Open thread: 12/08/10

Unusual for me to post an open thread mid week, but this has unexpectedly turned into a very busy week for me.  Responding to the follow up questions is turning into as much work as the original testimony (even with all that help from my friends :) )

As soon as my testimony is finished, I will finish the next post in the greenhouse series, which is on the clear sky sensitivity to doubling CO2.  There is also growing interest of more in depth discussion on issues raised by the Miskolczi paper, I am thinking of a thread on water vapor observations; one of the reasons you haven’t encountered much about the climatology of water vapor is that this topic makes the issues surrounding atmospheric temperature climatologies look like child’s play.   Would appreciate your feedback on technical topics to discuss in the near term.  I am gradually building up to feedbacks etc.

I would also be interested in hearing about what has struck you in the blogosphere in the past week.  Here are a few things that caught my eye:

  • Over at collide-a-scape and RealClimate, they are discussing the pros and cons of control of methane and soot.
  • BishopHill points out that there is a new annotated version of the 3 volumes of the AR4 with hyperlinks at Haven’t checked it out yet, but given the time i spend poring through the AR4, this has to be helpful
  • Roger Pielke Jr has an interesting post on Five Books, about his top five picks on the subject of climate change
  • Bill Hooke has an essay on earth science education.
  • And of course there is the COP in Cancun, I’ve barely had time to keep up with that

Moderation note: this one is wide open, I hope that some stimulating dialogue develops including ideas for new posts.

290 responses to “Open thread: 12/08/10

  1. In the United States there is growing realization that loss of constitutional government is the price for “going green”!

    That is a price that many of us are unwilling to pay, and the politicians who promote such foolishness will soon find themselves unemployed.

    This video of Eisenhower’s farewell address warned of this development:

    These two best selling books address different aspects of the tyranny that is lurking hiding behind the “green movement.”

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

    • Oliver,
      It is the price to pay for a global “free market” system where massive profit with no other concerns is the ultimate price.
      The bigger the profit margin, the more interest even if it is selling thin air(CO2).
      What suffers?
      New technology and our knowledge base. Unless the technology can produce massive profits immediately, there is no interest in waiting for the rewards.

    • No, Joe, it is Insanity! Damn insanity!

      We live in the midst of the old Tower of Babel story!

      Many people in the area where I live are unemployed, cold, hungry, and homeless while:

      Government scientists squander tax funds looking for AGW, Quarks, God Particles and Gluons, and

      Politicians take all-expense paid trips to Cancun, Mexico to self-righteously promote the “green movement” as the solution for social ills!

      Insanity! Damn insanity!

      That’s how it is,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

      • Dear Oliver K. Manuel Former NASA Principal Investigator for Apollo, bolding the text made your argument particularly convincing. Well done sir.

    • You’re completely and utterly insane.

      Hope that help

      • But, when he is not the iron sun, is he wrong?
        Did Eisenhower really say what he said?
        Are huge sums of money spent on climate science?
        Is Cancun not a tax payer funded joke?
        It takes really smart people to make really dumb mistakes, and sometimes it takes obsessed people to point out things that are easy to ignore.

  2. Okay engineers…
    Would not a two headed piston be far more powerful and slightly more efficient in an engine than the current engines?
    Compress fire, compress fire back?

    • Probably, but also probably prohibitively complex and expensive.
      A lot of pain for little gain, IMHO.

      • I was going to add, “…just like climate change mitigation”, but I decided not to ;-)

    • Joe – this might interest you

      • Thank you Tom,
        That engine is very different from what I had in mind of a single piston with heads back to back.

      • I thought it might have been Derech trying to make a fresh start:-)
        Langdon, if the coincidence is genuine, I apologise!

      • Not sure how a two-headed piston would connect to a crank/s, Joe. Needs a bit more development, I’d say…

    • It’s been done. US Fleet submarines were for a short while equipped with Double acting HOR Man Diesel. It was a miserable piece of stuff that was replaced at great expense and labor in already built subs.

    • David L. Hagen

      Joe Lalonde
      The inverse is more practical – two pistons with one combustion head between them. That eliminates, the “head”, head gasket, and high pressure bolts.
      See the Nustroke Engine.
      Fewer parts, cheaper, & higher efficiency.

    • Maybe, bt due to comoplexity and maintenance costs there would never be a life cycle payback on investment.

  3. I have been reading the arguments regarding the short term advantages of black carbon/lesser volume GHGs mitigation with interest. I would place myself firmly with those that argue for the mitigation of at least black carbon since this is a known health hazard and should be a goal regardless of the climate. I concede that those concerned over climate change could be correct in their concern, I just don’t see the empirical evidence as indicating they are. I think it would be prudent to take an action which would “buy time” to allow the compilation of more data to support positions one way or the other; as opposed to demanding that only drastic action be considered since it is obvious to all with any connection to reality that drastic action on co2 reduction is not going to happen in the near future.

    Some possible topics that I find of interest:

    Long term climate sensitvity
    ocean lag times
    land use

    I separated irrigation from land use because the effects of irrigation seem to be very contested as opposed to most land use changes that at least seem to have an agreement on the direction of the effect.

    • Steven,
      There will never be any good agreements in reductions. Too expensive and governments want the private sector to come up with the solution.
      Ain’t gonna happen!
      Unless the profitabilty through subsitities is in place, there is no interest in short term contracts.
      You could have the most powerful and efficient device to create power BUT we have shot ourselves in the foot with restrictions and environmental studies and any complants will shut it down.

  4. Latimer Alder

    One thought that it seems I am too late to post on for Judith’s congre is not just ‘her question 3. ‘Are the IPCC processes working effectively’ but its much bigger nastier and harder brother ‘Is the IPCC fit for purpose at all?’

    Leaving aside the minutiae of personalities and -gates and the arcane details of its own rules and accordance or not with them, this bigger question is really one of organisational theory.

    If one were asked to come up from scratch with an organisational structure to be the primary adviser of the UN and the member governments about climate change, is this the one that you would recommend. Is such a structure even capable of coming up with the goods? How well does the IPCC compare with the ideal structure..and what is the SWOT analysis for it.

    To my mind, having done a bit of management consultancy along the way, the match is very poor and the structure ill-founded to be sensible or reliable advisers.

    Happy to expand if there’s any interest in going forward with this topic. And please note, I am not here criticising individuals, nor ideas but organisational structures…which are different things and carry no emotional baggage.

    • To be honest, LA, I think you could analyse IPCC till the cows come home, and it wouldn’t render it fit for anything. It lives or dies by the putative existence of a problem which doesn’t exist in the real world. Just let it die a natural, I reckon.

    • Here is the House of Lords verdict on the IPCC in 2005

      “The IPCC process
      171. We can see no justification for an IPCC procedure which strikes us as
      opening the way for climate science and economics to be determined, at least in part, by political requirements rather than by the evidence. Sound science cannot emerge from an unsound process (para 111).
      172. The IPCC Summary for policy makers says that economic studies
      underestimate damage, whereas the chapter says the direction of the bias is
      not known (para 114).
      173. We are concerned that there may be political interference in the nomination of scientists to the IPCC. Nominees’ credentials should rest solely with their scientific qualifications for the tasks involved (para 116).
      174. The IPCC process could be improved by rethinking the role that
      government-nominated representatives play in the procedures, and by
      ensuring that the appointment of authors is above reproach. At the moment,
      it seems to us that the emissions scenarios are influenced by political
      considerations and, more broadly, that the economics input into the IPCC is
      in some danger of being sidelined. We call on the Government to make every effort to ensure that these risks are minimised (para 118)”

    • Latimer

      is that your evil twin Langdon getting in on the act up blog? I thought we had agreed you were to keep him locked in the pantry?

      • ‘Langdon Alder’ is a new one to me. I have never ‘met’ him before and I have no connection with him whatsoever. Maybe just a strange coincidence that he and I have similar names.

  5. Excellent new guide to the science can be dowloaded here

    • I don’t consider skepticalscience an objective source of information. For instance, how can you make a statement like “All the models and evidence confirm a minimum warming close to 2°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 with a most likely value of 3°C and the potential to warm 4.5°C or even more” just a few paragraphs below a chart showing many studies where the minimum warming is barely above or below 1C and expect your opinion to be taken as an objective one?

      • The chart you refer to comes from a paper by Knutti & Hegerl, and it was their conclusion that is supports a 2-4.5C range for climate sensitivity. That doesn’t seem unreasonable bearing in mind that it covers the “likely” or “very likely” ranges of a number of papers. Bear in mind that the upper range of all of the estimates is more than 8% and if they’d have used that they would have been accused of being unduly alarmist.

      • 8C of course, not 8%

      • It doesn’t seem unreasonable to state that all the evidence confirms a minimum warming of 2C when in fact it doesn’t? Perhaps if they had said an evaluation of all the evidence indicates there is likely or very likely to be a warming of a minimum of 2C. But that isn’t what they said. Also, they have 2 charts, one being models, the other being evidence. Perhaps they should have stuck with only the evidence which would have prevented them being called alamists by making their upper range 4C.

      • It doesn’t “confirm” the 2C – 4.5C range but based on looking at the multiple different studies in aggregate that represents the best estimate.

    • This is not a “Guide to skepticism” at all. It is just a re-iteration of the usual AGW propaganda.
      For a genuine guide to skepticism, see the Skeptic’s Handbook.

      • I don’t like “handbook” type answers. It discourages people from learning about their argument and encourages them to parrot the arguments of others. If you use things like skepticalscience and the skeptic’s handbook as a resource for identifying topics that is one thing. To actually use their arguments without trying to research the topic and develope your own arguments is a waste of everyone’s time.

      • I think these things are a useful introduction to the basic arguments – if people want to flesh out the details they can do so. But I think it helps put thinks into context when reading discussions of climate in general or looking into certain aspects of the science in greater detail.

      • I don’t like “handbook” type answers. It discourages people from learning about their argument and encourages them to parrot the arguments of others.

        There are alot of ‘entry level’ people. Both the sceptics handbook and the 10 point guide from sceptical science have merit in that they allow entry level people some grasp of the debate.
        Those who are interested then go on to more detail.

        I would have thought people who jump in too deep, before getting a basic grounding, were more likely to parrot.

      • Having spent a considerable amout of time arguing against talking points only to discover the person making the argument didn’t understand their own argument, all I can say is this is my opinion based on my personal experience.

      • fair ’nuff

      • Clearly both publications are trying to further a particular argument about what is happening to our climate. To the extent that this constitutes “propaganda” I don’t know why that term applies to one but not the other.

    • randomengineer

      This is nothing more than variation #N of the idiotic “how to talk to a climate denier” propaganda. These morons wouldn’t know skeptical arguments from bricks. I doubt any of them are capable of outwitting broccoli.

      From their site:

      A common skeptic argument is that climate has changed naturally in the past, long before SUVs and coal-fired power plants, so therefore humans cannot be causing global warming now.

      That’s not a “common skeptic argument” at all; that’s a strawman. The skeptical argument is more akin to “climate changed in the past without humans, so how does it follow that humans are the sole cause of present day climate change?” The part the skeptics question? SOLE. If the assertion was made that man adds to “a potential problem” then yeah, that’s reasonable, and the number of skeptics decreases accordingly. Skeptics aren’t idiots, and if it’s said that “man adds GHGs and this probably isn’t good” then skeptics would tend to agree.

      But that isn’t the claim skeptics are skeptical of. They’re skeptical of the notion of SOLE.

      This is entirely different than the silly assumption of an argument based on a nonexistent strawman assertion that humans can’t change the climate now. Skeptics as a rule don’t question the notion of GHG emissions and physics; what they question is the assertion of a static pristine environment prior to automobiles and that *Mankind Alone* is the problem. Why else would there be such skeptical interest in the MWP? Do the idiots running these “how to talk to skeptics” places pay any attention at all? I would think not.

      The site then goes on to answer their strawman with what frankly is meaningless babbling that NEVER once addresses the core skeptic question.

      Let’s detour a bit: skeptics are reacting to assertions. Assert nothing, and there’s no reason to be skeptical. You can’t have a skeptical position BEFORE an assertion is made. As a rule, skeptics are operating under but one underlying assumption, one popularised by Carl Sagan: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

      Here’s skepticism, simplified:

      Assertion: the climate is changing.
      Skeptics: it did this before. (yawn)
      Assertion: this change is exacerbated by CO2 emission
      Skeptics: OK, so maybe we can work on this. Nuke power, anyone?
      Assertion: the climate is changing, and the only reason is man.
      Skeptics: WTF? Prove it.

      Skeptics don’t question a changing climate. The nature of the skeptical position questions the IPCC/”Alarmist” assertions that humans are the SOLE driver of climate change. Frankly, if you don’t detect a whiff of misanthropism and wishful thinking of malthusian theorists in the claim that man is the SOLE driver of climate change, then you’re not even paying attention. Of course people are skeptical of this. Only an idiot wouldn’t be.

      Good heavens, is it too much to ask that skeptical questions be addressed for what they are?

      • Skeptics don’t question a changing climate. The nature of the skeptical position questions the IPCC/”Alarmist” assertions that humans are the SOLE driver of climate change.

        Who’s attacking strawmen now? The argument is not that man is the SOLE
        driver of climate change, but that the current warming is primarily driven by human activity.

        And of course there isn’t a single “skeptical” argument, there are lots of different ones ranging from the reasonable to the downright silly, many of which are totally contradictory. I’ve certainly seen exactly the kind of argument referred to by SS often enough, especially regarding the MWP.

      • ” The argument is not that man is the SOLE
        driver of climate change, but that the current warming is primarily driven by human activity.”

        I am still waiting for the proof of that. I have read a lot to support the hypothesis you advance, but have yet to see any observations to prove the hypothesis true (I will accept a 90% statistical probability as proof.) Please, if you have such proof, then this sceptic will become a believer.

        The GCM model “predictions” (yes, I know they don’t provide predictions, only “scenarios”) have only lead me to accept the null hypothesis.

      • 90% statistical probabilities are garbage. The point of requiring high “rejection probabilities” of the null hypothesis is that conscious and unconscious data selection and confirmation bias is so insidious and prevalent (in all sciences). If you are even willing to accept a Jones-style best guess of his collection of experts -style 90%, then I can only call you incurably gullible.

      • Allen,

        I’m not sure that there will ever be “proof” that can be measured in a statistical sense. We have to look at the evidence in aggregate and make a judgement about whether it is consistent with our expectations given our understanding of how greenhouse gasses affect the earth’s climate. The Skeptical Science document lists several observations which would appear to support the argument that the earth is warming and that human GHG emissions are largely responsible.
        As far as I can tell the climate is currently behaving in a way which is consistent with the GCM projections but obviously we have to see how that pans out in the longer term. In any case the casee for AGW can be made without reference to these projections.

      • Andrew:

        OK. Let’s look at your statement:

        “The current warming is primarily driven by human activity.”

        #1: What is “Current”? The period is critical. As you say, much downright silly stuff has been written . . . by both sides. For my part, I would say the unvalidated evidence I have seen indicates that from 1945 to 1975 temperatures cooled and from 1975 to 1998 temperatures warmed. Beyond 1998 I have no opinion.

        #2 “Current warming”. Provide a proof that the hypothesis “current warming” is statistically more valid than the hypothesis “current cooling”, include your raw data and calculation methods for independent verification. Is your hypothesis robust for alternative periods?

        #2 “Primarily” first implies that you have proven #2 (let’s assume you have) and second indicates you have sufficient evidence to support that claim. So, what is the evidence for “primary” cause by humans? Again, provide your raw data and calculation methods.

        #3 “Human Activity” Are you referring to pollution abatement as the cause of global warming? There is a case for it, if you look at the massive reductions in SO2 emissions starting in the mid 1990s (which, coincidentally track nicely with those unvalidated guesses of mine in #1). I can’t remember the source, but I read that levels of SO2 over the pacific have dropped from 2 ppm to 1 ppm. Yes, I do understand that most SO2 emissions are rapidly hydrated. Not all though and as anyone who understands the logarithmic relation between gas concentration and radiative absorption knows, at very low concentrations, small changes in concentration make for large changes in effect.

      • John,

        The purpose of my comment was to try to clarify the argument being made rather than to discuss whether or not it is actually correct.
        But I will try to give a brief answer to your questions, although I’m neither a scientist or a statistician myself so I have to make a judgement based on calulations made by others.

        By “current warming” I mean the period 1975 to date. There is a warming trend for the whoel of this period which I understand to be statistically significant

        I don’t see any significant cooling trend which would justify the hypothesis “current cooling”. Obviously it’s more difficult to provide evidence to prove a negative.

        The evidence of a human cause is based on several factors – the known radiative properties of CO2, the increased level in the atmosphere and the evidence that this is mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels, the measured decrease in OLR, more warming at higher latitudes and other effects specific to an enhanced GHE.
        By human activity I was specifically referring to burning fossil fuels but yes, pollution abatement could have an impact as well – I don’t know about the SO2 issue, taht sounds interesting so I’ll look it up, but a reduction in aerosol emissions could have an effect.

      • randomengineer

        Who’s attacking strawmen now? The argument is not that man is the SOLE
        driver of climate change, but that the current warming is primarily driven by human activity.

        This is hair splitting, nit picking nonsense. There’s no practical difference because the claim is always made that any natural signal is overwhelmed, undetectable, etc. That’s a way of saying that there isn’t a natural signal worth dealing with, implying that “primary” sits in the 99.9% region. Are you going to claim with a straight face that this is different than SOLE on a practical level? Please.

      • RE

        I’m not sure you would find a lot of agreement with the 99.9% figure even amongst pro-AGW scientists. Some may think that, some may even think it higher (it is not neccessarily limited to 100%), but there are certainly many who would say that natural influences have at least made a contribution to the warming since 1975, even if CO2 has been the dominant factor. And during that time temperatures have not risen in a straight line and it is easy to see the influence of natural factors which have either masked or exacerbated the warming trend in the short term, such as low solar activity in the past decade, the el Nino in 1998, the la Nina in 2008 and the Mt Pinatubo eruption in 1991 so they are clearly not undetectable.
        Of course these kinds of natural influences tend to even themselves out over the long term, which is why the projections show the GHG signal to be dominant over this century. But obviously natural factors have had a quite pronounced and more long-term effect in the past and climate scientists do not claim otherwise. Nor AFAIK do they dismiss the possibility that a pronounced natural event could change the trajectory of the expected trend over the coming century, although given the strength of the GHG signal it would have to be a something pretty drastic to cancel it out altogether. And of course it is equally likely it it could work in the other direction and make the situation far worse.
        So natural variations have caused climate to change in the past and they could do so in the future (if natural factors were to offset warming from GHG emissions so we had a flat trend that would still count). They certainly will given enough time. But from what we understand of what has happened to our climate in the last 30-odd years they have not been a major cause of the warming during that time. That is the argument – you may not agree with it but I think it is a fair representation of the pro-AGW position and it is not contradicted by the existence of past climate change due to natural influences. Some skeptics do claim that the existence of past climate change is evidence in itself against AGW, Ian Plimer got a whole book out of it. If you don’t agree with that argument then fair enough but I have seen it made often enough.

      • Richard Holle says:
        December 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm

        Just an update; The Null hypothesis and cyclic patterns.
        Below are some of my latest thoughts on what is driving the weather and climate.

        All of the universe affects the rest of it, it all sits in a bowl of gravitational and magnetically driven mass of ions and regular atoms, that respond to the basic physics detailing the “normal rules or laws”. To think that there are voltages or ions that move with out magnetic fields attached violates first principals. The magnetically permeable inductive components of planetary bodies are susceptible to Ohms laws, and power equations apply to the full spectrum of from DC to most energetic particle seen.

        So we should be able to figure forces at work when planets have synod conjunctions, by determining the shifts of flux of the magnetic fields, with the shifting density and speed of the solar wind. When the Ulysses satellite was on polar orbit of the sun “they were amazed that the patterns usually seen in the solar wind were still there, but also much stronger than they expected by several orders of magnitude.” To me this means that the main crux of magnetic connections between the planets is in the normal distribution of concentrations at the poles/apexes of lab magnets and the large sweeping fields are weakest along the circumference, neutral current sheet, or equatorial regions, and also not only flowing with the neutral sheet of the solar wind but focus concentrations down onto the poles of the planets, as evidenced by the polar Auroral displays from the much larger loops further off of the ecliptic plane.

