Sense from Von Storch

by Judith Curry

NoTricksZone reports on an interview (in German) with Hans von Storch on the topic “Scientists request honest dialogue” that addresses the issue of climate skepticism.

Some quotes from Von Storch in this interview:

On the loss of credibility, climate science itself is to blame. The science has stirred up scientifically unfounded expectations, says von Storch. The demand that the public has to rapidly accept instructions on how to act in order to save the planet has blurred the boundaries between policy and science. As a result, science has not become something that has to do with “curiosity”, but rather gives the impression that it’s all about pushing a pre-conceived value-based agenda: “As scientists we have become political tools who are to deliver sought arguments to get citizens to do the right thing.”

The problem is not ‘that the public is is too stupid, or uneducated’, but that science has failed to deliver answers to legitimate public questions. Instead they have said, “believe us – we are scientists’. There are many questions among individuals and they have only gotten a ‘stroppy reply,’ Storch finds.”

I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with Von Storch on three different occasions over the last 6 months:  at the Fall AGU meeting when we made presentations in the same session, at the Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation, and two weeks ago when he visited Georgia Tech.  While I have heard him characterize himself as a “warmist,” he is genuinely interested in skepticism and postnormal science.

Analysis of skeptics at Die Klimazweibel

Von Storch is one of the principals of the blog Die Klimazweibel.   Of direct relevance to the topic of this post is the Skeptics Survey Analysis conducted by Rob Maris, and reported by Von Storch here.   The survey was conducted on the internet, and approximately 500 self-proclaimed skeptics responded.  From the post:

It must be emphasized that this is not a representative survey; to begin with, we have no generally accepted definition of what a “skeptic” constitutes. Instead we have simply asked in the introduction “Do you consider yourself a skeptic?”, and invited for responses only if this question was positively answered. However, we consider our survey useful, as it provides a number of hypotheses about this unknown population of “skeptics”, and it is hoped that social scientists may have a starting point to seriously engage in research about this socio-political phenomenon.

If you haven’t read this previously, it is well worth reading.   A few excerpts from the survey results:

Q1: The (roughly) reason for being a skeptic.
The answers to this question show that 2/3 are skeptic because they find that knowledge about the earth’s climate system would be insufficient for legitimating mitigation measures. Only 12% respond that what present knowledge claims is mainly wrong. Climate scientists (11 respondents declare themselves as belonging to this category) were more rigorous than other respondents: 36% tick “mainly wrong”.

Q.3: Initial opinion upon first contact with climatic issues?
There is a clear warmist (38%)/”neutral” tendency. There are some differences when the statistics are filtered according to education background, cultural region or referrer – but not truly significant for the purpose of this survey.

Q.5 How did attendants get to skepticism?
As was expected, internet resources was the most ticked choice in this multiple-options question (63%). The hockey stick discussion also represents a major factor. Both of these are clearly less a factor for skeptical climate scientists (internet 27%); for these scientific publications are an important factor (up to 69%). Interestingly, laymen are most impressed by Al Gore’s “Inconvenient truth” – as a key driver for becoming a skeptic.

Dennis Bray has a follow on post that discusses the confusing definitions and classifications of skeptics.

David Wojick’s comment

So is providing answers to skeptics a simple matter? On the quote of the week thread, David Wojick writes:

However, John Cook’s skepticalscience.com provides an interesting perspective on the complexity and breadth of the debate, one that is no doubt unintended.

Last I looked he listed over 100 skeptical arguments. He frames them in an unsophisticated way, suggesting that skeptics are ignorant, but still they are there. Then he provides a sophisticated pro-AW rebuttal to each one, hoping no doubt to settle the issue. Looking closely one finds that most rebuttals actually contain several distinct arguments, let’s say 300 to 400 arguments in all.

What scientifically informed skeptics know is that there are sophisticated rebuttals to each of these pro-AGW arguments, again probably several to each, making perhaps 1000 distinct scientific arguments. And this is just the tip of the argument iceberg. This is a good measure of how unsettled the science actually is. 

JC comments:  I completely agree with Von Storch’s statements, and he and his colleagues are to be commended for actually trying to understand climate skepticism and skeptics.  I also agree that attempts to placate skeptics such as at skepticalscience.com aren’t terribly effective.  There are many complex, unsettled issues that require much more research.  People with questions often do not even get a “stroppy reply;” they are merely dismissed as “deniers.”  IMO, actual dialogue with skeptics (enabled by the blogosphere) is one of the best ways to increase understanding.

390 responses to “Sense from Von Storch

  1. So the interwebs laid bare the uncertainty. I’m certain that’s a good.
    ==============

  2. And this is the power of it all. That process, of becoming uncertain, makes those on the journey passionate about bringing along those still lamed by certainty. We are a herd, after all.
    ======

  3. Although I would agree that the promotion of policies is a contributing factor to the skepticism of climate science, this too is often used by the scientific community to obscure the very real weaknesses in the scientific hypothesis of the “warmists” .

    “Oh it is just those “right wing” Neanderthals who do not want to look at reality and what must be doe” ….”Those evangelical creationist can not except that they do not have dominion over Earth….blah,blah blah,

    No the problem is not communication, it is not policy prescriptions, or any of the other various symptoms of this disease. The problem is that the hypothesis does not hold up under established scientific scrutiny, so the scientific community has changed the rules on how this particular hypothesis is supposed to be judged. All those other symptoms are just a smoke screen (intentionally or not) that hides the absolute failure of the hypothesis itself to be proven, yet most of the science community acts as if it is. It is shameful

    • Arfur Bryant

      [“No the problem is not communication, it is not policy prescriptions, or any of the other various symptoms of this disease. The problem is that the hypothesis does not hold up under established scientific scrutiny…”]

      Jerry, you are absolutely spot on.

      If the data doesn’t fit the theory, one would expect the ‘scientists’ to re-visit the theory. Instead they produce increasingly complex (and equally un-proveable) pseudo-reasons why the theory is still correct, based on their belief. It is the scientific equivalent of using a hammer to make the jig-saw pieces fit. It is also the reason my scepticism is based on the facts, not the theory.

      Nice comment.

  4. Sean Houlihane

    It was a visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology, sometime around 1980, when I was about 10 that persuaded me that what was presented as science there was heavily biassed and probably not to be taken at face value. The attitude is the clincher for me, the internet only allows me to express my views – I don’t think it has had much influence on them. So I think I agree with the ‘sense’ that engaging in a less authoritarian dialogue might be productive.

  5. Von Storch likes to present himself as a paragon of truth and light,but as co-author with Francis Zwiers of the textbook (Von Storch, H. and F. Zwiers 1999. Statistical Analysis in Climate Research. CUP, Cambridge) he has never explained why he no more than Zwiers has ever applied the techniques of multi-variate regression analysis, that they explain so lucidly, to the putative relationships between global mean temperatures and such critical variables as BOTH atmospheric CO2 AND atmospheric water vapour. Why have they not? Surely not because they don’t like what they would find?

    • T R C Curtin,
      We read in David Wojick’s quote above that climate science is extremely unsettled, that there are “perhaps 1000 distinct scientific arguments”. Surely we cannot take to task anybody on the basis that they haven’t covered each one of those? “Why haved they not?” There could be a thousand, or more, legitimate reasons. I understand your desire, but can only offer the unsolicited “Patience, tolerance”.

      • There’s a very nice irony, here. The urgency is from the desire to forestall catastrophic policy implementation, but the fact is that climate is too complicated to be understood quickly.
        ============

      • Joe Lalonde

        Kim,

        Following temperatures to make models to predict the future is lunacy in it’s infancy. Temperatures are regional events that are influenced by many factors and putting that into a global model shows how uneducated scientists are to understanding this planet.

    • @Curtin
      This is a silly smear. There are plenty of papers with a statistical analysis of the relationship between temperature and a range of explanatory variables. Storch and Zwiers most likely did not write about this because the field is crowded, and they thought they could make a bigger contribution elsewhere.

    • steven mosher

      because it’s a simple exercise and get you only one variable of interest. Temp.
      If you want to see how its done I’ll reccomend arthur Smith’s work or Lucia’s work.

      • Moshe, see Tim below @ 6:44 PM

        I think I’ve never heard so loud
        The quiet message in a cloud.
        ============

      • steven mosher

        Read that. BS. You simply cannot look at C02 in isolation and regress against temperature. There are far more forcings than merely C02. When you know what your doing the answer comes out as the science says it should. I’ll point you at the forcings for Ar5. go do a regression and get back to me. It’s a pretty uninteresting exercise.
        GHGs warm the planet. we know this from working engineering ready physics.

      • steven mosher,

        “GHGs warm the planet. we know this from working engineering ready physics.”

        Do you have any working engineering calculations to show me?

      • nevermind the calculations … “working engineering” doesn’t just live on paper. Where’s the GHG oven we’ve been waiting for?

      • steven mosher

        I’ll make it easy for you.

        When you see a satillite image of the earth, the kind Roy spencer uses to calculate the temperature of the troposphere, do you accept that image and all the physics required to calculate it?

      • So NO calculations! LOL!

      • steven mosher

        Its very simple Sam. But before i point you at them I want you to understand that you ALREADY believe in the physics because you use information and devices built on the assumption that the physics is correct.

        Do you use a cell phone?

      • Steven Mosher,

        I, only interested in your calaculations. If you can do that, show me. Don’t bother with excuses which most AGWers use to distract. So, just deliver those SIMPLE calculations, OK? Don’t let me down, OK?

      • I wanted to be more practical. ..we have a gas that increases global temperature by 30+ degC despite being present in ppmv. I’d like to do something useful with those wonderful, almost supernatural properties

  6. The idea that scientist proposing policies is the driver of skepticism of the hypothesis of AGW is a bit of a smoke screen (intentional or not), It is means by which the scientific community is able to marginalize the skeptics on a different field rather than upon the actual field that the game is being played.

    “Oh those right wingers just don’t want to face up to the solutions that are necessary to solve the problem”….”Oh those creationist do not want to believe they do not have dominion over Earth….blah,blah,blah”

    The problem however is not all the symptoms which have been generated as a result of the AGW hypothesis, the problem is that the hypothesis itself does not withstand established scientific scrutiny. The result is that the scientific community has circled their wagons around AGW in order to protect their golden goose. But the problem, the core disease that infects science, is that the AGW hypothesis is not proven, yet a large segment of the scientific community acts as if it is.

    The inconvenient truth is that the hypothesis itself does not meet muster and the idea that it is a communication problem or a policy problem which drives skepticism is just a straw man argument to distract attention away from the failed theory itself.

    • Jerry,
      I agree. Jaworowski’s papers at
      http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/
      would seem to undermine the entire AGW hypothesis.

      • gyptis444

        It occurs that claiming to be a skeptic while holding only a single source, a single authority, a single writer’s opinion high up like a lantern as the only light to guide one is a bit backwards. Surely this speaks more of being a credulous Jaworowski fanboy than of being a true evenhanded scientific skeptic.

        You could go to the Idsos sites and find dozens of pro-CO2 emission writers like him, of similar quality of pedagogy, authority and skill.

        And if you read them all skeptically, you will find many of the 1,000 arguments Von Storch and Wojick speak of; and among the responses to those 1,000 arguments, some 1,000 other arguments. In some cases, the same argument belongs to both columns.

        You’ll find such a plurality of argument in Jaworowski as to suggest his purpose begins from the conclusion that what he seeks to address is all wrong, and he is mining the world of ideas for proofs of his preconceptions. Which is only part of skepticism if you stop there, and if you stop there, you are committing faulty reasoning.

        Jaworowski actively seeks to skeptically undermine the entire AGW hypothesis; this is a good and laudable pursuit within science so long as the readers are willing to do the skeptical work of evaluating the arguments presented rationally and thoroughly. Weighing carefully these arguments and balancing them among if not all arguments, the best relevant ones, is the next necessary step to avoid (dis)confirmation bias.

        To a skeptic, no one writer’s work is a lantern providing all the light of Truth; it’s a frog.

        Pin it down and dissect it.

  7. Needs saying thrice. And more.
    =========

  8. wait a minute…both you and VS are interested on skepticism from a sociological pov? well, thank you very much. Is that a zoo you have in mind for our future, or a reservation . Seriously I can’t see how the climate issue can be analyzed at a societal level without including the full breadth of beliefs and opinions, from the uberwarmist upwards. Otherwise any “finding” will be undermined by the preposterous assumption that the warmists are “right” no matter what.

    • looks like you forgot to read my last sentence: “IMO, actual dialogue with skeptics (enabled by the blogosphere) is one of the best ways to increase understanding.”

      • one can dialogue with funny natives too without for a moment taking seriously their dance routines…

        what I mean is that Von Storch, and you I presume, appear to be just curious on why people would opt for something as strange as a “skeptical” outlook at the climate change issue, and therefore you seem to refuse the opportunity of understanding why societies would split or even splinter on the topic.

        Would you trust the conclusions of a Republican panel on what would ever make people vote Democrats? Or viceversa?

      • Margaret Mead style study of skeptics (or more generally conservatives) is not uncommon among our educated elite. We are the sociological aborigines of the progressive world. We must be grateful to them for their attention though, since they are at least trying to comprehend our primitive ways. (And if you’re nice to them, sometimes they throw you a banana.)

      • If that’s true, there’s got to be some way to use the race card on them. After all, we’re the noble savages, aren’t we?

      • David L. Hagen

        Such AGW analysis on “skeptics” has about as much validity as Margaret Mead’s on Samoan sexuality – though with the opposite sources of the “fibbing” (or is it self delusion?)
        The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret MeadDerek Freeman p 3

        Fa’amu, was there a day . . .When the woman [Margaret Mead] questioned you about what you did at nights, and did you every joke about this?
        Fa’apua’a Fa’amu: Yes, we did; we said that we were out at nights with boys; she failed to realize that we were just joking and must have been taken in by our pretences. . . As you know, Samoan girls are terrific liars when it comes to joking. But Margaret accepted our trumped up stories as though they were true.
        Galea’i Poumele: And the numerous times that she questioned you, were those the times the two of you continued to tell these untruths to Margaret Mead?
        Fa’apua’a Fa’amu: Yes, we just fibbed and fibbed to her.
        . . . Innocuous though it seemed at the time, that prank, she had come to realize, had had the unintended consequence of totally misleading a great many people about Samoa.

      • ferd berple

        “(And if you’re nice to them, sometimes they throw you a banana.)”

      • If there were a Republican party that never had panels on what would make people vote Democrat, or vice versa, it would be a very short-lived party.

        Look at the downfall of parties who don’t consider what makes people look to the Tea Party, or participate in social media, or move to cities, or leave their faith, or look to religion for answers, or any behavior that speaks to their values and attitudes.

        And if those panels couldn’t rise above their own attitudes, couldn’t at least respect the values of those they sought to understand, because understanding is critical to the survival of their own party.. then their party will dismiss them and appoint a new panel that can.

        So. In the spirit of evenhandedness, what panels of skeptics (other than scientific skeptics who would be skeptical that 1+1=2 for the sake of deepening their understanding of the nature of numbers and operations on them) in the climate have produced effective, meaningful, respectful understanding of the values and attitudes of those who do not reject AGW?

        I can’t argue — with apologies to our host — that even the Barcelona effort qualifies.

      • Bad Andrew

        “actual dialogue with skeptics”

        This is rather cold language. Like two-way communication with political opponents is a last resort. Says a lot, Judith.

        Andrew

      • Well, given her history, it was a first resort. Remember, Judy invited Steve to her rambling wreck of a house long ago.
        ============

      • Bad Andrew

        Kim,

        The history of AGW goes back before the Steve invite.

        Andrew

      • well, what might I have meant by “actual dialogue with skeptics”? how about listening to what skeptics have to say and not slagging them off as “deniers,” acknowledging specific contributions from skeptics, addressing issues that skeptics raise, and mention challenging the IPCC consensus in the blogosphere.

      • Bad Andrew

        The actual dialogue with the skeptics could have happened years ago. You know, before you decided to become diplomatic.

        Andrew

      • Given Ryan Maue’s graph of Accumulated Cyclone Energy, I’ve asked Chris Mooney when he’s going to write ‘Calm World’.

        Judy’s getting all grown up now. The pencil marks on the wall are history.
        ===========

      • Thot there Caribbean whorl was a typhoon in a teapot. There, I got it.
        =====

      • well, i started talking with skeptics in 2006 over at climateaudit. Before Sept 2005, i didn’t talk to anyone besides other academics.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Judith,

        This is precisely the problem I am having is that they believe they are 100% correct and WILL NOT look at anything that may change this view or show that their field of study many have many mistakes.
        At first I put it down to egotism for the accomplishment of being the head of departments or schools but came to realize that it was strictly a “do not tell me, I do not want to know” mentality.

      • Bad Andrew

        Such is the culture of the closed-minded. It’s the opposite of what academic culture should be. It’s like a Seinfeld episode, only not funny.

        Andrew

      • While not qualified to be a “sceptic” in the strict sense insofar as I am not a climate scientist, I fall readily into the sceptic camp as an educated layman with some background in science. I consider the physics underlying the radiative transfer impact of atmospheric CO2 unassailable and believe that the increase in atmospheric Co2 levels might very likely have a significant warming impact on global climate. So far, so good. However, I’m all too aware particularly from my engagement with the blogosphere of the immense complexity of feedbacks which creates huge uncertainties as to likely global temperatures.

        Even a glance at the IPCC4 forcing and feedback error bars allows for a potential zero warming (very unlikely but possible) and even cooling (even more unlikely but still possible). The negative feedback from aerosols and particularly cloud effects is potentially massive if you consider the error bars to the limit.

        See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Radiative-forcings.svg

        I’m far likelier to engage with the AGW question in a positive frame of mind and want to look at ways of dealing with its adverse implications if I don’t feel straitjacketed by a “pure warmist” imperative.

      • Climate scientists think the radiative transfer impact of CO2 is unassailable. But other physicists think it is “unphysical”.

        As far as I can figure, it has not been experimentally verified that CO2 can radiatively transfer net heat energy up a thermal gradient. (Physicists think that would be akin to a perpetual motion machine.) I haven’t seen a climate scientist claim by what experimentally verifiable physical mechanism greenhouse gases operate.

      • Then what keeps the Earth warm?

      • Could easily have something to do with the latent heat of water and significant water vapor content of the atmosphere as well as heat stored in the oceans when they are in the sun. All sailors know about offshore and onshore breezes and why they are. Scientists even know that.

        But while people cling to the unphysical “greenhouse”, they won’t go looking for a better theory.

      • Wildy,

        “Then what keeps the Earth warm?”

        Mainly due to presents of water (liquid and vapor) which absorbs most of the radiant energy from the sun.

      • Wildy,

        AGWers make a very serious mistake in their modeling ignoring the air is a good thermal insulator.

      • BLouis,

        ‘But while people cling to the unphysical “greenhouse”…

        Can you explain in technical terms what exactly is ‘unphysical’ about the greenhouse theory? I’m writing a science sketch comedy act and I think this explanation would crack people up.

        Sam,

        ‘Mainly due to presents of water (liquid and vapor) which absorbs most of the radiant energy from the sun.

        That’s patently false. Just look at the absorption spectrum of liquid and vapor water on top of the solar spectrum. The solar spectrum (indicated by the colors on that picture) overlaps with the weakest portion of water’s absorption spectrum. Therefore, water absorbs almost no sunlight. There is some UV absorption, but so little sunlight is in that region that it doesn’t affect much in the atmosphere.

        You actually might want to look at some data before saying something you don’t know and others know to be as false as claims come.

        On top of that,

        ‘…ignoring the air is a good thermal insulator.’

        shows you really have little to no idea how energy is transferred to the atmosphere or how climate models work. The only way to ‘insulate’ the surface of the earth is capture the emitted IR radiation that the earth gives off as a blackbody at non-zero temperature. Most of the molecules in the air of the atmosphere (O2 and N2) CANNOT absorb that energy due to very strict quantum mechanical rules on transitions between vibrational states. CO2 and water, on the other hand, CAN absorb IR radiation emitted by the earth because those rules on vibrational transitions are less severe for those molecules.

        After IR absorption happens in CO2 and water molecules, collisions transfer that energy to O2 and N2 molecules which cannot easily get rid of it. Therefore, the translational energy of these molecules increases, causing an increase in the gas’s temperature, by the physical definition of temperature.

        So the fact that air is a good insulator depends explicitly on the physical reality of the greenhouse effect. Therefore, if you’re using a greenhouse forcing in a climate model, you are implicitly accounting for the fact that air is not a good conductor of heat.

      • maxwell,

        “That’s patently false. Just look at the absorption spectrum of liquid and vapor water on top of the solar spectrum. The solar spectrum (indicated by the colors on that picture) overlaps with the weakest portion of water’s absorption spectrum. Therefore, water absorbs almost no sunlight. There is some UV absorption, but so little sunlight is in that region that it doesn’t affect much in the atmosphere. ”

        So you think water on the Earth is not heated by the Sun. This is most unscientific conclusion I have ever heard. I feel sorry for your ancester Maxwell if you are related. I feel sorry for the AGWers.

        “You actually might want to look at some data before saying something you don’t know and others know to be as false as claims come. ”

        HaHa! Think about it yourself!

      • maxwell,

        My apology for the hardship comment above, but you willy need to put in more effort to understand energy and heat transfer.

        “shows you really have little to no idea how energy is transferred to the atmosphere or how climate models work. The only way to ‘insulate’ the surface of the earth is capture the emitted IR radiation that the earth gives off as a blackbody at non-zero temperature. Most of the molecules in the air of the atmosphere (O2 and N2) CANNOT absorb that energy due to very strict quantum mechanical rules on transitions between vibrational states. CO2 and water, on the other hand, CAN absorb IR radiation emitted by the earth because those rules on vibrational transitions are less severe for those molecules. ”

        You need to know each molecule on the Earth surface has its own temeperature and each molecule in the air also has its own temperature. In general, air molecules have lower temperature then the ground molecules. If you consider radiation heat transfer h=k(Tg^4-Ta^4) where k is a constant, Tg is the ground molecule temperature, Ta is the air molecule temperature, the net heat transfer from the ground molecule to the air molecule is h. When there is no air molecule (hypothetically) surrounding the ground molecule, the heat loss to the space by the ground molecule is H=kTg^4 which loss heat a lot faster.

