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  1. GCR won’t go away, neither will Bigfoot, faith healers, creationists, alien abductees, truthers, birthers, the moon hoax, the grassy knoll, Al Gore and the illuminati, horoscopes, electric universe, chariots of the gods, or any other kind of woo-woo physics/politics that people can use to turn a dishonest buck.

    Needless to say I think this article gives GCR proponents more credit than they deserve.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 9 Oct 2009 @ 3:54 AM

  2. I think it’s because

    1) Some people are desperate to have global warming caused by something other than CO2. This includes, unfortunately, some scientists who should know better.

    2) Any scientist hates losing an original theory. Van de Kamp kept analyzing his nonexistent planetary system of Barnard’s Star for years after Gatewood and Eichhorn showed it didn’t exist back in 1973. Halton Arp refuses to drop his crazy ideas about cosmology. Chandra Wickramasinghe still clings to his and the late Fred Hoyle’s last version of Steady-State.

    3) Europeans like to show that they’re independent of the US, even in science. As with European journals continuing to publish Arp’s vacuous articles about objects of different red shifts “apparently” physically connected, so, very likely, with Svensmark and his ilk–the more so considering that Svensmark is a European.

    In brief–wishful thinking, authorial pride, nationalism.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:08 AM

  3. I continue to be amazed that people are willing to shun a relatively well known physical phenomena (the absorption frequencies of CO2) for more and more exotic alternatives. The only thing that unites the alternatives is that they are entirely out of human control.

    Is it human nature to find excuses for things which are almost to big to comprehend. If we were a few hundred years ago, would people be saying that it was “gods will”?

    If so we are facing an uphill struggle, as climate change becomes more apparent people may be less and less willing to believe that they had a part in it and that they can reduce further impact.

    Comment by Jeremy — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:27 AM

  4. When you reviewed Svensmarks latest paper (here) it seemed that you didn’t fully understand the content (see my comment #32). Svensmark shows very convincing that GCR is correlated to aerosols and cloudiness. Why don’t you start with rereading this latest paper of Svensmark, then you’ll understand why there’s still interest for his hypothesis.

    Comment by Bengt A — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:46 AM

  5. hi Rasmus

    I think there is an amplification factor to explain the 0.1°C global temperature between a maximum and a minimum in 11 years cycle.
    With a little model (http://www.climat-evolution.com/article-29141562.html) I find a 3.5 amplification factor (I must be modest however!).
    This doesn’t change the main cause of the long term warming, but it can explain a part of the actual slowing.

    Comment by pascal — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:52 AM

  6. It’s an interesting subject from a “philosophy of science” point of view! I think there are two points:

    1. The topic is worth pursuing. Svensmark’s studies on gamma-ray induced nanocondensate formation in atmospheric mimics with SO2 and O3 is solid science (papers in J. Phys. Chem. B and Proc. Roy. Soc.). Exploring correlations between solar outputs and climate responses is an important part of earth climate studies and this should include possible contributions from the CRF. So I don’t think there’s a problem with honest scientific study on this subject.

    2. The problem in my mind is (i) the poor scientific approaches amongst some practitioners in this area and (ii) the over-hyping of tentative science while ignoring the larger amount of data that supports something close to the null hypothesis, namely that the CRF has little detectable effect on earth climate responses, and that the contribution to cloud responses is low.

    So it’s not damaging to science to pursue this subject, and I don’t see why people shouldn’t give presentations at conferences on it….of course there should be an honest depiction of the field, and if Svensmark isn’t going to do this, then other scientists should be invited to present their work too! Sadly there are a few characters that are still prepared to misrepresent the science. For example, a truly dismal review on the subject was recently published by one of the people involved in the C-E-R-N “CLOUDS” study.

    Dodgy analysis can “explain” any solar-induced effects by invoking the CRF ( since this parameter marches pretty much in step with the other solar parameters) ….so climate effects produced by irradiance changes can be interpreted as CRF effects without any causal evidence. That seem to be the point of the Erlykin manuscripts you link to which indicate that the observed effects have little CRF contribution and are likely the result of irradiance variations.