        The galactic magnet fields are also influenced by basic rules of action as well, which leads me to the conclusion that the interactions of the composite system from the rotation of the Galaxy, and the declinational movement of the solar system in that larger frame of reference, as well as the density waves that propagate around driving the spiral arm flux variances give rise to the longer cyclic term climatology of the Earth. Some have been found, other underlying cycles that as yet we do not have their specific drivers identified. (back to this point later)

        The heliopause seems to have auroral knotted bands (recently spotted ribbons of ion activity) on its leading side as it progresses through the interstellar gases and dust clouds, the solar system passes through in its travels. I think that this is due to the conductance of the galactic fields into or through the heliopause, coupling through the polar regions of the sun and planets, at near equilibrium, or the balance felt as steering currents in the slow transition of the orbital slowing and swaying of the solar system as it winds its way through the gravitational and radiation gauntlet, shoved around ever so slowly by the rest of the individual stars.

        So then as a result the makeup of the planetary interaction periods have become some what stable, and have formed harmonic coupled interactions between themselves, and the non-random long term slower periods. Not much is said about the tilt of the magnetic poles, of most of the planets and the sun from their spin axes. I think even this has something to add about long term climate effects. In the common hospital use of MRI scanners, the magnetic induction pulses are used to flip atomic spin axes in line with the dense fields momentarily formed with pulse current on, and watching the return to ambient spin axes when current goes off. (back to this point later) If people have learned to control the effects would not they also occur in nature if they are so predictable? If you apply the calculations with the right power increase needed to satisfy the balance of the equation, the same effects should occur with reference to stars and planets.

        If all of the planets and the sun are running along, in near balance with changes in outlying fluxes upon the solar system, disruptions in the periodic patterns should be minimal, with much greater stability being found in the harmonic patterns in the interactions between the planets of the solar system, as a result milder climate with less wild extremes would dominate at times of stability.

        Currently the magnetic poles of the sun are running ~12 degrees off of its vertical axes of rotation, with a period of rotation of 27.32 days, as a result the Earth and Moon themselves move above and below the ecliptic plane alternately, while the system barycenter scribes a smooth ellipse responding to the gravitational and tidal tugs of the outer planets as we pass them almost every 12 months plus a few days. The resultant periodic 27.32 day flux of the polarity of the solar wind as it passes the Earth creates and drives the declinational swings North and South in the two bodies, as a giant pulsed oscillator circuit, dampened by the tidal drag of the fluidity of the various parts of the Earth, small solid core, outer liquid core, fluid mantel, and fragmented floating crust, that is itself creeping along tectonically in response to the dance of the combination of the additions of the other planetary tidal, gravitational, and electromagnetic induction fluxes that keep the inner fluids warm.

        The further off of vertical, and/or the stronger the total magnetic flux of the sun’s magnetic poles, the more energy available to be driven into the lunar declinational cycle balanced by the tidal dampening into the Earth, hence the greater the solar magnetic impulse input the greater the resultant tectonic turmoil, the more extreme the weather and climate. The weaker the magnetic fields of the sun relative to the near DC fields of the galactic background levels, and the more vertical the magnetic fields of the sun the less energy gets driven into the lunar declinational movement and resultant tidal dampening energy into the Earth.

        As the spin axes and magnetic axes of the sun approach straight on alignment, the whole declinational drive component of the Moon orbital dynamic decreases, to maybe as little as a degrees either side of the ecliptic plane, changing to a more synergistic combination of the solar and lunar tidal effects at an angle of 23.5 +/_.5 referenced to the equator, keeping the atmospheric global circulation in the kind of high turbulence blocking pattern, sort of weather we have been having the past two years and the next two as well. When continued past the normal length of time (about 3 years on the down and up side) in the 18.6 year variation of the mechanism of transport of equatorial heat towards the poles, stalled in the most active section of atmospheric lunar tidal effects, coupled in sync to the solar tides as well, the long term trend then becomes a constant la nina, and an ice age sets in.

        Just as in MRI scanning the initial pulsed spin flip is nearly instantaneous, and does not seem to affect the covalent bonds the atoms are part of, so maybe the solar magnetic orientation to polar axes of rotation, flip is hardly noticeable over 100 years or less, just as the wandering of the Earth’s magnetic field pole positions are hardly noticed by the public. The ongoing dampening of the tidal movement of the lunar declinational extent at culmination would regulate the dropping rate due to actual amount of tidal dampening load transferred to the Earth. As the declination off of the ecliptic plane drive energy lessens and becomes slowly coupled out by tidal inter action, and the Lunar orbital diameter expanded to compensate slightly. This would explain the rapid onset of ice ages, and then the re-flip to off axes solar magnetic polar alignment, renew the declinational driver system again and cause the pulsation type exit usually seen from ice ages.

        The short term inter ice age, realistic application of these ideas is in the much more recent history (due to short instrument records) of the past three to five maybe (Ulric Lyons says 10 cycles works best because it = the 178.8 year Landschmidt(sp) cycle period.) Can be assembled in composite maps that use the 6558 day period of 240 declinational periods that shows analog synchronization of the inner planet harmonic effects on the weather, from just the past three cycles as seen on the daily maps here.

        The problem left is that the outer planet have a set of harmonics of their own that induce the 178.8 years envelope on the 18.6 year mn cycle pattern that have in turn a finer 27.32 day oscillation imposed, so the complete long period of compounded modulation is as Ulric Lyons suggests 178.8 years long as Landschimdt (sp) was on about with the effects of the outer planetary returns driving the solar sunspot cycles due to SS Barycenter displacement due to Uranus Neptune synod conjunctions. The available data base gets extremely thin out 178.8 year ago. Due to data limitations, I have so far stayed with just the last three cycles of 6558 days or ~18.3 years.

        On April 20th of 1993 we had the most recent synod conjunction of Neptune and Uranus, which the Earth passed on July 12th of 1993, presenting as an epic precipitation surge globally with heavy rains through the summer and massive flooding of several river system around the world. It is my contention that the increase in magnetic couplings through the polar magnetic field connections induces a homopolar generator charge increase at these times and a quick global discharge just after synod conjunction. The results of these increases in pole to equator charge increases drives positive ions off of the sea surface along the ITCZ, where by mutual static repulsion of the condensation nuclei inhibits cloud formation and precipitation, and at the same time allows more SW radiation to reach the tropical sea and land surfaces promoting rapid warming driving ENSO extremes, with the rapid precipitation that results on the global discharge side, post synod conjunction, also leaving clearer skies for additional warming after the flooding subsides.

        The lunar declination phase of the 18.6 year mn cycle was in an increasing through 23.5 degree culmination angle at the same time, being in phase with the temperature increases. By early 2005 the declinational angle at culminations was at its peak extreme, and the distance between Uranus and Neptune was separating again to about 29 days apart August 8th of 2005 for synod of Earth and Neptune and September 1st of 2005 for synod conjunction of Earth and Uranus. The Southeast gulf coast was ravaged by Katrina and Rita as a direct result of these influences. Combining with the 27.32 day period lunar declinational tides culminations they rode in on, to produce the storm intensity that resulted.

        As the outer planets Neptune and Uranus continued to separate and the declinational angle shifted past peak angle at culmination the resultant peak warming period shifted further into the late Summer and now is in the Fall in 2010. The reason I think the last season 2010 was so active but not as powerful in ACE production as 2005 was due to the addition of Jupiter in Synod conjunction on April 3rd in 2005 kicking things off, and on the 21st of September 2010 with Uranus on the same day, creating a late fast finish in 2010. But having a half hearted start of a season in 2010 as a result of the difference.

        Over all the whole period of the close Neptune and Uranus synods in the mid to late summer allowed the extra clearing of clouds and resultant heating the last 15 years of the SST and ENSO intensity periods, CO2 just was in the air along for the ride. This is all part of the 60 year patterns in the weather cycles, and can be explained as such. Now that the outer planet synod conjunctions of the Earth with Neptune and Uranus are moving into the fall and early winter, we can expect them to produce the increased snowfall events and cold polar blasts being seen in both hemispheres.

        With the investigation of these methods of predicting the extreme effects of the weather patterns they produce, long range forecasts for both weather and climate will become possible. I am betting my life saving and the rest of the creative efforts of my life time on it.

        ^ This new stuff I have been keeping to myself mostly, the rest of the inner planet and lunar interactions is posted to my research blog side of the site.

        Just a coffee induced ramble here pick at it some just a compressed un referenced set of thoughts I’ve had lately.

        Richard Holle, still expanding and organizing better……

      • Michael Larkin

        “Sagan: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

        I’ve always disagreed with that. Claims, extraordinary or otherwise, need verification to a certain standard, or disproof. I might have gone with it if for “proof”, “scrutiny” were substituted.

        It’s also a problem that what is “extraordinary” is a matter of judgement. It usually means that something is, a priori, deemed very unlikely or even impossible.

        AGW isn’t that unlikely. But it does need scrutinising. CAGW is more unlikely, and needs greater scrutiny. That’s my own value judgement, any way.

        Those less sceptical than I may have long ago accepted that verification for both is so strong as to be incontrovertible, and long ago stopped scrutinising.

        As a general principle, under-scrutiny and over-scrutiny can both be problematic. Ideally, there would be some way to determine when enough scrutiny had occurred, and a verdict pronounced. There would be some kind of rigorous methodology for doing this.

        I’ve no idea if such a thing exists, but I doubt it. Things just seem to roll on until at some point consensus becomes virtually unanimous not only amongst experts, but the general populace.

        Any way, I suppose what I draw from this is that your degree of scepticism is related to your inclination to cease (maybe never really start) or continue (maybe never really stop) scrutinising. Both can be carried too far.

      • randomengineer

        I’ve always disagreed with that. Claims, extraordinary or otherwise, need verification to a certain standard, or disproof. I might have gone with it if for “proof”, “scrutiny” were substituted.

        Think of Sagan’s Aphorism as being nothing more than a way of saying that the level of proof required correlates to the level of the claim. He was talking about UFO’s specifically in that instance, saying that seeing one land on the white house lawn was the needed level of evidence required as opposed to flattened cornfields, lights in the sky, and dubious kidnap claims.

        I used the aphorism correctly. Many people regard GCM model results with the same level of credibility of flattened cornfields.

        In short: there’s “proof” and then there’s PROOF.

      • Michael Larkin

        I’m not saying you didn’t use “proof” in the intended manner, I’m just saying I disagree with that.

        If a flying saucer landed on the Whitehouse lawn and then flew off, and that was witnessed by a hundred credible people, and filmed to boot, you couldn’t say for sure that it hadn’t been built by human beings in the form of something UFOs are claimed to look like.

        Someone might well choose to claim that was what happened. They might choose to scrutinise the event more critically than others. Some people believe UFOs exist even without the landing and the filming. Who would be going too far? It depends on a personal judgement.

        I’m not saying absolute proof isn’t ever possible. If little green men had come out of the vehicle and asked to speak with our leader, the case would be pretty much closed. Some things in science approach that level of verification, but many don’t.

        I guess what I’m driving at is that I can see how people less sceptical than I can view my degree of scepticism as going too far. Maybe they can see, if they try hard, how I view their degree of scepticism as not going far enough.

        It’s interesting how people on both sides can see the same iconic examples as supporting their case. You can hear both believers and sceptics appeal to, say, the evolution/creation debate, seeing themselves as being on the same side of that.

        Sceptics and believers may have a lot in common in terms of what they take as givens, and yet think they don’t, can’t see how they possibly could. Because believers ascribe the same level of certainty to CAGW as they do to, say, the truth of evolution, when they observe that I ascribe less certainty to CAGW, they conclude that I’m probably a creationist.

        If they were as sceptical as I am, then they might, just as erroneously, conclude that believers are gullible types.

        We’re all in a way singing from the same hymn sheet; it’s just that we’re looking at this one specific thing with differing degrees of scrutiny. We might have a more rational discussion if we could see the other guy’s point of view.

    • The problem I have with SkSci is it never critically accesses pro-AGW papers the way it does ‘skeptic’ papers. It never highlights the limitations of the science and it never discusses uncertainty.

      Louise question. How do you produce an all encompassing report like this and not even raise the issue of uncertainty in the science? Even just to dismiss it.

      It’s frustratingly bias. But I wouldn’t want to put anybody off. There’s lots to be learnt from that website.

  6. Louise: The handbook you recommend comes under the heading of indoctrination.

    In general terms, Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology (see doctrine).[1] It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned. [Wikipedia]

    I don’t rely on Wiki for everything — especially not climate change topics — but it’s not bad as a accessible central repository for definitions longer than is practical for a dictionary.

    • cagw_skeptic99

      jrwakefield: “At what point does the unmatching real world to predictions of AGW make the theory refuted?”

      That point occurs after the CAGW folks stop redefining data to match predictions and predictions to match data. In other words: never.

      If this winter in the NH is colder than normal, and people are shoveling even more snow than last winter, it will be because global warming has caused excess variability in weather. If the winter is warmer than normal, it will be obvious proof that warming is happening.

      Same goes with more and less rain, more and less hurricanes, more and less sea ice, etc.

  7. best blog read this week? Ben Pile over at Spiked
    excellent as always.

    • Yes – an excellent link to a good read. He summarizes the media and scientific scrum and its effects as follows:

      “Rather than waiting for genuine scientific development, scientific organisations engaged in the policymaking process produce summaries of the latest speculation on demand. This speculation is intended to add urgency to the process by defeating the doubt that besets the policymaking. But it does so at the expense of a sober understanding of the climate and our relationship to it. This is acceptable under the rubric of the precautionary principle, which allows policymakers to aim to be safe rather than sorry by accepting approximations of ‘science’ in lieu of certainty. But this reveals that science – as an institution, rather than a process – is much less involved in discovery than in supplying climate politics and its bureaucracies with legitimacy.”

      A case of science, under pressure from the policy makers for certainty, over-reaching itself?

      • randomengineer

        A case of science, under pressure from the policy makers for certainty, over-reaching itself?

        I think it’s more in the vein of Dr Curry’s concern that the science is overstating certainty due to political pressure, not that the science itself is over-reaching — although the result is identical. This is exacerbated by the activist politics of some of the more visible scientific figures; it becomes easy for politicians to assume that impending disaster must be real when the experts themselves are screeching.

        Subtract the preachers of doom (Hansen , Gore, Mann, etc.) and I think the picture changes. This suggests it’s not the scientific overreach, but the political pressure to overstate certainty.

        Could be that we’re saying the same thing, just seeing the identical thing from slightly different POVs?

      • I think we are indeed coming at it from the same POV…I should have said ‘scientists over-reaching’ rather than ‘science’.

    • Oh! what a tangled web we weave
      When first we practise to deceive!
      -Sir Walter Scott

  8. This paper was brought to my attention, I think it is quite important for AGW as it undermines the mantra that the planet it heating up. It also supports what I have been finding in Canada.

    Global observed changes in daily climate extremes of temperature
    and precipitation

    On page 17 the authors conclude:

    “…rather than viewing the world as getting hotter it might be more accurate to view it as getting less cold.”

    They also say this about global precipitation trends:

    “In addition, the evidence suggests complex changes in precipitation
    extremes but which supports a generally wetter world.”

    So much for more drought because of AGW.

    So what does the future hold if this study is any indication?

    — Summers not getting hotter, in Canada at least the highest TMax is dropping.

    — Winters are becoming less cold.

    — The growing season is getting longer.

    And this is all bad how?

    At what point does the unmatching real world to predictions of AGW make the theory refuted?

    • cagw_skeptic99

      jrwakefield: “At what point does the unmatching real world to predictions of AGW make the theory refuted?”

      That point occurs after the CAGW folks stop redefining data to match predictions and predictions to match data. In other words: never.

      If this winter in the NH is colder than normal, and people are shoveling even more snow than last winter, it will be because global warming has caused excess variability in weather. If the winter is warmer than normal, it will be obvious proof that warming is happening.

      Same goes with more and less rain, more and less hurricanes, more and less sea ice, etc.
      (try again to post reply where it belongs.)

    • They also say this about global precipitation trends:
      “In addition, the evidence suggests complex changes in precipitation
      extremes but which supports a generally wetter world.”
      So much for more drought because of AGW.

      If this statement is correct, it does not disqualify more extensive droughts. Increasing the amount of precipitation in the atmosphere means a change in the hydro-cycle. An increased drought could be brought about by the expanding Hadley Cells, or warmer temperatures in areas where in hardly ever rains, or any number of reasons. You are using logic that tells you, more rain = less drought, but this is not the case when discussing climate on a global scale.

      At what point does the unmatching real world to predictions of AGW make the theory refuted?

      Nothing you have mentioned here would refute the theory. Do you have any other concrete examples?

      • gryposaurus: The question here is not whether any weather patterns can be rationalized to fit AGW theory, but whether AGW theory can be falsified.

        From the skeptic side of the aisle, it seems that no matter what the climate does, climate scientists will find an explanation for it under the wonderfully flexible rubric of “climate change.”

        And BTW you only offered alternate explanations for the commonsensical “more rain == less drought.” You did not refute that point.

      • There has been no rationalization of weather patterns in this post to fit any theory, for, or against. And correct hypothesis usually do fit all observed scenarios. This is why scientists have so much confidence in them.

        As far as me refuting anything, there is nothing to refute. No matter how you look at it, just because the world gets wetter, it does not logically follow that droughts will not also increase.

      • Hasn’t more precipitation always been an AGW prediction?

        For instance, they predict more precipitation for Greenland, which will offset some of the melting. I read about that years ago.

        I grew up dry-land farming. Our area got an average of 20 inches of precipitation a year. You learned right away that “when the precipitation arrives” is more important than “how much precipitation arrives.” I’ve seen bumper crops on 18 inches, and brownouts on 22 inches. Rain/late snow melt can make spring field work very difficult. Fall rain can make harvesting difficult. If our area started getting a lot more precipitation, vast areas of fields would be under water for much of the season. As it is, parts of fields that were planted for decades are being placed in conservation easements because they are persistently flooding each spring. In exchange for a few taxpayer bucks, the land is being turned over to the ducks in perpetuity.

        So the pattern changes can be critical.

      • Langdon Alder

        “Hasn’t more precipitation always been an AGW prediction?”

        Generally speaking, in the IPCC projections, precipitation is expected to increase at higher latitudes and decrease elsewhere. See this figure:

      • On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being considered absolutely reliable, what do you consider to be the validity of the modelling the IPCC used to make that prediction?

      • As Joe Bastardi says:
        “Enjoy the weather! It’s the only weather you’re going to get.”

        As it happens, I was sent two papers this morning which go into great detail on the cause of pressure variation and exhibit a deep knowledge and understanding of day to day, seasonal and interannual patterns.

        Very promising. Hopefully the Author will publish before too long.

      • Ah, more question dodging.

        Is AGW theory falsifiable?

      • Sure. It would be a chore though. You’d need to refute the greenhouse gas theory, which isn’t happening, so, failing that, refute the radiative transfer numbers for CO2, which currently when plugged into a doubling sensitivity equation give 1.2 C no-feedbacks warming. After that, you need to move on to feedback numbers which have been constrained to give a warming of at least 2C, and an upper bound around 4.5C. The feedback numbers would have to come way down and the one with the most uncertainty would be cloud feedback, which has an 80% certainty to be + .15C. The simple equation for that would be 1.2/(1 – feedbacks) = climate sensitivity. The major feedbacks being water vapor (+.6), albedo (+.1), lapse (-.3), clouds. And this all depends on what you mean by ‘falsify’. Do you mean low climate sensitivity (negative to whatever low number)? Or do you mean falsify that CO2 or other anthropogenic gases can warm the atmosphere?

      • Theories are not falsified by refuting the equations, or the numbers plugged into them, they are refuted by observation.