      • Maxwell said,

        “Therefore, water absorbs almost no sunlight. ” That presents a bit of a conundrum. The ocean albedo is is 0.06 so it don’t reflect much visible light. I must be magic. Or perhaps those area under those little lobes in the red and near infrared do more than you would think. Also ever wondered what NaCL, planktons, alga, trace elements do other than just hanging out? If 0.004% CO2 plays are radiative role, what would 3% NaCl do? If I remember my chemistry classes the NaCl flame was green yellow. So is it magic or science?

      • Sam,

        ‘So you think water on the Earth is not heated by the Sun.’

        The picture I linked to in my above comment explicitly shows that water vapor is not heated by the sun. The absorption coefficient of water vapor in the sunlight region of the EM spectrum is virtually zero. So no, I don’t think water vapor is not heated by the sun. I KNOW it’s not heated by the sun.

        As for,

        ‘You need to know each molecule on the Earth surface has its own temeperature and each molecule in the air also has its own temperature.’

        you are again demonstrating a complete lack of comprehension of the pertinent physics involved in these processes. Temperature is NOT a molecular property. Temperature is a bulk property. That is, the temperature of a substance is a property of many, many atoms and molecules, not single molecules.

        Moreover, you cite the Stefan-Boltzmann law as though it’s meaningful in the context of an alternative explanation to the greenhouse effect. The fact that the surface of the earth emits IR radiation is important (that’s why I already mentioned it), but you are assuming that there is also a continuous distribution of emitted radiation from the atmosphere, which is not true.

        The atmosphere can only emit radiation in the windows allowed by quantum mechanical rules on transitions of the vibrational states of specific molecules. For the vast majority of molecules in the atmosphere, N2 and O2, there are no such allowed transitions. Therefore, the mechanisms for light emission between the surface of the earth (where the density of states is much higher and quantum mechanical selection rules for transitions are less restrictive) and the atmosphere are very different.

        On top of that, you still have yet to disprove that the physical mechanism that heats the earth’s surface and supplies the energy gradients necessary for weather is in fact energy transfer from photo-excited greenhouse gas molecules to homonuclear diatomics which cannot emit radiation easily.

        You just claim you’re correct and that I am mistaken. I’m starting to get the impression that this tactic is par for the course for many who consider themselves ‘skeptics’. It’s giving me a rather bad name.

      • Dallas,

        you have to invoke the Beer-Lambert Law.

        That is, the optical density of a substance is the molar extinction coefficient times the concentration of absorbers time the path length.

        Have you ever been to Crater Lake? It’s the purest water in North America. You can actually see down to the bottom of the lake when the water is 80 feet deep! That’s pretty far.

        What does that tell me, though? It tells me in that 80 foot column of water, very little light is being absorbed. So what happens in the ocean?

        Because the ocean is MILES deep, you can have a very small absorption coefficient amplified by the path length from the Beer-Lambert law and, voila, a large transfer of energy to the oceans.

        But even still, on a molecule per molecule basis, water absorbs very little sunlight. So little that water vapor makes almost no contribution to atmospheric absorption of sunlight, which was the original point.

        How does that work for magic?

      • maxwell,

        “The picture I linked to in my above comment explicitly shows that water vapor is not heated by the sun. The absorption coefficient of water vapor in the sunlight region of the EM spectrum is virtually zero. So no, I don’t think water vapor is not heated by the sun. I KNOW it’s not heated by the sun.”

        Again, your explanation that the Sun cannot heat up water vapor in the air is flawed. Water vapor is bombarded by e-m photons directly from the Sun and gain high kinectic energy and heated up when bombarding with other molecules. It does not need to absorb the required spectrum in order to be heated up.

        “you are again demonstrating a complete lack of comprehension of the pertinent physics involved in these processes. Temperature is NOT a molecular property. Temperature is a bulk property. That is, the temperature of a substance is a property of many, many atoms and molecules, not single molecules.”

        Whatever your interpretation of temeperature of a bulk of molecules or a single molecule, it does not matter. The fact is they have temeperature or energy. There is a change of energy when the Sun e-m wave photon hit a particular molecule it gains kinectic energy and subsequent bombardment with other molecules heat up or transfer of energy amongst molecules and overall heated up the group of molecules.

        “Moreover, you cite the Stefan-Boltzmann law as though it’s meaningful in the context of an alternative explanation to the greenhouse effect.”

        You insist its green house effect, so be it. But I can tell you even O2 and N2 does not absorb radiation from the Earth or from the Sun, they gain energy when directly bombarded by these photons hence a slow down of heat loss by the atmosphere to the space.

        ” The fact that the surface of the earth emits IR radiation is important (that’s why I already mentioned it), but you are assuming that there is also a continuous distribution of emitted radiation from the atmosphere, which is not true. ”

        You have to teach K&T that their 1997 Global Annual Mean Radiation Budget is wrong.

        “The atmosphere can only emit radiation in the windows allowed by quantum mechanical rules on transitions of the vibrational states of specific molecules. For the vast majority of molecules in the atmosphere, N2 and O2, there are no such allowed transitions. Therefore, the mechanisms for light emission between the surface of the earth (where the density of states is much higher and quantum mechanical selection rules for transitions are less restrictive) and the atmosphere are very different.”

        The air molecule atomic volume occupy the atmosperic space is small. Some radiation photons from the Earth directly went to the space at the speed of light with some unfortunate photons bombarding the air molecules losing photon kinectic energies.

        “On top of that, you still have yet to disprove that the physical mechanism that heats the earth’s surface and supplies the energy gradients necessary for weather is in fact energy transfer from photo-excited greenhouse gas molecules to homonuclear diatomics which cannot emit radiation easily. ”

        No such hypothesis is not valid so far.

        “You just claim you’re correct and that I am mistaken. I’m starting to get the impression that this tactic is par for the course for many who consider themselves ‘skeptics’. It’s giving me a rather bad name.”

        I am not a skeptic yet, might become one in future.

      • maxwell,

        You really need to study K&T’s 1997 Global Annual Mean Radiation Budget. I don’t mean that this budget is correct but at least you are a warmist should be in consistent with your warmist/alarmist leaders. From Fig 7 of that budget, atmosphere absorbs Sun’s incoming e-m wave photon energies through bombardment.

        I would really recommend you try to get an account of that 324W/m2 GHG back radiation which comes from pseudoscience.

      • Sam,

        Your argument makes no sense.

        ‘Water vapor is bombarded by e-m photons directly from the Sun and gain high kinectic energy and heated up when bombarding with other molecules. It does not need to absorb the required spectrum in order to be heated up.’

        So now you’re invoking inelastic light scattering? Whereby some energy from a photon is transferred to a water molecule via photon pressure?

        How much energy does the typical water molecule get from an inelastic scattering event and how does one calculate that energy?

        One could investigate this idea more thoroughly by calculating the molecular polarizability of a water molecule, which will give you the intensity of the scattering, both elastic and inelastic. Needless to say, the inelastic scattering contributes much less. Actually the frequency dependence of the molecular polarizability accounts for why the sky is blue, interestingly enough.

        In this case, there is a larger oversight that allows us to forgo the said calculation. What is it about a water molecule that makes an incident photon ‘want’ to transfer kinetic energy to it? Why wouldn’t a photon ‘want’ to do the same to a N2 molecule? Or a O2 molecule?

        Absolutely nothing. In accounting for radiation pressure, the only aspect of material system that matter is that it is, in fact, made of matter. Therefore, radiation pressure should have the exact same effect on every single N2 and O2 molecule that it has any water molecule.

        If water is picking up substantial energy from scattering from ‘collisions’ with photons, so should every other molecule, and atom for that matter, in the atmosphere. Yet, we see no such effect that depends on the total irradiance from the sun, which should more strongly determine how much energy there was in the atmosphere if this physical process were happening.

        Not only that, we observe nothing like this process in laboratory experiments. The transfer of energy from light to molecules almost exclusively happens via absorption processes. Some energy can get transferred via inelastic light scattering to the vibrational levels of molecules using visible light, but that process is orders of magnitude less efficient than absorption.

        As for the K&T graphic, I’m pretty familiar with it. They don’t claim there is any transfer of energy to water via collisions or ‘bombardments’ from photons. I really don’t understand the connection between the those two ideas.

        I’m looking forward to the next explanation you pull out of your rear end.

      • maxwell,

        “Your argument makes no sense.”

        That is standard AGWers standard non-sense reply, no surprise from you as expected.

        “So now you’re invoking inelastic light scattering? Whereby some energy from a photon is transferred to a water molecule via photon pressure?

        How much energy does the typical water molecule get from an inelastic scattering event and how does one calculate that energy?”

        So how much do you think with your elastic/inelastic scattering theory, typical diversion of attention from the AGWers, no surprise.

        “One could investigate this idea more thoroughly by calculating the molecular polarizability of a water molecule, which will give you the intensity of the scattering, both elastic and inelastic. Needless to say, the inelastic scattering contributes much less. Actually the frequency dependence of the molecular polarizability accounts for why the sky is blue, interestingly enough.

        In this case, there is a larger oversight that allows us to forgo the said calculation. What is it about a water molecule that makes an incident photon ‘want’ to transfer kinetic energy to it? Why wouldn’t a photon ‘want’ to do the same to a N2 molecule? Or a O2 molecule?”

        Yes it will do the same with N2 and O2. Now you have got them right. Congratulations. You are now realising global warming has nothing to do with trace gas CO2.

        “In accounting for radiation pressure, the only aspect of material system that matter is that it is, in fact, made of matter. Therefore, radiation pressure should have the exact same effect on every single N2 and O2 molecule that it has any water molecule. ”

        Glad that you realized that now.

        “If water is picking up substantial energy from scattering from ‘collisions’ with photons, so should every other molecule, and atom for that matter, in the atmosphere. Yet, we see no such effect that depends on the total irradiance from the sun, which should more strongly determine how much energy there was in the atmosphere if this physical process were happening.

        Not only that, we observe nothing like this process in laboratory experiments. The transfer of energy from light to molecules almost exclusively happens via absorption processes. Some energy can get transferred via inelastic light scattering to the vibrational levels of molecules using visible light,”

        Agreed.

        ” but that process is orders of magnitude less efficient than absorption. ”

        A typical hollow AGWer’s unsubstantiated biased claim, no surprise.

        “As for the K&T graphic, I’m pretty familiar with it. They don’t claim there is any transfer of energy to water via collisions or ‘bombardments’ from photons. I really don’t understand the connection between the those two ideas. ”

        Not just water, the atmospheric air that absorb Sun’s energy in Fig 7 which contradicted your theory that air do not get heated from the Sun’s E-M wave spectrum. You have low understanding of K&T’s 1997 Global Annual Mean Radiation Budget and your hypothesis.

        “I’m looking forward to the next explanation you pull out of your rear end.”

        HaHa! LOL! Very educated! Maxwell must be very proud of you in his grave.

      • Stirling English

        Have you ever seen *any* claim by a climate scientist that can be experimentally verified?

        They are always very careful to pontificate in terms that cannot be so tested. Doing so would raise the unpleasant and highly unwelcome prospect of being proved wrong. And they are past masters at hiding their data and methods just in case too.

      • ferd berple

        If we were to double the volume of O2,N2 in the atmosphere and hold everything else unchanged, what does the radiative transfer model say about temperature? It predicts that surface temperature will remain unchanged. Since we have not increased the amount of GHG, temperature must remain the unchanged.

        The biggest argument made in support of climate models is that there is only one earth. This ignores the fact that we have other planets in the solar system with atmosphere and we have temperature data for these planets. If the radiative transfer model is correct, then it must hold true for all the planets, not just earth.

        Comparisons of earth with the atmospheres of other planets show that the temperatures are a function of atmospheric pressure and distance from the sun. The denser the atmosphere, the closer to the sun, the greater the surface temperature, regardless of albedo or composition. The near perfect correlation suggests this is not simply a coincidence.

        This contradicts the radiative transfer model. Both models cannot be true. Radiative tranfers says that increasing the volume of non GHG in the atmosphere will not change the temperature of the atmosphere. Observation of the other planets suggests that this is not correct.

      • How can you say ‘regardless of albedo’? A white planet should be cooler than a black one. Venus has an albedo of 0.7, Earth 0.3. You have ignored a major term in the energy balance of the planets.

      • There’s only one thing missing:
        Honest communication should also include telling skeptics, where they are wrong.

      • andreas writes “Honest communication should also include telling skeptics, where they are wrong.”

        The problem with that idea is that we skeptics/deniers are not wrong in the parts that matter.

      • Oh, of course, “true skeptics” simply know, what’s right and wrong. And J.Curry knows true skeptics, and don’t want to hurt any feelings and sighs on some issues. That’s the reason I stopped reading her blog regularly, it became biased.

      • The skeptics are constantly telling themselves what they’ve got wrong. Some of the alarmists do too.
        ===========

      • Bad Andrew

        andreas,

        If you truly wanted to find out who’s right and who’s wrong and what is true and what is false, you have to start by rejecting unthinking acceptance of what other people say, and start using your own judgement based on your own evaluation of the evidence.

        I wish you the best of success in your efforts.

        Andrew

      • maybe you missed the threads on slaying the greenhouse dragon, among others:
        https://judithcurry.com/2011/01/31/slaying-a-greenhouse-dragon/

      • andreas –
        Honest communication should also include telling skeptics, where they are wrong.

        That’s true. The problem is that most warmists don’t know where the skeptics are wrong – they just know where they think the skeptics are wrong, but they can’t back up their opinions with hard fact.

        Things like “the models say…” or “the scientific consensus says…. ” or “CO2 acts like a blanket… ” are NOT hard fact. They’re not even accepted as opinion anymore, just as a belly laugh.

        Are the skeptics wrong sometimes? Yup. But be prepared to prove it if you say it.

      • Dear Jim,

        my point is, that a “honest broker” is supposed to report balanced. Judy Curry writes a lot, where the IPCC or mainstream scientist could be wrong, but very seldom where skeptics COULD be wrong.
        Dismissing “Slaying the Dragon” is an easy thing, it’s a kind of denier nonsense, there should be consensus between skeptics and warmists.

      • I write about topics that I find interesting. Trying to debunk every piece of nonsense that someone comes up with is not what i find interesting.

      • andreas –
        A few points to ponder –
        1) It’s Dr Curry’s blog – she can write (or allow to be written) anything she wants, whether science or science fiction – or nonsense. And I’ve found that most of that shows up on ANY blog that’s open (not restrictive like RC)

        2) Countering ALL the nonsense on both sides of the dance floor is an endless job. I doubt she has time or energy to do that. I wouldn’t – and don’t.

        3) If what a skeptic presents is nonsense, it will generally be corrected at some point by someone else here, whether skeptic or warmist. It may not happen in the same thread or on the same day – but it does generally happen. But you’ll see it only if you’re reading the blog consistently.

        4) The importance of correcting the IPCC/mainstream science far exceeds that of correcting the errors of the skeptics. The IPCC/mainstream science is far more likely to be used (or misused) in the generation of policy than the other. And likely would have been had Climategate not happened. Yes – Climategate mattered. Do you really believe that the Chinese, among others, weren’t paying attention to it? Where do you think their opposition came from at Copenhagen?

        5) This blog encourages discussion, it contributes to the distribution of knowledge, and to the correction of error on the part of many of the participants, as well as offering a forum where those who hold different points of view can exchange ideas, argue, debate, discuss, whatever – all of which contributes to the humanization of the debate. That’s a far cry from those blogs that try their best to dehumanize the other side. If I read her right, that is one of Dr Curry’s purposes here.

        6) Ultimately, some of the skeptic ideas that show up here will filter back into the climate community and show up in the mainstream science. Will the skeptics get credit for those ideas? Of course not. But the important thing is that those ideas will eventually be investigated. Or do you think that “other” climate scientists never look at this blog, never read what’s here – whether they contribute or not?

        Long ago and far away I was involved in the design of one of the first distributed processing systems for NASA. It took years for the technical capabilities to catch up to the ideas that were generated there, but today there are spacecraft constellations that are operated from the kind of system that we envisioned back in the late 60’s. Seeds are important.

        IOW, this blog may be a seed generator for future advances in climate science – and possibly other sciences, as well. You may not be able to see that now, but look back in 20 years and I think you’ll tell me it’s true. Is that a prediction? No – just an opinion, but one that’s based on having seen this kind of phenomenon before – and having seen the end result many years down the road.

      • thx nice analysis :)

      • Nah; warmists and their luke-friends seem impervious to understanding. They’re just not interestested, are you?

  9. I don’t understand the need to “placate sceptics”. Maybe is better trying just to convince sceptics … and to placate some warmists. Eli Darling is a very good candidate, if you are going to ask. And there are some more.

    As for the effectiveness of Skeptical Science, some sceptics agree with you. See Motl: John Cook: Skeptical Science

    actual dialogue with skeptics (enabled by the blogosphere) is one of the best ways to increase understanding.

    Sure. And you are doing a great job. It doesn’t guarantee an increase in confidence on the statements of the “consensus” scientists, though. It could be the other way around, but that’s the game.

  10. Now that I am in front of a proper keyboard I can elaborate further. With just a small amount of exaggeration, there doesn’t seem to be that much of a difference wrt the “skeptics” among the likes of Greenfyre, John Cook, Hans Von Storch…and Judith Curry.

    They all concur (and I hope I am wrong about this) that the only rational choice for a fully-fledged mentally healthy knowledgeable honest human being is to be a “warmist”.

    In other words, people that express “skepticism” of whatever degree are not behaving like rational, fully-fledged etc etc human beings.

    The only differences in this way of thinking are therefore linked to interpretations on what is the “primum movens” of skeptics. Greenfyre believes skeptics belong to an evil species; John Cook considers the skeptics as reptilian Untermenschen; Von Storch (and Judith Curry) see the skeptics as “funny people”, the way Stanley and Livingstone might have looked at those amusing natives getting in their way on the path towards Great Achievements.

    Hence (among a few) the interest in their sociology, and in eliciting a dialogue with those strange people called “skeptics”.

    Boy do I hope I am wrong. That was the reason for one of my comments yesterday: I do not want to find out that not even our Dear Host can fathom the simple point that we are all human beings, and we all (well, the overwhelming majority) make our choices on a rational basis. And as things stand, some can opt for “warmism” and others otherwise, for perfectly good, honest, human reasons.

    Otherwise, there’s nothing to talk about, and I’d rather get paid to entertain touring warmists like those Kenyans a few years ago making a living by pretending to be primitive villagers for the tourists.

    • a bit of a mess up in the tags, apologies

    • yup me and greenfyre are just two peas in a pod.

      • yup, am exaggerating and said so. No, you don’t need to store up on bananas. still, it’d be nice to understand how far does the “Margaret Mead” analogy go. Or “Diane Fossey” 8-)

      • Hey, we’re cooling and this reptile is skeert.
        ========

      • There’s gotta be a good ‘Heart of Darkness’ metaphor in there somewhere. How about ‘Typhoon’?
        =========

      • Omnologos,
        My take on this is that most warmers are genuinely puzzled how there can even be skeptics. How is that they (we) can hold on to their “contrarian beliefs” in the face of the physical law that states that more CO2 means higher temperatures? To most warmers, this law is so basic that smart people who don’t act on it must have something (else) wrong with them. Remember Monbiot’s explanation for the prevalence of older skeptics? In a nutshell, it was that these unfortunates were perhaps driven to their illogic by a fear of their impending death. Wow!
        Such is our cross. We must bear it with grace, methinks, and patiently explain that it’s not that we’re (even temporarily) especially loony, or especially fearful, or especially …
        For those days when you find it difficult to laugh at the notion of being prodded with sticks to see what makes us go, I will remind you that Margaret Mead is also remembered for lots of things beside her anthropological work, one of which is her wonderful quote:
        “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
        We’ll get by.

      • apologies, got hung up in spam filter

      • That’s been pretty much the upshot of the little bit of dialog that I’ve had. They understand IR absorption, and know there’s this thing called feedback, and so it’s all rigorous. And amazingly, people with supposed scientific credentials frequently miss the part about reradiation; they’re cocksure that this is all about incoming radiation.

        A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and the people who are convinced that it’s as simple as shining a heat lamp at a bottle of CO2 are the most dangerous ones of all.

      • Sure we’ll do. I just wanted to understand if it’s Judith=Margaret (or Diane). Personally, I am not so sure, but I trust David Wojick’s judgement for the time being.

      • Better two peas in a pod that what one high school student wrote: “two pees in a pot”. ;-)

    • Omno (can I call you Omno?): Your characterization of Dr. Curry is incorrect but your underlying point is important. We are seeing a slew of studies all trying to explain the error of skepticism. We are seeing no studies trying to explain the error of AGW. Therefore these studies are mostly part of the AGW campaign. To ask the question is to impugn the rationality of skepticism.

      • David,
        I’m not trying to be flip, but the explanation for AGW error is pretty easy and demonstrated clearly by the hockey stick journey of Steve McIntyre. Every community has bad apples (sloppy, incompetent, even corrupt). Communities which strive for integrity clean up the bad apples and embrace truth. Communities which lack integrity act the way the climate science community did in the hockey stick saga. It is a textbook example of what happens when a community loses its integrity.

        Or perhaps an even simpler, yet adequate, explanation — “why should I share my data with you when you only want to find something wrong with it.” When that’s the state of your “science”, error is a foregone conclusion. It’s unavoidable.

      • Stan, I was not asking for an explanation, rather I was making a point about the present research outputs being pro-AGW, so you point is somewhat irrelevant. As for your explanation, I think it is too simplistic.