    Comment by Chris — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:54 AM

  7. Ken Carslaw offers a partial answer to your question in Nature News and Views of July 2009. (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v460/n7253/full/460332a.html) It is a commentary on Pierce and Adams’ modeling study (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL037946.shtml). I say “partial”, because it only addresses the plausibility of the physical mechanism, while apparently taking the correlations at face value. I discussed the same paper here 6 months ago in my review of aerosol nucleation and GCR. (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/aerosol-effects-and-climate-part-ii-the-role-of-nucleation-and-cosmic-rays/).

    About this paper, Carslaw writes:

    “Their conclusion is clear: CCN concentrations just aren’t very sensitive to the changes in GCRs that have occurred during the twentieth century.”
    (…)
    “Climate modelers are always quick to point out that predictions can be model-dependent. Certainly CCN may
    be more sensitive to the ion-induced nucleation rate in a different model or under conditions not explored by Pierce and Adams. But other global model studies of nucleation suggest that CCN are fairly insensitive to the nucleation rate for a simple reason: during the time taken for nuclei to grow to CCN sizes, coagulation depletes particle concentrations — just as raindrops are always fewer in number than cloud drops. Unless there is some as-yet-undiscovered process that accelerates the growth of a few charged nuclei all the way up to CCN sizes, this low sensitivity is likely to be a robust conclusion.

    Despite this result, it is likely that a cosmic ray–cloud–climate connection will continue to be explored, for two reasons. First, scientists continue to be intrigued by correlations between cosmic rays, Earth’s electrical state and climate variables (clouds, precipitation, drought and so on) on timescales from hours to millennia.(…) The second reason that GCR–cloud physics will remain a hot topic is that we have yet to explore all the possible mechanisms. Attention may now shift to the ‘ion–aerosol near cloud’ mechanism.”

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:55 AM

  8. “Our main weapon is the correlation between low cloud and GCRs’ and the historical correlation with icebergs.. er…

    Our two main weapons are the correlation between low cloud and GCRs’ and the historical correlation with icebergs, and the reduction in cloud water vapour after Forbush events … er ….

    Our three main weapons are …”

    Seriously, was the Forbush paper not mentioned as supporting evidence?

    “Close passages of coronal mass ejections from the sun are signaled at the Earth’s surface by Forbush decreases in cosmic ray counts. We find that low clouds contain less liquid water following Forbush decreases, and for the most influential events the liquid water in the oceanic atmosphere can diminish by as much as 7%.” http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL038429.shtml

    It seems to be considered a done deal in Tehran

    Phil Clarke.

    Thanks to Rasmus and apologies to the Pythons.

    Comment by pjclarke — 9 Oct 2009 @ 5:13 AM

  9. Seems that my link does not work? Can you fix it? Would appriciate a preview!

    Comment by Bengt A — 9 Oct 2009 @ 5:17 AM

  10. There’s one thing about ISCCP cloud trends that I rarely see mentioned; the possibility that they are not real, see Evan et al. (2007):
    http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~dvimont/Papers/Evan_etal_GL028083.pdf

    “Here we show that trends observed in the ISCCP data are satellite viewing geometry artifacts and are not related to physical changes in the atmosphere. Our results suggest that in its current form, the ISCCP data may not be appropriate for certain long-term global studies, especially those focused on trends.”

    Comment by Ari Jokimäki — 9 Oct 2009 @ 5:43 AM

  11. Another paper by Svensmark is mentioned in a recent Science Daily:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801095810.htm

    According to this abstract, a clear impact of Forbush events can be detected if a delay of 7 – 8 days is allowed for aerosol growth to produce water vapor condensation nuclei.

    I recall some earlier work investigating the same mechanism. The test then failed as no correlation was found. However, the growth period was limited to shorter values (0 – 5 days).

    Forbush events are transitory of course, but they might be suitable for evaluation of the proposed mechanism and indicative of the impact IF there were long term changes in cosmic radiation.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 9 Oct 2009 @ 6:10 AM

  12. Are you a cosmologist? Are you qualiied to debate this issue?

    Comment by Jimmy Haigh — 9 Oct 2009 @ 6:20 AM

  13. I think I did understand the important points – namely that if the molecule clusters were to grow and become CCNs, then one should be able to detect a change in aerosols at all sizes within the relevant size range and with appropriate phase change. Even if the GCrs were to affect CCNs and low clouds, there is still a problem when it comes to explaining the recent trend in global mean temperature without a correspoding trend in GCR.