        The satellites show no warming over the last 30+ years except a single step up from one flat trend to another, warmer flat trend, during the 1998+ ENSO. A step up like this can’t be explained by the gradual GHG increase. Prior to the satellites the surface estimates show no warming since 1940 or so. So according to the best available data there is no observed warming in the last 70 years that might be due to the GHG increase. Looks like a falsification to me.

        None of these vaulted equations or plug in numbers mean anything if the observations do not agree with them and they most certainly do not. The only warming to explain is the ENSO step up and AGW does not explain it. Falsification is that simple. (Unless you want to argue that the satellites are just wrong and the Jones type surface statistical computer models are right, which is a very tough argument indeed.)

        The funny part is that with falsification standing right before us no one even looks up. It is hilarious.

      • Theories are not falsified by refuting the equations, or the numbers plugged into them, they are refuted by observation.

        Where do you think the numbers come from? Yes, observation.

        The only warming to explain is the ENSO step up and AGW does not explain it. Falsification is that simple.

        So there is no warming except for the warming that happened? What is an ENSO step up? Are you saying you have evidence that ENSO caused the 2000’s to be warmer than the 90’s, and the 90’s warmer that the 80’s? The RSS v3.2 trend is +0.162 °C per decade. The UAH v5.3 has a trend of +0.138°C per decade. We are talking about trends, correct?

        And even if you were correct, which I don’t see why, you’d still need all sorts of data to falsify the theory. The theory, which ever wording you’d like to use, does not say, “because of CO2, we will get warmer right now and continue to get warmer no matter what”. You’d need to know how much the aerosol cooling forcings were counteracting warming, you’d need a close approximation of sensitivity to falsify, a knowledge of the natural forcings involved. You could falsify high sensitivity above a certain number by trying harder, or try to falsify the radiation transfer numbers if possible, or find other lines of evidence, but just looking at temperature data chart over 30 years, does not do what you are claiming, which is:

        Falsification is that simple.

      • “Where do you think the numbers come from? Yes, observation”

        I’ve asked this same question three times now – still no answer – where may reliable observational data for the feedbacks be found, please ?

      • The water vapor number comes from the AIRS satellite from 2003 to 2008 or 09. The cloud data is CERES and ECMWF data from about 2000. The lapse rate (a negative feedback from heat escaping faster as heat increases) number and ice albedo feedback goes back to observed data from decades ago. I’m not sure where to find the exact data, but if you want help finding it, I’m sure someone here knows. But the 2 important positive ones for simple radiative transfer equations are the large one, water vapor, and clouds, the most uncertain one.

      • We are talking about trends, correct?

        No, you are talking about trends of AVERAGES of yearly MEAN temps. What are the full range of temps doing around the world? How come for Canada at least we are seeing FEWER heat waves than in the mid 1920’s. How does your theory explain that? Does your theory predict that?

      • You’d need to know how much the aerosol cooling forcings were counteracting warming, you’d need a close approximation of sensitivity to falsify, a knowledge of the natural forcings involved.

        This is more of an admission that the AGW theory cannot predict the future. You just falsified the theory.

      • The satellites show no warming prior to the 98 ENSO cycle. The linear average is basically flat. They also show no warming after the cycle, except the flat line is higher than the flat line before the cycle. In math this is called a step. This small step is the only warming in the entire 30+ year period.

        There is no evidence of GHG warming here, unless you can come up with a capacitor-like heat storage model.

      • You’d need to refute the greenhouse gas theory, which isn’t happening, so, failing that, refute the radiative transfer numbers for CO2, which currently when plugged into a doubling sensitivity equation give 1.2 C no-feedbacks warming.

        No, no, no and no. You are confusing mechanisms with events. What you describe above are mechanisms, the theory. What we want to know is what EVENTS have been attributed to CO2 emissions.

        All we need to do is show the planet is not changing beyond normal variation (events). Then the whole CO2 greenhouse theory is falsified.

        What empirical observation of changes in the climate (events) can you point to that is because of increased CO2.

      • about 50 some different data series at this site confirm.

      • If this statement is correct, it does not disqualify more extensive droughts. Increasing the amount of precipitation in the atmosphere means a change in the hydro-cycle. An increased drought could be brought about by the expanding Hadley Cells, or warmer temperatures in areas where in hardly ever rains, or any number of reasons.

        Awww c’mon gryp, that statement reminds me of the Get Smart episode The Amazing Harry Who.
        At a murder scene there is a couple of lit cigarettes in the ashtray
        Max: Aha! murderers were smokers
        Harry Hoo: Or maybe 3 murderers, two smokers, one non-smoker
        Max: Or murderers, two smokers, 2 non-smokers
        etc etc

        Gryp, it’s best to stick to the KISS principle unless there is evidence otherwise, do you have any?

      • Although I appreciate the video, I’m unsure evidence you are looking for. I was replying to the statement that a wetter world meant

        So much for more drought because of AGW.

        It may seem intuitive, but it isn’t. Bob in KC may suffer more drought and Jack may suffer more rain floods in Bangladesh because of a warming world over time to a statistically significant degree.

      • Maybe you can point specific cases of more draught happening beyond normal variation.

      • Please explain how flat or dropping summer TMax is global warming. Even at the congressional hearing it was claimed that the number of hot record breaking days would outnumber cold record breaking days in the future. In a CTV interview here in Canada yesterday the Federal Environment Comissioner claimed that summers in the future would get hotter with longer heat waves because of AGW. Hence a prediction based on the theory. But it is false. That is not happening, not in Canada nor the rest of the world. So how is AGW not falsified by that?

        Secondly, a theory stands or falls on its discriminatory evidence. Milder winters may be predicted by AGW theory, but so too from normal variation. Thus milder winter trends is not evidence for AGW.

        Which begs the question. What is happening in the temperature or other weather/claime events that is prima facia evidence for AGW? Where’s the smoking gun? And what would falsify AGW? Without that, AGW is not science, but a faith.

      • How does an interview yesterday about a future prediction get proven wrong with current data? Not only that, but regional predictions in Canada, whether true or not, do not make or break the theory. You are reaching way too far.

        What is happening in the temperature or other weather/claime events that is prima facia evidence for AGW? Where’s the smoking gun? And what would falsify AGW? Without that, AGW is not science, but a faith.

        It is one of many lines of evidence for a warming world. Going around and picking evidence that happens in Canada, and then applying that to the globe doesn’t count as evidence against a theory that encompasses the globe over decades. Not only that, but what is not happening not have anything to do with what will happen in the future. The smoking gun is the many lines of evidence that has been observed over decades that conforms to theory. It is Bayesian probability, not based on one single line that will topple the theory if not true.

      • Once in a response on to a comment on RC, Gavin stated some thing he thought would falsify AGW. I’ve tried to find it today with no luck.

        I will keep trying.

      • How does an interview yesterday about a future prediction get proven wrong with current data? Not only that, but regional predictions in Canada, whether true or not, do not make or break the theory. You are reaching way too far.

        Are you saying that no one in the AGW community is claiming more summer heat waves are coming?

        It is one of many lines of evidence for a warming world. Going around and picking evidence that happens in Canada, and then applying that to the globe doesn’t count as evidence against a theory that encompasses the globe over decades. Page 17: “…rather than viewing the world as getting hotter it might be more accurate to view it as getting less cold.”

        Not only that, but what is not happening not have anything to do with what will happen in the future.

        Future predictions is pure speculation. So far none of the AGW predictions has come true. Go back to the early days on what they claimed would be happening by now. None of it happened.

        The smoking gun is the many lines of evidence that has been observed over decades that conforms to theory.

        Yeah, like what specifically?

        It is Bayesian probability, not based on one single line that will topple the theory if not true.

        No it’s not, it’s based on inaccurate models that cannot even come close to backcasting the past.

      • Meehl clearly claims that the ratio of record hot days over record cold days will continue to increase in the future.

        The Theory of Anthropogenic Global Less Colding. I’m curious, where does that get us?

      • A very comfortable future. Cooler summers, milder winters, longer growing season with more precipitation, increased food crops. But it won’t last, at some future, long future, point that trend will have to reverse.

      • Yes, thanks.

        Let me point out that the issue with record high temps is one mostly of accounting and not completely due to actual increases one way or another. Do a quick calculation and you will see that when you look at the length of time we have been recording (100 years there abouts) times 365 days, times the number of possible high temps that can be achieved for any specific day and you will see we would need thousands of years of measurements to fill them all in a static temp world. Here is an example of what I mean:



  9. Pro’s and Con’s of Controlling Methane and Soot.

    I’ll leave out the con’s.

    It is currently ‘economic’ to have nuclear electric generating capacity up to 40% of total generating capacity everywhere in the world except the US.
    Japan and South Korea are voluntarily going to 40% regardless of any treaty. China is blathering about spending $500 billion on 240 nuclear plants, basically doubling build rate every 5 years. Lot’s and lot’s of countries with no nuclear power are embarking on nuclear build programs at the fastest rate ‘humanly possible’. Creating a ‘trained staff’ when you don’t even have anyone with a degree in nuclear engineering to teach it is going to take time. First they have to send someone off to university in a country with a nuclear engineering program, then wait 10 years for that individual to get a PHd.

    So it’s going to take 10-20 years for the world to get up to speed in the nuclear industry just to build the nuclear power plants that are already economically viable.

    So this begs the question as to whether something that can be done in the short term to ‘improve the environment’ while the nuclear power industry gets ‘up to speed’.

    The answer is of course yes, retrofitting coal fired plants with soot scrubbers isn’t that expensive and yields health as well as environmental benefits. Better control of methane leaks is also doable, as the best way to destroy methane is to burn it in a power plant of some sort.

    Getting past 40% of global nuclear generating capacity is
    A) At least 20 years away
    B) Requires a significant change in ‘demand’ patterns, I.E. We need an off peak demand, electric cars would work but we are 20 years away from having a significant number of electric cars.

    At the current time we have no idea what the technological options will be 20 years from now. Thorium might become a commercial reality, Fusion might have finally made that ‘final breakthrough’ that we’ve been waiting 50 years for, solar panels might be as cheap as roofing shingles.

  10. The Plan: Science would bring a badge of honesty to the secret agenda of politicians.

    Reality: The secret agenda of politicians corrupted the once good name of science.

    The damage is done. The game is over.

    Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, and editors of Science, PNAS and Nature will join the unemployment lines.

    That’s how it is,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    • Are you ever going to write a post that doesn’t end with:

      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

      • I’ve got a gold swimming certificate….

        ie it smacks of an ‘appeal to authority’…

        I’m sure my BSc and Msc would be trumped by many people here…

        lets stick to the merits of the argument..

        I said the same to Michael Tobis, when he started posting as M Tobis, PhD over at Collide a Scape.. (I might have mentione my bronze and gold certificate as well – with a nod to Red Dwarf ;) – UK Sci/fi comedy) )

      • Langdon Alder


  11. I do not believe that stating that climate science relies heavily on statistics and statistical methods is controversial. The statistical methods used in Steig 09 have been challenged by O’Donnell et al 10. MM05, the Wegman report, McShane and Wyner 10 have raised serious questions about some of the statistical methodologies used in MBH 98 and other parts of climate science.

    Please consider a discussion thread on statistical methodologies used in climate science. It should result in a wide ranging conversation. I suspect that the idea of bringing in people from the field of computational fluid dynamics to work on the GCM and other models might also spark a lively and related discussion.

    • Ray:

      In any discussion about statistics, one needs to cover data collection, data archiving and method archiving. If a Canadian mining company followed climate science rules of reporting as evidenced by the CRU e-mails, they would be delisted.

      You would be fascinated to know how much research into statistical methods has been done by the mining industry. Predictions about the amount of metal in a mass of rock, sampling theory, etc. all of which are regularly validated. As one of my old bosses used to say “you can report those numbers, but at the end of the day you better pour the gold”. One thing (Canadian) miners need to do is obsessively archive their raw data and calculations. The regulation governing this is (in my opinion) an excellent guide to data collection and archiving and the reporting of methods, both existing and novel.

      • John, my camel’s head in the tent approach was to raise the question of the quality of the statistical methodologies. That would be followed by the issues of data archiving, version control, etc., and hope that by then the Surface Stations paper by Watt et al would be at least in press so that the quality of the original data could be raised for discussion.


  12. Do we have a NATURAL theory of climate change to compare with the hypothesis of radiative forcing due to increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere?

    The reason I ask is that to believe in the Hockey Stick then you must believe in natural climate stability. If you do the maths for additional heating due to radiative forcing it undermines the notion of climate stability because the planet must have naturally cooled rapidly over the past 60-70 years in order for the temperature record to match the additional heating due to radiative forcing.

    Does a NATURAL theory of climate change allow for long term climate stability AND short term (60-70 years) rapid changes in temperature?

    • The temperature of any time period is a symptom of the balance of the forcings (warming and cooling) and the feedbacks, which react to the temperature change. For instance, the forcing from the doubling of CO2 will cause an increase of temperature of 1.2 C. This is similar to a 2% rise in solar forcing. The feedbacks do not care what caused the increase/ decrease, they only react to the change. So, evidence of a global MWP, depending on the strength of the forcing, reinforces the idea that feedbacks are positive, and the more evidence found for a warmer MWP would increase the idea that feedbacks are strongly positive. As for your last question, there is no agreed upon evidence that accounts for most the current changes we are experiencing besides forcings from man made gases.

      • Why does evidence of a global MWP reinforce the idea that feedbacks are positive, after all, we later had a LIA?

      • Indeed, both the MWP and the LIA might be due to direct forcing changes such a ocean circulation or indirect solar mechanisms, both of which are topics of current research. They might even be due to chaotic mechanisms with no variable forcing. grypo’s assertions are made from within AGW. These occur frequently from the warmers here. They should always be read as “Given AGW it follows that…..”

      • It has nothing to do with anthropogenic causes. Forcing are also natural.

      • Indeed they are, and that was my point. Because we do not know what the natural forcings are we do not know what the feedbacks are, contrary to your claim. And of course you rule out non-anthro forcings in your last sentence, using the argument from ignorance.

      • Because we do not know what the natural forcings are we do not know what the feedbacks are, contrary to your claim.

        Actually, I said

        depending on the strength of the forcing

        I didn’t make any specific claims, nor do I plan to.

        And of course you rule out non-anthro forcings in your last sentence, using the argument from ignorance.

        No, I said there is no evidence of it. That is true. It does not mean that it will not be found. Stating a fact is not a logical fallacy, just because someone might believe there is evidence out there to be found.

      • And I also used the words ‘most of the current changes’, which, of course, wouldn’t rule anything out.

      • But we are certain about these things. That should rule out plenty.

      • True, but you can’t rule out the unknowns. This is where the discussion of uncertainty gets misinterpreted. It allows for people who would want to downplay the current known evidence to state that because we don’t know everything with absolute certainty, then we know nothing. This is why these bloggery discussion don’t get anywhere in understanding most of the time. Unless we can agree on how science uses the process of discovery to rule out certain theories and build a case using probabilistic statistics., i then becomes an argument about risk and policy, and this is where you must convince others that your values are correct and that uncertainty should/should not hold back action, especially when that uncertainty can cut both ways. So trying to merge a value system with science is both frustrating and fascinating, with two sides claiming correctness and truth, but neither moving enough to form alliances. Communicating values and making sure people understand what uncertainty means is the difficult and unfortunate job of those of us who want climate action. It’s much easier to do nothing than to do something.

      • Welcome to the paradox of the Precautionary Principle in action, though most won’t recognize it as such. It would normally be applied in asymmetric fashion to stop further carbon release “just in case”. Skeptical caution seems rational given the failing credibility of the alarmist position.

      • Richard S Courtney

        David Wojick rightly say the MWP and LIA “might even be due to chaotic mechanisms with no variable forcing”.

        Yes. And there is good evidence for that explanation of natural climate variability.

        the climate system seems to have been bi-stable over the 2.5 billion years since the Earth has had an oxygen-rich atmosphere.
        It has had two narrow bands of temperature; i.e. a glacial condition and an interglacial condition.

        These two conditions are very stable. The Vostock ice core indicates that a change from one condition to the other does not consist of a gradual rise (or fall) in temperature. Instead, the climate ‘flickers’ between the two conditions: it switches from one condition to the other in a few decades, stays at that condition for a few decades, then flicks back to the other condition, and it does this repeatedly. When changing from glacial to interglacial the times in interglacial condition increase until the flickering stops and the interglacial remains established (and vice versa for the change from interglacial to glacial).

        the Sun has increased its output ~30% (at least by 20%) over that 2.5 billion years.

        But the ~30% increase to radiative forcing from the Sun has had no discernible effect. The Earth has had liquid water on its surface throughout that time, but the oceans would have boiled to steam long ago if radiative forcing had a direct effect on global temperature.

        So, the Earth’s climate seems to have been constrained to two narrow temperature bands despite immense tectonic changes over the geological ages since the Earth’s atmosphere became oxygen-rich and despite radiative forcing from the Sun having increased ~30% .

        Doubling atmospheric CO2 concentration will increase radiative forcing by ~0.4%.

        Knowing that more than 20% increase to radiative forcing has had no discernible effect on global temperature, I fail to understand why ~0.4% increase to radiative forcing from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will have a discernible effect on global temperature.

        Instead, it seems more likely that the climate system is chaotic and its observed two narrow temperature bands indicate the global temperature moving around the positions of its two main strange attractors with the MWP and LIA being examples of such movement within one of the bands.

        Now, that is heresy. It says the radiation budget – so radiative forcing – is dependant on the global temperature. But it fits the available evidence better than a simplistic assumption that global temperature is dependant on radiative forcing.


      • Richard,
        I have to take issue with your analysis. Glacial and interglacial cycles the Earth has been going through for some millions of years are in a band of temperature towards the lower end of it’s bistable climate system, between 8 and 14C or so. The hot end of the bistable climate system is up around 22C, according to the Scotese reconstruction.

        The cause of the flip between these two states is unknown, though it may perhaps have something to do with the Solar System’s peregrinations through the galactic spiral arms:

      • Richard S Courtney


        Thankyou for your response to my post.

        You make two points but I fail to see how they counteract my argument.

        Firstly, you admit that the climate is bistable. At issue is why it is bistable.

        You admit that the Milankovich cycles do not explain the bistability and say “it may perhaps have something to do with the Solar System’s peregrinations through the galactic spiral arms”. Well, yes, it may because nobody knows.

        But, like the AGW-radiative forcing hypothesis, that cosmological explanation does not explain why global temperature has not risen much – if at all – in response to more than 20% increase in radiative forcing from the Sun.

        Please note that – in common with everybody else – I do not know what causes climate change, but I do know that the chaotic explanation of climate behaviour does explain all observations while I have not heard another explanation that does.


      • Richard,
        I wasn’t fundamentally disagreeing with you. Just clarifying the locations of the bistable points relative to where we are now. We are in an ice age right now, but an interglacial part of it. The Earth has spent more time around 8C higher than now for most of the last 500 million years, according to Scotese.

        The faint sun paradox is another issue. I think the answer to that is to be found in James Lovelock’s first book ‘Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. Which I recommend all people on both sides of the debate take the trouble to read and carefully consider.

        Our highly anti-entropic atmosphere’s stability is maintained by the micro-orgnisms which outweigh humanity in terms of sheer biomass by many orders of magnitude.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Thanks for that clarification, Tallbloke.

        I apologise for my having misunderstood your point.


      • Feedbacks also happen during periods where cooling forcings are overmatching warming forcings. For instance, albedo changes in the polar regions with increased snow and ice cover, less water vapor to absorb escaping heat, etc.

      • Gryposuarus, have you considered the possibility that the climate acts like a pendulum? Actually many pendulums acting at different levels, periods and frequencies? One thing I saw in my surface temp analysis in Canada is the heart-beat like patterns. Whether is it be TMax in the summer, or the number of hot days in each year, there is a distinct pattern of swings. Within those swings are other back and forth swings of longer periods (decades).

        So one year an area has a lot of hot summer days above the upper second standard deviation, but the following year there are few if any. It’s as if natural variability noise is swinging up to a limit, then back down again to another limit, then back up again. None of this from any forcings, but just straight noise variation.