      • I knew you were not seeking an explanation. I was positing (only somewhat tongue in cheek) that a reason why skeptics do not bother attempting to “explain” AGW error is that the exercise is straighforward. Of course, my two paragraphs were simplistic. Such is the inevitable nature of two paragraph summaries.

        I agree with your point about the silly, one-sided nature of such “studies”.

      • Stirling English

        ‘Simplistic’ perhaps, But none the worse for that.

        I think you have extracted the essence of the problems very succinctly. As many climatologists persistently act like shysters, it is reasonable enough for us poor inferior peasants to believe that they are indeed shysters. And to give them and their ‘work’ the deference due to shysters everywhere.

        If it walks like a duck…………..

      • Stan,
        the problems with integrity don’t stop with the hockeystick. Have you read the IAC review of IPCC’s procedures? The whole deck of cards is riddled with problems.

      • Documenting all the problems with integrity would take several volumes of an encyclopedia. My point was that one can make a compelling case why any rational person should be a skeptic with nothing more than the hockey stick saga. Or, as an alternative, Phil Jones’ famous repudiation of the essence of scientific inquiry. Each is sufficient to demonstrate that the climate science community has abandoned the basic requirements of scientific integrity.

        Only a fool would knowingly embrace the results of a thoroughly corrupt process.

      • The climate science community has thousands of honest people in it, perhaps tens of thousands. I think your claims of corruption are seriously wrong. Politicization is unfortunate but it is not corruption. It is the opposite of corruption, namely overzealous idealism. If you don’t understand the situation you are unlikely to take proper action. Calling idealists crooks is unhelpful.

      • We must nuance the meaning of corruption. With respect to knowledge, the community is corrupted by exaggeration of the CO2 effect. With respect to ethics, the community is mostly corrupted only by the herd’s silence, and by a very few, but influential, crooners in the cocoon. Further, with respect to ethics, almost the entire community is motivated by good intentions, which may be intrinsically uncorrupted yet still geographically so.
        ==========

      • If I see fur, it is because I am a flea nestled in Aristotle’s beard.
        ========

      • I prefer to use words accurately. It is helpful when trying to say what is true.

      • The distinction between corruption and idealism is a distinction without a difference. In fact a cynic would say that corruption is preferable, because you can negotiate with it. You could negotiate with Italian Fascism. You couldn’t negotiate with German Fascism. Which one was worse?

      • The difference is huge. Corruption is far easier to defeat. This is why all the skeptical claims of corruption are ineffective. They miss the mark.

      • David,
        It is clear the process has become corrupted.
        Just like Wall St. or government bureaucracies or religious organizations, the net impact can become very corrupt without each memebr in particular being corrupt.
        One of the false defenses of climate science is to pose the impossible- a top down massive intricate conspiracy, as a false choice for skeptics questioning the problems of AGW.

      • Hunter, perhaps we do not disagree. I agree that there is no massive conspiracy. The community, including especially the funding agencies, is in the grip of an ideological movement. If you can find a sense of the word “corruption” that includes ideological movements that is fine, as long as it does not imply dishonesty, which corruption usually does.

        Perhaps the system is corrupt in the broader sense of “fouled up” or “not working right” which is certainty the case. But it is vital to keep in mind that these people honestly believe what they say. (As an applied analytical philosopher I look for conceptual confusions and this is a big one.)

      • That depends on how you define “conspiracy”. Is there a such thing as “Big Green”? Obviously. Are they working together (or “breathing together”, the root words of “conspiracy”) to capture the science community? Obviously. Are they conspiring to blur the line between science and policy? Obviously. Is the end game of this a preferred policy? Obviously. Is science just a tool toward a preferred policy? Obviously.

        The only thing that isn’t conspiratorial about it is that it’s mostly out in the open. But they do try to obscure the connections between Big Green groups and Big Left groups. Go over to RC some time and ask about Fenton Communications and see what happens.

      • My question is when does a corrupt process, corrupt the participants? In a legal sense this is why we have punishments against “conspiracy” and “abetting”

        Encourage or assist (someone) to do something wrong, in particular, to commit a crime or other offense

        Or if you wish “he who knows to do right and does it not, to him it is a sin”

        Failure to report a crime is a crime, even when done by honest people, that is when they cease to be honest people. But it is worse than that, when the climate science community in general, not just some random rouge individuals, does not cleanse obviously corrupted science and scientist from their field but instead builds upon it in order to profit from it…that is corruption.

        If an otherwise honest individual can be prosecuted for buying stolen goods if he knows the goods were stolen, why should we consider scientist who use known corrupted science to profit in their field to not also be corrupt?

        A perfect example of this is Dr. Richard Muller’s famous destruction of the scientists and scientific methods used and exposed by climategate and much of the IPCC generated material. Yet he still holds that AGW is a serious threat!
        http://jer-skepticscorner.blogspot.com/2011/04/just-another-hitch-in-get-along.html

        Based on what?

        Based on the fact that AGW is a cash cow for the scientific community.

        The claim that honest scientist who are caught up in a corrupt process ought to somehow be held innocent of the misdeeds of their peers when they do little to stop it is like Albert Speers claiming that he was just a very good architect.

      • John Kannarr

        Where are the thousands of climate scientist idealists who are idealistic about the integrity of their science? Why are so few of them not as disgusted as I am by the shenanigans of refusing to share data, ludicrous exonerations of the scientists involved in various climategate issues by “tribunals” that don’t even interview accusers, attempts (and successes) in stacking the peer-review and editing process of journals, etc. How is it that so much overzealous politicization occurs among these idealists but no over- or even any zealous attention to scientific integrity? And why when any climate scientist says, “wait a minute, some of those complaints are valid,” are they immediately are accused of going over to the dark side, rather than praised for their integrity?

      • When the “idealists” rake in money in exact proportion to the degree they favor the party line, the quality of the idealism is suspect.

      • David,

        I didn’t call anyone a crook. I said a PROCESS is corrupt. When scientists fail to check each other’s work, the scientific process has been corrupted. When they refuse to share data, when they use invalid statistical techniques and refuse to seek help, when the databases are shown to lack quality control, and when they refuse to rein in demonstrated error by others in the community — the process has been corrupted.

        Thousands of scientists knew (or were grossly negligent in not knowing) that the claims of peer review, etc regarding the IPCC were false. Those thousands of scientists allowed their work and their reputations to be used in support of a lie. Their failure to stand up for integrity helped to corrupt the process.

        The failure of the climate science community to support McIntyre’s efforts to get data and code was corrupt. It was anti-science. Phil Jones’ response to Warwick Hughes was anti-science. As such, it corrupts the scientific process.

        “All that is needed for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” When your “honest” scientists failed to stand up to the corruption of science, they became participants in that corruption.

      • yes, this is how i used the word “corrupt” in the context of my critique of IPCC. i understand where you are coming from, but I took a lot of heat for using “corrupt” in this way.

      • maybe ‘bias’ is the better word?

      • “Corrupt” is actually a pretty straightforward word. Think corrupt computer file. It means distorted, and lacking integrity. Process can be corrupted, and so can people. It has nothing to do with ethics, morality, etc. It has to do with integrity, which I will point out is the word Feynman kept using to distinguish cargo cult science from real science.

        You could reformulate that to say that Feynman was saying that cargo cult science is exactly the same thing as corrupt science.

      • Is the estimable D. Wojick any closer to the truth with all these accurate words? It’s the silence of the sheep, and crooning of the cocooners, and the shearing of the poor.
        ==========

      • cor·rupt (k-rpt) adj.
        1. Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved.
        2. Venal; dishonest: a corrupt mayor.
        3. Containing errors or alterations, as a text: a corrupt translation.
        4. Archaic Tainted; putrid.

        Words mean what they mean, not just what we want them to mean (despite the wishes of Humpty Dumpty, some on this blog, and progressives in general). When a word used in a heated debate has multiple meanings, and one of them is particularly offensive, don’t be surprised if the people you are speaking about think you mean the harsher definition.

        That is why the word “denier” bothers skeptics, and CAGWers are not fond of the word “corrupt”.

      • That’s well and good, but when describing a process, definitions 1 and 2 don’t apply, whereas when describing people definition 3 can. When Feynman used the term “integrity” is was the opposite of corrupt definition 3.

        IOW, you don’t need venality to explain the corruption of the processes or the people, and when you do use it to refer to people, all you’re doing is speculating. That’s just a little too close to conspiracy land, and it isn’t necessary, even if it might be true.

        Would Hansen still be a true believer without the $250,000 Tides prize? I think so. But the line between definitions 1 or 2 and 3 rides on the answer to that question.

      • Donna L. has a quote from climate scientist Garth Paltridge about what happened when he asked questions about the IPCC report:

        It was like stirring a hornet’s nest. One after another the global warming experts rose to condemn me for questioning in public the conclusions of an IPCC report that had been compiled and endorsed as the consensus opinion of a large number of knowledgeable scientists. What right had I to make negative comments when I was not an expert in that particular aspect of climate science? If I wanted to question the science then the proper procedure was to write my thoughts in a formal scientific paper that could be subjected to peer review. And so on and so forth. Suffice it to say that the verbal spat was quite out of proportion to whatever was the crime that had been committed…The condemnation in fact continued for some days afterwards with a rash of fairly rude e-mails…demanding that I apologize for bringing disrepute to the IPCC process and to the scientific personnel associated with it.

        This is science corrupted.

      • I know this is hackneyed, but I imagine a similar process went on inside the Church when Galileo wouldn’t shut up.

        What’s the matter with Galileo? Surely there’s some exorcism that can cure him.

  11. Regarding the scepticalscience.com collection of skeptical argument, it would be interesting to map these onto the scientific literature, to we what was being studied and what not. Most of the research is heavily pro-AGW in that it does not explore the skeptical possibilities. Much of it simply assumes AGW.

    • I gave up on reading scientific articles linked by SS upon figuring out how much the authors’ conclusions were constantly distorted and reinterpreted to make them agree with Cook’s prejudices. It’s more like “Broken Telephone Science” than “skeptical”.

      • Of course the linked articles in SS are chosen to support the pro-AGW arguments. If one mapped both the skeptical and pro-AGW arguments onto the entire literature this bias would stand out, because there are also many studies that support the skeptical arguments. These are not linked to by SS, because the scientifically sophisticated versions of the skeptical arguments are not presented.

        On the other hand, as I mentioned, while there are many studies that support skepticism, the great bulk of existing research is heavily skewed toward AGW because that is what gets funded. For example, there are a great many studies that simply assume AGW and look at possible outcomes of dangerous warming. Then too there are many studies that focus on problems internal to AGW. For example, the largest program in the USGCRP is on the carbon cycle. Natural climate change gets very little funding.

        Ironically SS could be used to make this point, given the proper analysis. But no one in the research community is going to pay for such an analysis, because it is anti-AGW. You can search the funding agency RFP’s, as I have, and you will not find a climate research program looking for this kind of analysis. There is a lot of mapping of science and policy going on these days but not this case, because AGW is Federal policy.

  12. Anyone read the article this month in Discover Magazine in which Tom Brokaw, of all people, interviews ( I’m gagging as I write this) Rajendra Pachauri, “one of the world’s leading climate scientists …and chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize winning IPCC?”

    I’m afraid I just couldn’t read much of it for fear of losing my breakfast.

    Are all these guys in the bag? I mean, the editors of Discover are presumably smart folks. Same with all the other popular science mags. What is going on here? Don’t they realize that many of their scientifically literate readers are skeptics? If I were the editor of one of those magazines, I’d want to get out ahead of this in any way I could. If nothing else, it would be good for circulation…

    Really Judith, when Scientific American (I think it was) ran that piece on you claiming that despite your reservations you remain firmly in the warmist camp, didn’t that bug you just a little? Did you bother responding?
    Or was their characterization accurate? Sometimes I’m just not sure…

    • pokerguy: In case you have not noticed all the mainstream media (MSM) are still staunchly pro-AGW, including Sci Am and Discover. AGW may have been shaken but it is still in charge, except in the US House. The latter alone is not enough to change the status quo in the short run, nor is popular opinion, where widespread skepticism is quite recent. AGW is a deeply entrenched and politically powerful position. A long fight lies ahead.

      • “AGW is a deeply entrenched and politically powerful position.”

        All CEOs of large companies, MSM bosses and academia administrators have to dance and sing along with AGW, or suicidal to their business positions at this point of human history. This AGW inertia is still huge and funds by Federal level by most countries. Only when the Federal level funds are stopped, AGW will then fade.

      • Latimer Alder

        The guy from GE seems to have had a recent conversion back to sanity.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/05/back-to-basics-green-electric-becomes-general-electric-again/

        The political tide is turning.

        In related news the uber greenist Energy Secretary in UK (Chris Huhne) is getting a right going over in the papers today for inconvenient revelations about dirty dealings in his personal life…and because his party took a life-threatening kicking in recent voting. He is not long for the spotlight and a more rational man will take over.

      • Not necessarily. As Latimer points out below, the political tide is now turning. If it continues to turn the Federal system will respond, including how (and which) climate science is funded. In the short run, how climate science does in the FY 2012 budget will be interesting to see.

        But the AGW inertia is indeed huge. It has been building for over 20 years, so it may take that long to ebb as well.

      • Latimer Alder

        And also note how some very prominent AGW cheerleaders are carefully preparing their escape plans as they see the ship start to founder.

        Would you advise a bright(ish) young person of 18 to try to make an academic career in climatology starting today? Or would you advise that it will likely be a wasteland for funding, influence and attention by the time they’ve got on to serious postdoc work?

        After all…The Science is Settled. There is nothing left to discover. Funders will soon notice and spend their money on actual useful things not on wishful thinking, moonbeams and pipedreams of paying homage to Mother Gaia.

        There is also a generational aspect. Those now rising to positions of prominence in academe and government have had AGW othodoxy rammed down their throats since kindergarten. It is The Establishment. It is about as new and exciting as Peter Paul and Mary were just as the Beatles, the Stones and The Who came along. Sexy it ain’t.

        And no 40-something grant administrator is going to get a thrill of excitement from authorising another zillion dollars for another climate model to tell us that (despite all the anecodatal and experimental evidence to the contrary) we’re all going to drown from sealevel rise only shortly before the oceans boil because of catastrophic AGW. Few believe it now, even fewer will believe it in future. Anyone with career ambitions would be well advised to steer clear of the imminent wreck.

        Phil Jones is approaching his 60s, Hansen is 70, Mann is 45, Schmidt 50ish, Judith Curry is in her late 50s, Gore 63. It is a middle-aged person’s field…not a place for youthful new and exciting thinking. The last refuge of some tired old dinosaurs……..

  13. ” he and his colleagues are to be commended for actually trying to understand climate skepticism and skeptics. ”

    I don’t have any trouble understanding alarmists. I disagree with them, but I understand them.

    • Many alarmists do have trouble understanding skepticism. Alarmism can be quite simple — CO2 is a GHG so when it goes up the temperature must go up. That is the simple extent of many people’s scientific belief. AGW is to them obviously true. Skepticism must be more complex and subtle, so it is harder to understand. Moreover, skepticism comes in many forms, because the science is very complex. The skeptics are arguing the hard stuff.

      • Or, and even simpler line of reasoning, to wit:

        “All the smart scientists say Manhattan is going to be under 60 feet of water if we don’t do something now, so we all have to drive hybrids, except I can’t because the seats aren’t comfortable, so I’ll keep driving my Yukon, but you have to ride the bus”.

        I’ve seen more of that than anything else (and yes, I’ve had people lecture me from their SUVs about how much carbon my Honda CRX produces).

      • steven mosher

        My experience is that the skeptics avoid arguing the hard stuff.
        Witness the silliness some of them displayed on the issue of sensitivity.
        Rather than argue the hard question (what the value) they engage in all manner of delusion– sensitivity is an input to models, it’s assumed, models are tweaked to get a specific sensitivity.
        Same thing on the temperature series.

      • Steven, delusion is not a form of argument, nor is silliness. Both of these issues — sensitivity and temperature series — have been argued at very technical levels. You may find the arguments silly but that is just your personal judgement of the merits (one I am sure I disagree with by the way). They are still technical.

        In fact the logic of the debate is such that the skeptics have to be more technical. Warmers have the opening move and in scientific debates responses are typically more technical, because that go to a finer level of detail.

        BTW “delusion” is a ridiculous term to use in this context. It makes you look silly. There are many levels of knowledge represented here but little, if any, delusion.

      • David,

        from Wikipedia (via Princeton),

        ‘A delusion is a belief that is either mistaken or not substantiated that is held with vehemence.’

        If one’s argument in a technical setting is dependent on reality being different than it actually is, ie the greenhouse effect being ‘unphysical’, and no amount of data, references, lab experiments, correctly predicted observations can convince someone otherwise (as we have seen over and over and over again here) then I agree with Steve, such an argument is ‘delusional’.

        Whomever is making that argument has lost touch with reality to the extent that they are willing to make an argument over and over again that necessitates ‘physics’ being different than it is. Or the use of physical models to be different than it is in reality.

        Part of understanding a meaningful skeptical standpoint is weeding through all of the poorly thought and patently false claims, statements and arguments that are getting in the way of there being a coherent way forward with respect to this issue. Judy seems to take care of most of these on this blog via ‘crowd-sourcing’, which I think can be fruitful if the participants are willing to learn.

        Someone who, in the face of physical fact, is unwilling to dispense with an incorrect understanding of reality in order to continue to support a specific position on this issue (and this goes both ways) can be accurately described as ‘delusional’. It is very far from ‘technical’.

      • First of all, The examples in question were sensitivity and the temperature record, both highly technical topics. You now raise the greenhouse issue. On the contrary Maxwell, even if delusional, many of the arguments that have been offered here against the greenhouse effect are still highly technical. Delusional and technical are fundamentally different concepts.

      • David,

        ‘Delusional and technical are fundamentally different concepts.

        On this point, we agree.

        The point I am making with respect to the above definition in my previous comment is that even though a specific individual may make an argument on a technical topic, when that individual refuses to accept specific scientific fact in face of 100 years of laboratory experiments, confirmation from field measurements, the testing and failure of alternative explanations, that argument becomes delusional.

        It’s the lack of firm, coherent grasp of even the most basic physical concepts explained in gory detail again and again and again in these discussions that comes out most poignantly to me. People just don’t want to accept specific physical processes that we understand well enough that they should no longer raise red flags.

        That’s not ‘highly technical’. It’s not even ‘lightly technical’.

        That’s ‘delusional’.

      • Maxwell, I have two problems with your argument. First, I have seen very little, if any, of the kind of error you describe, not here anyway. Do you have an example? Second, the concept of delusion requires that the error be obvious and extreme. Standard examples are believing one’s head is made of glass or that one is the US President. Delusion is a medical condition.

        Holding a nonstandard version of an esoteric physical theory is never a delusion. Science is full of these. Sometimes they turn out to be true.

      • First, I have seen very little, if any, of the kind of error you describe, not here anyway. Do you have an example?

        This site has always had one or two active examples. It’s not possible to avoid recognizing them (unless their comments are skipped). The active and almost certainly purposeful writers of such messages have changed over time, but it’s not difficult to figure out from this thread, who got Maxwell to write his comment.

        The repeated model appears to be that they start by asking questions, which at the beginning appear to indicate willingness to learn, but then every reasonable answer is overlooked or its validity disputed. All proposals that the commenter should try to study some basics are summarily rejected, the counterarguments get sometimes detailed indicating that the writers know at least many words of science and can write in a way that may mislead others who are not very knowledgeable in physics, etc. My impression is that this is done to spread actively confusion on the validity of all scientific arguments including those that are on most solid basis.

        They are also quite capable in picking out small and often totally irrelevant errors in the other comments and using them to dispute otherwise good and valid arguments. It’s difficult (or impossible) to describe fully and without some questionable simplifications all the basic physics involved in understanding atmosphere. Thus even the best and basically fully valid arguments can be attacked by a knowledgeable purposeful denialist (I think the word is justified in this connection).

        Most skeptic people here do not behave like that, but those few are active enough to make reactions like those of Maxwell understandable. Arguing with them is totally futile, but one may ponder, whether some new readers might be misled by their comments, if nobody cares to argue against them.

      • Pekka- you forgot the bit about sending people to re-education camps.

      • As long as I believe that people are sincere, its fine. Sometimes I cannot believe that. I may err, but that doesn’t change the fact I do not believe that they are sincere.

        I believe that they write against their better knowledge, or that at least they understand that they are most likely to be wrong. Still they write as if they would know that their comment is true and that they have strong basis for the comment.

      • Albert Einstein:-
        “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

      • Maxwell, ya done run outta reply thingies. I posted a link at the bottom. I think it covers the absorption spectrum of “Salt Water”. The is a paper behind a paywall that has more detail including the microorganism side. “80 feet in Crater Lake”, Amazing, I was bottom fishing off Cat Island and could see the bottom in 150 feet. Wasn’t real clear thought, dark and purple looking. Here is the “Therefore” link again,
        http://ourhydrogeneconomy.blogspot.com/2011/05/therefore-water-absorbs-almost-no.html

      • maxwell,
        You mean like the persistent believer position we are experiencing dangerous climate change?
        Or do you mean the persistent believer position that all weather is evidence of dangerous cliamte change?

  14. John Peter

    I am a retired businessman used to dealing in facts. Get the facts wrong and you are out of business. I look at global temperatures. They can go up or down more within a year or two than is claimed since pre industrial time 0.7C, but no real warming now since 1998. I look at sea levels. I see no acceleration, but recent deceleration. I look at ocean heat content. Nothing to worry about. The Arctic ice sheet is not disappearing. Goes a little up or down but no summer acceleration or melting beyond 2007. I laugh when I read all the dire predictions not based on a significant and measurable acceleration of the important measures. These are sea levels, ocean heat content, atmospheric temperatures and ice sheets. Meantime CO2 goes up and up. I will convert from a watcher/sceptic to a believer when I see som real movements the wrong way in the key measurements. Things like The hockey stick, Climate Gate, Steig’s warming of Antartica and the Yamal tree rings have made me very critical of the extreme claims being made. Don’t try and convince me with more year 2100 computer model predictions that can’t even handle cloud feedback etc.