    Comment by rasmus — 9 Oct 2009 @ 7:31 AM

  14. I’m afraid it’s not really about the data. It’s about the unorthodox scientist as hero, challenging the establishment with a cool new idea. It’s about the underdog against the arrogance of the establishment. It’s about publicity, self-promotion, and sexy press releases. It’s about insisting relentlessly from publication to publication that a link has been shown, and a theory is gaining strength. It’s about writing a popular book about oneself, ignoring every objection that has been raised except the one for which one happens to have a good reply. And it’s about wishful thinking that this somehow means greenhouse warming isn’t happening. People want Svensmark to be right.

    But about the data, regarding Svensmark’s “corrected” ISCCP curve referred to in point. 1: Do you know if it’s the one published in Marsh and Svensmark 2003 (fig. 1a), previously discussed here, or is there a later publication?

    Comment by CM — 9 Oct 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  15. Heck, you might as well ask why the idea that scientists who don’t follow “the AGW dogma” are silenced still exists, despite not one coming forward in a query for one direct example (as opposed to “I know someone who has, but I won’t name them”) still exists.

    Any straw possible.

    Think of a man falling from a great height: grabbing handfuls of nothing to try and slow him down. Heck, he’s got nothing to lose but his dignity, and he doesn’t care about that.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  16. “Svensmark shows very convincing that GCR is correlated to aerosols and cloudiness.”

    Bengt, can you then answer why one curve was produced to show this convincing correlation when that was one of many possible curves that fit the data with the known uncertainties?

    If you are convinced by the correlation, would that correlation continue if you’d seen all equally valid corrections?

    In Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series, he goes on about ET Encounters and how the best example has a set of stars that, when lines drawn between them a certain way, match apparently very well to stars visible many light years away, including some stars that were at that time unknown.

    But he showed that if you removed the lines given and draw other ones, the fit is much poorer and if you took away the lines joining them up, there was no apparent fit between the two star charts.

    Have you likewise been hoaxed by selective reporting?

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 8:10 AM

  17. “I’m afraid it’s not really about the data. It’s about the unorthodox scientist as hero”

    However, if the unorthodox hero is promoting a conspiracy in the two towers attack, they don’t get the hero status…

    (not saying that there was collusion, just pointing out that many of the same people proclaiming a socia list worldwide conspiracy on AGW are also the same people who pour much scorn on the much smaller US/TwinTowers conspiracy theories)

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 8:15 AM

  18. Rasmus, I found one more recent paper on the archive,
    “The role of cosmic rays in the Earths atmospheric processes”
    arXiv:0908.4156

    Comment by PaulM — 9 Oct 2009 @ 8:41 AM

  19. have a look at this graph:

    http://i37.tinypic.com/24wvyth.png

    it shows the t trend in the alpine region (only one station here shown today) for 100a. the hole warming of almost 2,0°C can be explained by changes in circulation types. ironicly the PIK (Rahmstorf & Co) have datasets of cirulation types for each day beginning in 1880 (ed. southwest=warmingaverage 3,21°C, northeast=coolingaverage -2,45°C, there are 30 different circulation forms definated). we bild an average for every day and can show, that there is a significant trend in more warming circulation forms and less cool types. the graph shows in black the messured temp. (year average) and in red the warming caused by circulation trends. we now go on to do this with 100 station in middel europe and our first results show, that we do not need any radiation forcing to explain the hole warming in the 20th. century.

    (sorry about my english, i´m from austria and not realy used to write in your language…)

    Comment by Michael — 9 Oct 2009 @ 8:46 AM

  20. Svensmark claims that global warming is over, that the world is cooling and will continue to cool, due to the record low solar activity. Despite this, record high temperatures are being recorded over the past months. Does this not weaken his arguments a tiny bit?

    Comment by Esop — 9 Oct 2009 @ 10:01 AM

  21. The first 10 comments were high signal, low noise, low snark.

    Rasmus requested:

    “a response from the community still supporting the GCR hypothesis,
    explaining why they find it convincing.”

    They may respond – if the rest of us butt out, shut up, and don’t attack them.

    Gavin, I suggest your machete for editing, for this thread. I’ll shut up now.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Oct 2009 @ 10:52 AM

  22. CM[14}: Well said (about motivations).

    I recently spoke with a psychiatrist at a social gathering. She was not deeply steeped in climate issues, and after hearing how adamant the deniers are and their tactics (particularly online), she made the casual observation that they do it “because it’s fun.”