        Why couldn’t there be a much longer period, of 500 or so years, of the same thing. RWP, cooler period, MWP, LIA, Modern Warm Period. Some forcings yes, but also just amplitudes coming together like several waves in the ocean cresting at the same spot.

        Certainly the warming from 1800-1945 is a real problem for AGW, it cannot be from our puny amount of CO2 emissions. All you really have you can point to is 1975-1998.

      • The long term solar cycles are not well understood and do not help explain recent warming. Whether it be the 1500 year events, such as Bond events during the Holocene or the Dansgaard-Oeschger events found in the ice cores, the best evidence suggests that these are hemispheric, meaning there is a long term see-saw effect of temperature from north to south. On the other hand, we also know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and has warming potential. To get a better idea as to why the evidence suggests that recent temperature fluctuations are a result of warming forcings and cooling forcings, see the IPCC chapter Even if we were to understand this 1500 year process better, we would still need to quantify the effects of the warming/cooling forcings on observed temperature changes. We know that the greenhouse has an effect on the balance of radiative forcing, and we know the imbalance will cause temperature change, whether it be natural or not. The best evidence suggests that the last fifty years has been caused by emissions, and this coincides with the physics theory.

        Certainly the warming from 1800-1945 is a real problem for AGW, it cannot be from our puny amount of CO2 emissions. All you really have you can point to is 1975-1998.

        All uncertainty is a problem for science. There is no direct way to measure the solar output from that time, but proxies show a rise in solar output at the beginning of the century. During the last fifty years, when more direct measurements were possible, the warming did not coincide with any rise in solar output, so that is a problem for those who would like to attribute warming to the sun.

      • The long term solar cycles are not well understood and do not help explain recent warming.

        That’s a contradiction. If its not well understood you cannot claim solar cycles don’t explain the recent warming.

        You are not understanding my post. I wasn’t refering to solar cycles, I’m refering to chaos cycles, similar to what Richard C. described. No forcings required, just random chaos noise pendulum cycles, like waves on the sea interacting with each other. There is a narrow range temps can be in, when different period noise swings intersect each other we get abnormally high temps, which drop back down, or conversely abnormally low temps which spring back up after the cycles complete. Cycles of cycles within cycles all caused by random noise. No forcings required. Not by the sun nor CO2.

        It’s so simple to see when you plot actual temperatures and not anamalies. You see wild swing cycles as the time series progresses. These wouldn’t be caused by forcings, but by pendulum swingings. If I need to I can post on my blog a specific example so you can see what I mean.

      • A “positive” feedback means that a change in forcings will be amplified, regardless of whether it leads to warming or cooling, so it would lead to both a warmer MWP and a cooler LIA.

      • If you believe in natural climate stability, aka Hockey Stick, then the additional warming to CO2 would have been markedly higher than what has been recorded over the past 60 years. That difference cannot be explained by positive feedbacks, it implies a negative feedback or a natural drop in global temperatures. If there were a NATURAL theory of climate change at hand we would be able to test the hypothesis of natural climate stability. I note that NASA have indentified a new negative feedback due to additional growth of plants and trees in reaction to increasing levels of CO2 , but that in itself cannot explain the magnitude of difference between recorded temps and radiative forcing calculations. Something else is in play. Has there been a background of natural cooling for the past 60 years? If so it puts a dent into the idea of natural climate stability.

  13. Oliver K. Manuel “Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, and editors of Science, PNAS and Nature will join the unemployment lines.”

    Too true, apart from in the UK we would say unemployment queue rather than line!

    What these individuals fail to realise, is how many people are unemployed because of their political advocacy of corrupt science. Hopefully they will learn from the experience, in the event that anyone else should consider them employable.

    Ideas anyone? Alternative employment for climate scientists and other unreformed AGW supporters? Gritting roads by hand in the UK

  14. I would like to thank scienceofdoom for his detailed technical posts on his blog. It’s great stuff for those of us who need introduction to the AGW thinking.

  15. I would love to see two new threads started:

    1. What would it take for the supporters of the hypothesis of CAGW/AGW by CO2 to reject this hypothesis?

    2. What would it take for the sceptics of the hypothesis of CAGW/AGW by CO2 to accept this hypothesis?

    Perhaps these two threads may develop a line of analysis / study to bring the two camps together (sorry, it is that time of year where one dreams of World peace).

    • #2: The planet’s climate doing something it has not done before?

      However, this test would also convince me that AGW is valid. Rewind time to 1800, remove all humans from the planet, and let it run all on its own until today and compare to what we have recorded. If the two differ, then I would accept AGW.

      Oh, but wait, that won’t work either, chaos would force a different outcome anyway!

      AGW is screwed, no way to test it.

    • evidence

    • For most it is not a complete rejection or an acceptance of AGW theory, it is a matter of degree of impact over what time period. The IPCC position is published, but appears (IMO) to overstate the rate of change, and thereby the timing of the consequences. It also seems to draw conclusions not supported by reliable models regarding specific conditions.

  16. I keep hoping UN IPCC authors and other climate scientists, who advocate that disastrous climate warming is being caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, will respond to questions presented by the numerous scandals, dubious data, and flawed research that underlies the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis listed in:
    For responses to be meaningful, they should be relevant and free of ad hominum attacks or demonization of those challenging the research and data offered to prove the AGW hypothesis.

  17. A bit of poignant humor is also good natured fun and insightful.


    • footnote: These are Cancun Climate delegates signing a petition to reduce US GDP by 6% for the next 10 years as penalty for non-compliance and Cancun Climate delegates signing a petition to Ban H2O.

  18. Re: gryposaurus (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
    having re-read your paragraph that I cited, I still think the Get Smart video is fitting.
    You made the oft repeated general statement (paraphrased) drought areas COULD get more drought, flood areas COULD get more floods etc
    But never any evidence to support the assertions.

    Come to think of it, if AGW was to CHANGE the hydrological cycle, one would think a change, or a shift if you will, in the geographical distributions of droughts or floods is possible. i.e. drought areas getting rain, flood areas getting less rain.
    But we are told we will get MORE of whatever we are prone to, meaning an amplification, not change in distribution.
    Surely it’s easier to come up with proof of amplification than proof for change in distribution.
    So I’m looking for proof of this amplification.

    • You made the oft repeated general statement (paraphrased) drought areas COULD get more drought, flood areas COULD get more floods etc

      You made the oft repeated general statement (paraphrased) drought areas COULD get more drought, flood areas COULD get more floods etc

      Amplification of precipitation

      Amplification of drought

      • ?????? I fail to see how the links you provide support your argument.
        maybe you can explain it to me.

      • Not sure what there is to explain. You are asking how warming could amplify precipitation and drought, correct?

      • I think Baa is looking for an explanation of how to maintain preferred beliefs in the face of evidence that challenges them.

      • No, re read my posts. I am not asking HOW warmimg could amplify precipitation and drought, I am asking for PROOF of this amplification.

        Secondly, you are drifting the original reason why I linked to the Get Smart clip. The essence of that clip was the “this could happen, that could happen if such came to pass”. Comments oft repeated, including by you, see my post at 2:40pm and the capitilized words.

        Thirdly, I think anyone who links to papers should also outline their understanding of the papers. There are too many blogs where a questioner is sent off on long wild goose chases with responses like “see here here and here, and for further reading see here here and here and here”
        Not interested.
        But just this once, your first link, the Trenberth paper is an abstract and incomplete introduction. From it I gather it says EGHE will increase precipitation, though with a strong caveat. read the first 3 lines of his introduction. he essentially says he can’t determine how precipitation will change as climate changes.

        Your second link essentially says “the proportion of the land surface in extreme drought is predicted to increase from 1% for the present day to 30% by the end of the twenty-first century.”

        Quite a claim don’t you think? And it’s not even on the same hymn page as Trenberth.

        So my link to Get Smart stands and I will add this cartoon for good measure
        It encapsulated the AGW case quite well.
        thankyou for your replies.

      • Let’s get this out of the way first.

        But just this once, your first link, the Trenberth paper is an abstract and incomplete introduction.

        The link I supplied directs me to an abstract and an in-browser pdf complete paper, so perhaps you need a plug-in for pdf viewing on your browser. But failing that, there is a link to the PDF on the page anyway where you can download it.

        No, re read my posts. I am not asking HOW warmimg could amplify precipitation and drought, I am asking for PROOF of this amplification.

        Let’s backtrack to the beginning. The sub-thread starter made a comment about how a wetter world meant that : “So much for more drought because of AGW.” I disagreed with this, meaning I was asking for evidence that wetter = less drought. I don’t have any. Now, you would like me to prove that what I think, it is physically possible to have a wetter world and still have more drought. So I provided the two papers that come to those conclusions, that you apparently disagree with, or you think have too may caveats. Most predictive papers do. You also seem to dislike the modelling used, but we are talking about predictive and if you want to restrict the debate to “no models” then I’m not sure how to proceed. I don’t have a time machine to look into the future to prove to you what the evidence says, so I guessed I would have to find other evidence, which I’ll get to.

        Thirdly, I think anyone who links to papers should also outline their understanding of the papers. There are too many blogs where a questioner is sent off on long wild goose chases with responses like “see here here and here, and for further reading see here here and here and here”

        I’ve run into this a few times lately and I don’t quite get it. I don’t know why my words would help more than an experts would, caveats and all. But all right whatever. I’ll keep that in mind.

        I am not asking HOW warmimg could amplify precipitation and drought, I am asking for PROOF of this amplification.

        I’m not an expert and proof is tricky thing, so I’ll just examine the theory and a piece of past to present evidence for the possibility (Let’s also keep in mind I’ve never said anything has definite proof, just that it possible as a refutation of what somewhat else had said).

        The theory is that a warming world could both be wetter and have more drought.

        Another Trenberth paper examines the past.
        A Global Dataset of Palmer Drought Severity Index for 1870–2002: Relationship with
        Soil Moisture and Effects of Surface Warming

        The part that is pertainent to this conversation (after explaining the usefullness of the PDSI proxy is in section 6. I’ll even quote the final paragraph of that section.

        Since 1972, the
        dry plus wet percentage areas have increased from
        ;20% to 38% (a 90% increase), with surface warming
        as the primary cause after the middle 1980s (Fig. 9)

        and again in the conclusion

        From 1950 to 2002, precipitation increases over Argentina, the southern United States, and most of western Australia resulted in wetter conditions (i.e., higher PDSI) in these regions. However, most of Eurasia, Africa, Canada, Alaska, and eastern Australia
        became drier from 1950 to 2002, partly because of large
        surface warming since 1950 over these regions.

        Now, is this what you are looking for? If not, I’d do the investigation for yourself and then let me know what you found. I think you have enough information for that between Google scholar and all the references in the papers I’ve linked. Also, now that you have a link to the entire 1st Trenberth paper I linked, I’d recommend reading the section on Atmospheric Water Cycling.

      • You also seem to dislike the modelling used, but we are talking about predictive

        I don’t care about predictions, that’s just pure speculation. I want to see evidence of such changes. You provided one, however, read page 29:

        and the conclution on page 31 on precip.

        Canada is generally getting less cold, and wetter. The extreme hot and dry areas of Canada are getting smaller.

      • Thnx for the detailed reply gyp.
        It concerns me that we are starting to talk past each other, so maybe we’ll agree to disagree until next time.
        thnx again for the civil discourse.

      • Richard S Courtney


        You raise an important issue when you say:
        “I’ve run into this a few times lately and I don’t quite get it. I don’t know why my words would help more than an experts would, caveats and all.”

        Please hear an explanation.

        If someone says;
        “I understand it to be like this …..
        And my understanding is supported by (or based on) evidence provided by PersonX as shown by this link.”
        Then the someone has made an argument and/or assertion that is stated so can be discussed.

        But there is no specific argument and/or assertion when someone says;
        “I think something could/will happen”
        then merely provides a link to a paper.
        Indeed, that behaviour switches the debate to consideration of the paper, which of its contents support or oppose any particular view, and whether those contents are valid. So, the behaviour fails to provide any argument and evidence but, instead, it appeals to the paper as an authority. (You admit this appeal to authority when you write;
        “I don’t know why my words would help more than an experts would, caveats and all.”
        Well, if you think your argument is sound then why would your words be less helpful than the words of another person?)

        Unfortunately, this method of appeal to authority is common among AGW-supporters, and it infuriates AGW-skeptics because it avoids rational discussion of the statements and assertions made by AGW-supporters.



      • Thank you, Richard. Yes, absolutely. Moreover, when this happens I perceive the disconnected nature of their response to be intended and specifically for the purpose of stifling debate. Having little desire to debate with someone who clearly wishes to simply have their say, I generally wander away.

        In my experience, those who practice this poor debating behaviour also generally seem intent on being the last person standing in the discussion – a symptom of the same condition, I suspect – and they will willingly sacrifice the rationality of their argument to achieve it. I let them get on with it, and seek rational discourse with someone else more willing and able to engage reasonably.

      • (You admit this appeal to authority when you write;
        “I don’t know why my words would help more than an experts would, caveats and all.”

        I don’t think you understand the logical fallacy behind ‘argument from authority’. Merely showing something that was written by an authority as a piece of evidence is very much a part of scientific argumentation. Resisting this, based on poor assumptions about logical fallacies, will only dampen the argument toward a better understand of evidence. It is only a fallacy when shown to be used only as an authority, and not based in evidence. Follow the conversation from the beginning. Baa asked for evidence, I supplied it, he asked what I thought of the evidence, I continued the conversation, then went off topic, wondering why he wanted my evaluation instead of the person evaluating the evidence.

        As far as you being infuriated, well, rage on. This shows an inability to deal with a structure of argument that you are unfamiliar with and have little to offer otherwise. Not everyone is an expert in every area. Pretending that we are, and not deferring to expert evaluation of evidence is poor debate. If that is the only type of debate you wish to engage in then, by all means, continue to do so, but don’t expect to get any further in your understanding. Even skeptics should be overwhelmingly in favor of learning all the expert evidence if there is any chance of the common knowledge to be refuted.

      • Richard S Courtney

        gryposaurus :

        You attempt to justify using a version of the logical fallacy of ‘argument from authority’ by presenting another logical fallacy; i.e. ‘argument against the person’.

        I pointed out that merely stating a reference instead stating an argument is an error, and I explained why. Your response is to say to me;
        “I don’t think you understand the logical fallacy behind ‘argument from authority’.”

        Unfortunately for you, I do understand it. And your response proves that you do not.

        Citing that other work agrees with or disputes a scientific finding is a part of properly reporting the work. And stating that the work uses and/or relies on other work is properly reporting the foundations of the reported work.

        But it is completely false to claim, as you do, that;
        “Merely showing something that was written by an authority as a piece of evidence is very much a part of scientific argumentation.”

        No! It is not!

        The cited work is evidence that needs to be assessed for its value if the science which uses it is to be trusted.

        And, anyway, if you were right then that would not diminish the fact that citing the work in a debate does not increase or diminish the argument in any way. The citation merely demonstrates that others share your opinion.


      • I pointed out that merely stating a reference instead stating an argument is an error, and I explained why. Your response is to say to me;
        “I don’t think you understand the logical fallacy behind ‘argument from authority’.”

        Your argument had nothing to do with what happened in the previous conversation. You said that supplying a link immediately turns the conversation over to evaluation of the paper, and this you say leads to argument from authority. No. It doesn’t. I still don’t think you understand the true concept behind the fallacy. Sorry if you think that is ad hom. It’s all I can draw from what you are saying. Argument from authority only happens when the authority is deemed exempt from criticism and conversation must stop. The person reviewing the information has every right to respond. Had I come back and said “we can no longer talk about this because I already showed the papers and they agree with me”, then that is Argument from Authority. But if you notice, I was quite ready to discuss the work, provide more evidence and discuss it. It was Baa who ended the exchange with:

        Thnx for the detailed reply gyp.
        It concerns me that we are starting to talk past each other, so maybe we’ll agree to disagree until next time.
        thnx again for the civil discourse.

        Merely citing references, especially when I was under the impression that this is what the debater was asking for, is not the logical fallacy known as argument from authority. So if you would, please show where that has happened here.

        “Merely showing something that was written by an authority as a piece of evidence is very much a part of scientific argumentation.”

        No! It is not!

        The cited work is evidence that needs to be assessed for its value if the science which uses it is to be trusted.

        Yes it is a part of normal debate. The other person has the chance to review evidence when it is presented to them, and argue against it, or supply their own evidence. The person using it has already assessed it and deemed it evidence that supports his/her case. Science is discussed through the literature. Supplying the information the best way to get a conversation started that evaluates the evidence. Avoiding the weighted evidence in favor of opinions isn’t good enough and most of the time isn’t all that useful. I deemed that as one of the times in my reply to Baa. So, if this is not what you are saying, I really have no idea what your argument is.

        And, anyway, if you were right then that would not diminish the fact that citing the work in a debate does not increase or diminish the argument in any way. The citation merely demonstrates that others share your opinion.

        What? Citing the work is necessary to continuing the discussion. Of course citing work increases the quality of the argument, whether is correct or incorrect. The discussion following it will be much more fruitful either way. The only way to come to rational conclusions is through an evaluation. The weight of the evidence will determine whose opinion is closer to the truth.

  19. “This just in from U.S. Senator David Vitter’s office this morning. They write via email:

    We just filed this morning the Public Access to Historical Records Act, S. 4015 Please feel free to share this legislation with your friends in the scientific community, as much of the scientific integrity components of this bill will be a priority in the new congress.

    Time for EPA and NASA to “pony up” information they have been withholding.

    • The bill would force NASA to release their original raw historical temperature data and post it online for anyone to see and use.”

    Continued at:

  20. Regarding the topic of demonstrating the percentage contribution of humans to total atmospheric CO2……can someone walk me through how the process of determining this and the margin of error in the calculations. I have read quite a bit about use of carbon 14/13/12, but have not fully understood the margin of error in the estimates. I also did not understand if CO2 being released from soils impacted the calculations. My understanding is that carbon 12/13 ratios are not directly measured but estimated based upon tree ring data, but I have not read that much yet.


  21. Schrodinger's Cat

    Sorry if I’m OT but I have been much moved and impressed by the “Deep Blue Sea” post by the late John Daly. His sad death prompted disgraceful jubilation by the now discredited Team. When I read his ideas recently for the first time, I was struck by the clarity and common sense of his arguments. I also realised that their truth will triumph long after the time in which he wrote them.
    As time goes on, his views seem to become more and more relevant.
    You can read or download his paper on Tallbloke’s website.

  22. Richard S Courtney

    I think Americans may be interested in the press release of this proposed US legislation calling for US climate data integrity


  23. Falsification.

    The only possible answer to “what will it take to disprove AGW” is “for whom?”

    Just as different people have different thresholds for accepting it, different people who accept it would have different thresholds for changing their mind.

    For example, if something in the observational record were to clearly contradict the theory for long enough, that might be enough for some people to change their mind. Others won’t do so until an error is found in the theory to explain the contradictory observation.

    While some of you characterize the question as what will it take to disprove, a more accurate characterization might be what constitutes evidence against, whether or there is enough to actually disprove.

    This is a tricky issue because on the one hand, many aspects are both unintuitive as well as will vary geographically. Such as warmer doesn’t necessarily mean less snow, and wetter doesn’t necessarily mean less droughts – everywhere. It might mean less snow in one place that rarely ever gets cold enough to snow, and more snow in very cold places that get wetter. Wetter can mean fewer rainy days, but with more intense downpours.

    Secondly, the statistics. How long does a trend that is not consistent with the theory need to continue to constitute genuine evidence, as opposed to just another fluctuation? Statistics is not prone to clean back-and-white answers, so defining an exact threshold really isn’t in the cards.

    So even there there will be no easy answers. There are no smoking guns here in the sense of DNA tests in crime, where one piece of evidence can and has overturned decisions that resulted from lengthy processes. The case for AGW is one of the weight of evidence, the preponderance, developed over nearly two centuries. Since the case for it is not based predominantly on any single piece of evidence, it is not easy for any single piece of counter evidence to flip the overall conclusion, because all those other pieces are still staring you in the face, if you’re willing to look.