    • John Peter

      Henry Ford said much the same about seat belts.

      • Hoi "Bodge" Polloi

        Ford also said: “A bore is a person who opens his mouth and puts his feats in it”… which has as much relevance as your quote…

      • HPB

        *shrug*

        Voltaire opined that a bore is one who explains everything.

        If I have to explain everything wrong with waiting until someone leads one by the nose to take personal responsibility before the outcomes are indisputable for the risk-increasing consequences of one’s actions to others who have not given consent to be treated so.. Ah, nevermind. Boring.

      • So Henry Ford thought that seat belts were causing dangerous cliamte change?

    • son of mulder

      Spot on. And then I put on my mathematical physics hat and can imagine lots of reasons why the observations are so despite the properties of CO2 considered alone.

    • Speaking of business:

      > The success rate of Amish in small business is 95 percent compared to the rate nationally in the US of 15 percent.

      http://www.davidcross.us/wordpress/?p=203

      The Amish does not run any computer models, so that might make everyone happy.

  15. “….dialogue with skeptics (enabled by the blogosphere) is one of the best ways to increase understanding.”
    Climate isn’t psychology or politics.
    There is no need to understand ‘sceptics’ or ‘wormists(a)’; what is needed is the understanding of science, and hopefully ultimately the climate.

    • But if the mainstream scientists are ignoring the legitimate questions being raised by skeptics than our understanding of climate is not progressing. Science progresses when important questions are answered, so it is vital to get the right questions on the research agenda. This requires dialog with the skeptics, something that is still not happening. Central questions are being ignored in favor of pro-AGW research. Science is out of balance.

      • Agree! Not only legitimate, but the most interesting questions (scientifically) are ignored.

      • Roy Spencer has given Congressional testimony on this point several times. Serious research into natural variability only began recently, and then only to explain the lack of warming. The present research program assumes AGW as its paradigm.

      • Could you list these most interesting questions?

        I’m interested in questions.

      • I can list a few. What are the sun-climate linkages? What are the ocean-climate linkages? What caused the little ice age? How chaotic is climate? What causes abrupt events? What mechanism triggers ice ages?

        Instead we are spending billions year studying the carbon cycle, aerosols and models that assume AGW.

      • David Wojick

        There’s a shortage of sun-climate studies? Really?

        Of ocean-climate studies there are too few? You’re serious?

        The little ice age, such a remote and ill-defined phenomenon as many credible sources give different start and end times and regional areas affected? I think we’re a bit too late to the party to take such a study seriously, except in terms of, “What might cause a LIA-like effect?” And then, speculative science, not really top rung stuff, is that?

        How chaotic is climate? I’m in! How spatiotemporal-, how temporal-, what are the properties of Attractors and what perturbations affect ergodicity and how? A much overlooked and understudied area. I blame the education system, personally. Chaos Theory ought be taught between multiplication and long division in grade school.

        What causes abrupt changes? That’s a bit broad, but sure.

        What mechanism triggers ice ages? I imagine we’d need to address the previous questions before this one could be meaningfully addressed.

        Billions per year go into carbon and aerosols? Reeeeally?

        Color me .. skeptical.

    • Excellent point; a climate scientist has no proper dog in this fight. This is a question for, and only for, activists. A scientist has no reason to care what the public perception of their trade is as long as it doesn’t affect funding. Furthermore, a scientist has no reason to care whether the public buys theory 1 or theory 2. Do physicists care if the public believes string theory or LQG?

      This is why I’ve never understood the Darwin wars. Who cares whether or not the public believes in evolution? Science marches on regardless, as long as they’re not actively hampering research and censoring education.

      • Unfortunately your theory of science does not fit reality. Science is part of society and there is no sharp division. On the contrary, science is funded to produce useful results for society, and the sooner the better. Projecting some sort of idealized romantic theory of pure science, and then being shocked to find something quite different, is not a useful explanation of what is happening. If you do not understand the Darwin wars then you do not understand the role of science in society.

        The simple reality is that climate science has been captured by an ideological political movement, namely environmentalism. This happened 20 or so years ago, and rather quickly. Note that the IPCC, UNFCCC and USGCRP were all created within 4 years: 1988 – 1992.

        Nor should there be any surprise, in retrospect, that this happened. If you track the growth of environmentalism it was relatively inevitable. Combustion has been a green target from the beginning.

      • Vultures pick the guts
        Hanging high on Titan walls.
        Who sinned for us all?
        =========

      • Bur-rama’nu, the rebel king of Bit-Zama’ni who in the time of Asurnasirpal was captured, flayed and his skin was spread upon the wall of the city of Sinabu?

        But I’m just guessing.

      • Hey, somebody has to be Mr. Beelzebub’s attorney.

      • And BTW,

        On the contrary, science is funded to produce useful results for society, and the sooner the better.

        That could be a whole thread. Why do we fund pure science? There’s a faith that it will always spin off enough collateral benefits to justify the money spent, but is this always true? Or is some of it simply the same reason why we fund research in medieval Polish literature?

        If we actually expect to get some sort of utilitarian technology out of the deal, they’re going about it in a rather haphazard and inefficient way.

      • US funding in basic research is about $60 billion per year, of which half goes into health research. The system is quite elaborate. What makes you think it is haphazard or inefficient? A lot of people study it, including me. What have we missed?

      • It’s not as focused as I’d like. Too many dumb studies on how cell phones cause brain cancer (for the 15th time), and not enough on promising technology. Yeah, I understand that private industry is supposed to start picking up the ball as science moves down the curve and becomes technology, but there still seems to be a larger gulf between basic science and active technology development that there needs to be.

        If we can put the arguments about climate to the side for a minute, it’s pretty clear that better nuclear technologies are win-win for all but the nuttiest of the fanatics. More could be done in this area, for example.

      • Your particular likes and dislikes is not an answer. What is haphazard or inefficient in the present system, which balances a lot of likes and dislikes? BTW, nuclear (fission and fusion) already get a lot of money.

      • Have you missed the reports that in fact show reason to be gravely concerned about the quality of the medical research we tax payers are funding?

      • David Wojick, 5/7/11, 2:36 pm, Storch sense,

        Miller, D. W., MD, The Trouble With Government Grants, 5/16/07

        The safest way to generate grants is to avoid any dissent from orthodoxy. Grant-review Study Sections whose members’ expertise and status are tied to the prevailing view do not welcome any challenge to it. A scientist who writes a grant proposal that dissents from the ruling paradigm will be left without a grant. Speaking for his fellow scientists Pollack writes, “We have evolved into a culture of obedient sycophants, bowing politely to the high priests of orthodoxy.” P. 2.

        Peer review enforces state-sanctioned paradigms. Pollack (2005) likens it to a trial where the defendant judges the plaintiff. Grant review panels defending the orthodox view control the grant lifeline and can sentence a challenger to “no grant.” Deprived of funds the plaintiff-challenger is forced to shut down her lab and withdraw. Conlan (1976) characterizes the peer-review grant system as an “incestuous ‘buddy system’ that stifles new ideas and scientific breakthroughs.” P. 5.

        Over the last 60 years a new power structure, the state, has taken control of information. It uses federal tax money to fund and control research through the peer-review grant system. P. 5.

        When inconvenient facts challenge paradigms the state promotes, it justifies them by consensus. If polar bear experts (Amstrup et al., 1995) find that the bear population in Alaska is increasing, placing doubt on the government’s stance on climate change, this finding is dismissed as being outside the consensus and ignored. Science magazine supports the prevailing view, stating, “There is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change” that accounts for “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years” (Oreskes, 2004).

        In 21st century America, consensus and computer models masquerade as science. They supplant experimental data. As Corcoran (2006) puts it, “Science has been stripped of its basis in experiment, knowledge, reason and the scientific method and made subject to the consensus created by politics and bureaucrats.” Reduced to a belief system, a majority of scientists and groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change can declare, without having to provide scientific evidence, that they believe humans cause global warming. This alone makes the hypothesis become an established fact and received knowledge (Barnes, 1990). Peer review compounds the problem. It competes with objective evidence as proof of truth.

        Computer models purporting to make sense of complex data, particularly with regard to climate change, have replaced the scientific goal of supplanting complicated hypotheses with simpler ones (Pollack, 2005). Researchers offer computer models as evidence for global warming. When unsound assumptions and faulty data render one model unreliable, other improved ones are constructed to justify the state’s desire to promulgate this “truth,” which it can use to exert greater control over the economy and technological progress. P. 6.

        Peer-reviewed climate science is now used as a bad example for government involvement in science, for peer review, for academic science, and for science itself.

  16. NikFromNYC

    Alarmists simply project their neuroses and even psychosis onto others. Lately the more rational and emotionally intelligent amongst them are starting to belatedly notice that they have been living in a dream in which real Feynman-rigorous science has been tossed out the window. As they become more reasonable and less deranged, in fits and starts, suddenly reasonableness becomes projected upon their perceived political opponents. That they themselves are so utterly (left wing) political is why they so often miss the fact that the vast majority of skeptics are not far right wing nutjobs prone to conspiracy theory. And because their side very much unlike the skeptical blog-based community is fueled by hundreds of millions dollars a year of PR firm marketing and billions of dollars of purpose driven federal research funding, they still insist in the face of all facts to the contrary that skepticism is just oil industry funded AstroTurf.

    It’s amusing to watch them squirm as they become less comfortable in their own skin. It would more amusing had they not established an ongoing campaign of child abuse based on traumatizing End Of The World scenarios pushed within the public school system, fully meant to create entire armies of little greenshirt eco-terrorists. The massive backlash that is brewing in this new generation, my word, I can only hope it plays out joyfully instead of disastrously when the sky doesn’t really fall.

    • Craig Loehle

      Scaring children has real effects. I remember in the sixties the air raid drills for nuclear war (though we forgot to practice the part about kissing you a** goodbye) and for years after I had nightmares. We were terrified in high school about overpopulation. Now they have 50 disasters for children to fear and they are told it is their fault.

  17. “pokerguy: In case you have not noticed all the mainstream media (MSM) are still staunchly pro-AGW, including Sci Am and Discover. ”

    But one would think that science mags are run by scientifically literate editors who’ve the intellectual wherewithal to bring a healthy skepticism to bear. I mean, what is their vested interest here? They operate outside academia I’m assuming. They’re not dependent on government grants, are they?

    I really don’t get it. There have to be staffers in these magazines that have a clue.

    • Belief in AGW is not based on vested interests. It is an ideological political movement. These are honest people who honestly believe it. This is far worse than if they were dishonest. Skeptics on their staffs probably keep their mouths shut, and I doubt there are many. The demographics are against it.

      • However –

        Some have learned to dance to the music. There was a very interesting development this week, Jeffry Immelt backpedaled from his green jobs shtick and said that GE is in business to make money, and not save the planet. I thought that was interesting; I suspect that some big investor or investors got a little annoyed with the act, and told him so.

        But it was always an act. You don’t get to have record profits with no taxes by being a superhero.

      • Yes, GE posts record “profits” – with the help of a $182 billion bailout that rent seeker Jeffrey Immelt got from his crony Obama.

        When Jack Welch left GE, it’s stock sold at around $38.00, after two stock splits during his term as CEO. Then Immelt took over, backed Obama and other Dems in 2008, lobbied for cap and trade, turned his company “green,” and got the bailout in return for his progressive loyalty. The stock now trades at around $20.00 per share and dividends have declined by about 60%.

        But don’t worry, Immelt’s salary has doubled, he was awarded 2,000,000 stock options, and GE paid no corporate income tax last year.

      • John Carpenter

        I’m no big fan of Immelt, but the decline in GE stock price probably had a lot more to do with the problems GE financial had during the Wall Street bust than from trying to be a “green” company.

      • steven mosher

        huh, I’m a libertarian. My belief in AGW is simply based on working physics.

      • AGW caused by CO2 is non-physics.

      • Indeed Steven, as is my rejection of AG; physics, math and logic actually because there is a lot of data analysis and uncertainty involved. I have no use for the demonizing that goes on on both sides, as dishonesty plays a small role.

        The fact is that reasonable people of good will can look at the same evidence and come to opposite conclusions. This is when we debate. And if there are policy implications it is when the political advocacy system kicks in, because that is the system for making democratic decisions in the face of disagreement.

        Honest disagreement explains most of what we see in the climate issue.

      • steven mosher

        “It is an ideological political movement. ”

        Then you were wrong when you said that. Thanks for admitting that.

      • I have admitted nothing of the sort. What are you talking about? Ideology is honest. We all have it.

      • There’s a lot more to physics, even atmospheric physics, than just CO2 radiative forcing

      • David W said, “Belief in AGW is not based on vested interests. It is an ideological political movement. These are honest people who honestly believe it. This is far worse than if they were dishonest. ”

        There are exceptions of course, but that is very true for the general masses. It is just like the nuclear paranoia/fear post TMI. There is enough fact for concern, but the initial reports stuck and the following more complete information was disregarded as government cover ups, industrial propaganda or conservative dirty tricks.

        The worst part of the TMI situation was the expert studies commissioned by lawyers for the “victims”. Those experts were of course trying to find evidence for the worst case. While not lying, they pushed statistics to the limit. Follow up studies by the government where of course biased because the government had to save the nuclear industry. Nothing can be done to convince the believers that any amount of radiation is bad. Because of all the surveys and reports on TMI, radon levels were found to be higher than “normal” pre-TMI. Even after the natural Radon scare ran its course, the believers still stuck with the defense lawyer commissioned studies despite volumes of evidence that background radiation is not only much greater than TMI released, but there is no evidence that ten times “normal” is dangerous.

        With AGW, there was convincing evidence that CO2 could very well be a major problem. More research was commission to prove not if it was a problem, but how bad a problem it was. Outdated studies are still used, though sometimes water down a little, to “prove” it is a problem. Anyone finding that it may not be as big a problem is of course in the pocket of big oil, a hold over from the tobacco wars, a conservative puppet or a loon.

        Now the issue has reached the point that the real loons are out in force, the warm and fuzzies have circled the wagons, Joe Sixpack is pissed and there is a free for all. Funny as hell really. Thank (insert your own higher power) we have political gridlock or something really stupid could happen.

      • Political gridlock is my definition of victory, so I am winning. In politics a draw is a defeat for those advocating radical action, so I am playing for a draw. AGW is not going away.

      • Thank (insert your own higher power) we have political gridlock or something really stupid could happen.

        While not wanting to slight anyone’s higher power, the bulk of the thanks goes to the Founders. The difficulty in enacting truly radical change is by design. It’s a feature that has served the US well with one notable exception (ironically, the very case that spawned it).

      • David,
        Always and never are seldom true.
        To assert that all who believe in AGW are sincere in their faith is as inaccurate as the believer claim that all skeptics are denialist mercenaries.

  18. Judith Curry

    Von Storch’s survey and his conclusions were very valuable, as are your comments.

    I agree with you, as well, that skepticalscience.com does not “placate” me (as a rational skeptic). It sounds more like a very unconvincing “catechism” for explaining how skeptical points run contrary to the accepted dogma.

    You wrote

    There are many complex, unsettled issues that require much more research.

    This is true across the board today regarding the “CAGW” premise, i.e.

    AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been a primary cause of past warming and represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment

    In addition to checking out IPCC’s AR4 WG1 and SPM reports and many of the cited plus newer papers, the blogosphere is obviously where most of us (in Von Storch’s “engineer” category) have gained and exchanged information related to global warming.

    Your site does an excellent job of presenting several sides of the story for discussion, but does not attract too many of the “CAGW faithful”.

    The “skeptical” sites (such as WUWT) are a good source for new material that puts the CAGW premise in question. I like to “lurk” on ClimateAudit, as well.

    The “pro-CAGW” sites often simply either censor out comments by rational skeptics or simply write them off as “deniers” (and hence obviously non knowledgeable); so the posters on these sites seem to be limited mostly to the “CAGW faithful” or what I would call “groupies”. (I personally still “lurk” there occasionally to see what is being discussed, but have not posted on these sites for many months.)

    As far as the “decision process” related to “global warming” is concerned, I think we are still at a very early stage and that attempts to by-pass the process and push for “immediate urgent action” are misguided and usually based on a political agenda rather than a clear, sober analysis of the current status of the “science”.

    On your “redefining” thread I posted this diagram of the process (and where we are today), as I see it:
    Redefining Global Warming Decision Process

    – we know that AGW from CO2 exists in theory, but do not know how much warming it has caused, particularly in relation to natural factors, nor how much it is anticipated to cause in the future

    – we cannot answer the “winners and losers” question, nor whether the net impact of AGW will be positive or negative

    – if we conclude that it could be more negative than positive, we do not know whether or not it will be “dangerously” so or simply an “inconvenience”

    – as a result we do not know whether global action would be helpful or is needed or whether local/regional action makes more sense

    – and we do not have enough information to decide which course of action would be the best: a centralized global mitigation plan or several regional adaptation plans

    – only once it is generally accepted that the science supports the need for a global mitigation plan, should we embark on deciding which global action will give us the highest cost/benefit ratio, how this should be implemented, when and by whom (but we are a long, long way from this point today, IMO)

    Max

  19. Re Sense from von Storch, 5/7/11:

    The last thread, Redefining dangerous climate change, based on an article by Timothy Linton, was little more than a pitch once again (strike two) to find something for the failed model of Anthropogenic Global Warming to predict. It couldn’t predict warming, so the advertisements switched to predict climate change. Just as the War on Terror, a horrible name right out of the box, became Overseas Contingency Options, climate change is now suggested to be DAI, Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference with the climate system. It’s all PR and no science. That topic had one little saving gem where Judith Curry wrote, he [Linton] fails to include natural climate variability (e.g. forcing by the sun … ) and of course unforced natural internal variability.

    Judith has done it again.

    Von Storch’s survey does little more than give credit to the consensus in science, a faux concept out of the box. How was a true scientist, that is, one who recognizes that skepticism in science is a virtue and a necessity, supposed to answer the qualifying question, Do you consider yourself a skeptic?, when posed by a renowned scientist, practicing in a politicized field that validates its models by tallying believers vs. deniers, the latter whom it calls skeptics? Von Storch doesn’t even report Rob Maris’s ultimate statistics of how he selected people to receive his survey, or what the ratio of the 578 skeptics was to total responses.

    Maris’s survey posed four technical statements with which participants were to check no opinion, disagree, not sure, or agree. These four grossly incompetent questions were

    A. CO2 contributes to the greenhouse effect

    B. weather extremes are statistically occurring more frequently

    C. acyclic warming (human factor) is going on, but not through CO2 increase

    D. climate forecasts (especially the projections promoted by the IPCC) are able to provide knowledge about the future.

    Proposition A, widely attributed to Joseph Fourier and John Tyndall, is for all practical purposes a law of physics. It is an extrapolation of the Beer-Lambert Law to the free atmosphere, coupled with principles of thermodynamics, an extrapolation likely strong enough to deny it recognition as the Fourier-Tyndall Law. Nevertheless, 18% of the respondents disagreed with the proposition, and only 54% agreed with it. Believers (defenders) of AGW like to accuse warming skeptics of denying the truth of A, but the fact that Proposition A is well validated does not validate AGW. It can deny parenthood, not establish it.

    Proposition B is even less coupled to AGW. It’s truth value is irrelevant. Furthermore, it’s a factual question about which a scientifically literate respondent ought to refuse to opine. Assuming for the sake of argument that it’s true, a wise individual would not find a fact disagreeable. Even Al Gore knew better, hence An Inconvenient Truth instead of a disagreeable or upsetting truth.

    Propositions C and D are rather bizarre. The entire AGW story is fairly said to turn on CO2, and not on other agents or human activities, none of which IPCC ranks high in its (subjective) confidence. The AGW story is collapsing from a combination of professional malfeasance and a prolonged cooling trend verging on being a climate event contraindicated by a continuing increase in atmospheric CO2, a reasonably inferred projection from IPCC Reports.

    Dr. Curry’s saving gem for the post is, There are many complex, unsettled issues that require much more research. Writers often quote Einstein for the scientific tenet that it would take only one contradiction to prove him wrong. How a gaggle of skeptics vote on even a competent list of errors in the AGW story is scientifically irrelevant. What is needed is a candidate list of AGW errors researched from outside the AGW community from which a real scientist can pick out his favorite black swan. My short list can be Googled as IPCC’s Fatal Errors, to which a few more were added at SGW.

    • Was this included in the list of fatal errors?
      http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/

      • gyptis444, 5/7/11, 7:16 pm von Storch survey

        No, it’s not. Even if Jaworowski’s model were correct, it would not be a candidate authority for my critique of IPCC Reports and its AGW model. My criticism is based on internal errors made by IPCC in modeling, errors observable without resorting to competing models, to competing data sets, or to competing data reduction. My authorities are the same data base used or referenced by IPCC, plus laws of physics, climate processes, and principles of modeling IPCC ignored, misrepresented, or violated.

        In response to readers’ requests, I have criticized Jaworowski’s work in my Journal. However, Jaworowski’s most important point (Jaworowski, Z, CO2: The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time, EIR Science, 3/16/07, p. 43) was an 83 year shift he discovered in IPCC’s graphing of Siple ice core data to mate with Mauna Loa CO2 measurements. Id., unnumbered figure, p. 44; Figure 1 in your link. Ferdinand Engelbeen claims to have discovered Jaworowski’s error: “Jaworowski used the age of the ice, not of the air bubbles, to base his accusation on, … .” (Engelbeen on why he thinks the CO2 increase is man made (part 2), Watts Up With That?, 8/20/10). Engelbeen was wrong on his main thesis, that the observed CO2 increase is man made, so his criticism of Jaworowski remains an open matter awaiting verification and a response from the author.