    I think that neatly describes those without a strong financial interest, e.g. fossil fuel company execs and those they pay to obfuscate.

    Comment by Lou Grinzo — 9 Oct 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  23. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Right now there is an increase (marked) in GCR counts. Pull up a multi- year graph here http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/ for instance. It will, given a suitable lag period prove or disprove this theory.

    Comment by bushy — 9 Oct 2009 @ 11:05 AM

  24. Hank, #17 was well On topic. It’s why Rasmus wanted to know why just one graph was shown and why a *skeptic* would ask “would that correlation work with any of the others?” and if not, “why is that one the right one, then?”

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 11:19 AM

  25. Grrk. Editors change that to 16…

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 11:19 AM

  26. Apparently CERN did not get the letter that the science is complete on cosmic rays.

    Comment by John — 9 Oct 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  27. Look, if cosmic rays can give the Fantastic Four super-powers, they have to have some sort of effect on the environment.

    Comment by El Cid — 9 Oct 2009 @ 12:40 PM

  28. “stronger warming during nighttime than daytime”

    I was wondering, and this seems as good a place as any to ask, is it true that this effect has recently weakened, and if so is there anything much to say about it?

    Comment by JK — 9 Oct 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  29. Gavin,

    I am a skeptic/denier (No Lou Grinzo #22, it’s not for fun – I am quite distressed by it all) but do check out RC from time to time – (0f course I spend much time on CA and WUWT) so I have to say I APPRECIATE your invitation re GCR. Can’t say I put much stock into GCR as influencing climate either, but hell, you never know. It does deserve to be examined. Thanks.

    Comment by dbleader61 — 9 Oct 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  30. If cosmic rays are at very high levels now

    and

    Cosmic rays increase low-level cloud cover, which is a significant cooling influence, and GCRs explain most of the temperature trend

    then why is global mean temperature around record levels right now? el Nino is fairly weak at the moment. It seems those promoting GCRs tend to argue against the net human influence on climate. But global mean temperature data doesn’t seem to work in their favor. Temperatures should be plunging. It hasn’t happened.

    Comment by MarkB — 9 Oct 2009 @ 2:16 PM

  31. Tung & Cabin (2008) determined a rather large variation in global temperature over the solar cycle using 50+ years of data. In the appendix, a standard heat transfer equation is presented. Using other works, they calculate that this simple transfer of heat in and out of oceans agrees fairly well with their observations. They explicitly note that no exoctic mechanisms, such as GCRs, are required to explain the observed variation.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Oct 2009 @ 2:26 PM

  32. Some of you seem to be upset about Svensmarks opinion piece in Jyllandsposten. It’s understandable, but you have to acknowledge that there are some serious evidence for GCR impact on aerosols and clouds in his latest paper. Forbush decreases seems to affect low cloud cover and aerosols and cloud water content. Svensmark (or someone else) is still to prove how much this affects the climate. But the connection sun => GCR => aerosols => clouds is real.

    Comment by Bengt A — 9 Oct 2009 @ 2:59 PM

  33. “Can’t say I put much stock into GCR as influencing climate either, but hell, you never know. It does deserve to be examined.”

    But already the examinations say “it’s wrong”, (see MarkB’s post #30).

    So when does it become “yeah, we do know”? Or will it deserve to be examined and trotted out as a counter to CO2’s effects forever?

    “It deserves to be examined” has already been solved: it’s been examined. Rasmus’ query is why do people still want to examine it again and ignore the results of previous examination.

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 2:59 PM

  34. Isn’t the argument for GCR the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. Tiny bits of energy producing lots of warming?

    I want a franchise.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 9 Oct 2009 @ 3:01 PM

  35. I’ll tell you the real reason why so many find the galactic cosmic ray hypothesis of global warming so compelling. It’s because CO2 and other GHGs are not the real drivers of global warming — it’s us, people, we’re the ones emitting the GHGs (at least in this episode of warming), we, you and I, are the GW forcings.