    • Dean, what examples are staring us in the face? What examples of changes in the climate are from CO2 emissions? The IPCC say it’s 90% certain current changes are from our CO2, but that is a number pulled out of thin air (some of us would say from a human anatomical part where the sun does not shine). Means nothing as it was not calculated from any equation and dataset.

      The question for AW supporters is, how can they parse out the CO2 component from the natural variability component? Don’t quote me that a thousand scientists claim it is high for CO2. That’s an argument from authority. All biologists who still hold on to the Linean system of classification are wrong, and they know they are wrong! So numbers of scientists mean nothing. That’s opinion polling, not evidence.

      As I noted in another post, the increase in average temp from 1800-1945 is a serious problem for AGW because of our puny amount of CO2 emitted from FF. So all of that change must have been from natural variation/noise/forcings. Right when our CO2 took off, average temps dropped. The only time you have any hope of sticking a CO2 label on it is from 1975 to 1998.

      • Michael Larkin


        “All biologists who still hold on to the Linean system of classification are wrong, and they know they are wrong!”

        I’m not challenging that, but it’s interesting and if you could point me to something useful on the web, I’d be grateful

      • Michael Larkin

        Thank you, JRW. I will read that with interest.

      • JR – The stuff staring you in the face that you apparently are unwilling to see is that the theory matches the observation. The vast set of empirical data indicating climatic changes. Climate is not just temperature. Temperature is but one small part. From ice to animal migrations to plant migrations to seasonal changes, there are tens of thousands of observational data sets that overwhelmingly match what the theory calls for. Finding problems, real or imagined, in any one of those data sets does not invalidate the other tens of thousands.

        My comment above dealt with the issue of what constitutes falsification of, or evidence against, AGW. I’m not really interested in debating the basic science here. If the above is not enough for you, fine. You have your right to accept or reject it. It’s enough for me.

      • AGW theory depends on the appearance of a tropospherical ‘hot-spot’. Otherwise the atmosphere isn’t going to be warm enough to heat the ocean enough to account for the increase in ocean heat content. This was to be the ‘fingerprint’ of AGW. But there is no topospherical hotspot.

        Ergo AGW is falsified.

        It was claimed post hoc that the extra heat must be hiding in the ocean. but the ARGO system shows ocean heat content has been falling since 2003 despite increasing emissions and co2 level. No hiding heat.

        Ergo AGW is falsified.

      • lol, “tropospherical” should read “tropical tropospheric”.

      • Copernicus assumed planetary orbits were perfectly circular in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, and that planets move in epicyclets on their referents. In fact, planetary orbits are elliptical and there are no epicyclets.

        Ergo heliocentrism is falsified.

      • That hotspot is for 2x preindustrial CO2 levels and in case you havn’t noticed, we are not there yet.

        Check back in 30 to 40 years, we may be close by then.

        For the ocean heat content, it’s a mixed bag since 2003, some show warming, some cooling, and some flat.

        Ergo, you have some work to do to falsify AGW.

        Did you think it would be that easy?

      • AGW theory depends on the appearance of a tropospherical ‘hot-spot’. Otherwise the atmosphere isn’t going to be warm enough to heat the ocean enough to account for the increase in ocean heat content. This was to be the ‘fingerprint’ of AGW. But there is no topospherical hotspot.

        The hotspot is not the “fingerprint” of AGW – it is expected to occur with warming from any source.

      • So no ‘hotspot’ detected = no warming taking place from any source at all ??

        A bit of a problem there I think.

        Either the observations are wrong even when we have adjusted them, or our understanding of the climate is wrong. Which is impossible because we know that our models are already perfect and don’t even need to test them against the real world

        Paradox. Please explain. I am not a climatologist so cannot carry two contradictory propositions in my head at the same time and believe in both.

      • Latimer,

        Clearly there has been warming so that is one possible explanation out of the window. And I believe the predictions of a hot spot are based on very simple physics so should be pretty sound.
        And the hot spot is detectable over shorter timescales – it is over longer periods that it is more difficult to detect. There is more information below, others may be able to point to more recent developments.

        And none of this alters the fact the THS is not a “signature” of
        AGW – even if its existence or otherwise were conclusively decided it would not change the case for AGW one way or another.
        Amplification means that temperatures
        show larger changes aloft than at the surface.
        In the tropics, on monthly and inter-annual
        time scales, both models and observations show
        amplification of temperature variability in the
        troposphere relative to the surface. This amplification
        is of similar magnitude in models and
        observations. For multi-decadal trends, models
        show the same amplification that is seen on
        shorter time scales. The majority of the most
        recent observed data sets, however, do not show
        this amplification.
        • This inconsistency between model results and
        observations could arise either because “real
        world” amplification effects on short and long
        time scales are controlled by different physical
        mechanisms, and models fail to capture
        such behavior; or because non-climatic influences
        remaining in some or all of the observed
        tropospheric datasets lead to biased long-term
        trends; or a combination of these factors.
        The new evidence in this Report – modelto-
        model consistency of amplif ication
        results, the large uncertainties in observed
        tropospheric temperature trends, and independent
        physical evidence supporting substantial
        tropospheric warming (such as the
        increasing height of the tropopause) – favors
        the second explanation. However, the large
        observational uncertainties that currently
        exist make it difficult to determine whether
        or not models still have significant errors.
        Resolution of this issue requires reducing
        these uncertainties.

      • All of this relies on the assumption that the atmosphere is going to heat the oceans. It doesn’t and it can’t. Solar shortwave passes through the atmosphere and warms the oceans, then the oceans warm the atmosphere.

        The top two meters of the ocean have the same heat capacity as the entire atmosphere above it.

        AGW tries to have the tail wag the dog.

        It doesn’t work. It’s like trying to use a hairdryer to heat up a bath.

      • From ice to animal migrations to plant migrations to seasonal changes, there are tens of thousands of observational data sets that overwhelmingly match what the theory calls for. Finding problems, real or imagined, in any one of those data sets does not invalidate the other tens of thousands.

        All of them can be explained with normal variations. What you need is DISCRIMINATORY evidence, that ONLY AGW can explain. You don’t have that.

        Explain how more CO2 makes for fewer heat waves and a cooler summer because that is what is happening.

      • “All of them can be explained with normal variations. What you need is DISCRIMINATORY evidence, that ONLY AGW can explain. You don’t have that.”

        No, I don’t need that. You’re creating a self-serving and false burden of proof. About 90% of those tens of thousands of data sets match with what theory tells us. If they were normal variations, it would be closer to 50%. The chance that we could have this collection of observations from natural variations is astronomically small.

        Nor am I trying to force any policy. I advocate for (or against) policies like anybody else can. I have no more ability to force policy changes than you do. If people I agree with convince enough other people, the policy change happens. Otherwise it doesn’t. The idea that some right of yours is being trumped is pretty bizarre since no policy changes along these lines seem likely in the near future. We both have equal rights to advocate for policy, and we both have a chance to lose.

      • About 90% of those tens of thousands of data sets match with what theory tells us. If they were normal variations, it would be closer to 50%. The chance that we could have this collection of observations from natural variations is astronomically small.

        And the math to calculate those percents is found where?

        The idea that some right of yours is being trumped is pretty bizarre since no policy changes along these lines seem likely in the near future.

        False, already happening. FIT programs in Canada, the US, and the EU. Specificically here in Ontario we have the Green Energy Act implemented to reduce “harmful” CO2 emissions, which funnels BILLIONS into wind and solar projects around the province. The GEA has already doubled our utility bills in 7 years, plans are an addtional double in less than 7 years more. It’s killing our economy and forcing people from their homes. All because of AGW affecting socialist government policies. The only thing rising because of our CO2 emissions is the cost of living due to ideological government policies who think more CO2 is bad.

      • “And the math to calculate those percents is found where?”

        Check out
        for a good example.

      • You’re kidding right? They are referencing the IPCC! Where are those calculations in the IPCC reports?

      • If the above is not enough for you, fine. You have your right to accept or reject it. It’s enough for me.

        It is not just “enough” to force change in political policy that damages the economy. You have to be definitive. My right to reject AGW is being trumped by your side forcing governments to “save the planet.”

    • It is impossible to disprove AGW as everyone agrees with AGW in some manner or another. If the question was what does it take to disprove the current models that is a question that can be answered: 15 consecutive years of no warming.

      • That won’t convince them. They will just claim this is a “lull” and that warming will return in the near future “with a vengence.” It never ends when it’s faith based belief.

      • I could be wrong but I’ll disagree here. I think once/if the climate models are shown to be invalid at the 95% that the majority of scientists will accept the evidence.

      • Steven, I have failed to find Gavin’s response on RC, but my memory is that is was very similar to what you are saying would falsify AGW.

      • If that is the conversation you are recalling it seems to me I also remember him agreeing with the NOAA analysis.

      • Steven – I think he actually specified fewer years than your standard, but he may have been counting based on the clock already having started. It’s just so frustrating that I can’t find it.

        I thought it was in the article about the statistically significant warming trend, but I can’t find it there.

        But I agree with you that scientists would willingly accept falsification.

      • The way I recall the conversation was he initially wanted to argue for a longer period but eventually settled on the 15 year time period. This would be starting in 1999 so the actual time from the conversation was quite short, this being a few months or so before climategate. This has been a while ago so I am stating things to the best of my memory only.

      • I had a similar run in with Gavin over the same thing. some 5 years ago I specifically asked him how many more years of not warming would falsify AGW. He said 10, so he has 5 left to until he has to admit CO2 doesn’t cause global warming.

      • I guess we will just have to wait and see. Many of them have put their lives on the line with AGW, abandoning it would be like willingly give up a significant body part. Employment at a fast food store would be their career. Big incentives to attempt to keep the faith alive. That’s not counting those who have a huge financial interest.

      • Which is a lot of us, because the pension managers have heavily invested into wind power and other green energy.

        I know the BBC pension fund is in it up to the hilt…

      • Will be interesting to see any lawsuits leveled at NASA, CRU, Jones, Mann, et al by these funds when the bottom falls out. Madoff went to jail over such ponzi schemes.

  24. I posted this on the Ed. and Indoc. III thread, recognising that it was the wrong place — and I received no comments. So here it is again. I would stress that this is not a rhetorical pair of questions. The answers may be historical, on that this is how the whole AGW business started. But I am hoping that there are good answers drawn from science. Here’s hoping… I’ve deleted the last sentence from the original, that asked the busy Judith to place it somewhere else if she thought that was appropriate.

    ‘I hope that what follows is not off topic. As I have said before, I am a question-asker, not an alternative-theory-monger. Two questions that seem central to me have been mentioned occasionally on all these threads, but the answers have not been crisp. So I would like to pose them, and ask for answers, especially from the highly competent scientists here.

    Where I live, if the need were to consider future climate possibilities, I think we would all be searching for future rainfall patterns, because they affect farming and grazing, which are the basis for our political economy. We have excellent rainfall records, which extend into well the 19th century. They show a strong pattern of long drier periods followed by unusually heavy rainfall. The cycles seem to have a fifty-year period, or thereabouts. We would, I think, be looking to see what caused this periodicity, and thus be able to prepare for droughts and floods more capably than we now do.

    But we wouldn’t be looking at temperature, and we wouldn’t be imagining that what was affecting us had a global origin — at least that wouldn’t be the first thing to occur to us.

    So my questions are:

    (1) Why has temperature, indeed anomalies in temperature, been seen as central to projections of future climate ?

    (2) And why, given that the two hemispheres have weather and wind patterns that are unique to each (if that’s not too strong a term), are we searching for a global explanation for future climate projections?’

    • Don

      I had not seen your post when I posted the link below to George White’s essay. You will see he makes reference to the fact that the two hemispheres are largely independent of each other. He also raises other points which on the face of it seem worthy of further attention.

    • You should be interested in potential warming in your area so that the people in your area can make infrastructure adjustments that would make adapting to the changed climate minimal. In your description it might make sense to build facilities capture and retain the heavy winter rainfall in order to have it available for the longer dryer summers.

      Weather patterns are confined to a hemisphere, but atmospheric gases are not.

      • Thanks to both Gary and Rob

        It’s not winter rainfall: it’s ten years of drought followed by a flood and then quite decent rainfall in most years, then another ten-year drought… There have been these ten-year episodes around 1900, the 1940s and the late 1990s/2ooo+. The drought has broken (in spades). Something causes this periodicity, and the SOI is plainly part of it.

        My point was that these fluctuations are not weather but climate (following the AGW definitions), and if we were worrying about the future we would, I think be looking at rainfall patterns, not temperature, which has a fifty degree variation over the year where I live.

        So, did the focus on temperature come simply from CO2 and ‘warming’, or are there good scientific reasons for seeing temperature as the basis for climate?

        For Gary: I have not found it possible to get the website you listed to open for me.

      • Don

        try doing a Google search on ‘George White palisad’ – this should throw up the testing the AGW Hypothesis article


      • Gary,

        I did, and got the same result. But searching around, I found what the guts of it is, on another bog. Thanks.

    • Hi Don. I would be most interested in getting that data. Is it on line?

      1) That’s an excellent question I would love to have answered. Averaged yearly mean anomalies are meaningless unless in context of what the full range of temperature is doing. For example, you can have an increase in the mean temps in a time series, but have the summer MTax drop. This can happen if the winter TMin is increasing more than summer Tmax is dropping. Hence the planet is not heating up, it is getting less cold. Big difference. Which is exactly what is happening.

      Those temperature anomaly graphs are really misleading, there isn’t even any ranges on them! The planet is not one average temperature. It is a chaos of many temperatures fluctuating in an endless array of pendulums contorted by frontal systems.

      2) Given the above, future climate projections are not possible. As I noted in another post here, even if you could rewind the clock back 200 years and let the planet rerun those years you would get a different outcome simply because of chaos and the butterfly effect. Hence there is no way anyone can predict what the future will be with any degree of accuracy. The noted converging of the yearly range of temps at some point in the future must stop and start to diverge, that is back to hotter summers but deep cold winters (a dropping average of the yearly means, like what happened during the LIA). But there is no way to know when that will change. It’s like trying to predict when the next flip of our magnetic field will be.

    • Richard S Courtney


      You ask if the only reason we focus on temperature is that that’s how the AGW fuss began and why the issue is glbal – not hemispheric – warming.

      The AGW ‘science’ has always been about global temperature change because it is based on the hypothesis that global temperature is governed by radiative forcing. And the AGW ‘issue’ has always been about politics, see

      That analyis was first made by me in 1980 and predicted the AGW-scare would occur.


  25. How about advicing climatologists and IPCC members – to stop giving alarmist press releases and climate scare stories just before climate conferences?

    It was 4.0C by 2060 – this year at Cancun Cop 16

    More Hype? – Last years sea level hype…

    Let us not pretend that the sea level scare stories were not ramped up just before Copenhagen.

    Guardian: ‘Copenhagen Diagnosis’ offers a grim update to the IPCC’s climate science – 25th November 2009 (- 6 days after climategate)

    “Twenty-six climatologists—including 14 IPCC members—have released a startling update to the [IPCC AR4 ] panel’s work, reporting that sea levels could rise and methane-laden arctic permafrost could melt much sooner than the panel had anticipated.

    Sea-level predictions revised: By 2100, global sea-level is likely to rise at least twice as much as projected by Working Group 1 of the IPCC AR4; for unmitigated emissions it may well exceed 1 meter. The upper limit has been estimated as ~ 2 meters sea level rise by 2100. Sea level will continue to rise for centuries after global temperatures have been stabilized, and several meters of sea level rise must be expected over the next few centuries.”

    At Cancun they were saying 2 metres of sea level rise only 7 days ago (and the Telegraph) – did the Met Office choose a good day to bury bad (Good actually) news? – on the 6th December 2010?

    “The study of climate change impacts in the Caribbean warned that sea levels could rise by up to 6.5ft (2m) by the end of the 21st Century if global warming continues. There is also an increased risk of hurricanes and storm surges. – Louise Gray

    All very interesting – a few days later – 6th December 2010

    2 Days ago – Met office says 2 metre sea levels was wrong, back to AR4 – 59cm is WORST case and up to 2 feet could happen. (ie probably a foot in reality)

    Daily Mail:


    My take on recent events:

    UK Met Office – 2m – 4m alarmist rises in sea leve are wrong and Gulf stream NOT shutting down, both bits of good news buried away pg 19, half a column Dail Mail…

    Guardian spins this away, with another alarmist headline.

  26. Have any of you scientific types had a look at this

    in which George White tests the AGW hypothesis – and appears to find it wanting? I think someone posted this link on an earlier thread. I assume that it does not stand up to scrutiny?

    • The link made some interesting points from a science/data perspective. It lost some credibility in the conclusion however.

    • Hi Gary, Roger Taguchi took a look at George’s paper yesterday and commented as follows QUOTE: .. this well-written article which comes up with 0.55 degrees for climate sensitivity (compared to my 0.70 degrees before correction for IPCC truncation error, and to the IPCC’s 3 degrees). Because I used actual historic data from 1850 to 2000 (which White did not) to compare actual with predicted changes over a longer time span, I believe I’m more accurate. Also, I showed that the IPCC truncation error resulted in underestimating the enhanced greenhouse effect by a factor of 2 (so my 0.70 degrees is boosted to 1.4 degrees, and White’s 0.55 degrees would be boosted to 1.1 degrees).
      This would make CO2 the major factor in explaining the 0.7 +/- 0.1 degree historic temperature increase from 1850 (or 1750) to today, when CO2 changed from 280 to 385 ppm.

      However, my conclusions and White’s are remarkably close, and I commend him for an excellent analysis re cloud negative feedback (which was my conclusion since the CO2 enhanced greenhouse effect is enough to account for all the historic increase from 1850 to today, meaning net feedback despite increased water vapour is essentially zero).
      I therefore have no serious disagreement with any of White’s analysis, which is superior to mine in examining each of the factors involved in albedo. Feel free to pass on any of my material to George White, with compliments, and references to my postings of Feb. 7, 9 & 22 at Judith’s blog “Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse (?) effect” .. UNQUOTE.

      Have a look at Roger’s analyses on Judith’s “Physics .. ” thread (

      If anyone can give me Graham’s contact details for then I’d appreciate it.

      Best regards, Pete Ridley

  27. From the opening post:

    >even with all that help from my friends :)<

    Definitely the best of Joe Cocker. You are a child of my times too, Judith

    • Judith, here’s what the rewrite should have said:

      3. Recognizes that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that most some of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid twentieth century is very likely due to the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, as assessed without proper regard to the uncertainties involved by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report;

  28. “As soon as my testimony is finished, I will finish the next post in the greenhouse series, which is on the clear sky sensitivity to doubling CO2.”

    How about a thread on the sensitivity of the climate to 70 years of above average solar activity amplified by diminished cloud cover between 1980 and 1998?

    Just askin’ ;)

  29. Judith: You and many readers commented on the controversies surrounding many D&A studies. Although these controversies tell us a lot about the politics of AGW, they miss the major scientific problem. When people look back on the passed two decades of the IPCC from the middle of the 21st century, no one is going to care if there was a discernible human influence on 20th century climate, no one is going to care if the 1990’s were warmer than the MWP, and no one is going to care whether half of 20th century warming was due to man, UHI, the PDO, or some combination of these. However, they will care about climate sensitivity: What did we know and how accurately did we convey that information? This area hasn’t gotten the scrutiny it deserves. Stainforth’s large ensembles of models have shown that the IPCC’s “ensemble of opportunity” underestimates the range of possible climate sensitivities that are compatible with models. Estimates of climate sensitivity obtained from paleoclimate are potentially subject to bias. However, since we now have three decades of global climate data from satellites (no UHI, no buckets vs engine intake, etc.), 5AR and 6AR may be able to make really strong statements about climate sensitivity based on relatively non-controversial data. For example, it may be possible to place a smaller upper limit on climate sensitivity based on the absence of a “hot-spot” in the upper tropical troposphere.

  30. Dr. Judy, I would add the new O’donnel et all paper to your happenings of the week. Even Andrew Weaver has expressed that he feels it is an important study.

  31. All, have you seen this article ?

    “Shredding the “climate consensus” myth: More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore”

    I picked it up at WUWT:

    but I’m sure it can be found elsewhere.