  20. BTW…in the lab, “more CO2 means higher temperatures”. Of course it does, it’s physics. However, in the same lab, temperatures are likely be higher near the ceiling. It’s physics too.

    In the world outside, we don’t go to the top of Mt Everest to get a little warmth. We all understand that although warm air is lighter than cold air, the troposphere is not stratified with a negative lapse rate. Other effects kick in, Why then can’t we all understand that the action of additional CO2 in the world outside doesn’t have to follow what happens in the lab?

    For a non-climate example, think of antioxidants: wonderful, in the lab; not so effective, in a human body.

  21. Dr Curry – I’ve been reading and occasionally contributing to your blog since its inception. However, I think I have noticed a shift in the demographic of contributing posters. There seem to be fewer in the ‘warmist’ camp and more in the ‘skeptical’ camp. I don’t think it is that the former have been converted into the latter but that the former have ceased stopping by.

    You yourself commented recently (sorry can’t find the comment) that the folks that really understood either climate models or stats (can’t remember which) used to comment here but have not done so for a while.

    Why do you think this is?

    • The answer may be obvious looking at the titles of recent posts. Few of the active scientists have ever contributed to threads, which are not more directly related to their research and expertize.

      • But my point is that they seem to have stopped contributing to threads that ARE directly related to their research, hence my recalling Dr Curry’s comment about the modellers no longer stopping by.

        I was curious as to why there are fewer ‘warmists’ (not just the active scientists) stopping by.

      • Greenfyre, Martha, Fred Moolten, Paul Baer stop by fairly frequently, with occasional comments by Michael Tobis, Jonathan Gilligan.

      • So you can name a slack handful who post one or two comments per thread compared to the masses who post almost continuously here.

        I mention this only becuase I find it uninteresting to find a large group of people more or less just agreeing with each other. Active debate of differing points of view is much more interesting and thought provoking.

      • Louise,
        Why don’t you post that great idea at RC or Joe Romm’s place and tell us how that goes?

      • I don’t tend to read those blogs much because they don’t have much in the way of discussion (I could also say the same of WUWT). Continual back slapping is boring – that’s why I follow this blog but it too seems to be falling in to the same pattern of mutual support rather than debate.

        I would urge our hostess to consider posting material that stimulates genuine debate and discussion as this is interesting, informative and thought provoking.

      • Louise,
        This blog is doing very well.
        The AGW true believers tend to wilt when forced to actually discuss issues, but that is typical of true believers of any dogma.
        But it is obvious Dr. Curry allows debate.
        The only reason you don’t see real debate at RC or Romm’s place is because the host’s there do not permit actual debate.
        This pattern has been noticed many times by may others.
        Few believer blogs permit debate, so the believers think they ‘win’. At skeptic sites, believers tend to fade out because they cannot hold their own in an open discussion, and leave in order to preserve their beliefs intact.

      • It may have to do with focus, as well. I’m a relative latecomer, but I’ve noticed here and elsewhere that different crowds turn out for different topics. When the topic is policy (or post normal science, which is really policy in drag), don’t be surprised if a lot of engineers show up and scientists don’t.

      • Numerous debates occur on just about every thread, e.g. Bart R vs Chief Hydrologist, etc.

        Also, in terms of this thread, I would certainly be interested in hearing from anyone that disagrees with von Storch’s statement. Warmists may not like it, but it is pretty difficult to argue against.

      • Steve Easterbrook posted a few comments last fall on a couple of threads devoted to modelling, but didn’t didn’t stick around. I won’t speculate on his motive for not posting more, but it was a pity he didn’t. I think both extremes could benefit from the interaction.

    • Louise, Pekka’s comment is pretty much on target. When I don’t have much time, I post on less technical topics that I can prepare in less than an hour. When I have more time, I can prepare posts with more technical content, which attracts people with more technical interests. Assuming that i have more time during June and July (I am hopeful that I will), I can post on more technical topics, which should bring back the participants that are more interested in such topics.

      • This implies that you think warmists are only interested in technical topics. Why do you think they are not contributing to the non-technical topics in the same way that skeptics are?

      • Skeptics seem more open to the kinds of issues that I’m raising in the non technical topics. It is of concern that the warmists aren’t interested in these topics, or find them too uncomfortable to comment on. Or they prefer to comment on issues that I raise on their own blog (e.g. Greenfyre, Tobis, Bart Verheggan). Note, there is a broad range of people that read this blog that don’t comment; many of them send me personal emails rather than comment on the blog. Blog dynamics are interesting, and the dynamics here are arguably more complex than at many other blogs.

      • Louise and her brethren are well-described and fully characterized in a BLOG post that has nothing whatsoever to do with climate science. You can find it here: http://chickgeekgames.blogspot.com/2011/04/know-how-internet-trolls-and-how-to.html.

    • Stirling English

      Here’s my theory:

      Never having previously encountered anything other than unthinking acceptance of their views, they have found debating with those who disagree to be beyond their abilities.

      Especially when their magic bullet of

      ‘trust us, we are climate scientists’

      receives a Bronx cheer rather than the expected adulation. So they’ve gone back to the warmth of academe and pal review where they can pontificate to their mates to their heart’s content. Nice and cosy, ekeing out the last of their public-funded grants..and hiding from scrutiny.

      Meanwhile, out in the real world, they are losing the argument …and their political support wherever one looks. ‘Allies’ are leaving the sinking ship at an increasing rate. ‘Green’ is now a dirty word. The scam is dying . The gravy train is approaching the buffers. And they know it too.

      • Perhaps your post is a perfect example of why they don’t bother stopping by any longer.

        Who wants to be on the receiving end of a load of crappola in their spare time?

      • Stirling English

        Indeed.

        Persistently being asked to show their working, publish their data, methods and programs, justify their claims and argue their case rather than just harangue their interlocutors must come as a great shock to their systems, and one that some of them find impossible to come to terms with.

        It is not the way climatology is done. After all, as Easterbrook so memorably put it ‘nobody without a PhD in Radiative Physics is capable of having a view about global warming’

        How dare the unwashed peasants presume to doubt their words?

      • We had a clear example days ago at Steven Goddard’s place, where a scientist showed up to “defend” her work and quickly disappeared having discovered people had actual questions and were not just looking for quotes to put in a journalistic report.

        Paradoxically (and this has been demonstrated to me once again on Thursday during the Q&A with Lomborg) there is now a group of AGW non-believers that are impossibly hard to stomach for the average warmscientist, used to be revered and supported rather than to the harsh reality of debate.

      • We had a clear example days ago at Steven Goddard’s place, where a scientist showed up to “defend” her work and quickly disappeared having discovered people had actual questions and were not just looking for quotes to put in a journalistic report.

        Gotta wonder how she managed to “defend” her PhD thesis. Or isn’t that a requirement anymore?

      • Latimer Alder

        One facet may be that the average ‘climate scientist’ knows a great deal about their very narrow field of specialisation and not much at all about the wider issues of the area.

        Judith herself wrote eleoquently that until a few years ago she just took all the IPCC stuff on trust and just assumed that it had all been done to the same standard that she set for herself and so was correct.

        So he/she can write about their next paper and their last one about whatever it may be. That is how they have been trained, that is what their career structure encourages. That is how acdeme works. To write more and more papers about increasingly limited and irrlevant things. (It is also a disastrously bad way to organise yourselves to work on complex problems but that’s another debate)

        But when faced with an educated, very experienced and very well read bunch of sceptics (think PhD examiners on speed and with extreme prejudice) who – while not being world experts in any one field – see the bigger picture and wish to address those, then the kitchen gets far too hot for the average specialist.

        People ask them questions way beyond their pay grade..about ethics and the conduct of science and FoI and hokey sticks and statistical methods and disappearing data and all the other stuff. And they do not follow the cosy academic conventions of a slow dance of papers and pal review and acceptance. They want it all out in the open and they want it now…not in two years or when the next grant has been secured. It must be very frightening to come out and meet these nasty nasty sceptics face-to-face. After all, when one has a PhD in Radiative Physics, surely one knows everything there is to know about ‘cliamte science’.

        That’s why they disappear.

      • Louise,
        Perhaps they are too busy defending the latest round of cliamte scientists refusing to release the data pursuant to FOIA requests?

      • Louise –
        Who wants to be on the receiving end of a load of crappola in their spare time?

        I was on the receiving end for a good part of ten years – don’t you think it’s their turn to find out what it’s like? :-)

  22. “Belief in AGW is not based on vested interests. It is an ideological political movement. These are honest people who honestly believe it. This is far worse than if they were dishonest. Skeptics on their staffs probably keep their mouths shut, and I doubt there are many. The demographics are against it.”

    In my opinion it’s mainly self-interest that’s driving the alarmist movement….which is to say it’s climate scientists pursuing career advancement and grant money. You can be quite sure if the shoe were on the other foot so to speak, that is if suddenly one could get grant money and academic prestige and career advancement for coming up with papers skeptical of AGW, this thing would change dramatically within a year or two.

    With respect to the popular science magazines, my questions remains. Outside of the establishment scientists, the alarmist movement as you call it is largely made up of well-intended but ill-informed people. They believe in AGW because the NYT’s tells them to.

    It remains a mystery to me how sophisticated science editors with the independence and freedom to look at this thing objectively, can be so thoroughly taken in…That Discover Mag piece is an embarrassment…

    .

    • I think you are confusing belief with decision making. People make decisions based on self interest, in part at least, such as how to make a living. (They also make decisions based on things like love, affection, kindness and loyalty, etc.) But people don’t decide what to believe. You can’t decide to believe that your car is hovering 10 feet in the air when it is not. Try it and you will see.

      I can explain what you find mysterious. That is enough for me.

  23. I find this a very interesting series of comments. There is no question in my mind that CAGW is a hypothesis with no observed data to support it. But we will need to wait for the earth to cool to such an extent that CAGW is categorically proved to be wrong. This may take a long time.

    In the meanwhile let us rejoice that we skeptics/deniers seem to have won the political war. Apart from Julia Gillard desperately trying to get her carbon tax through the Australian Parliament, (the pound of flesh the Greens have demanded for their support of her coalition government), just about every other government has found that “decarbonizing” society is the way to economic suicide.

    So we have time to wait for global temperaturs to drop signicantly. Let us hope that it happens sooner rather than later.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Jim,

      You will. The oceans are still reflecting more solar radiation than what was being absorbed before the salinity changes.

      • Joe,
        Are you stating a personal belief or do you have some papers to back up the claim? If the claim is based on a paper, can you provide a link?

  24. “So we have time to wait for global temperaturs to drop signicantly. Let us hope that it happens sooner rather than later.”

    It will all be rationalized away, as quickly and effectively as they rationalized away the recent cold, snowy winters which of course were never supposed to happen. The warmists have barely missed a beat.

    If things get cold for a few decades they’ll either move the goal posts or find a way to attribute the cooling to Co2.

    Presto. Chango. No problemo.

    • pokerguy, You and I think very much alike. However, here we differ. I am sure the proponents of CAGW will TRY to do what you have suggested ; basically, move the goalposts. Whether they will succeed, is an entirely different matter.

      I am talking hard, measured data. As I have remarked many times, when I studied Physics 101 at Cavendish Labs, Cambridge, 65 years ago, what I had hammered into my head by the best physicists of the time was that the only thing you can rely on, is hard measured data. When hard measured data comes in, which does not support CAGW, what do proper scienists do?

      Let me name one name; Chris Folland. Some years ago I had some correspondence with Chris, and he struck me as being a very solid, competent scientist. He is one of the co-authors of Smith et al, Science August 2007 Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model. This gives a very specific forecast for the global temperature anomaly for 2014; less than 4 years away.

      What if this forecast is shown to be a complete load of garbage? What will Chris do? Will he behave like a proper scientist and say that the work he was associated with was wrong? Or will he do as you suggest, try and move the goalposts?

      I am convinced that when the hard, measured data comes in showing CAGW is just plain wrong, the true scientists will desert the good ship CAGW. Remember the Royal Society, and the American Physical Society are already under considerable pressure from some of their senior members to completely change their stance on CAGW.

      Remember also, hard measured data is the very basis for all physics. The Large Hadron Collider at Cern Labs cost $20 billion to build; just to get data from the next energy level of sub-atomic particles. Now sitting aboard Endeavor, waiting to blast off from Cape Canaverol, is a billion dollar instrument which hopes to capture the effects of the odd particle, millions of times more energetic than the LHC can generate. Science spends the money, and relies of hard data.

      I am going from memory, but how many threads has Judith started on this blog that concern hard data? I dont think any. Why? I dont know, but maybe because she knows if we ever get to talking about hard data, she will find herself in an even more awkward position. Trying to defend the indefensible; that CAGW has a basis in physics.

      So, no I am not worried about what happens in the future when, and hopefully not if, the hard data shows CAGW is just plain wrong. True scientists, and I believe Judith is one of these, will join our “tribe”.

      • Unfortunately there is virtually no hard data in this issue. All of the data is “theory laden.” What is the global temperature profile of the last decade, 50 or 100 years? How about CO2 concentrations. Radiation? Ocean features? All highly uncertain. This is not lab physics. In fact treating the issue as lab physics is where the AGW scare comes from.

  25. RC censorship? This morning I posted a short version of my skeptical science.com analysis on RealClimate (the one Dr. Curry posted above). It was on the RC Cook book thread that Curry posted the link to yesterday. It appeared as awaiting moderation, then on the thread as #88. When I checked back later it was gone, with no explanation. I did it twice and the same thing happened.

    I have heard about RC censoring skeptical comments but this is the first time I actually experienced it, unless there is some other explanation. I sent them an inquiring email but so far no response.

    • your message landed in the “bore hole”, message #297 on the thread
      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/category/the-bore-hole/

      the bore hole seems to be the most interesting thread on RC these days :)

      • Many thanks! I was censored for being potentially “disruptive.” They got that right. Skepticism disrupts AGW.

      • At least it was honestly censored. You could have received the AMac Treatment, a handy way to re-educate those potentially disruptive comments.

      • At least it is not the boor hole. Perhaps we need a fraternal order: Friends of the Bore Hole? Knights of the Bore Hole? Down the bore hole? Or up?

      • So far 21 comments on this Cook book thread have gone down the bore hole. I wonder what the record is?

      • They seem to be denying denialism, how Orwellian :)

      • What is really funny is that the article begins with the snide slur that “demises” might deny that the book exists. Then they “deny” hide 21 comments. Priceless.

      • Looking at the Borehole comments, it looks like Dan H. is the king of the borehole. About the only thing I check over there anymore is the borehole, Oh, and I have to go back from time to time to read Gavin’s first explanation of the greenhouse effect. I can relate to totally screwing up a good post, at least I am in good edjumacated company.

      • In addition to visiting Climate Etc., I have previously paid frequent visits to RC and WUWT despite their respective biases, simply because interesting material occasionally surfaces. I am becoming more and more disgusted with RC, or at least some of the RC moderators such as Rasmus in the current thread, and I may visit less often if his type of blog moderation continues. Deletion of personal insults, objectionable language, or totally irrelevant material is within a moderator’s legitimate purview, but censoring opinions because they disagree with a particular viewpoint is not acceptable.

        On the other hand, I am singularly impressed with Isaac Held’s new blog as an important asset to a detailed, knowledgeable, and rational understanding of climate issues, and I recommend it as a place to visit regularly, at Isaac Held’s Blog. Like other sites, it has its own perspectives, but they are presented on the basis of evidence and reasoning, not as dogmatic assertions.

      • Fred –
        Thank you – I’ll add it to my list.

      • Jim – Of the professional climate scientists whom I’ve encountered on other blogs or other public forums, and who include notables such as Trenberth, Hansen, Spencer, Lindzen, and other, often lesser talents involved in understanding climate change, Isaac Held has impressed me as someone who is the most serious about in “getting it right”, and the least interested in confirming a preconceived view. That doesn’t mean he will always get it right, but I tend to trust him to try.

      • Thanks, Fred.

        I have also gotten disgusted with RC for the reasons you cite, but continue to “lurk” there to see what’s being discussed. Will now check out the site you cited.

        Max

      • Fred,
        I am afraid I will have to add Dr. Held’s blog to the list of those who are unwilling to deal with scientific issues they find uncomfortable. He allowed one of my comments to post, but ignored the portion about Orrin Pilkey’s book Useless Arithmetic. In my second post, I suggested he read the peer-reviewed paper by Pilkey and his daughter and that post did not make it through moderation.

        I’m afraid Dr. Held is of the same mindset at the folks at RealClimate. Ignore the skeptics and ignore the science that supports them. Not very promising.

      • Try asking held a specific questions (possibly related to an issue raised by Pilkey). I suspect that your post was too broad to be relevant to the topic of discussion. The “all models are garbage” meme won’t get very far on Held’s blog. Make it more specific.

      • The “borehole” appears to be where they drop all the comments they don’t want to deal with. Particularly ones that pose unpalatable answers.

        I found a couple of mine there that raised some issues with the thread on the validity of model predictions, referring to J. Hansen’s 1988 forecast and how well it was working out!

    • Your comment has been relegated to the bore hole. Evidently too inconvenient to be left in the original thread.
      http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=6013#comment-206340

  26. re Richard Tol | May 7, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply @Curtin
    This is a silly smear. There are plenty of papers with a statistical analysis of the relationship between temperature and a range of explanatory variables. Storch and Zwiers most likely did not write about this because the field is crowded, and they thought they could make a bigger contribution elsewhere
    Reply @ Tol:

    Richard, you know better than that: here is how I cite in you in this context in my current under review paper:
    “There have been surprisingly few attempts to use econometric analysis to separate out the proximate causes of climate change. ‘Few researchers have used time domain econometrics methods to analyze climate change. Apart from Kaufmann and Stern (1997) and Stern and Kaufmann (1999), only Tol and de Vos (1993, 1998), [and] Tol (1994), explicitly use econometric time series methods to investigate the causes of climate change… (Stern and Kaufmann 2000:412). ‘”
    [But]”Tol and Vellinga (1998) used econometric analysis to separate the enhanced greenhouse effect from the influence of the sun at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), while Tol and de Vos (1998) used Bayesian analysis. Neither paper considers the role of atmospheric water vapour [let alone anthropogenic water vapor from hydrocarbon combustion and steam emissions during power generation, and the sun at TOA is 24/7 while at the surface it is absent at night, what a surprise! IN SITU data are available at NOAA for both atmospheric water vapor and solar radiation AT THE SURFACE, but studiously ignored by Hegerl, Zwiers and the rest of Susan Solomon’s gang of sycophants, NONE of whom has ever done or reported econometric analysis of any let alone the full range of in situ climate variables available from NOAA-ESRL]

    As I have reported previously at Climate Etc, when one does do what you and von Storch et al have not, one finds zero statistically significant coefficients for radiative forcing from CO2 (e.g at Mauna Loa, New York, Pt Barrow, Atlanta, do I have to go on?), while in situ atmospheric H2O and solar radiation at the surface have large and very significant (t>4) coeffecients for Tmax, while at night opacity of the sky along with [H2O]play key roles in Tmin, while RF from [CO2] is again missing in action.

    I will now mail my paper to you at esri.
    regards

    Tim

    • Did you really mean “the sun at TOA is 24/7”?

      And what is “the opacity of the sky” at night?

      Could you explain those?

  27. Mike Hulme speaks a similar kind of sense:
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bushtelegraph/stories/2011/3206387.htm

    Climate science will go nowhere until the climate scientists can start doing science and addressing skeptical scientists by scientific research. (Still waiting to see the experiment that demonstrates that CO2 can manipulate IR radiation to pump net heat up a thermal gradient.)

  28. Interesting. I was a skeptic from day one for many reasons but to summarize the key ones:

    Knew too much about climate history to accept any of the unprecedented story. But didn’t pay toooo much attention until…

    Knew way too much about polar bears. So when they started telling those fairy tales that alerted me that there was something very wrong, and started looking closer. Just got worse.

    Knew that as soon as they started screaming that ‘the debate was over’ that it wasn’t science at all. That has proven to be the case.

    Finally, after seeing non-stop AGW propaganda for years, seeing the silence in the media over Climategate told me how big this Big Lie is. That became even clearer with the UK whitewashes.

    We live in an age of Big Lies. This is just another one but its implications make it at least as dangerous as all the rest.

    And if you think IPCC Climatology is bad, the pseudoscience called Conservation Biology is at least as rotten, if not worse. That’s how we got the imminent ‘polar bear extinction’ scare stories that conveniently fit the AGW story. The two are corrupt and twisted sisters.

    The EPA is home to both of these non-sciences.

    • David Bailey

      Part of my ‘conversion’ came with the realisation that people were seriously discussing carbon capture. The idea of storing bulk quantities of CO2, built up over decades or centuries was so silly, I suddenly realised that this couldn’t be real science any more – just some sort of game!

      • Carbon capture is insane, unscientific, non-economical and further waste of fossil fuels. Those in support are really after money. They are non-ethical.

  29. JIm C. wrote:
    “I am convinced that when the hard, measured data comes in showing CAGW is just plain wrong, the true scientists will desert the good ship CAGW. Remember the Royal Society, and the American Physical Society are already under considerable pressure from some of their senior members to completely change their stance on CAGW.”

    Perhaps you’re right Jim. Of course I hope so. These guys can’t all be in the tank. And yet the profound ignorance and naivete out there among those who should know better is depressing as hell. Hate to keep hammering away on the popular science mags, but I consider them an important bellweather..
    They’re not even responding to their own readership, which is just lousy business. Was it Scientific American who recently conducted a poll among their readers which predictably enough showed a majority were skeptical?

    So the question is why aren’t they responding? Why aren’t they more savvy. They can’t all be idiots… It makes no sense to me. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but the little bit of the Discover article that I could stomach reading was almost propagandistic in tone. How can they not see that self-serving fraud Pachauri for who he is?

    In fairness, I should read it all before passing judgment, but I’ll have to do it on an empty stomach…

    • pokerguy writes “So the question is why aren’t they responding?”