    People generally do not want to admit they might be causing something bad and engage in “blame shifting” (rather and “taking responsibility”). Since GCRs can’t argue back and present their own reasons why they’re not causing GW, they make easy fall guys for denialists. The poor & powerless also get blamed by people who might accept anthropogenic GW, as in “it’s not me or my children, it’s the poor and their children who are causing it. Why do they have so many children?”

    The narcissists (oh, I meant to say “denialists”) also like to take undue credit for good things.

    Even ordinary people often unbeknownst to themselves engage in false attributions (see “attribution theory”). If one from a disvalued group does something wrong, that’s just how those folks are, inherently bad; if one from one’s own group or oneself does something wrong, then it is just a fluke or an anomaly. If one does well on a test, it’s due to intelligence & despite not really studying hard; if an opponent does well on a test, it’s due to luck or extremely hard work. If one fails a test, it’s due to one’s total lack of effort or bad luck; if an opponent fails, it’s because he’s stupid.

    So any and all data pointing to GW is just weird anomalies with the overall trend “not warming, maybe even cooling.” And if one accepts GW, then it is due to some other “not me” factor, certainly not anthropogenic causes. And if it really is AGW, then it’s due to the other people, NOT ME! Or, if it’s due to me, then it will actually be having positive, not negative, effects — long growing seasons; CO2, we call it life…..

    So I hope that answers the Q about why the GCRers find the GCR hypothesis still convincing after all these misgivings.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 9 Oct 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  36. Mr. Benson: Re Tung and Cabin

    I take it you refer to
    http://www.amath.washington.edu/research/articles/Tung/journals/solar-jgr.pdf

    Thanx for directing me to the paper. I note that they arrive at they agree with consensus estimates of feedback (1.7<f<4.7) and sensitivity to doubling CO2 at f*1.4K(2.3 to 6.4K) and that they are more confident of their lower bounds are harder than upper bounds. Not to mention the nice pictures of the difference between solar max and solar min at the poles, and meaty discussion of Linear Discriminant Analysis.

    Comment by sidd — 9 Oct 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  37. There are a lot of people who can’t support the idea of human responsibility in the global warming because if they accept this idea, they must accept the following involvements :
    first the so called “market” is responsible for the mess and is inefficient to solve alone the problem,
    second the states, the public administrations, you know, the guys who are generally elected by people like you and me, must carry out some interventions in different economic fields in a way or in an other to solve the problem.
    As some scientists hate losing their theories, some people are able to deny the reality because otherwise the core of their economical and social beliefs would be damaged. In these conditions, anything which has a scientific skin and which participates to the denial is good for them.

    Comment by Fleury — 9 Oct 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  38. Here are comments from a well respected source:

    “The mechanism by which cosmic rays might affect climate is as yet purely speculative and unquantified. While it has long been known that radiation could form ions and, in theory, ultimately lead to cloud formation, the importance of this process compared to all the other major sources of particles and cloud condensation nuclei has not been proven. Indeed, there is no evidence that the flux of cosmic rays has decreased over the last 30 years.

    Even if cosmic rays have a detectable effect on climate (and this remains unproven), measured solar activity over the last few decades has not significantly changed and cannot explain the continued warming trend. In contrast, increases in CO2 are well measured and its warming effect is well quantified. It offers the most plausible explanation of most of the recent warming and future increases.”

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/guide/bigpicture/myth1.html

    Why the continued interest? We know that GCMs are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. We can probably conclude that those who propose that cosmic rays significantly effect current climate conditions are part of the head in the sand spectrum.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 9 Oct 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  39. dbleader61, can you describe what you find “distressing” about climate science? Are there any other sciences that have this effect on you?

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 9 Oct 2009 @ 3:24 PM

  40. “Some of you seem to be upset about Svensmarks opinion piece in Jyllandsposten.”

    Why do you see upset?

    Amazement that opinion pieces on such flimsy hypotheses gets so much traction CAN look like “upset”. Many of the questions prompted are the same: why is he saying this? et al.

    “Forbush decreases seems to affect low cloud cover and aerosols and cloud water content.”

    And here’s another example of amazement.

    Why is it this “seems” gets a bye for the denialists when there are still people saying that CO2 is saturated and so it can’t be causing warming. That it does is central to our ability to guess at the constituents of the stars: without optical depth varying with concentrations of saturated absorption bands, we cannot see the content of our own star, let alone a more distant one.

    “Where are all the skeptics gone?”