  32. 2m Sea Level rises were being were being used to jolly along CanCun….
    even as my above comment shows, thatthe Met Office (Hadley Centre/CRU) this month has said this is wrong.

    Maybe Judith could advice fellow scientists to avoid Pre climate conference hype.

    A major reason is this sort of propaganda that gets a lot of attention – pre ‘climate conferences’ to sway the policy makers, who are no doubt oblivious to the controversy behind these statements.

    Quoting the Met Office, The Time January 2010:

    Jan 2010: “Jason Lowe, a leading Met Office climate researcher, said: “These predictions of a rise in sea level potentially exceeding 6ft have got a huge amount of attention, but we think such a big rise by 2100 is actually incredibly unlikely”

    2 metre sea levels were being used this year Pre-Cancun

    “The study of climate change impacts in the Caribbean warned that sea levels could rise by up to 6.5ft (2m) by the end of the 21st Century if global warming continues. There is also an increased risk of hurricanes and storm surges. – Louise Gray

    Yet this was always contentious, it would appear that the majority of sea level experts disagreed with it, but who got the headlines…

    Jan 2010: The Times: Climate change experts clash over sea-rise ‘apocalypse’

    Times: “Critics say an influential prediction of a 6ft rise in sea levels is flawed

    Climate science faces a new controversy after the Met Office denounced research from the Copenhagen summit which suggested that global warming could raise sea levels by 6ft by 2100.

    The research, published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, created headline news during the United Nations summit on climate change in Denmark last month.

    It predicted an apocalyptic century in which rising seas could threaten coastal communities from England to Bangladesh and was the latest in a series of studies from Potsdam that has gained wide acceptance among governments and environmental campaigners.

    Besides underpinning the Copenhagen talks, the research is also likely to be included in the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This would elevate it to the level of global policy-making.

    However, the studies, led by Stefan Rahmstorf, professor of ocean physics at Potsdam, have caused growing concern among other experts. They say his methods are flawed and that the real increase in sea levels by 2100 is likely to be far lower than he predicts.

    Jason Lowe, a leading Met Office climate researcher, said: “These predictions of a rise in sea level potentially exceeding 6ft have got a huge amount of attention, but we think such a big rise by 2100 is actually incredibly unlikely. The mathematical approach used to calculate the rise is simplistic and unsatisfactory.”

    This is why I am sceptical , frequent announcementts of catastrophy, which a little bit of investigation shows to be flawed

  33. Judith,
    Interesting coincidence:

    Air pressure shift occuring at the same time salinity changes on the surface of the oceans.

  34. In other news, many delegates at CanCun have eagerly signed on to petitions urging the UN to shrink the US economy by 6%/annum until it signes climate accords, and to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide.

    I, for one, welcome own new Moron Masters!


    • More on the Chilly Cancun Fiesta Fiasco, seems that while the Big Cats are away the Little Kittens are putting together a New World Order and makeing the UN/IPCC the “Big Brother” of us all (a’al 1984 and Good Ol’ George Orwell) – “The Secretariat will have the power not merely to invite nation states to perform their obligations under the climate-change Convention, but to compel them to do so. Nation states are to be ordered to collect, compile and submit vast quantities of information, in a manner and form to be specified by the secretariat and its growing army of subsidiary bodies” — Oh, yes, they want a lot of our money too. I thought things were a weeeee bit too quiet in Cancun…

  35. mods: typo “our” not “own”

  36. Dr. Curry
    Re your comment
    thanks to a post by Dr. D. Archibald on the WUWT blog, I was able, to within the sets of ‘Pacific Gateways’ graphs, possible SOI ‘generator’ in addition to the PDO.

  37. New * Cloud Feedbacks

    Andrew Dessler 2010.

    Roy Spencer’s Response

    Dessler’s Response

    An email exchange!

    I have no time to discuss now, but this is pretty interesting considering the climate sensitivity numbers differences hinge around cloud feedbacks.

  38. Dr. Curry: I would like to see a post or posts on the falsifiability of climate change as a theory.

  39. Keith Kloor pointed this out to me
    Why most published research findings are false

    • And here is an Atlantic magazine article on Dr. Ioannides and his pointed critique of research findings. A money quote about the PLoS article that Dr. Curry linked:

      The article spelled out [Ioannides’] belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views.

      This should sound very familiar to those of us skeptical of climate change.

      • Who is sceptical of climate change? Don’t fall into the trap of their labels. I am sceptical about the anthropogenic global warming claim, not of climate change, a permanent feature of the natural world.

      • tallbloke: Comes down to it, I’m not even skeptical of AGW — I’m persuaded that some proportion of current warming is from AGHGs.

        But I try to be clear and fair in using labels without offending people, though it seems difficult, if not impossible. The climate change people like to describe their cause as climate change and it doesn’t bother me to oblige them.

        Otherwise, I’ve enjoyed your thoughtful posts and wish you well. If you haven’t already, check out the Atlantic article. I think you’d like it.

      • No offence intended. I’m just pointing out that ‘climate change’ is a permanent feature of the natural world, and AGW proponents have no right to adopt it as a description of their theory. Now they are ‘moving on’ to call the effect of extra co2 ‘climate disruption’.

        It’s unfalsifiable nonsense.

  40. A must read thread at collide-a-scape Where Science is Flawed

    • Michael Larkin

      Dr. Curry,

      Thanks for this. I especially enjoyed the Link in the CaS post to this article in Wired:

      I can’t recall ever having read a more thought-provoking Web article, and many things are pointed out there that might relate to the climate debate.

    • David L. Hagen

      Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science Brave Thinkers November 2010 ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
      “Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.”

      [Ioannidis’] model predicted, in different fields of medical research, rates of wrongness roughly corresponding to the observed rates at which findings were later convincingly refuted: 80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong, as do 25 percent of supposedly gold-standard randomized trials, and as much as 10 percent of the platinum-standard large randomized trials. The article spelled out his belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views.

      Now what might the probability be that climate science is as unbiased as medical science?

      ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’
      2 Chronicles 6:37 NIV

    • AnyColourYouLike

      There’s a bit of mea culpa going on over there ar Keith’s! Someone has dared to voice what we all were thinking in the back of our minds: a lot of science isn’t really as rigorous as the stuff we saw in 50’s B-movies!…there, I’ve said it…..Help me, I’m meltiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing…….;-)

  41. American exceptionalism

    The U.S. government borrows about 40 cents of every dollar it spends and it is on track this year to borrow about $1.3 trillion. That is the equivalent of borrowing Canada’s entire economic output for 2009.

    And that deficit will be piled onto the debt, which now stands at about $13.8 trillion and rising. Actually, if you add all the liabilities that Washington simply doesn’t have the money to pay for (social security and Medicare are the biggies), the real debt is something like $40 trillion, which is a figure that defies comprehension.

    The world is heading towards economic catastrophic consequence faster than it’s steering into calamitous AGW.

    Attitudes and objectives will be re-made in this fluctuating socioeconomic climate.

  42. I would to restart and restate a question on natural climate stability (albeit in a bi-stable sense). Does the evidence of long term natural climate stability, be it ice-age or interglacial, contain within it large short-term fluctuations of global temperature over periods of 50 to 150 years in length. Again, the reason I state this is if you do the maths for radiative forcings of the past 60-70 years the calculated temps due to radiative forcing are much higher than the recorded temps. Either an unknown negative feedback is in play or there has been an actual, natural and signficant background drop in global temperatures.

  43. There a few ways to look at this. But none have a definitive answers. Looking at radiative forcing over the last fifty against the cooling forcings is a good step. The IPCC has a good summary of the evidence in Section But since, there is work done on the effects of the ocean oscillation by the PNAS, Long-term natural variability and 20th century climate change – Kyle L. Swanson 2009. This hasn’t gotten much play because it fits well within the constraints of the known radiative forcing recorded this century, and although the long term ocean effects have can have a strong effect on temperature recordings, the effect would only dampen or strengthen the signal of man made radiative forcing, depending on what climate sensitivity is. This research also acknowledges that climate sensitivity has probably been underestimated. This would probably be the most widely accepted, evidence-based answer to your question.

  44. Anyone notice the claim that the ozone hole is shrinking, and they are giving credit to the reduction in CFC levels? Even though it was said that it would require 50 – 150 years to recover with no airborne CFC’s? Or that the data record for the ozone layer is so short that it can’t be certain there there was a time without an ozone hole? (Maybe we can take some tree ring readings). And there is concern that the closing ozone hole will lead to additional planetary warming?
    Once science agrees on exactly the impact of this thin layer of ozone in a comprehensive, cohesive manner, then I will believe that climatologists might be able to base theories of global warming on a single, non-toxic gas.

  45. David L. Hagen

    Energy for Development

    As the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico wraps up its final day, discussions continue over some crucial issues such as the need to simultaneously reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and provide the world with more energy. . . .One focal point discussed here over the past two weeks involves how industrialized nations can help developing countries not only adapt to climate change, but gain access to more energy in order to grow their economies.

    Climate Change Conference Focuses on Energy for Poor Nations
    3,000,000,000 people live on less than $2/day.
    Inexpensive energy is critical for development.

    The humanitarian imperative needs to focus on how to provide abundant energy, especially fuel, to enable these 3 billion people to develop economically.

    Goldman Sachs (2010) already projects average oil prices to rise 26% from $79 in 2010 to $100 for 2011. See: As Prices Rise, Questions on Opening OPEC Spigots, WSJ Dec. 9, 2010

    OPEC is cooking the OECD frog, while the poor go hungry!

  46. Two liberal takes on a recent poll of scientists and their political affiliations. “A Pew Research Center Poll from July 2009 showed that only around 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans; 55 percent are Democrats, 32 percent are independent, and the rest “don’t know” their affiliation.”

    Slate’s take on the poll is surprisingly mature: “…could it be that disagreements over climate change are essentially political—and that science is just carried along for the ride? ”

    While another leftist site has a more traditional liberal view.

    Essentially, conservatives are stoopid.

    One interesting question in the current changed political climate is whether climate skeptics/lukewarmers on the left will abjure their political tribalism as in the Slate article, in hope of still having an influence on the ultimate debate, or will they succumb to their tribal instincts ala the Mother Jones peice and become politcally irrelevant (in the U.S. at least).

    My favorite quote from the Slate article:

    “Yet there is clearly something going on that is as yet barely acknowledged, let alone understood. As a first step, leaders of the scientific community should be willing to investigate and discuss the issue. They will, of course, be loath to do so because it threatens their most cherished myths of a pure science insulated from dirty partisanship.”

    I suspect the author is about to be pilloried far and wide for writing such heresy.

    • Some interesting points.

      Science is supposed to be about factual evidence, experiment and measurement, rational and logical reasoning, all toward gaining a better understanding of how the real world works.

      Are there any ‘liberal’ global warming skeptics, or left wing climate change deniers out there?

      • Are there any left wing climate alarmists in there?

        See, it’s a bit of a loaded question isn’t it?

        Or as some might say; Empty Rhetoric.

        Most U.S. american would think of me as ‘left wing’. I don’t think of my self as left wing or centrist, or to be in any political pigeonhole. And I don’t really get what you mean by ‘climate change deniers’. Do you know of anyone anywhere who denies that climate changes? Do you think you are making use of rational and logical reasoning when you make use of such a label?

        because I don’t.

        It just makes you look like one more bigoted person with an axe to grind.

      • Have to agree with you Tallbloke.

        Unnecessarily demonizing someone who disagrees with you is an irrational act.
        Even warmongers understand that at some point a conflict ends and the more you demonized the other side it makes harder for the other side to ‘surrender’ and it makes it harder to offer the other side reasonably acceptable ‘surrender terms’.

        I.E. The Taliban are evil. For 10% of them, that’s true.
        For 90% of them they are just ‘going along to get along’.

        But if one vows to ‘crush the taliban’, then a 10% problem becomes a 100% problem.

      • Me.

  47. Revkin has some news at dotearth, US court rejects industry cahllenge to limits on smokestack CO2
    an outcome of the US EPA endangerment finding. This one will make the lawyers wealthy.

    • >This one will make the lawyers wealthy.<

      Well, that's a surprise. And look at the fun the courts and lawyers will have with "unintended consequences", such as large sections of the population being unable to afford power

      Here in Aus, the unaffordability issue was solved quite easily: a recent bureaucratic Tribunal of the quango variety has simply declared that *not* paying your power bill is no reason to be disconnected

      Wunderbar, or rather FUBAR

  48. Hello Dr. Curry, I would appreciate your take on the seeming divergence of NASA GISS global temperature anomalies with Had-CRUT, UAH and RSS readings, especially with GISS showing an anomaly in November of 0.74 and UAH and RSS showing .38, and .312, respectively. With much legislation, regulation and money riding global temperature trends, I think that the accuracy of temperature anomaly measurements must be accurate, dependable and defensible.

    • thechucker – I usually don’t bother with people who don’t give their names but you ask a very pertinent question and you are absolutely right about the money: it is trillions. You will find most of the answers in my book “What Warming?” available on For NASA I did not use Gistemp but went with Land-Ocean that Hansen himself uses. If you are not in a hurry wait a month and a new edition will be out. Arno

    • Arno – Thanks for the response. I use a pseudonym because where I work is not exactly open-minded about most things environmental. I think I’ll check out the new edition of your book when it comes out.

  49. This is an open thread, so please read this:

    The very heavy flooding just peaked has $billions of damage, towns, homes, farms and crops destroyed, yet …

    Every time I think I’ve finally seen the basal level of human stupidity, I’m proved wrong


    sharper00 | December 12, 2010 at 9:24 am | Reply | Edit
    “Is Old Fallacy + Confusion + Quibbles sufficiently derisive?”

    No it isn’t. He said her argument was wrong and specifically showed how it was wrong while also showing how it’s common for others to make the same mistake.

    If it’s necessary to parse words to this extent to make Dr Curry’s statement “correct” then I’ll assume it’s another “But don’t worry realclimate say the models are fine” type statement i.e. entirely incorrect and without basis.

    I’m always extremely dubious when people start constructing arguments which run counter to established conclusions and then imply “the establishment” don’t want them asking those questions.

    David Wojick | December 12, 2010 at 10:46 am | Reply | Edit
    sharperoo: Perhaps I am just more sensitive to insults than you are. Where does Colose point out (1) the fallacy and (2) the quibbles? I do not see those words used in the body of his response.

    Moreover, Curry responds as follows: “Chris, thanks for your nice summary, I understand all this. My issue is that all this seems to have nothing to do with surface temperature, which is the issue of concern.”

    I agree with Curry. Colose’s response does not seem to address Curry’s argument. Rather he is arguing for something that is not at issue, which is a cross argument (as in cross purposes), rather than a counter argument.

    curryja | December 12, 2010 at 10:01 am | Reply | Edit
    I did reply to Chris below. I know what he is talking about, I am trying to provoke some broader thinking on the subject.

    curryja | December 12, 2010 at 9:58 am | Reply | Edit
    many locations, no time to search now, see stoat, rabett run, tobis. i recall the word “dotty” being used by Eli Rabett, you can probably search for Curry dotty on google blogs.

    sharper00 | December 12, 2010 at 10:19 am | Reply | Edit
    A google search for “judith curry dotty” returns this post as the top result with nothing else of relevance I can see.

    A full search of both Tobis’ blog and Eli Rabett’s returns no instance of the word “dotty” at all. Stoat’s has one instance from 2007 unrelated to you.

    This is of course irrelevant to the no-feedback sensitivity issue which only makes it all the more odd that you raised it in the first place. I’m sure Oliver K Manuel and others are in full agreement with you that the scientific community reacts poorly to the mere questioning of basic principles and responds with pseudo-religious rhetoric about them being carved in stone.

    Jim | December 12, 2010 at 10:25 am | Reply | Edit
    See comment #21 on Climate Progress

    I don’t know who Adam R. is, but here is one instance.

    Adam R. says:
    November 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Curry has created for herself the persona of dotty aunt of climate science. I am sure it is not what she intended, but what was her goal, Grand Dame?

    Now she is irretrievably lost in the wilderness of climate disinformation and obfuscation. There is no going back from here. Look for her to be collecting speaking fees at the Heartland Institute’s next pseudo-conference. Perhaps that’s been her goal, all along.

    sharper00 | December 12, 2010 at 10:29 am | Reply | Edit
    I saw that comment but remember the statement that’s being supported here

    “I’ve mentioned these general ideas a number of times before, and the “mainstream” has declared me to be dotty”

    Are really meant to interpret that as “An anonymous commenter on climateprogress said I had created a dotty persona”.

    I also see no indication that “Adam R” is reacting to Dr Curry’s views on no-feedback sensitivity which is apparently the issue which has caused mainstream science to declare her “dotty”

    Mark F | December 12, 2010 at 10:40 am | Reply | Edit
    And yours as an attempt to legitimize the slime while further marginalizing the target? Um, “tacky”.

    sharper00 | December 12, 2010 at 10:48 am | Reply | Edit
    ” legitimize the slime “

    Well my question is actually “Where is the slime?” and unless I’m supposed to accept “Adam R” on climateprogress is now the spokesman for mainstream science it appears to absent.

    “while further marginalizing the target?”

    So in your view if someone makes claims concerning their treatment on an issue a request to support those claims is “further marginalizing the target” and “tacky”. That’s certainly an interesting way of looking at things.

    Tom Fuller | December 12, 2010 at 10:51 am | Reply | Edit
    I could provide quotes from the sites Curry mentioned that are pejorative to the point of libel–and so can you. If you haven’t already seen them (and I think you have) a simple look through the archives of the sites she mentioned can provide you with enough soft porn for alarmists of any age.

    sharper00 | December 12, 2010 at 11:02 am | Reply | Edit
    “I could provide quotes from the sites Curry mentioned that are pejorative to the point of libel”

    Are these statements directly relatable to Dr Curry’s view “that the equation ΔTs = λRF [is] not carved in stone “?

    RobB | December 12, 2010 at 10:51 am | Reply | Edit
    Sharperoo – this exchange is a pathetic waste of everyone’s reading time. I mean this politely: please stop it or go somewhere else. Many thanks.

    sharper00 | December 12, 2010 at 10:59 am | Reply | Edit
    I don’t believe you’re the arbiter of who should take their comments elsewhere “RobB”.

    How curious though for a particular statement to be important enough to be included as 50% of the “Conclusions” section of this post but for discussion of where the support for it exists is “a pathetic waste of everyone’s reading time.”

    RobB | December 12, 2010 at 11:07 am | Reply | Edit
    You are well aware the topic is ‘CO2 No feedback Sensitivity’ as opposed to Dr Curry’s dottiness. Seriously, please take this to the last open thread if its important to you.

    Julian Flood | December 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Reply | Edit
    this exchange is a pathetic waste of everyone’s reading time

    Which is the point of it. If everyone is engaged on pointless quibbles the value of the blog goes down and our hostess has to waste her time. Otherwise she might continue blasting holes in the consensus, and we can’t have that….

    It’s a troll.

  51. Richard S Courtney

    I agree. This issue is a troll.

    So, stop feeding the troll.


  52. From Dessler 2010:
    I have not explicitly considered the direct
    effect of aerosols on TOA flux in this analysis.
    The effects of aerosols are obviously included in
    the DRall-sky measurements, but the DRclear-sky calculations
    include only an annual-cycle climatology.
    As a result, the radiative impact of interannual
    variations in aerosols will be included in DRcloud.
    But ****aerosols’ radiative impact is not expected to
    correlate with DeltaTs**** so the effect of aerosols is to
    add uncertainty to the cloud feedback calculation
    but should not introduce a bias.

    global cloud feedback in response to short-term
    climate fluctuations over the past decade
    and compare these results to those from climate
    models. The primary source of climate variations
    over this time period is the El Niño–Southern Oscillation
    (ENSO), which is a self-sustained coupled
    atmosphere-ocean mode of variability

    As I understand the mechanism behind El Nino, the trade winds weaken and the warm pool floods back east.