      I dont know the answer either. Basicly we are in agreement.

      • Maybe, just maybe, it’s because lots of well educated people with no ideological stake in the matter find the evidence convincing.

        Naw, couldn’t be…

      • Bad Andrew

        “well educated people with no ideological stake in the matter find the evidence convincing”

        PB,

        You are one of those people I imagine. You can correct me if I’m mistaken.

        What’s the most convincing piece of evidence you’ve examined?

        Andrew

      • Well, I confess to rather more of an ideological stake in the matter than are likely held by the editors of Discover or Scientific American (I admitted to the host of this blog recently that I consider myself a socialist). However, since you asked:

        I did a calculation when I was a first year PhD student that estimates the increase in surface temperature from CO2 doubling using essentially black-body physics and some basic information about the absorbtion spectra of CO2. This makes a pretty good case for the “no feedback climate sensitivity” of roughly 1.5ºC (granted it’s been a while and I couldn’t do it without some prompting anymore). Given that warming increases the water holding capability in the atmosphere and water is also a GHG, the idea that there is a first order positive feedback seems reasonable.

        Then, there’s also the estimated ~.7 degrees of warming in the 20th century.

        I’m perfectly willing to concede that there may be more negative feedbacks than generally assumed (my own probability for the distribution has a tail below 1ºC). But I’d rather not bet the planet on it.

        –Paul

      • So can someone tell me the quantifiable relationship between concentration of CO2 and ability of CO2 by IR radiation to pump heat energy up a thermal gradient?

      • BLouis,

        Under very special case, yes, such as a solar concentrator which concentrate radiation to a spot. But inside atmospheric air, no way that CO2 can heat up a thermal gradient, unless there is a radiation reflector that concentrate radiation to that particular spot. Instruments such as thermocouples or RTDs wrongly placed in a tube full of gas will indicate wrong higher than the gas temperature due to reflection concentration.

        Yes, I agree that its the weakest AGW hypothesis that CO2 in the air can heat up a thermal gradient. Its absurd.

      • Bad Andrew

        PB,

        I appreciate your honesty.

        There are alot of warmers out there who like to throw the word ‘evidence’ around who haven’t seen any evidence.

        Every warmer I’ve engaged over the years on this topic is in the same boat. They are propaganda repeaters, not people with any personal understanding.

        Andrew

      • Yes, also appreciate your honesty and believe you are above average at disaggregating your ideology from your science. Go look at what SteveF has done @ lucia’s Blackboard, rankexploits.com/musings for another derivation of sensitivity like you have done. Steve’s as literate as he is numerate.
        ================

      • Paul, it is true that lots of well educated people find the evidence convincing. ( On the other hand I don’t think there is a person alive with “no ideological stake in the matter.” How could there be?) But this does not really answer the question, because it is equally true that lots of well educated people find the evidence lacking, and these are mass media publications. Both are in my supermarket. The answer seems to be that these folks have taken a position when they should be reporting a debate. It is not a mystery, it is a mistake.

  30. It’s funny to see the old ” basic physics ” arguments trotted out in support of AGW. A strawman, indeed.

    Nobody sensible in the skeptics camp say that GHG’s don’t warm or that it is basic physics.

    What is questioned is the enhanced effect of the GHG’s which is claimed to create catastrophic warming.

    And what is further questioned is the human component of 3% extra CO2 emissions being the sole cause of this catastrophic anthropogenic global warming as is claimed by the warmists.

    That is the issue with the AGW theory. This issue of human released extra 3% CO2 being responsible for enhanced greenhouse effects due to ” forcings ” and leading to catastrophic global warming creating all sorts of problems has not been demonstrated with empirical evidence and is only touted by models.

    But the AGW community considers their models as the final word and believe that the models are the ultimate and their outputs are facts. They even claimed the model runs as experiments. These models which proved to be useless in forecasting near time, decadal and multi-decadal shifts are still claimed to be accurate to predict events 100 years from now when none of us would be alive. Go figure!

    • Yes, the AGW promoters carefully confuse the two and refuse to admit there may be a difference.
      It is like when evolution was well established, the eugenics promoters claimed their movement was based on sound evolutionary theory.
      The eugenics promoters were completely wrong.

    • First of all, it’s not just CO2, it’s all the other greenhouse gases as well. That’s still basic physics. IR absorption is demonstrable in a laboratory.

      Then: it’s not 3%, it’s a ~40% increase in just CO2 concentrations so far (plus other GHGs, which are more-or-less counteracted by aerosols, which have a net cooling effect, probably). And while many (including myself) think that it would have been better not to even increase GHGs that much, no one claims that this level is “catastrophic.” But by the time you reach a doubling of CO2, though, the possibilities are (to me) pretty scary.

      • That IR absorption is demonstrable reflects the fatal logical weakness in the CO2 argument. The question to me is “Can CO2 IR absorption result in heat transfer up a thermal gradient?” G&T think it’s unphysical. I’m not aware the phenomenon has been demonstrated in the laboratory.

      • Yes. The standard physics has been empirically demonstrated both in laboratory and in engineering practice innumerably times. There is absolutely no uncertainty on that.

        The physics is explained in every text books of heat transfer and and all engineering applications that have been built based on those descriptions work exactly as the theory tells.

        What G&T write is utter nonsense at points that contradict this well understood and tested knowledge.

      • Pekka
        I understand from your comment that you think a colder surface can HEAT a warmer surface.
        …”The physics is explained in every text books of heat transfer “….
        Therefore it should be easy for you to provide proof.
        But perhaps I misunderstood your comment?

      • This seems an overly strong claim Pekka. What are these “innumerable” engineering practices that demonstrate CO2 IR absorption resulting in heat transfer up a thermal gradient? This is a new claim I think.

      • There are very many applications where radiative heat transfer is used. It’s always calculated taking into account radiation in both directions. Of course the net heat transform is always from the hotter to the colder, but the net is formed as difference of the two directions not in the way that the colder would reject a part of the incoming radiation. Thus there is really radiation from the colder to the hotter material (but less than from hotter to colder).

      • Not ‘transform’, but ‘transfer’.

      • I find that many of the skeptics have great difficulty in understanding the concept of photons going in both directions in a heat gradient. They seem too fixated on the conduction mechanism which does not apply to radiative transfer.

      • I couldn’t resist. Did you not mention CO2 can heat up the Sun? LOL.

      • It is different. Photons can go towards the Sun.

      • One can look each of the processes at different level of detail. Of course one gets correct results on radiative heat transfer also by saying that only the net transfer occurs, but it’s not a natural way of looking at the mechanism, because the only reasonable way of calculating the net flux is as the difference of two terms which have natural interpretation as two one-way fluxes.

        The second law remains valid, but the second law is not understood well by most, who know its existence. Therefore it’s used very often to draw wrong conclusions, not only in this application, but everywhere where it’s mentioned.

        Concerning the conduction, it’s not either unidirectional but net flux, when studied at molecular level, but it’s natural to consider it as a net flux that follows the appropriate partial differential equation (equation of heat conduction or diffusion). The distances between subsequent collisions are normally so short that looking at the process as continuous in space and time is a very good and simplifying approximation or idealization.

        Similarly it’s possible to calculate also the radiative heat transfer in the lower troposphere using the same differential equations, because the mean free path of the dominating 15 um radiation (and other important wavelengths) is short enough for that. That approach is, however, not good for the understanding of radiative balance of the surface, because the surface interacts strongly at wavelengths of much longer mean free paths in the atmosphere.

        For the scientific basis of atmospheric physics there are alternative sources, which provide misinformation either by purpose or because their maintainers are as ignorant on the facts as their readers. These sources of misinformation must be the origin for many writings also on this site.

      • Will a photon from the Earth be bombarded with the Sun’s photons and get diverted, pushed back, absorbed? It will never get a chance absorbed by the Sun and warm it up. Have you ever estimated the chance of a photon from the Earth’s CO2 actually reaching the Sun.

      • The total radiation from Earth summing IR emissions and reflected (or scattered) SW radiation corresponds to the temperature 278. That is very close to 1/20 of the temperature of the Sun. The reflected and scattered radiation is not isotropic, but neglecting that the radiation from the Earth to the Sun is (1/20)^4 = 1/160000 (more accurately 1/180000) of the radiation of Sun that hits the atmosphere or roughly 0.001% of solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere or surface. Two thirds of that value is LW IR radiated by the Earth.

        Practically all radiation that leaves Earth to the direction of the Sun will reach the Sun and gets absorbed by the Sun. That radiation is about 50 trillionths of the total radiation leaving the sun. Thus the existence of the Earth makes the Sun a tiny bit warmer than it would be without, but the effect is totally negligible.

      • “Practically all radiation that leaves Earth to the direction of the Sun will reach the Sun and gets absorbed by the Sun.”

        I don’t know if its a good hypothesis. You have anything to back it up?

        “That radiation is about 50 trillionths of the total radiation leaving the sun. Thus the existence of the Earth makes the Sun a tiny bit warmer than it would be without, but the effect is totally negligible.”

        The AGW concept of the presents of the Earth makes the Sun a tiny bit warmer is wrong. However, due to the presents of the Earth, the Sun radiates less energy towards the Earth. That will be a more acceptable if S-B’s radiation is to hold valid as h=K(Ts^4 -Te^4) where Ts is the Sun’s temperature and Te is the Earth’s temperature. Without the Earth at the Sun’s line of sight, the Sun will radiate H=K(Ts^4) which is more energy radiated to the space at the same exact direction. CO2 on the Earth warms the Sun a bit is a misconception.

      • This is an argument that I cannot understand. Why and how could Earth influence radiation leaving from the Sun and why is it difficult to accept that Earth radiates towards the Sun and the radiation reaches the Sun and gets absorbed.

        For the net flux it does not matter, which way you describe the combination as long as the net value is unmodified, but why to invent some strange influences, when a simple and natural explanation is available.

        The interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter is the field of physics, where Feynman made his greatest contributions. Based on his work and the work of others this is an area, where the theory has produced the most accurate verified predictions of any theory. That theory is the basis for the accurate understanding of the interaction of radiation with matter and it tells also that a photon leaving Earth towards Sun is almost certain to reach Sun and to get absorbed there.

      • ” That theory is the basis for the accurate understanding of the interaction of radiation with matter and it tells also that a photon leaving Earth towards Sun is almost certain to reach Sun and to get absorbed there”

        You can assume me being stupid but what makes you think that a photon leaving the Earth towards the Sun is almost certain absorbed by the Sun. Do photons collide when they are travelling in the exact opposite directions? Especially the photons from the Sun has many times the energy of the photons from the Earth, will the photons from the Earth get absorbed by collisions before reach the Sun?

      • This is again a point in discussion, where I see only two possibilities. Either you try to learn physics, or you decide by gut feelings, whom you believe. I cannot imagine any other alternatives, when you choose that attitude.

        I can make the claim that the issue is solid physical knowledge and I told, which area of physical knowledge is in question, but how could I do anything more?

        You wrote two or three messages in a way that made me to answer your questions, but what could I do now?

      • Ok, you refuse the concept of photon collisions, no problem. Assuming that photon can ever reach to the Sun, you jumped to the conclusion photons from the Earth towards the Sun absorbed by the Sun. So how do photons only absorbed by the Sun and not by the photons on the way to the Earth. What is the mechanism that the Sun absorbs the Earth’s photon? Does Helium absorb 15um CO2 photons?

      • Photons interact mainly with charged particles. Their interaction with other photons is so weak that it has practically no influence. The hot surface plasma of the Sun absorbs photons of all relevant wavelengths extremely well.

        If there would be significant absorption of photons between the Sun and Earth, that would be equally visible in the radiation leaving from the sun towards Earth and an observable effect. The solar corona has some influence, but again it would be much more visible around Sun, if its influence would be essential.

      • “Photons interact mainly with charged particles. Their interaction with other photons is so weak that it has practically no influence.”

        Any backups? Especially when they collide with their much higher energy counterparts.

      • Here the backup is the theory of Feynman. In that theory the only direct interaction of photons is with charged particles. The interaction between two photons requires that a pair of virtual electron and positron is created and destroyed during the collision. this process is very much weaker and that is true for all wavelengths radiated by Sun (or Earth).

        At very high energies of particle accelerators the photon-photon -scattering is observable. Related processes are important also in lasers, but not for the radiation from the sun, because it is not coherent as laser light is.

      • How valid is it that photon collision be included in photon interaction in Feynman’s theory? Has his theory been challenged, i.e. direct photon collision?

      • As I told in an earlier message, this is the theory that has produced the most accurate verified predictions of all physical theories. Right now I do not remember the number of significant numbers, but there were many.

        The frequency of photon-photon -interactions is measured for the very high energy photons of accelerators and is in agreement with theory, but those tests are not accurate. Even so they do also verify the theory.

      • @JimD “I find that many of the skeptics have great difficulty in understanding the concept of photons going in both directions in a heat gradient.”

        I think the AGW believers have great difficulty understanding that the concept of photons going in both directions has not a lot to do with net heat energy transfer direction. ie cooler objects do not heat warmer objects (even though cooler objects may emit IR and warmer objects may absorb IR). I have yet to see a laboratory demonstration of this phenomenon.

      • Pekka, the existence of radiative heat transfer per se was not the issue. You need to speak more carefully.

      • You are too optimistic. For some the issue is really in the basics of the heat transfer per se. We have seen that repeatedly here.

        Where G&T differ from mainstream science is fully related to straightforward misconceptions of that nature or such unsubstantiated claims, which are presented without details that would allow pinpointing precisely, where the error is made.

      • SamNC, yes, a photon is absorbed easily by the sun which has a very high emissivity/absorptivity near 1. Equally photons emitted by CO2 in the atmosphere are absorbed by the earth, to bring us back to the original question.

      • Jim D,

        You are probably right, so show me how much CO2 photons absorbed by the Earth amongst that 324W/m2 back radiation stipulated (not stupilated us) by K&T. How much water is evaporated by this 324W/m2 back radiation. Hint 168W/m2 from the Sun evaporate 78W/m2 water vapor. Why its nothing on evaporation from the 324W/m2 back radiation. You need to tell K&T they were very wrong.

        If you don’t like that 324W/m2 topic, will CO2 photons absorbed by water on the Earth and evaporate water?

      • SamNC, 95-100% of photons from the atmosphere are absorbed by the earth surface. It goes initially into heating, after that what happens to the heat varies, but is no longer linked to the individual photon. Note that the surface is losing photons at a higher rate than gaining them, from previous discussion.

      • So how much of that CO2 represent/account for that 324W/m2 back radiation?

      • 10-15% (easily obtained using MODTRAN)

      • I qualify my first statement to mean I’m just talking about IR photons. When you add solar photons the gain outweighs the loss at least for parts of the day.

      • ” 95-100% of photons from the atmosphere are absorbed by the earth surface”. Did not some of the wellknown alarmist claimed half up and half down? So how come you deviated from them, the consensus?

      • Obviously you confused downward and net flux, but half-up half-down is not a good way to even put net flux anyway. What is your reference? Of the upward flux, a small percentage is reflected downward flux, and the rest is emitted by the surface.

      • @PekkaPirilä “Of course the net heat transform is always from the hotter to the colder”

        Of course, this is what G&T argue – that it is *impossible* for CO2 to backradiate IR to result in net heat flow from cooler (atmosphere) to warmer (lower atmosphere or earth).

        Anyone here know anything about the behavior of CO2 lasers in air and CO2??? Is IR from the laser scattered or reflected by air or CO2 gas?

      • And who has ever claimed that there would be net radiative heat transfer from colder to warmer? Certainly not any competent scientist.

        All ideas that such claims would be included in the explanations of the greenhouse effect are strawmen perpetuated by skeptics and perhaps stated by some people, who don’t know much about physics.

      • Given that the physicists who argue against the greenhouse effect are competent scientists, this can’t be what they are claiming. The warmers are misconstruing their arguments, in order to refute them.

        You seem to be constantly claiming that all scientists accept AGW and only non-scientists are skeptics. This is very false. My estimate is that within the climate community between 70 and 80% accept simple AGW, but fewer accept the threat of dangerous AGW. This is roughly the percentage of Democrats, because the belief is heavily distributed along ideological lines, as the general polls clearly show. . But it is telling that we have no competent polls of scientists on this.

      • The border between catastrophe and not is, as usual, a continuum.
        ============

      • And it’s Hell getting through customs. Douane do me that way.

        ::grin::
        ===

      • Of course defining “competent scientists” is not really possible, but concerning radiative heat transfer and the basic greenhouse effect based on its properties, the number of scientists whose own area of expertize covers these issues, and who do not agree on these basics, must be minuscule.

        Not every physicists knows even the most rudimentary basics of atmospheric physics. The concept of adiabatic lapse rate and its role is certainly unknown to many physicists, almost certainly to most, because their interests are somewhere else. Those, who pass the requirement of competent scientist in any field of physics, can certainly also learn these issues rapidly, if interested.

        I’m not claiming that all scientists accept AGW, I’m only claiming that the basics are on solid basis, and that those, who have spent some effort to check them, are convinced. (Basics, as I use it, does not include anything on feedback of dynamics). Not every scientist has done that, and agreeing on the basics is a totally different thing than agreeing on further conclusions.

      • Pekka,

        ” The concept of adiabatic lapse rate and its role is certainly unknown to many physicists,”

        I am not a scientist and I don’t know when this term is invented so I don’t know it. Presumably it is some sort heat energy loss and radiation loss rates. My question here is what are the adiabatic lapse rate of CO2, N2, O2, H2O. Taking their specific heat of capacities individually and compared with say the lapse rate of air, CO2 and find out the dominating gas.

        “I’m not claiming that all scientists accept AGW, I’m only claiming that the basics are on solid basis,”

        I am interested in what AGW basics are solid. Please list them with solid basis and lets discuss.

      • The adiabatic lapse rate of dry gas depends on the specific heat per mass. The specific heat per mass varies between the pure gases. Thus the constitution of the atmosphere has a small effect on it, but differences between N2, O2 and CO2 are not particularly large. For pure H2O the adiabatic lapse rate would be more than double compared to the other gases or air.

        “Dry gas” does not exclude water as long as it remains gas (i.e. as long as relative humidity is less than 100%).

        What is the value of the adiabatic lapse rate is one thing. I mentioned it, because it is a very important parameter for understanding atmosphere, and it’s also important to understand what its role really is, and how it is related to heat transfer through convection and release of latent heat. These are issues that most physicist are not likely to know.

      • The most important well known and solid issues are the general properties of the atmosphere, where the knowledge is both empirical and theoretical, and the interaction of radiation (both SW and LW) with matter.

        By the general properties of the atmosphere I mean reasonably accurate temperature profiles, concentrations of different gases and amount of clouds. In addition the albedo of the Earth surface and the atmosphere are important. For all these we need only approximate knowledge of the present state, not good models or anything else beyond the simple data.

        Based on the above information, the models of the type of Modtran can calculate the radiative forcing. One calculation is not enough, but a small number of calculations corresponding different parts of the globe gives an result that does not change with additional points as discussed e.g. by Myhre in 1990’s. Up to this point everything is solid as long as we are happy with an accuracy of about 10%. At this point we get the result that the forcing from doubling of CO2 corresponds to 1C temperature difference in the effective LW radiation from Earth as seen from space assuming that the atmosphere is modified only by the additional CO2 and is otherwise exactly as before (with possible exception of stratosphere, which is often allowed to reach a new equilibrium.)

        This is a purely theoretical number as it’s not possible to add in a moment so much CO2 to the atmosphere, but this theoretical number tells the order of magnitude of the influences. Feedbacks may double or triple the influence and they might also reduce it, but feedbacks are not any more part of what I called solid knowledge.

        All steps of of the solid part can easily be verified by a competent physicist from another field, but the further steps start to be in area covered well only by actual climate scientists.

      • David,

        The split in the scientific community is a little bizarre. What you are saying appears to be a truism, Of course it doesn’t apply to everyone, but it is like a glass half full/empty perception. one side, maybe both is losing sight of the significance of the puzzle parts. CO2 only can impact roughly one percent of the net energy balance. So tails of spectra, small changes in ACE, small changes in cloud cover, etc. can hide or overwhelm the impact of CO2 even up to 2100. Expecting measured temperature, OHC, radiation balance etc. in a real world to match models that do not have the required accuracy for the task, is a bit overly optimistic. So the situation devolves into an ideological battle. The question is not only if AGW is potential catastrophic, it is also, how confident can you actually be in the data. What would generally be insignificant, ain’t.

        Some of the more vocal on each side are starting to realize that, but many are holding on to ideology for dear life despite the developing facts. Just to have something you can add to your BS detector, the more confident one is, there greater likelihood they are wrong. “I don’t know” is pretty much still the correct answer for, “is AGW catastrophic?”

      • Dallas,

        “CO2 only can impact roughly one percent of the net energy balance. ”

        Curious how did you get that 1%. CO2 is 390ppm, i.e. less than 0.04%.

      • Dallas,

        CO2 only can impact roughly one percent of the net energy balance.

        Additional CO2 can maximally change the energy balance roughly 1% of the gross energy balance of the Earth That may be more than the net energy balance deviates from zero at any moment.

        So tails of spectra, small changes in ACE, small changes in cloud cover, etc. can hide or overwhelm the impact of CO2 even up to 2100.

        This is certainly an area of disagreement, when longer term (decadal or longer) averages are considered. For individual years the likelihood that your statement is correct is larger, but many consequences of the change should be visible at any moment, e.g. the see level or desertification of some areas or increased and changed vegetation in others.

        Expecting measured temperature, OHC, radiation balance etc. in a real world to match models that do not have the required accuracy for the task, is a bit overly optimistic.

        I agree.

        “I don’t know” is pretty much still the correct answer for, “is AGW catastrophic?”

        Few claim that a firm positive answer would be justified for this question, but many prefer to say “Possibly” rather than “I don’t know”, and they may also think that saying “Possibly” justifies essentially the same conclusions as saying “Yes”.

