated and I added a few comments, not realizing that it was almost two years old.

    Maybe a new thread should be launched “Skeptics Make Your Best Case Part II”

    There’s a lot of “red meat” that needs to be covered.


  102. Langmuir’s Symptoms of Pathological Science

    (When reading, keep AGW in mind):

    The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause. Check. High CO2, low CO2, it produces the same effect whether high or low.

    The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability; or, many measurements are necessary because of the very low statistical significance of the results. Check. Very low statistical significance. And we can barely, almost, ‘see’ AGW. And again, maybe not.

    Claims of great accuracy. Check. Purporting to measure temperature to tenths of a degree over centuries. As if.

    Fantastic theories contrary to experience. Check. Experience shows that everything now being observed has happened before.

    Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the moment. Check. Everything is blamed on AGW.

    Ratio of supporters to critics rises up to somewhere near 50% and then falls gradually to oblivion. Check.


    I am not saying that AGW does not exist. I don’t know. But there is no convincing scientific evidence measuring AGW, therefore no one else knows for sure, either. AGW may turn out to be like N-Rays, or the Allison effect. Or CO2 may turn out to have a net cooling effect. At this point, we just Do. Not. Know. And those who claim to ‘know’ are operating based on belief, not on the rigorous scientific method.

    • The difference is that the AGw scientists understand why it is warmer now than half a century ago, while the skeptics are still scrambling through the data for an explanation or just have no clue.

  103. Jim D,

    The planet has been warming at about the same rate since the end of the LIA. There is no difference, whether CO2 was low or high.

    The rate of warming is constant. Therefore, CO2 has no measurable effect.

    In addition, the ONLY measurements show that CO2 changes always FOLLOW temperature. There are no empirical measurements showing that temperature is a function of CO2.

    The alarmist crowd confuses cause and effect. CO2 is an effect of temperature. Unless, of course, you believe your eyes are lying.