    Question: what is the difference between the two states, trade winds active and non-active? Is the average wind during El Nino sufficiently low that it will have a measurable effect on blue ocean wave action — specifically, wave breaking and aerosol production? If it does then there will be a link between El Nino conditions — low wind and hence low aerosol — and temperature.

    If there is a reduction in aerosols during El Ninos, it will be coincidentally correlated to SST.

    Do we have an aerosol scientist in the room… oh, look, how convenient.

    (hammer, that’s a nail…)

  53. Jerry Pournelle is still pondering the musical question of how climate scientists arrive at large-scale temperature measurements:

    When using a statistical technique to increase the accuracy of inaccurate observations, there are many assumptions with varying stringency of necessity for confidence. I have seen no discussion of those techniques in any persuasive form from the IPCC. The IPCC reports do not seem to cover them, but they tend to be opaque; surely there are discussions and defenses of climate models that are directed to educated citizens not specialists in climate modeling? I keep asking for them, but I don’t find them. I would think that if the public is to have sufficient confidence as to make enormous economic sacrifices, those who advocate those sacrifices ought to have explanations less opaque than the IPCC reports.

    I continue to ask questions about the quality of data and the assumptions in its adjustment, but I don’t get referred to anything that seems directed to my level of understanding.

    Can anyone help?

  54. Judith, this post at WUWT by Ryan Maue is interesting and perhaps worth a thread of its own. How do we reconcile such low storm activity with GISS’s high surface temparatures?

  55. quote
    b. Cloud-mediated effects of aerosol

    Aerosols act mostly as cloud-drop condensation nuclei (CCN), and some of them as ice nuclei (IN), both of which change cloud radiative and precipitation properties in complex ways. Over oceans, emissions from fossil-fuel-burning ships produce tracks, observed to dramatically influence the extent and persistence of local shallow cloud cover, reducing the amount of solar radiation received at the surface and enhancing the amount reflected back to space. Aerosols also suppress precipitation from shallow or short-lived clouds (e.g., orographic cap clouds). Their impacts on deep convective clouds are much less certain, but are of potentially great importance. Recent research suggests that, depending on meteorological conditions, aerosols can either increase or decrease rainfall from such clouds. In warm moist atmospheres, aerosols often invigorate deep convective clouds, usually resulting in greater electrical activity, stronger damaging winds, and a greater likelihood of flash floods. Studies indicate that aerosols might also modulate the intensity of tornadoes and hurricane

    AMS, via Pielke senior.

    Now that last bit I’d like to see. There’s one hurricane track which trundles across the Atlantic and then veers away: the swerve is so abrupt it looks like it bounces off a solid object.The accepted explantion is windshear at height, but it would be nice to check, just in case.

    The statement, incidentally, is incomplete, as it does not include Noziere’s result that surfactants can increase precipitation.


  56. The alarmosphere beyond the greenhouse is ‘moving on’ to ocean acidification. I know Judith is an ocean specialist, and I’d like her views on this article:


    “Our widely held assumption that the acidification of the oceans causes a decrease in calcification in all coccolithophores needs to be reappraised,” says Dr Iglesias-Rodriguez. “Our data reveal that these microscopic organisms have been responding to climate change by increasing the size of the cells and their calcium carbonate plates.”

    Previous experiments with coccolithophores suggested that as acidity levels increased, calcification would decrease. However, Dr Iglesias-Rodriguez believes this may have been due to the way the experiments were carried out. The scientists simply added acid to the water to mimic the increase in acidity due to dissolved carbon dioxide. Her method was to simulate the more natural process by bubbling the gas through the water until it dissolved. “This work contradicts previous findings and shows, for the first time, that calcification by phytoplankton could double by the end of this century,” she says. “This is important because the majority of ocean calcification is carried out by coccolithophores such as Emiliania huxleyi and the amount of calcium carbonate produced at the ocean surface is known to have a direct influence on levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

    Dr Iglesias-Rodriguez and her colleagues point out that the last time the earth experienced large increases in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide was 55 million years ago during a period known as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. It was also a time when coccolithophores were abundant.

    • Tallbloke, thanks for pointing out this paper. I am not an expert on the ocean chemistry or the ocean acidification issue. My understanding that this whole issue is surrounded with a high level of uncertainty.

    • Tallbloke,

      I wish you luck in trying to tease out what plankton do to the oceans. The paper on Sockeye salmon increase and the North Pacific diatom bloom was unexpected: I would have thought that there would have been a big CO2 pull-down, even though diatoms make their shells from silica. So, perhaps the oceanic pull-down is all carbonate shells drifting to the bottom — even if they get dissolved at depth they’re put away for hundreds of years. A lovely thought, the CO2 increase is caused by the med. warm period.

      E. huxleyi is my favourite, all that lovely albedo which has been taken away by the fall in planktonic populations. I wonder if it adds up to the euivalent of 1% of cloud cover….


      • Julian, my interest was piqued by your earlier comments on another thread. I haven’t even scratched the surface of this specialised area of knowledge. But I have read and thought about James Lovelock’s first book ‘Gaia: a new look at life on earth’. It seems clear to me that our highly active atmosphere is held in ‘balanced imbalance’ by the vast biomass of tiny lifeforms we share the planet with. We know too little their part in the big equation. As yet, they are little more than a known unknown. Their feedback is likely important, and large.

      • It is interesting that the CaCO3 shells might sink to a depth in the ocean where no additional acidification has occurred, thereby sequestering the CO2. That could mean the ocean can sink a lot more CO2 than we think?

      • The ocean is less alkaline at greater depth. It’s upwelling which brings more acidification to the surface waters, not atmospheric co2.

        “In the deep oceans, the CO2 concentration increases as sinking organic matter from biological production (which varies seasonally) is decomposed. These additions of CO2 to the deep oceans cause its pH to decrease … When this CO2-rich deep water upwells to the surface, it creates regions with lower pH in the surface waters”
        quoting from a link at the Royal Society which is now broken….

        I wonder if Alan made a copy of the document…

  57. MARS

    Hello Judith.
    Don’t know if anyone is still monitoring this open thread.
    Let me start by saying climate science is not my field. I have a rather unusual question.

    Does anyone know how well GCMs, or rather the relevant elements of those models, do at predicting the climate of other planets?

    We have by now quite a bit of data on Mars. Is the data accumulated so far enough to be useful in forecasting climate on Mars?

    P.S. Yes I know Mars might be boring to Earth climate scientists and not very active relative to the Earth but it does have alot of CO2.

  58. Alexander Harvey

    On Small thermal models, SSTs, OHC, spectra, stochasticity, and uncertainty.

    At times I am known to support non-dynamical small thermal climate models which are much criticised but maybe poorly understood and under appreciated.

    They do make sweeping assumptions but ones that may be justifiable.

    Perhaps the most significant assumption is LTI, linear time invariance. This is the requirement that the response to forcing is linear (the response and the impulse scale together) and that an impulse in 1900 would produce same addition to the response starting at that point in time as would an impulse in 2000 post that point in time.

    Another important assumption is that the thermal properties of the system, the response function, can be implied from the basic physical processes and or deduced from the evidence.

    It is also necessary to assume that the simple model cannot predict the values of certain model parameters and that the must be informed by the evidence, that is the model may be enlightened to the form of some functions but lack the ability to predict the scale of those functions. So tuning is an issue, and hence analysis of robustness is difficult but this is true more generally with models that have only one set of observational data to refer to.

    Stochasticity has major implications for the inherent uncertainty of such a system and certain assumptions must be made principal amongst these being that the deterministic properties of the real world, and that of AOGCMs, can be represented by an equivalent stochasticity applied to a LTI model in the form of impulse noise.

    There is at the basis of such modelling an assumption of simplicity, that despite its complications the real world resolves to simple forms when viewed in certain ways.

    Finally there is the difficulty of finding sufficient evidence even to balance the unknowns, e.g. that at the end of the day every parameter is constrained in some way by the observational evidence. It is this last hurdle where many simple models may prove to be too simplistic to be of any real worth.

    Perhaps the most important challange for the small model is to tie together oceanic thermal observations, namely the SSTs and the OHC. The SSTs can be analysed in terms of their variance spectra, the allocation of the observed variance to its frequency components, and hope for an underlying pattern that would be consistent with a plausible simplified oceanic structure. Such a structure is well known in the literature, a [upwelling] diffusive deep ocean plus surface mixed layer model. The question is whether the evidence agrees with such a model. One line of evidence is to whether the application of SST data to such a model predicts an OHC time series that correlates well with the observed OHC data. The answer seems to be yes, the diffusive model does correlate reasonably well and much better than a slab ocean model can, that is unsurprising as it has two more parameters. In addition to the mixed layer depth, it has oceanic vertical diffusivity and upwelling rate [this later value only makes for a smaller effect on short timescales]. Fortunately both diffusivity and vertical velocity are reasonably well constrained by the evidence and have been for some time (Munk 1960s? and others). But it would be nice to have additional evidence and there is an indirect line of argument that might help. It is an appeal to simplicity in that one would be encouraged if the model when combined with the SST implied a stochasticity in the impulse time series (the deduced noise component of the oceanic surface flux) that had a simple form. Perhaps the simplest form being white noise. Now given the SSTs and such a model; does (or even could) the implied flux series be white noise? The answer is that it comes close which is perhaps all one can hope for. The possibility that we would find noise plus signal cannot be overlooked and that signal would colour the implied noise. If there be evidence that the real world flux stochastity can be approximated by white noise on timescales of monthly averages then that would remove an assumption of simplicity. In that rests an implication that most of the stochasiticity must be produced on timescales less than one month, e.g. that this is “weather noise” not “climate noise”. With regard to climate noise, with the possible exception of ENSO variance it is plausible that even on the centenial timescale the accumulative effects of weather noise might be of similar magnitude as climate noise which would include variance due to reccurrent decadal/centenial scale climate features. Which is not to say they don’t exist but that similar scale variancies could be produced by the speculative weather noise flux.

    Given that such a ocean model could be seen to have the right general form it can inherit a scale from the scales of the SST and OHC data and it can do so in a way that is broadly compatible with other oceanic data that constrains the parameter values.

    Now what would such a model predict that we don’t already know. Well some things, but not ones that can easily be verified, as we simply lack the necessary observations. One thing is that it could use SST to extrapolate the OHC data back in time prior to 1955. Using the SST it can make predictions about the oceanic surface flux prior to this date. In a model I have used, the flux since 1910 has been on average positive and of the order of about 0.5W/m^2 into the oceans. Put another way the predicted warming (oceanic enthalpy increase) has had little overall trend during that period (it wiggles at all timescales but around the above value of about 0.5). Also it can be used to make an attribution as to the cause of the OHC warming since 1955. The same model would attribute more than 1/3 of the post 1955 OHC to temperature variations prior to the end of WWII shich is to say that amount was in the works already and not due to events post WWII. Further it could be interrogated to see if the proposed post WWII SST adjustments (to correct for buckets and intake mearurement issues) would seem well supported by the implied changes in the models prediction of OHC. The answer being mostly affirmative, in that the correlation between model’s prediction and observed OHC improves marginally, but perhaps more importantly the corresponding change in scaling moves the required oceanic parameters towards textbook values rather than away from them. So it could be said that such a model supports or rather is contented by such an adjustment in SSTs.

    I think that it should not go unmentioned that from the OHC record and the simple model’s backcast for the oceanic flux; there is a compulsion, which is difficult to resist, to conclude that the ocean is thermally “light”, i.e. the average flux into the ocean although significant is not large and averaged over the world (ocean plus land) is as likely to be less than 0.5W/m^2 as it is greater, this I believe is it at odds with some satellite data.

    Returning to the simplicity assumption that the non-linear, deterministic climate system can give rise to a white noise flux. There is indirect evidence from the AOGCM world that this is the case. They beneifit in that the can be run without a “signal” component i.e. with no applied time varying forcings. The spectra of the SSTs from available HadGEM model control runs are compatible with the results of white noise as applied to a simple thermal ocean as described above. This being a proof of principal that apparent stocastic varaitions can be produced from deterministic systems.

    Once scaled to OHC data the simple ocean model can comment on the scale of the speculative stochastic white noise, answers for the standard deviation of the noise signal in the range of 0.5W.yr^(1/2)/m^2 can be obtained.

    All the figures I have given are illustrative and should not be taken too seriously. They are given to show the types of things that such models are cabable of informing us about.

    Given that we have an estimate of stochasitc flux forcings we can consider the effects that such noise would have on the stochastic variability of the simple model’s temperature series. We can use the model to imply the extent of natural variability due solely to stochastic weather noise. Taking 2sigma values we have a range of flux forcing of around (+/-) 1W/m^2 on a yearly basis which is about half of the GISS forcing value since 1880. Viewed another way we have 2sigma values of around (+/-) 0.3W/m^2 averaged noise over a decade (the recent decadal trend in GISS forcings is I think about 0.4W/m^2/decade). The implication that at this scale weather noise is significant. Now that really is illustrative, strictly speaking I should have argued from the perspective of the stochastic production of trends in the flux forcing. If I should do so I could conclude that one need to consider 25 or more years of the later half of the 20th century before one could reasonably start looking for “the GISS forcing” signal with any confidence. Again the figures are mostly illustrative but it does I think demonstate that such a simple model can inform us as to the maqgnitude of the uncertainties in any scheme for the attribution of warming to known forcings.

    There is a side issue here, in that the small model when run as an emulator of the climate presents a significant variance in its output temperature series, were this to be true of the real world then the actual temperature record is but one of many equally plausible series. Viewed as just a happenstance realisation then it would be surprising if simulators, such as the AOGCMs, tended to home in on that realisation rather than on some hypothetical underlying trend due to the forcings. Now in terms of the multimodel ememble mean that does seem to have happened. This mean tracks the temperature record vary closely, which is a puzzle and a concern in that it impies that between 1960 and 2005 the real world tracked the underlying trend very closely, which is not impossible but I think may be statistically worrying. This is performance that can be replicated by the small model if it is allowed prior knowledge of the temperture history. Each individual realisation will be at odds with the record, sometimes quite markedly, but given an ensemble of such realisations their mean will tend to the data used for constraining the model e.g. the known temperature record. Now the real world did what the real world must based on its initial values but one cannot forget that it is subject to external noise which in the case of the sun must amount to an awful lot of butterflies wing flapping equivalence. In that sense the actual performance is at least partly unpredictable at the world level and hence the postulated stochastic noise component may really be indeterminent which gives some room form assuming that the record really was just one of many realisations that were possible for the period of the temperature record. Such issues are deep ones and it is perhaps better to draw a line at this point.

    Well I have not covered all the ground I should have wished to not even at the level of a sketch. I hope that I have shown that small models are not vacuous and can inform us about some important matters such as uncertainty in attrubution.


    • Alexander, thank you for this post.

      • Alexander Harvey


        Here is a another approach which leads to a statistic for the radiative conductance into space, i.e. the value by which one must multiply the temperature anomaly (to a equilibium basis) to close the energy budget as represented by an energy balance equation (see below).

        Now we have published OHC (0-700m) data since 1955 and also global temperature anomalies and GISS forcing data, but we are missing OHC data below 700m, and I am missing data for the total ice mass record and the Land Heat Content. Also there is the atmospheric heat content but that is small and roughly equivalent to what would be due to ~3m of water.

        Putting the question of unquantified heat content to one side for the moment, we can see how one might proceed with the data at hand.

        The GISS forcings are a given, they may be wrong but they are what we have (but they only run to 2003 which is a travesty). Now these define our baselines. The GISS figure for 1880 is 0W/m^2, so we can consider the long term temperature average that would arise if the year 1880 was repeated indefinitely as the baseline temperature. Now we do not know this value and without it one cannot solve the following energy balance equation from the temperature anomaly data.

        0 = F – ΔE/Δt – G·ΔT

        F = GISS forcing seried,
        E = GHC (global heat content series),
        G = conductance,
        ΔT = the global temperature anomaly series with respect to the GISS(1880 forcing) equilibrium baseline}

        To assume that the global temperatures around 1880 somehow correspond to the equilibrium (1880 forcing) temperature would be just that, an assumption.

        We can proceed without knowing the temperature base and use a calculated statistic for G to inform us as to the temperature base.

        We can integrate (actually summate) the energy balance equation:

        0 = ΣF – E – G·ΣΔT + ΣTa

        Ta represents the effect due to the differences between temperature bases, it adds a linear slope, so we cannot not use the slope so we remove it, E is also a value that is not relaltive to an 1880 equilibrium value so we must lose the means e.g. find the definite intregrals (summations). This gives (where * indicates the the series has had the mean and the linear trend removed):

        0 = (ΣF)* – (E)* – G·(ΣΔT)*

        Now it is a simple regression of (ΣF)* – (E)* against (ΣΔT)* to determine G.

        We can use this last equation as the defintion of G which removes all assumptions, it is a statistic of the data. So no assumptions are necessary to determine a value for the statistic G directly from the data.

        We can determine the statistic Ta from closing the definite summation balance equation (when given without the slope removed).

        Now because we can obtain our statistics using just definite summations over the interval (1955- 2003), the temperature and forcing data prior to 1955 is irrelevant. Only the data post 1955 has to have merit, uncertainties about the uplift in solar pre-1955, doubt about the 1945-1955 sea temperatures, pre-1955 volcanoes, etc., are all irrelevant. So we are only using the best data. Further the effect of the summation is to emphasise the longer period signals and to desensitise the result to short term (compared to the 1955-2003 scale) variations and noise. It does not suffer from the difficulties that the spikiness of volcanoes give rise to when regressing the fluxes directly.

        We perform our regression on data that has been detrended so we are wiggle matching. The tendency to get high correlations, and hence high high values for the attributable variance, due to regressing one slope against another is not a peril here.

        So we have our statistic G, we can find its value for E=OHC(700m) and also for various estimates of global heat content (including all other heat stores).

        Now I have some guidance in this such estimations from a Hansen paper from a few years ago, where (if I correctly recall) they assume the the OHC only captures 90% of the area of the ocean only 85% of the vertical value (this is I think a GISS model E figure for energy stored below 700m) , and that one can ignore all other heat sinks.

        If I do that I get a value for G(1955-2003) that is rather high according to accepted wisdom, and hence values for climatic sensitivity on the timescale (1955-2003) that are low. If I assume that we have scale separation and that long run feedbacks have not been in effect, a feedback factor of 0.1 for these, would give us a CS value above 2.5ºC and hence respectably in the IPPC range albeit the lower half.

        I have temperature and OHC data (and a Hansen like fudge factor) so if I had GISS forcings post 2003 I could include 6 more years. As it happens the statistic is not very sensitive to a plausible variations in post 2003 forcings (no volcanoes) and I will assume that the forcing has remained at 2003 values (which would give lower values for G and hence higher values for climatic sensitivity than would increasing forcing values (the latter seems to be the generally accepted expectation).

        This would give us a G(1955-2000) value greater than the G(1955-2003) value and hence a decline in long run CS to ~2.25ºC.

        Basically it is difficult to account for the lack of heat in the oceans not just since 2005 but in general since 1955 if one is to remain confident in a long CS close to the 3ºC central value (taken as being equivalent to a value of 2.4ºC in the 1955-2003 timescale.

        Well that is as maybe.

        More importantly we can define the statistic G(start year-end year) using the “just” the data at hand and speculate on the likely effects of unquantified heat stores. I could go on and use the residuals to give error ranges due to “noise” (or unexplained signals) which would be around +/- 15%, but can calculate no values for the unknown errors in the data. This would place the central IPPC 3ºC value within the 2σ range G(1955-2003) but it seems unlikely that the G(1955-2009) value would be.

        By the Bye, the statistic Ta gives values indicating that the last half of the 19th century was about 0.1ºC below the GISS(1880 forcing) equilibrium temperature which is generally in line with the occurrence of volcanoes, then as in most eras.

        I will close with a comment about another type of unkown error, author error. It exists, so all values here are only to be considered in the sense that they illustrate the the determining of the statistic G, how error distributions can be estimated, and how such a statistic could be compared with the short and long scale versions of the IPPC sensitivity range. I hope that I have shown that we can determine statistics from just the data, and that although they cannot give us a value for climatic sensitivity, (they are statistics specific to the period in question) they may be able to inform us as to the reasonableness of the other estimates.