        Here my own attitude is that “Possibly” is not enough to justify major acts, but less than full certainty is. This means that we much reach some quantitative understanding of the benefits and costs in spite of the really great difficulties of this task. If we make decisions on an issue so different of those we are accustomed to without support of an even rudimentary quantitative analysis, we may be led totally astray. Many of the proposed acts are so poorly understood that we don’t even know, whether they have any mitigating net influence at all, while we still know that they have costs.

      • BLouis,

        Under very special case, yes, such as a solar concentrator which concentrate radiation to a spot. But inside atmospheric air, no way that CO2 can heat up a thermal gradient, unless there is a radiation reflector that concentrate radiation to that particular spot. Instruments such as thermocouples or RTDs wrongly placed in a tube full of gas will indicate wrong higher than the gas temperature due to reflection concentration.

        Yes, I agree that its the weakest AGW hypothesis that CO2 in the air can heat up a thermal gradient. Its absurd.

  31. A well known quote from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina reads:

    “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

    An equally strong simplification can be formulated:

    “The main stream scientists are all alike; every skeptic is skeptical in his own way.”

    We continue to see very many skeptical comments with content that other skeptics claim to present views of an almost non-existent minority stating that presenting these comments as typical for skeptics is insulting. This is just an indication of the above rule.

    This makes discussion fragmentary. It’s not possible to have discussion between people representing “both sides”, as we do not have two sides but an innumerable multitude of sides. The threads of Climate Etc. grow often so long that people, who do not follow the discussion daily, are not likely to more than skim through the comments. They remain uncertain, whether somebody has already written the same comments they may have in mind. These issues affect most strongly main stream scientists, because “they are all alike”. Every comment supporting strongly some main stream views is likely induce a set of totally disparate comments from the skeptics who are “skeptical in their own way”.

    It’s a virtue of this site that the discussions are lively, and that the spectrum of differing views is wide, but this is also disruptive and makes participation more difficult. Digging deeper to some subject becomes cumbersome, when others attack the comments from a third perspective. No blog software seems to offer optimal support for complex threads. The indented structure of this site helps and may be the best choice available, but even this has serious limitations. Some discussion forums have perhaps better solutions, but as far as I know none of them supports blog posts well. These problems may be one of the reasons for the limited participation of active scientists in these discussions.

    • Pekka Pirilä

      Your Tolstoy quote does indeed point to the uniform consensus of the “mainstream scientists”, as you describe this group.

      This is almost always so for dogmatic belief.

      As an example, the Catholic clergy is united completely on the theological dogma of the Catholic Church.

      Skeptics may have several different aspects of the dogma, of which they are skeptical, each with a different point of contention.

      This is pretty much how it stacks up today in climate science.

      Judith Curry has referred to the cadre of scientists who defend the “IPCC dogma” and “tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC”.
      https://judithcurry.com/2010/11/03/reversing-the-direction-of-the-positive-feedback-loop/

      These “defenders of the dogma” are united, while the skeptics often have different parts of the dogma to which each expresses skepticism.

      One may have found errors in the IPCC representation of sea level rise, while another may object to poorly substantiated claims on increased severe weather events while still another may reject IPCC claims that the troposphere has warmed more rapidly than the surface, thereby demonstrating the greenhouse warming fingerprint.

      So it is, indeed, a valid point.

      But I believe you have missed the real reason “why” this is so.

      You point out that discussion between the two sides is fragmentary and thus difficult.

      I think the basic problem is not so much that the points of contention are fragmentary, but that a rational discussion between skeptics and dogmatic believers is not possible, just as it is fruitless to discuss “creation” with a religious fundamentalist who will “tolerate no dissent” to his own dogma.

      You also suggest that the reason “active” scientists have generally avoided blog sites as a discussion forum is because the discussion becomes too fragmentary and “digging deeper to some subject becomes cumbersome”.

      I would suggest that, while this may be a problem of secondary importance to some, the overriding problem is that there is no “advantage” for a firm believer in the “mainstream dogma” to engage in a rational discussion with skeptics, simply because there is everything for the defender of the dogma to lose and nothing to gain from such a discussion.

      Just a different viewpoint, Pekka.

      Max

      • The persistent claims on dogmatism of the scientists are disgusting. There is certainly bias, which is in part due to group pressures, but labeling the science community like that is without basis and contrary to truth.

        I hoped that the following explanation was not necessary, but it seems I was wrong in that hope.

        All happy families are not really alike, they are only more alike than unhappy families. All scientists of any field do not agree on their science, but they do not disagree as much as non-scientist skeptics do.

      • David Bailey

        By claiming that there is nothing wrong in climate science, you actually weaken your case enormously. We can all see horrible behaviour at the very highest level.

        I don’t know if you include Rajendra Pachauri as one of your ‘community’, but if you do, wouldn’t you agree with me that his condemnation of those who questioned the himalayan predictions, was pretty dogmatic and disgusting. The phrase “Voodoo science” would sound pretty strong to me, even if he hadn’t had to admit that they were right all along!

      • And after all that he still didn’t get it.
        I saw him, live on TV, with his hand-waving, “So what if it’s 2035 or 2050”

      • Picking individual examples and generalizing to large groups anything can be justified. That applies equally well to all sides of disagreements.

      • David Bailey

        RP is not just an individual, he is head of the IPCC. With that sort of pressure applied to scientists to tow the line, can you seriously expect researchers with contrary evidence to get a fair hearing?

      • My comments were not on politically elected non-scientist chairmen of organizations that have influence on science, but do not do science.

      • David Bailey

        But he was putting quite unreasonable pressure on scientists – so where was the revolt from the scientists that he is supposed to represent?

        If he were the only example, it would not be so bad, but what leaves me genuinely gobsmacked, is that Nature doesn’t withdraw Mann’s paper, after his graphical trick was exposed! If I’d been caught doing something like that as a research student, I’m not sure what would have happened, but it would not have been pleasant!

        You an I both know that there is a very long list of other misdemeanors.

      • Scientists are theoretically supposed to toe [note sp.] the Scientific Method line, not any government policy line. It’s blatantly obvious that IPCC and CRU have chosen the latter. Under the direction of RP, a non-scientist of very little brain.

      • There are many, many ways in which a hypothesis can be ‘broke’, but only one way in which it can be ‘fixed’.

      • Pekka Pirilä

        The persistent claims on dogmatism of the scientists are disgusting.

        But no more so than the dogmatism itself, Pekka.

        And also no more so that the claims of fragmetism (hence disagreement) between the skeptics of the dogma.

        [This does not include ALL scientists, of course, Pekka, but simply that group whom JC has referred to in the cited article.]

        Max

      • Pekka Pirilä

        Your modified Tolstoy quote still misses the mark IMO:

        All happy families are not really alike, they are only more alike than unhappy families. All scientists of any field do not agree on their science, but they do not disagree as much as non-scientist skeptics do.

        Pekka, it is not so much that rational skeptics (be they scientists, engineers, or what-have-you) “disagree” with one another per se.

        It is simply that each may have a different piece (or pieces) of the “mainstraim dogma” to which he/she has a dissenting opinion.

        As I pointed out, one may object to IPCC claims on sea level rise acceleration, another on severe weather events purportedly related to AGW and a third on the claim that the troposphere has warmed more rapidly than the surface.

        The “mainstream” group, on the other hand, basically agree with the underlying science supporting the premise that

        AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of 20th century warming and represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment

        And the “skeptics” do not (for a variety of underlying reasons, possibly).

        So there is unison within both camps, but basic disagreement between the two camps, on the overall premise.

        And within the camp of rational skeptics, there may be different specific points of disagreement on the supporting science leading to this premise.

        I hope that has cleared it up from the viewpoint of one of those “rational skeptics”.

        Max

      • “The persistent claims on dogmatism of the scientists are disgusting.”

        Not nearly as disgusting as the utterly anti-scientific screaming that the debate was over or the smearing of any who questions the screams.

        Where were your heroic independent scientists then. Most were are silent as ‘good Germans.’ Only a few were real scientists asking real questions, and thus real heroes.
        Much better since Climategate poked the first big hole in the Big Lie groupthink balloon.

      • As an example, the Catholic clergy is united completely on the theological dogma of the Catholic Church.

        Good grief, by far the least accurate comment I have ever encountered about Catholic clergy!

        More to the point, I’m sure there are just as many gradations of belief and conviction as to the proposed mechanics of AGW among proponents of the hypothesis as there are refutations of the theory amongst sceptics.

        However, because AGW proponents perceive themselves as under attack from sceptics, the usual divisions that appear in the context of any other school of thought tend to be glossed over in the interests of maintaining a united front. This may lend an undeservedly monolithic appearance to proponents of AGW.

        After all, I doubt very much that our host on this blog views herself as a sceptic. However, she has been traduced in certain circles for seemingly breaking ranks and openly acknowledging the complexities.

      • chris1958

        Your point on our host here is correct.

        But she has not put herself into the “mainstream” category we are discussing here, i.e. the defenders of the IPCC “catastrophic AGW” premise and dogma.

        And, yes, there are differences on theological fine points within the Catholic Church, but not on the basic dogma, i.e. trinity, immaculate conception, crucifixion and resurrection, divine forgiveness, etc. In these basic points, the dogma is inelastic. That was my point to Pekka.

        Max

      • Stirling English

        How different from our own dear Church of England.

        Even a belief in god is considered to be a rather scandalously bizarre notion among most of the clergy. The only constant beliefs required in anglicanism are in CAGW and insipidly watered down Marxism.

    • David Bailey

      There are a few constant themes coming from skeptics. These include:

      The need to use valid statistical methodologies.

      The danger of basing too much work on unproven climate models.

      Dishonesty and secrecy among certain scientists – including trying to bias the peer review system, and sneaky tricks played with plots of several variables!

      The only fact that seems at all clear in the whole of this debate, is that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is increasing. I’d like scientists to study that in a normal professional way – but they are not, the whole subject has been politicised and messed up. If there really are any serious consequences associated with that increase in CO2, we may never know. Average temperature obviously varies substantially on a number of time scales, as any historical record will tell you, and that means it is logically impossible to deduce anything from the small temperature variations we have seen so far.

      • David Bailey

        You listed three basic issues which skeptics have relative to the “mainstream consensus” position on AGW, as represented by IPCC.

        The need to use valid statistical methodologies.

        The danger of basing too much work on unproven climate models.

        Dishonesty and secrecy among certain scientists – including trying to bias the peer review system, and sneaky tricks played with plots of several variables!

        These are certainly valid, but I think there is a fourth, which goes to the very heart of “scientific skepticism” (a.k.a. “rational skepticism”).

        Wiki tells us:

        Scientific skepticism or rational skepticism (also spelled scepticism), sometimes referred to as skeptical inquiry, is a practical, epistemological position in which one questions the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility.

        The “catastrophic AGW” premise is not supported by empirical evidence based on physical observations or reproducible experimentation, therefore it is an uncorroborated hypothesis, which is questioned by many rational skeptics for that very reason.

        Max

      • manacker writes “The “catastrophic AGW” premise is not supported by empirical evidence based on physical observations or reproducible experimentation, therefore it is an uncorroborated hypothesis, which is questioned by many rational skeptics for that very reason.”

        Amen to that. Could I request our host, Dr. Judith Curry, to respond to this statement.

  32. Like the misguided plea for “integrity” in science, the plea for “understanding” between warmists and realists misses the point. The time-honoured, tried-and-tested means for “understanding” between scientists in dispute is the Scientific Method. Climate “science” didn’t like certain aspects of the SM, so it substituted derision and obfuscation. That isn’t working any more, so they are trying a quest for “understanding”.

    It won’t work. The problem the warmists have is that whether or not they understand us, we sceptics understand them all too well.

  33. Joe Lalonde

    Pekka,

    Have you ever thought some of the education you received was mistaken or slightly off to fitting into a certain parameter?
    You cannot question the teacher as they are teaching from some other persons literature or perspectives, so they will not have the answer.
    Then this is forgotten and what is taught now is ingrained as truthful.

    I see things much differently as I can go into the past and find out what technology was available, what society was deeming as correct and acceptable. If the parameters of science CANNOT go into the past or be incorporated to other planets with the understanding of the different molecular make ups, then it is incorrect and should be reviewed.

    I have been making fantastic understandings with motion and energy from billions of years into the past and the relationship with other planets.
    Is it correct? So, far the interactions and the experimentation says it is.
    It is an area totally foreign to current scientists and physicists with very little time to generate numbers for any type of model due to the size and complexity of this area which MUST be followed by todays “peer-reviewed” journals.
    I really have no time for this foolishness as it interferes with the fresh new perspective of understanding new knowledge.
    I am not a hoop jumper who will model his research for publication.

  34. In response to steven mosher said on Sense from Von Storch
    May 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm
    Mosher In response to T R C Curtin on May 7, 2011 at 8:34 am:
    Von Storch likes to present himself as a paragon of truth and light,but as co-author with Francis Zwiers of the textbook (Von Storch, H. and F. Zwiers 1999. Statistical Analysis in Climate Research. CUP, Cambridge) he has never explained why he no more than Zwiers has ever applied the techniques of multi-variate regression analysis, that […]
    because it’s a simple exercise and get you only one variable of interest. Temp.
    If you want to see how it’s done I’ll recommend Arthur Smith’s work or Lucia’s work [typos corrected, TC]
    What amazing nonsense from Steven, who used to be more sensible.
    There is indeed only one DEPENDENT variable of interest, as the IPCC agrees, and that is Temperature.
    There is something called MULTI-variate regression analysis, which selects plausible INDEPENDENT variables that could explain the dependent variable, changes in temperature.
    Smith has NEVER done this, any more than von Storch or his side-kick Zwiers, and least of all Smith’s hero Tamino who thinks that showing pretty graphs with lines going up more or less in tandem amounts to regression analysis, see Smith’s current Predicting Future Temperature (began 4 April 2011), at http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/predicting_future_temperatures.
    Regression results take the form Change in temperature = a + bx + cy + dz ….u, with values for the constant a and the coefficients b, c, and d along with the t-statistics and p-values for each. That expression and its statistics are completely absent from the work of all those mentioned here.
    In my current paper the x, y, and z are changes in atmospheric CO2, atmospheric water vapor, and direct + diffuse solar surface radiation, and the x (CO2) coefficient proves to be statistically insignificant for every location where I have done this analysis (some 20 or so cities and small towns in the USA). A statistics package like SPSS will compute the t-statistics and Durbin-Watson and many other diagnostic statistics for a regression like this of which Hegerl and Zwiers like von Storch, as well as Arthur Smith and Tamino who if not totally ignorant thereof certainly never deign to mention them (eg AR4, WG1, in its entirety).
    The IPCC’s Hegerl and Zwiers (in Solomon et al. 2007, chap. 9, Appendix 9.A) do not use data, but pre-determined modelling and “simulations” of the only non-anthropogenic factors they consider, solar irradiance and volcanic aerosols. Why did they ignore changes in atmospheric concentrations of water vapor ([H2O]) which are very largely anthropogenic?

    Here’s my email yesterday in response to the sadly deficient paper by Nobel-laureate Gary Becker et al. in
    The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 10, Issue 2 2010 Article 19 DISTRIBUTIONAL ASPECTS OF ENERGY AND CLIMATE POLICY, Economics of Climate Policy, Gary S. Becker_ Kevin M. Murphy, Robert H. Topelz

    Dear Professor Becker

    I have just downloaded and begun reading you paper (with Murphy and Topel), and happily endorse its approach and findings, but for your assumption that CO2 emissions are invariably a negative externality despite the substantial evidence for Freeman Dyson’s position that the problem with CO2 for all primary production is its scarcity*. Eliminating combustion of hydrocarbon fuels will exacerbate that scarcity, as renewables like wind and solar lack that external benefit.

    Worse than that, as my attached paper explains, the wilful refusal of all climate scientists – and above all the IPCC’s Susan Solomon – ever to refer to the formula for combustion of hydrocarbon fuels means that you like them discount the social benefit of the more rapid recycling of both carbon dioxide and water between the globe’s surface to the atmosphere and back again.

    Here are the inconvenient truths suppressed by all climate scientists:

    C3H8 + 5O2 → Energy + 3CO2 + 4H2O …(1)

    Formula (1) receives no mention in the IPCC’s AR4 WG1 (Solomon et al., 2007) despite its demonising of hydrocarbon combustion. It is not surprising that just as climate science never divulges equation (1) despite it showing how both CO2 and H2O enter the atmosphere when there is combustion of hydrocarbons, it also never mentions (2), the formula whereby a large proportion of the emissions of CO2 and H2O are absorbed by photosynthesis both on land and in the oceans:

    2CO2 + 2 H2O + photons → 2CH2O + 2O2 …(2)
    Or, in words, carbon dioxide + water + light energy → carbohydrate (=food) + oxygen

    The energy produced in (1) is mainly used to drive the steam turbines that generate electricity and huge quantities of steam. The numbers are (for 2008-2009), from processes like that in (1), 30 GtCO2 and 18 GtH2O, plus net steam coolant emissions of over 300 GtH2O (which return to earth as rain, is that also a negative externality?!). You will not of course be able to find these numbers in Solomon et al. 2007.

    I fear that like a tribe of Indians, economists have too much taken on trust the witch doctors of climate science.

    I attach my paper currently undergoing peer review.

    Kind regards

    Tim Curtin
    http://www.timcurtin.com

    * I was glad to see your paper cites Freeman Dyson, did you notice he’s also said this:

    “The fundamental reason why carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is critically important to biology is that there is so little of it. A field of corn growing in full sunlight in the middle of the day uses up all the carbon dioxide within a meter of the ground in about five minutes. If the air were not constantly stirred by convection currents and winds, the corn would stop growing” (Dyson, A many-colored glass, University of Virginia Press, 2007).

    • Tim Curtin,
      You have written several very interesting comments here. I searched Google Scholar looking for your papers and, unfortunately, have not found any by you on the interesting topics.

      May I suggest you team up with someone like Nicola Scafetta (fine statistician and physicist) or Ross McKitrick (econometrician) to publish the multi-variate regression analysis you are talking about. And I would suggest you publish in a higher impact journal that E&E. There are times when E&E is the right place to publish, but this does not appear to be one of them.

    • “The fundamental reason why carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is critically important to biology is that there is so little of it. A field of corn growing in full sunlight in the middle of the day uses up all the carbon dioxide within a meter of the ground in about five minutes. If the air were not constantly stirred by convection currents and winds, the corn would stop growing” (Dyson, A many-colored glass, University of Virginia Press, 2007).

      Uh, yeah, but the air IS constantly stirred, and plants don’t die of CO2 starvation, like they do from drought.

      Thanks for the point to the Becker et al article, though. I look forward to reading it.

      • Do you have a reference for the “plants don’t die of CO2 starvation” comment?” I understood CO2 was *required* for photosynthesis.

      • Well, yes, if you put plants in an environment with no CO2, they will die. But, as Feynman in fact acknowledged, plants don’t deplete the CO2 in their local environment and then die because in fact the air is stirred up, and air with CO2 replaces the air without CO2.

        It turns out the planetary system is an equilibrating system, too, and there’s LOTS more CO2 in the ocean than the atmosphere. So, heaven forbid, the plants drew down the CO2 in the atmosphere significantly, you would begin seeing a net flux out of the oceans.

  35. Jim C writes :”Manacker writes “The “catastrophic AGW” premise is not supported by empirical evidence based on physical observations or reproducible experimentation, therefore it is an uncorroborated hypothesis, which is questioned by many rational skeptics for that very reason.”

    Amen to that. Could I request our host, Dr. Judith Curry, to respond to this statement.”

    I’d like to hear a response too.

    When you really hold an alarmist’s feet to the fire, his backup position generally seems to be, “Well, even if we can’t prove it, the hypothesis itself is enough because the price for not doing anything is potentially so catastrophic. If we’re right, we’re saving the earth. If we’re wrong, we’re cleaning up the air. What could be wrong with that?”

    It’s a seductive argument, and effective. Joe Bastardi argues that we should wait 20 or 30 years before doing anything because then we’ll have our definitive answer. Warmists find this horrifyingly negligent.

    • And quite possibly some better replacement technology than windmills and solar panels and mass transit for the grunts and Li-ion cars that only the rich can afford.

      • pokerguy writes ” If we’re right, we’re saving the earth. If we’re wrong, we’re cleaning up the air. What could be wrong with that?”

        Funnily enough, in a peculiar sort of way, the proponents of CAGW have got it right. They want to do the right thing for the wrong reason. In consequence, what they are proposing is prohibitively expensive. International conferences, binding agreements, etc. are precisely the wrong way of solving our energy needs. What we need to do is to learn how to recycle CO2.

        CO2 is a precious commodity. We dont want to waste it. If we can learn to recycle it, and make it produce more of the energy we need to live in the sort of lifeastyle we want to, then that is the way to go. But the way to get there is not by government interference, but by letting private enterprise make a profit. If energy prices rise, then hopefully someone will invent an economic way of getting energy in a cheaper way.

        I know I have mentioned this before, but Poet, with their Project Liberty, believe they can make a profit producing cellulose ethanol when the wholesale gas price in the US is greater than $2 per gallon. Such prices are now over $3 per gallon. Let us see what can be done.

        There is hope we can produce “bugs” which eat CO2 and produce methane. If we can capture CO2, and recycle it like this, then so much the better.

        But let us do these things, not because CO2 is an evil gas, but because it makes economic sense.

      • If we’re right, we’re saving the earth. If we’re wrong, we’re cleaning up the air. What could be wrong with that?

        If CO2 is “dirty”, we all need to hit the shower and stay in there forever.

      • I think the point is not that the CO2 is dirty, but rather that when you stop burning fossil fuels for energy, you get rid of a lot of other air pollutants as well (SO2, NOx, PM, CO).

      • Paul Baer

        when you stop burning fossil fuels for energy, you get rid of a lot of other air pollutants as well (SO2, NOx, PM, CO).

        Yeah.

        But you can get rid of these pollutants without stopping burning fossil fuels, simply by cleaning up the flue gas.

        That’s the solution.

        Not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

        Max

      • Nah. The best place for CO2 is in the atmosphere. The flora of the planet have eaten their supply down to near-famine levels. It’s time for we fauna to pick up our game. I propose a target level of 2,000 ppm.

      • CO2 is not scarce. However, a little basic physics will make it plain why you can’t “recycle” CO2 to get more energy out of it. Unless, of course, you have (say) a plant, which takes sunlight and CO2 and uses the energy to turn the CO2 into sugars, conveniently giving off O2 in the process. Which are then oxidized to produce energy and CO2.

        Photosynthesis is really a marvelous process. If and when humans can improve on the process, that will be quite something.

      • Paul Baer

        Photosynthesis is really a marvelous process. If and when humans can improve on the process, that will be quite something.

        ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics is working on that one, Paul.
        http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/energy_vehicle_algae.aspx

        Could be a new source for motor fuels (and maybe electrical power).

        Max

      • And..

        http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/01/S2P

        or, a probable improvement:

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305102719.htm

        ..which appears to be being looked at here: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/seeks+process+convert+greenhouse+emissions+fuel/4762480/story.html

        At which point Popular Science would go on to predict a car that filters exhaust through a nanotube solar array integrated into the design of the body, recycling its own fuel. ;)

      • lol!!

        A perpetual motion machine, Bart?

      • Jim

        Popular Science covers always were more along the lines of, “if we keep progressing at this rate, we’ll be on the Moon by June,” than the articles.

        Still, I remember building what today would be called a webcam in 1981 based on an article from a magazine of that type, so who am I to comment?

      • Bart

        That “CO2 to motor fuel process” looks great on paper, but there are some basic problems with the energy balance.

        It takes considerably more energy to produce a gallon of (gasoline-equivalent) motor fuel than this gallon contains.

        You could argue, “well a part of the energy needed can be supplied by solar energy (which is available at no cost)”, but this is only covers a part of the process.

        I’m not saying that there could not be some sort of catalytic process that could some day be developed to economically convert CO2 flue gases back to synthesis gas and motor fuel (but it has not been developed yet, as far as I can see).

        Max

      • Max

        I’m just supplying information to fulfill an obvious need, as evidenced by this thread.

        I’m not endorsing the technology as anything but solar-assisted flue-gas cleaning.

        OTOH if this artificial ‘photosynthesis’ ever could succeed at converting enough CO2 into CO, well then all our troubles would be laid to rest. ;)

    • John Kannarr

      I always thought the precautionary principle was basically useless as a guide to anything. First, you can always turn the “we’ve got to do something just in case” argument around to its opposite. How does the claimant know that doing “something” won’t make the situation worse? Of course, they claim to have perfect knowledge, or at least better knowledge than the rest of us, but the catch remains proving it.

      On the other hand, I say that mankind’s greatest need is cheap, inexhaustable energy, and that the proposals to limit CO2 are likely to cause much greater harm to mankind than any change in the climate that they claim will occur. Having access to more and more energy, though, will enable people to adjust to and overcome whatever problems climate (or climate change) throws at them.

      The same goes for preserving people’s freedoms to act on their best judgment, but of course the alarmists want to substitute their “superior” judgment for everyone else’s. How is that different from any other tyrant in history?

      • Hear, hear! Except that we should be maximizing our CO2 contribution to the world’s plants’ food supply. In the atmosphere. 2,000 ppm sounds about right.

  36. Let’s be careful with the analogies…a doctor once told me that sick people are much more similar to each other than healthy people are. And it makes sense. Especially regarding mental illnesses: it’s hard to find much of a difference between two persons suffering from paranoia or depression.

    • Especially regarding mental illnesses: it’s hard to find much of a difference between two persons suffering from paranoia or depression.

      Unless, say, you know them.

      • Paul Baer

        I’d agree that a personal acquaintance suffering from paranoia might be different from another personal acquaintance suffering from depression at the psychotic level.

        But the same could be said about two personal acquaintances that each suffer from one of the two ailments.

        Each individual is different from another.

        Max

  37. Dr. Curry,

    On the topic of “Sense” the Climate Change Task Force’s name make perfect sense! They seem to be pretty good at changing climate. I am sure there is nothing nefarious about their Wikipedia involvement, but my playing around with RSS temperature data and Wikipedia causes me to question their motives.

    http://ourhydrogeneconomy.blogspot.com/2011/05/complexity-understanding-and-magic-our.html This post I was working on has the details. I am sure I must be reading more into this than is justified, but….

  38. The purpose of skepticalscience is not to placate skeptics, but to serve as a resource for internet debaters, perhaps even with a browser addon to look up the arguments live with references. Thus defeating skeptics at their own blogs

    • the purpose of SS is to delude Believers into pretending that all one has to do is make up references (in the hope none will bother reading all the original articles with caveats and all) for the questions to melt away.

      SS means also one thing to all, that nobody trusts the IPCC.

    • Yeah, Mike.

      But it does not work, since the arguments used by skepticalscience are weak and often flawed.

      Examples:

      “It hasn’t warmed since 1998” tries to show that it HAS, but, in actual fact, as measured by the HadCRUT surface record (used by IPCC) it has not.

      “Climate has changed before” skirts around natural climate forcing and tries to provide evidence that 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is 3C, but fails to provide any empirical evidence to support this suggestion.

      “Positives and negatives of global warming” lists purported negative impacts and ignores the positive ones; for example, it states that there are 5 times as many deaths from warm weather than from cold, although several medical studies have shown just the opposite.

      IMO, this is not a fact-based site.

      Max

  39. The main reason why there are so many amateur skeptics is because the professionals have abjectly failed to be skeptical. And that is quite simply a risk:reward inequality; there is funding, promotions, prestige and prizes for not being a skeptic (and the more alarmist you are, the bigger the payoff). The skeptic by contrast has funding requests refused, papers unpublished, constant critical derision from their smug, yet hypocritical colleagues and not a prize or promotion in sight. This perverse situation can end with just one simple thing: Accountability!

    Nobody has yet surpassed Craig Bohren’s summary of the situation here:
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/aprilholladay/2006-08-07-global-warming-truth_x.htm?csp=34

    I side with Bohren’s perspective, not Von Storch, who runs with the hare and hunts with the hounds.

    • I went and read the interview with Bohren, and it’s actually quite reasonable.

      However, J’s comment that “the more alarmist you are the bigger the payoff” doesn’t match my understanding of how climate research funding works. But it would be interesting to do an explicit analysis. And it is certainly the case that it’s common to draw the connection to climate change to make a research proposal seem more relevant, in a wide range of fields. On the other hand, it’s also because within the broad scientific community, the basic case for AGW is largely accepted, which makes such links quite reasonable. The statement of the National Academy of Sciences both reflects and reinforces this fact.

      • Paul

        Ask yourself, would your job even exist but for the panic-mongering?

        Then ask, how many other jobs in climate research would be obsolete if the slow, gradual warming were assumed to be probably a natural rebound from the little ice age, rather than asumed to be human-caused. You might then realise why certain things are just “accepted” by those who benefit hugely from that selfsae acceptance.

        By payoff I meant Emanuel, Hansen getting prestigious prizes for alarmist work based on hugely shaky and flawed assumptions. Or Manns rapid promotion from recently graduated to dept head on the basis of the iconic HS. Or the CRU, a second rate organisation from a 3rd rate uni, being lavished with funding on the back of truly unstartling science but much misleading hype.

        And zero accountability at all levels. So far!

        Analyse your own “seems reasonable” statement from your own starting belief system. What would one have to say to not be “reasonable”. Let’s see.

        1. Temperature may be changing naturally, within the bounds of our present ignorance of what nature is capable of.
        2. Climate, if defined as averaged weather events, isn’t apparently changing anywhere to any extent.
        3. None of the models are capable of predicting diddly squat in any event.

        Now objectively that seems reasonable to me, because it reflects the actual situation. It probably seems unreasonable to you because you are subjectively embedded with the AGW accepted notion that provides your employment. Realistically you are not in a position to judge Bohren at all. You should just absorb it instead.

        If your own job is eventually described as ‘analysisng unrealistic solutions to a non-problem’ then would you consider this a life well spent? Or would you just rationalise it and pretend the problem really was there, because it must be if so many people were employed on that basis?

  40. Does anybody actually believe that in the absence of GH molecules, N2 and O2 in the atmosphere would simply pretend there is no energy to exchange with the rest of the Universe and steadfastly lie down on the ground with a temperature a little more than 0K?

    • It depends on albedo – which ranges from about 50% for snowball earth to 25% for few clouds in a blue green world.

      As there is a 3.42W/m-2 difference at TOA for every percentage point – this is a big energy factor.

  41. “Therefore, water absorbs almost no light.”

    I am getting a little tired of this amazing conclusion by pale skinned wanna be scientists, Ya need to get out on the water more or read this,

    http://ourhydrogeneconomy.blogspot.com/2011/05/therefore-water-absorbs-almost-no.html

    • if I remember correctly pure water is a poor conductor for electricity

      Real water, instead…

      • It is amazing to me that people that can understand how a doubling of a minute trace gas has the potential to create signification atmospheric warming, can’t understand that a more significant trace element in water can do the same thing. People seem to forget to ask why? The ocean has an albedo of 0.06 roughly, but it can’t absorb solar radiation. People just accept that contradiction, if the light is not reflected, where does it go?

        The same with enhanced greenhouse effect, it appears to not be doing as much as advertised right now, why? I wish I could animate a 15 year progressive linear regression of the temperature series. It shows the changing rates of warming. Its not statistically significant, but you can even see slight changes in the rates that could be CO2 enhancement and the unforced variations. I have averaged the various linear regressions and 1.3 to 2.1 is the solid range of sensitivity, before this climate shift and now appears to be favoring the 1.3 if the shift lasts to 2025. I really don’t care what the reason is, just what will happen. Other than models that are now moving below their confidence levels, nothing seems to support a sensitivity over 2.5. Most of the guys running the models though don’t ask why, they assume just about anything but the obvious, something else is going on. It is an interesting problem, damn shame so many people have their heads up their butts.

      • Dallas,

        I know why you don’t understand. You have no idea what’s important and what’s not important IN THE CONTEXT OF A SPECIFIC CONVERSATION. You take things out of context and act as though they were meant in the context in which you are inferring them. Without attempting to understand the context in which a specific individual makes a claim, you’re going to stay rather confused.

        For some reason, I don’t expect your behavior with respect to this notion to change. It’s a lot easier to accuse people of claims they didn’t make.

      • Sorry you feel that way, I mentioned salt in the water and you came back with crater lake. This comment though was for more than just you, several people seem to feel that short wave radiation has little impact on ocean warming, that the “down welling” longwave is the main factor. It is not the main, it is just one of the factors.

        So I am sorry that I took “Therefore, water absorbs almost no light.” out of what ever context you intended. Even fresh water is not pure and with enough depth, it will absorb visible energy other than red/infrared. The spectrum at the other short wavelengths has less area under the curve, but most are not zero. Impurities just increase the absorption rate. At shallower depths, the bottom converts the energy which is transferred to the water. So whether by direct absorption at greater depths or by indirect transfer from other absorbers, the water does absorb light energy. That’s kinda the point ain’t it?

      • I think you’re getting confused. Either that, or “they” are getting confused. It’s the downwelling LW in the atmosphere that makes the difference between GH and no GH. Radiation pretty much all gets captured by the water in the end. It’s just that a little bit may have been captured by the water, reradiated, and then sent back down again as LW that tips temperatures up a little.

        Water itself does all of this, not impurities in the water. And even if the salt made a difference, all that does is move the depth at which 99% is absorbed. One way or another, it pretty much all gets absorbed, regardless of the impurities.

      • Yeah, I know. The confusion that frustrates me is that people are taking the KT cartoon with its large down welling IR and missing the point that that just controls the rate of cooling and ignoring that daytime solar does the heating. The water is a poor absorber of solar radiation is taken literally by quite a few people I have run into, ignoring that there is more than enough depth or path length for full absorption. I have also gotten the impression from many that only the skin layer matters, 40% is absorbed below the first meter and nearly half of that between 10 and 150 meters. That depth of warming in cleaner water should reduce the rate of radiative cooling at the skin layer, so the ocean losses heat less rapidly than many of the blog denizens think.

        In more opaque water, the warming is closer to the surface so the cooling can be more rapid. How big a difference that makes, I don’t know, I just think the depth of warming is something worth considering.

      • ChE,

        “It’s the downwelling LW in the atmosphere that makes the difference between GH and no GH. ”

        All matters radiate at a temperature higher than 0K. Atmospheric O2 and N2 radiate. O2+N2 have 99% composition of air. So what proportion of downwelling LW radiation energy you think that O2 and N2 contributed?

      • Here is a chart that shows the changes in the absorption depths of seawater. http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter06/Images/Fig6-18.htm While ChE and Maxwell are right, the impurities in saltwater change the depth and heat content of the surface mixing layer. Because of salt for one, the thermocline is shallower than it would be for fresh water.

        The link also has pretty good charts on annual ocean temperature changes. A few people before were talking about warm air heating the oceans. That is a minimal impact. Cold air though greatly increases cooling and a shallower mixing layer increases the total heat loss.

        It is the net changes that matter and the downwelling aspect of IR, i.e. air temperature, seems to confuse people on its impact of ocean heat uptake and loss. A good subject for the Chief Hydrologist I would imagine.

  42. “Where were your heroic independent scientists then. Most were are silent as ‘good Germans.’ Only a few were real scientists asking real questions, and thus real heroes. Much better since Climategate poked the first big hole in the Big Lie groupthink balloon.”

    I still wonder where they are. Sure, climategate shook a few apples off the tree, but not many….There must be a substantial number of establishment climate guys who damn well know this thing’s a fraud and yet stay silent because to do otherwise would be to make life difficult. Besides, it’s so easy to rationalize. “Oh well, worst case scenario is we’re cleaning the air. Not a bad thing.”

    This thing has to come apart from the inside. If anyone still has hopes that somehow the leaders of this movement are going to suddenly say, “gee, our predictions don’t seem to be working we must be wrong,” they’re dreaming.

    What we need is an army of Dr. Curry’s. Establishment climate scientists who
    who’ve seen the light. But someone needs to lead. While I’ve great respect for her, at critical moments when under the spotlight she’s failed to fully disclose her doubts. That’s damaging. Not to mention disheartening.

  43. re Paul Baer said on Sense from Von Storch
    May 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm
    In response to T R C Curtin on May 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm:
    ‘Did you really mean “the sun at TOA is 24/7″?’ NO, I apologise, I meant TSI, total solar irradiance, which is 24/7.

    ‘And what is “the opacity of the sky” at night?’

    TOT and OPQ – Opaque sky cover (OPQ) is the amount of sky completely hidden by clouds or obscuring phenomena, while total sky cover (TOT)includes this plus the amount of sky covered but not concealed (transparent). Sky cover, for any level aloft, is described as thin if the ratio of transparent to total sky cover at and below that level is one-half or more. Sky cover is reported in tenths, so that 0.0 indicates a clear sky and 1.0 (or 10/10) indicates a completely covered sky (excerpt from Meteorological Glossary, AMA, accessed 29 September 2010).

    BTW, would you Paul agree that the presence of more molecules of CO2 in the atmosphere could be expected to increase OPQ?

    • I would only expect CO2 to increase OPQ through indirect effects (warming, increasing water content, increasing clouds) – that would be a negative cloud feedback, which is certainly possible. I don’t see why CO2 molecules alone would increase OPQ – I don’t think they can serve as cloud condensation nuclei. But I’m not a cloud expert.

  44. re Paul Baer | May 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    ‘I did a calculation when I was a first year PhD student that estimates the increase in surface temperature from CO2 doubling using essentially black-body physics and some basic information about the absorbtion spectra of CO2… This makes a pretty good case for the “no feedback climate sensitivity” of roughly 1.5ºC (granted it’s been a while and I couldn’t do it without some prompting anymore). Given that warming increases the water holding capability in the atmosphere and water is also a GHG, the idea that there is a first order positive feedback seems reasonable. ‘

    Paul, Increasing holding capacity is one thing, increasing the amount of atmospheric water vapor is something else (as I explain in my paper, available on request from tcurtin at bigblue.net.au), especially when as you added, the increase in surface temperature from 1900 to 2000 was only 0.7 oC, or just 0.007 oC p.a. on average, not really enough to drive a steam engine, generate electricity, or increase atmospheric water vapor.

    But global combustion of hydrocarbons in 2008-09 produced 18 GtH2O as well as 30GtCO2, while the cooling of the world’s thermal power stations evaporated over 300 GtH2O. Not really a feedback, more a direct and large component of total radiant forcing, albeit one totally disregarded by all the IPCC’s climate science witch doctors (who in Australia believe rainfall resulting from that evaporation is just as much a “pollutant” as CO2).

    • Just out of curiosity, how much is 318 Gt H20 compared to the total water content of the atmosphere? And do you have any reason to believe that it’s accumulating in the atmosphere?

      Do you really believe it’s possible that as scientists began to study the physics of the atmosphere, they didn’t think about this?

      • It may be better to compare the annual H2O release from power plants to the worldwide evaporation and precipitation.

        That is 15.2 t/sec, 500 000 Gt/a or 1500 times 318 Gt/a H2O. The power plants have some local influence, but on worldwide scale the effect is small. Additional input leads to additional precipitation, but certainly also to a slightly larger atmospheric concentration, as the additional precipitation would not persist without that addition.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Paul,

        Science was settled long before satellites went up to show that cloud cover and storms never cross the equator.
        I have yet to see a single event to occur.
        Just like they never took into consideration that at the equator is the largest mass of the planet in circumference and all the rest of the planet is smaller towards the poles due to the way it rotates.

    • ps sure, send me the paper – paul.baer@gatech.edu.

      • Paul Baer,

        ‘I did a calculation when I was a first year PhD student that estimates the increase in surface temperature from CO2 doubling using essentially black-body physics and some basic information about the absorbtion spectra of CO2… This makes a pretty good case for the “no feedback climate sensitivity” of roughly 1.5ºC (granted it’s been a while and I couldn’t do it without some prompting anymore). Given that warming increases the water holding capability in the atmosphere and water is also a GHG, the idea that there is a first order positive feedback seems reasonable. ‘

        I am interested in your calculations, do show me, thanks.

      • OK, but it will be a while. I’m on vacation this week.

        –Paul

      • TIA and looking forward to it. Regards.

  45. Alexander K

    The arrogance of the science fraternity reminds me not just of the cropper Margaret Meade came through believing the tall tales of female Polynesian Tusitalas in Samoa, but of the really big misconceptions the New Zealand Maori had written about them by early Western explorers who assumed they knew all about how cultures which comprised mere ‘stone age natives’ explored the vast Pacific region and settled new lands without benefit of writing or steel tools or machinery of any kind. The Maori, like their Samoan counterparts, are a warm, gregarious and hospitable people who have a wicked sense of humour which they fully exercised telling ignorant Pakeha tall tales that the Pakeha were eager to believe. Many scientists seem to be falling into the same trap as those early Pakeha in assigning us sceptics a role as something of a cultural curiosity.
    I find this trend in sccientists to be incredibly offensive, woefully ignorant and very childish indeed. It may be salutory for them to remember, if they ever knew, that Polynesian explorers were making dead reckoning landfalls at the end of huge sea journeys using astral navigation and star charts before Christopher Columbus persuaded his sailors that they would not fall off the edge of the earth if they went beyond the horizon. Perhaps sceptics of CAGW may have a handle on climate science after all!

  46. Tomas Milanovic

    The threads of Climate Etc. grow often so long that people, who do not follow the discussion daily, are not likely to more than skim through the comments. They remain uncertain, whether somebody has already written the same comments they may have in mind.

    I agree with that.
    I am familiar of many science blogs and some on climate but sofar I found Judith’s blog unique in the science blogosphere.
    While many high traffic blogs generate a large passive attendance, here the attendance is perhaps smaller but very active.
    That leads to very large threads with very large posts.
    So it is not only hundreds of comments per thread but hundreds of lines per comment.

    This makes it all but impossible to participate casually because the ratio “time needed to post/time needed to read” is extremely small.
    That’s why I restricted my participation to only the (excellent !) technical posts that Judith writes from time to time and that are so well thought through that, I imagine, she must need anywhere above 6 hours of preparation.

    In such posts I always found it very rewarding to dedicate a high frequence for reading and posting, e.g at least twice a day.

  47. “Give her a break.”

    It’s very difficult for me to write what I did. I’m a 60 year old granddad with mush for a heart. But it’s the truth, and these are important issues.

  48. Peter Wilson

    I also agree that attempts to placate skeptics such as at skepticalscience.com aren’t terribly effective

    I am puzzled as to how you could possibly view Skepticalscience.com as any kind of attempt to placate sceptics. The tone and articles are openly contemptuous of skeptical views and scientists, and the practice of erecting simplistic straw man arguments, and then proceeding to “debunk” these with arguments that have often themselves been convincingly refuted (or are at least far more controversial than Cook represents), is extremely tedious to knowledgeable skeptics, and dishonestly misleading to anyone else.

    In fact this transparently alarmist website has been set up largely to fulfill the function RealClimate once did, but no longer seems able to – to provide alarmists with a handy link on any subject to allow them to say that skeptical arguments have been “debunked” by “real climate scientists”. After all, many of their rebuttals must seem quite reasonable to someone who doesn’t follow the topic as closely as we do.

    In any case, it seems clear that “placation” of skeptics has nothing to do with it!

  49. I hardly leave responses, but after reading a few of
    the remarks on Sense from Von Storch | Climate Etc.

    . I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you
    don’t mind. Could it be only me or does it give the impression like a few of the responses come across as if they are coming from brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing on other sites, I would like to follow you. Could you post a list of every one of all your public sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?