      • Alexander Harvey

        It may not be clear from the above that I am using running summations so the equation

        0 = (ΣF)* – (E)* – G·(ΣΔT)*

        equates time series e.g.

        (ΣF)* = (ΣF(t))* = (ΣF{summed from start year to year t})*

        The regression is performed on such time series as one must expect but was not made totally clear.

        Also due to the OHC data that I have available being quarterly, both the GISS data and the temperature anomalies had to be prepared as quarterly values.


      • Alexander, interesting analysis, but i suggest you post over on the following thread where we are discussing this issue.

      • Alexander Harvey


        I have posted a link and a commentary more in keeping with that thread. I will check to see how it has been recieved. Personally I do not think many are interested and at least having it here means I can remember where to find my thoughts. I suspect that the lack of quantified data supporting the central IPCC 3ºC claim at the energy balance level is starting to irk a few. If we had it, we would have evidence not tainted by a huge modelling input. Sadly the amount of stored energy actually on the books is woefully inadequate to even reach 2.4ºC (a scale separate version of 3ºC to allow for a long term feedback factor of 0.1 positive that I have used throughout). To make the statistic compatable with 2.4ºC about an additional 45% of recorded OHC has to be found somewhere, and is widely acknowledged that the land, atmoshpere and cryosphere are bit part players. This is not the post 2005 blip, this seems to be a structural deficit. The statistic has I think only once been on the money and that was when Hansen published but that was for points between the mid 1990s and the mid 2000s and with the unrevised OHC data. I doubt that period looks so rosy now but I haven’t been trying to reproduce Hansen precisely but have borrowed some of his unquantified energy (about half what is necessary). Well: interesting.


      • at least having it here means I can remember where to find my thoughts.

        I have that problem too, which is one reason why I try not to post in more than four or five threads—having to search more than that many for one’s recent irrefutable rejoinder in more than that many threads is not worth the candle. Which is a pity since then one can’t respond to comments on other threads for economic reasons.

        One might imagine that one would find one’s breathtaking insight about Cenozoic water rat diet on the water rat thread and that crushing refutation of slinky plasticity on the slinky thread. Unfortunately these threads have a lateral drift bordering on a rip tide and one is just as likely to find one’s water rat playing with someone else’s slinky as to lose your own slinky to the water rat dustup.

        Some way of reviewing one’s own comments and their responses in reverse chronological order would therefore be a valuable addition to WordPress.

      • stay tuned, major searchability improvements forthcoming

    • Alexander Harvey

      A short coment on Effective Temperatures followed by something on scale sparation.

      As is commonly quoted the effective radiative temperature (Te) of the world is ~255ºC

      This is the solution to equation:

      F = 240W/m^2 = σ·Te^4

      So dF/dT = (4·σ·Te^3)·(dTe/dT)

      The (dTe/dT) term is generally not unity other than for black bodies i.e. whenTe=T and the result is trivial.

      For bodies like the earth one cannot use the effective temperature to calculate the rate of change of flux with temperature. Somehow I think I have seen this done and maybe by people who should know better.

      Stefan’s Law arises from integrating Planck’s Intensity equation assuming that the emissivity is unity or a constant over frequency giving the correct result:

      F = σ·T^4 or F = ε·σ·T^4 (ε is the emissivity)

      F = ε·σ·T^4 leads to an effective temperature

      Te = (F/σ)^(1/4) = (ε^1/4) ·T

      so dTe/dT = (ε^1/4) which is not unity unless ε=1

      But if ε is a function of frequency dTe/dT is not easily defined, which is the case for the Earth.

      Enough of that, more interesting is scale separation, and its implication for what you will observe experimentally.

      Let’s say that there are certain short and long time scales effecting radiative observations. In particular that the surface warms at a shorter timescale than the atmosphere and of hydrological processes.

      For an atmosphere that has constant humidity under a clear sky the outbound flux F varies with surface (Ts) and atmospheric (Ta) temperatures as follows

      F = δF/δTs·dTs + δF/δTa·dTa

      If ΔTa << ΔTs which might occur with rapid surface heating during the day.

      ΔF = δF/δTs·ΔTs

      If ΔTa = ΔTs which might occur on longer timescales

      ΔF = δF/δTs·ΔTs + δF/δTa·ΔTs = (δF/δTs + δF/δTa)·ΔTs

      From MODTRAN I have some ballpark figures.

      δF/δTs =~ 1.4W/m^2/ºC
      (δF/δTs + δF/δTa) =~ 3.3W/m^2/ºC

      So it would make a big difference if there is scale separation.

      If on climatic scales and we beleive the RH reamins constant then again from MODTRAN

      dF/dTs = 2.4W/m^2/ºC

      where Ts and Ta are deemed to stay in step (fixed lapse rate).

      MODTRAN is not up to doing a variable lapse rate but

      δF/δTa ΔTa would tend to raise outbound flux.

      So scale separation matters and one needs to be a bit careful what one implies by dF/dT (e.g. which T, and whether this is for constant water content, etc.)

      If we are seeking the illusive λ which has a contribution from dF/dTs then unless one is observig data on a scale that suggests one has separation from weather process, then one must battle out each effect separately, I find the latter to be dubious and and active participants engaged in that quest, find it difficult.


      • Alexander Harvey

        I forgot to mention another point regarding outbound clear sky flux.

        An effect of water vapour content is to make the Flux function more linear than it would be otherwise, particularly if RH remains constant whilst Ts rises. In that case the ratio of the second to the first differential of F against Ts decreases by about 1/3 (in MODTRAN) and I suspect that may be the case in the real world. An Assumption that the planck “Feedback” has a non-linearity of the form 4·T^3, is unlikely to be a safe decision and I am pretty sure that people do make such a choice.


      • But if ε is a function of frequency dTe/dT is not easily defined, which is the case for the Earth.

        Why just ε and not σ? The visible 37% of sunlight reflected by Earth to space-traveling cameras looks generally blue, and while I have no idea how reflection filters the remaining 63% comprised of invisible UV and IR, surely it’s not flat.

        By the Wien Displacement Law both incoming and outgoing radiation occupy the same relative bandwidth, a bit over two octaves depending on where you draw the line, and are lb(20) = 4.3 octaves apart.

        In the case of a planet like Earth with a significant greenhouse effect, I guess the difference must reside in the roles of reflection, absorption, and transmission. Whereas GHGs make absorption of OLR, and hence emissivity, heavily dependent on wavelength, no such strong effect occurs with insolation to make albedo as dependent.

        The two biggest dependencies I can think of for albedo are ozone as the main antigreenhouse gas, which absorbs much of the UV (about 12% of the insolation) before it has a chance to be reflected off anything, and water which reflects (largely via scattering at depth at normal incidence) more blue than yellow for the corresponding reason: water absorbs yellow more strongly than blue, and IR (51% of the insolation) more strongly yet.

        But now that I think of it, these dependencies don’t seem all that small. How would you compare them with the dependence of Earth’s emissivity on wavelength?

        Approximating these effects with a reasonably accurate analytical model might permit taking the derivative.

      • So scale separation matters

        Full simulation is certainly ambitious, raising the question of its necessity when your only question happens to be something like, what will the 12-year-smoothed (moving-average style) global temperature be in 2050?

        With that amount of smoothing and that specific a question, many issues of scale can be seen to have no bearing on the answer, allowing for a faster and likely more accurate estimate than with a more ambitious simulation.

      • Alexander Harvey

        When Scientists Roamed (A Fairy Story)

        Once upon a time, long ago, scientists learned a truth about science. It could change the world for better or for worse. A fact not lost on the people who employed the scientists.

        Then a dreadful war ended with monumental public demonstrations of that power. A concept widely accepted by scientists, including some who had misunderstood the term “demonstration”.

        With peace came the preparations to fight the next war and money poured into science, and scientists were heroes, even if we did not know their names.

        Around then, the coincidence, of a rise of the Earth Sciences, and the development of the digital computer, allowed a lot of clever folks to realise that humankind was not so puny that it could not make the world a different place. It was also realised that we could use that power to create winners and losers.

        Some of those clever people elucidated the basic CO2 chemistry of the ocean and realised that although it was almost a bottomless pit, it probably was not actually absorbing CO2 in the way that had been assumed, which could lead to known consequences, and a wonderful practical scientist, with an obsessive compulsion to measure things with uncalled for accuracy was given the money to monitor atmospheric CO2.

        Within a year the seasonal variability of CO2 was documented, within another year or two the rise in CO2 had been documented, within a few more years, the El Nino signal in CO2 levels was detected and hence evidence for a CO2 temperature feedback loop established, around then or a little later the graph was renamed as the curve and the young scientist’s name was never to be forgotten. Meanwhile a wall was built through a city called Berlin.

        Other folks realised that we could manipulate the weather and make it rain, and in that dark land far away, some clever folks realised that if you packed enough explosives under a mountain range you could remove a rain shadow and modify climate.

        But the world had found itself locked into a deadly game played with apocalyptic weaponry and a group of scientist thought that needed to be fixed, and struggled to put the genie back in the bottle but other scientists saw a different route to hell on earth due to the emissions produced by fossil fuel burning. They knew three things, that CO2 would make the world warmer, that aerosols would make the world cooler, and that atmospheric concentrations of both were rising.

        By that time, the evidence that was available suggested that the world was cooling, so the smart money was on the bet that aerosols were currently the dominant factor and the spectre of an icy blue climate loomed into the future. It was also realised that without that spectral haze the world would warm.

        When men were starting to float in space someone was bright enough to pose the question that if CO2 were so important, didn’t that have some implications for the adoption of nuclear power, we knew this at a time before the summer of love.

        For perhaps twenty years, science and technology, had hugged each other hard. Almost anything seemed possible. Then just those possibilities that some scientists had feared most all along started to appal the citizenry. Scientists were devils and the physical sciences personified evil.

        Students started to hurl abuse at their mentors, to call for their professor’s involvement in government work to be scrutinised, for their dismissal, and threatened worse. Scientists were outed for having danced with the devil.

        Waves of civil unrest swept around the world, the generation gap widened and became viscous and a new urban terrorism was born. Erstwhile students and political agitators, commenced campaigns of terror, their bombs went off, their guns fired, and the state fired back.

        Meanwhile just about every big thing that science would ever need to know about how to manipulate the climate was already known and had been for some while.

        We knew about GHGs and aerosols, about how to build computer models and their limitations, we knew that we could perhaps manipulate the weather in ways so small and subtle that they would be cloaked by natural variability but nethertheless amount to climatic changes that could alter the geopolitical balance. We now knew how to wreck the environment in so many ways.

        The formalisation of all this was still some years away, when some of those clever folks would write it all up in reports some to see the light of day, some to be locked away.

        A few basic insights and some data were all it took for the whole proposition to be explained in time for the early cosmonauts and astronauts to have mused on all this as they looked down on us from the heavens.

        A few hard scientists, and perhaps a very few, ensured the possibility of a public debate. The word did not come from the soggy scientists; theirs is but an echo. Our ability to manipulate the climate was not a Green insight, it was not born of a communist plot, to think so may be funny, as perhaps nothing could be further from the truth.

        It was the work of great minds. A revelation of a poison chalice sent by the physical sciences to the world for the enlightenment of their thinking. It was an idea of the future, from the future, an idea rendered to us in an untimely fashion so appalling as to be almost meaningless. It told us all we needed to know but it implied nothing. It was informative but unhelpful. Then a power station called Three Mile Island had a problem that shook the world.

        Meanwhile as the ink dried on the climate reports, the world was changing. Soon the oceans would be eerily quite not through subterfuge but because they were empty, the cold war was over but no one knew to cheer. We learned the word Glasnost, and the hope of openness returned to an old and weary world and a power station called Chernobyl exploded.

        A nation state grown to Mediaeval Empire had in one lifetime leaped with one bound from feudalism, to super power. Launched on a course cribbed from another history, via revolutions, agrarian, industrial, scientific, and technical, it failed as it succeeded, at its rotten core it imploded. A wall fell, lost nations blinked into the light, and we finally knew to cheer, because they told us so.

        Meanwhile the IPCC convened, discharged its duty, wrote its report and never looked back. Born of a brave new world that learned nothing from history doomed to founder on rocks Balkan and Caucasian, and in desert sands of many lands, it strove on oblivious to its wake and lack of progress across the oceans of the absurd. The once laudable high ratio of insight to effort had reversed, more means less, and excess of knowledge impeded wisdom and destroyed meaning. So the chalice remains but its prescription does change. By some it is hailed as the cup of progress to a better world; by some as a siren made of mischief that beckons us to doom. A world caught between opposing strategies of denial. For there can be no poison or no chalice all must agree, were that there be both would be unthinkable.

        The inevitable rot of all things that sense the light of day creeps slowly and show at first in small ways. Soon the art of treaty signing would embrace the sweet subtle joy of non-ratification, be it climate, or bombs, or international jurisprudence. The sickly ripeness that precedes corruption and putrefaction first delights and then revolts and yet the chalice beckons. Must those that sup with the devil, down the proffered draught and in that way find a forgetting and forgiving in its bitter dregs.

        When young, the desert dune seems far away but inch by inch it comes. First it is just a few grains easily swept away, then a little more, then more, until one is old and tired from the broom and time comes to take out the windows and door, take down the roof, and welcome the desert in, lest the walls crumple from the press of sand. Maybe one day, others will come and find your home newly emergent from the far side, with sound walls; doors, windows, and roof all kept safe; and praise you for your far-sightedness, your wisdom, and generosity.

        This has been but a fairy story, a dimly remembered tale, hence fictional, yet may be absurdly true. It is the fable of a quest to extract meaning from knowledge, to determine action from wisdom, in an imperfect world. It ends with no end in sight; not from lack of knowledge but want of sufficient imagination to accept a whole truth.

        Time for bed.

    • Alexander Harvey

      On the Land-Ocean divergence:

      I have looked at this for too long with a paucity of data but what I can see is the possibility that Land-Ocean forcings diverged during or at the end of 2001.

      Whereas the Land tempertures are still inline high gently rising forcings and at a level of 1.8 +/- o.2 W/m^2 and with a reasonable level of Land-Ocean flux coulpling, presumably mediated by the atmosphere, the oceanic forcings appear to maximise at around the current land rate during or at rhe ond of 2001, arching over into a marked decline of around 1.0 W/m^2 mininmising around 2007-8 and recovering to a level around 0.5W/m^2 below the peak.

      That is what I have seen, a marked diveregence that has lead to the land and ocean temperatures diverging for 8-9 years with no real sign of them coupling up again with ocean forcings barely able to maintain the SST despite a growing land to ocean flux anomaly driven by the temperature divergence.

      Somehow this doesn’t seem to be at all encouraging. I wonder if anyone has modelled what happens if we have persistent temperature divergence.

      Perhaps I should see what odds I could get on being able to swim for real in the Gilf Kebir or for the mighty Hoanib to breach the sand-sea and reach the ocean in my lifetime.


  59. Professor Curry,
    Are you still going to do a post on Makarieva, 2010, or has that been discussed to death at The Air Vent and The Blackboard? I think equation 5.31 in C&W is incorrect even if I don’t agree with the conclusions of AM10.

  60. Dr. Curry,

    Here’s an idea for a new post. Back in 2009, Jeff Masters wrote in Wunderblog about using GCMs to determine when scientists should expect a new global surface temperature record. See

    The key section is:
    “Some of the IPCC models forecast periods lasting many years (in the extreme case, twenty years) with no global warming, due to natural climate and weather oscillations. If one plots up the cumulative distribution of these IPCC model runs to see how often a global average temperature record should be broken (Figure 2), one sees that the models predict a 50% chance that we’ll unambiguously break the record every six years. By an unambiguous record, I mean a record that exceeds the previous one by at least 0.1°C. We’ve now gone ten years without unambiguously breaking the global temperature record, which the models say should happen 25% of the time. ” (bolded removed as I’m not good with html)

    We have now gone 12 years without a new global record. What intrigued me about this was the fact some GCMs show no warming for 20 years. I would like to know more about those GCMs. Which group developed them? What is their estimate of climate sensitivity? Are there any papers about how they account for natural climate variability? It seems they must allow for more variability than most GCMs.

    If these GCMs that allow for extreme variability were removed from the study group as outliers, how often would one expect a new global surface temperature record? Every four years? Every three years?

    It seems to me this is a much more valid use of a GCM than to expect it to provide predictive value. More than anything else, I think the GCMs tell us what we do not know about climate. In that sense, we can learn from them and they have value.

  61. Ron;
    I think you got it backwards. The GCMs would predict much less frequent new records, and would thus be more accurate.

    BTW, to bold something, enclose it within these “tags”: < > . (I won’t bother explaining the trick I used to show you those, but you can copy-paste or type them into your HTML-sensitive text as they are.)

    • Brian,
      Actually my point was different. If you removed the few climate models from the ensemble which can sometimes go 20 years before setting a new record, the models remaining in the ensemble would then predict more frequent new surface temp records. We could finally show the models make poor predictions and can throw the majority of the models out. This would be a huge step forward for science.

      • Yes, but I have the distinct impression that each of these models is produced and supported by its own “research” group, and none of them are likely to agree to be “thrown out”. Since they are evidently major stakeholders in IPCC Inc., I doubt it will happen quite so easily.

  62. Oops, I forgot part of the tagging: here’s the correction:
    <b> </b>

  63. Seems I’ve got myself either defacto banned or put on indefinite “moderation” at CA since Dec 26 when I used the forbidden word “fraud”.

    So I’ll paste a comment from there here, Open as it is, and respond:

    Louise said on NASA GISS – Adjusting the Adjustments
    Jan 2, 2011 at 12:47 PM
    //In response to kuhnkat on Jan 2, 2011 at 12:35 PM:
    Louise, in the case of the Journalist, NO!!! Unless the Journalist wants to give up his job as being an unbiased observer and reporter of facts. (which we have so few of today) In the case of the Doctor, it would depend on whether the disease was within his specialty or whether he had run […]//

    What about John Snow – the chap that discovered that Cholera is transmitted through infected water? He physically removed the handle from the water pump that he believed was the source of the infection. He wasn’t an epidemiologist but a physician. Epidemiology was a new science back then.
    Perhaps Hansen feels as strongly as Dr Snow.
    As it happens, the handle was replaced because the authorities didn’t believe him but luckily the outbreak had dwindled by then anyway.

    To Louise:
    So, your analogy justifies, for you, the removal of the globe’s economic pump handle? Till it is cured of CO2?

    The residents of the area had neighbouring neighbourhoods to hike to to get water as needed. We don’t have any handy planets to do something similar.

    Your arrogance is breathtaking, just like Warmism’s in general.

  64. Julian Flood

    From Pielke Snr:

    New Paper “Modeling Aerosol Impacts On Convective Storms In Different Environments” By Storer Et Al 2010

    There is a new paper that examines the role of aerosols on thunderstorms (h/t to Dev Niyogi of Purdue). Aerosols, of course, have both natural and human sources. The latter include vehicular and industrial emissions, as well as from biomass burning and blowing dust from landscape degradation.

    And aerosol production may be reduced by anthropogenic and biological effects. We live, as they say, in interesting times.


  65. Interesting article on the public’s growing skepticism. It seems even the Dutch folk are not much concerned about global warming anymore and they are most at risk of rising sea levels.,1518,737451,00.html

  66. Прога специально для постинга форумов. Прогон для регистрации на форумах, затем прогон для постинга. Новая версия 2010г, чтобы активации достаточно серийника (в комплекте антивирь не орет)
    + бонус актуальные базы форумов, парсер яндекса, гугла

  67. I just learned of this 23 January 2011 news story from The Hindu:

    “Expert wants cosmic rays’ impact on global warming assessed”


  68. The screaming in Australia for the treatment of cattle in Indonesia

    I sold my cattle to Indonesia. The customer paid me money. Transfer of property right has taken place. The cattle now belong to the customer. The customer now has responsibility for the cattle. I am now not responsible for the cattle. This is simple common sense.

    Failing to identify responsibility and trying to fix a problem is like a dog chasing its tail. It is not achievable.

    Have people become more irrational?