    Which is quite plaintive and can be seen as “upset”.

    “Svensmark (or someone else) is still to prove how much this affects the climate.”

    How?

    Again “skeptics” still say “models are not science”, so how will he or anyone else manage this? We can’t create GCR’s, so no proof is possible without it.

    They also hound round saying “well, you don’t really know how clouds form, do you, so you don’t know ANYTHING about what the weather will do”. But not here.

    Where have all the skeptics gone?

    RodB? Tilo? Anyone?

    A single paper is produced to disprove the 98 hockey stick. It has errors. But that single error-filled paper is still enough to discount summarily all other reconstructions, even those that avoid the dissenting papers’ proclaimed problems with the 98 paper.

    Yet when it comes to GCR’s causing warming or cooling, ten papers are not enough to change that one. Even though you yourself say “seems”.

    Where have all the skeptics gone?

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:25 PM

  41. sidd (36) — There are at least two other related papers on that website, one earlier and one later. I took some objection to a conclusion of the later paper, worked out rather painfully with some high powered assistance here:
    (Avoiding the spam filter: find the link to globalchange on the side bar, go there and paste in
    /browse_thread/thread/2480211070fee638
    — it’s about the 12th newest thread.)

    By the way, the paper I was referring to is
    K.K. Tung and C.D. Camp; 2008: Solar Cycle Warming at the Earth’s
    Surface in NCEP and ERA-40 data: A linear Discriminant Analysis,
    Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, D05114, doi:10.1029/2007JD009164
    which is slightly different than the paper in the link you found.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:27 PM

  42. 21 Lou said, “I recently spoke with a psychiatrist at a social gathering. She was not deeply steeped in climate issues, and after hearing how adamant the deniers are and their tactics (particularly online), she made the casual observation that they do it “because it’s fun.”

    I think that neatly describes those without a strong financial interest, e.g. fossil fuel company execs and those they pay to obfuscate.”

    Yep, that neatly describes many if not almost all the regulars on this site. After all, it’s fun for both sides.

    Comment by RichardC — 9 Oct 2009 @ 4:54 PM

  43. The debate is over because the BBC says “What happened to global warming?” “…what is causing global warming is far from over.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm

    Scientists should always be sceptical.

    Comment by Jimbo — 9 Oct 2009 @ 5:20 PM

  44. It seems clear that GCRs are not the primary driver of twentieth century warming. Perhaps they are part of the source of the “noise” of the last decade however. For this reason further research seems warranted.

    Comment by arch stanton — 9 Oct 2009 @ 5:27 PM

  45. “Forbush decreases seems to affect low cloud cover and aerosols and cloud water content.”

    Hang on, I’ve just noticed.

    How can GCR’s create more cloud water content? A nucleation site draws vapour from the surrounding air, reducing the vapour content of the surrounding air and enhancing evaporation from any nearby water (like, say, a cloud condensation nucleus droplet). It’s the reason why you don’t get drizzle from high clouds: they don’t last long because they evaporate quickly (large surface area to evaporate from, small volume to evaporate and the high curvature means the water molecules at the surface are already under stress to leave).

    So how can it create MORE cloud *and* more water in that cloud? It doesn’t get to ground level, pick up some water and bring it back, does it?

    Comment by Mark — 9 Oct 2009 @ 6:01 PM

  46. I guess one answer to the GCRers is “Okay, let’s assume you may be right. That doesn’t disprove that GHGs are contributing to GW (which has very sound theory behind it, like laws of physics, unlike the shaky GCR hypothesis). But if you are right, we really can’t do much to stop GCRs, so it just means we have to work all that much harder to reduce our GHG emissions, not only to offset our contriubtions to the warming, but to offset the increased warming GCRs may be causing.”

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 9 Oct 2009 @ 8:58 PM

  47. I find the continued insistence of GCRs puzzling. There is another solar activity issue that is more compelling, and that is solar UV. While total solar irradiance varies only a tiny amount with solar magnetic activity, UV, and especially the harder frequencies of UV vary subtantially with the solar cycle. So why do these guys keep going back to GCR’s, when an effect which does affect upper atmospheric chemistry is there?

    And do we have any real handle on what changing the amount of UV might do to the climate?

    Comment by Thomas — 9 Oct 2009 @ 9:39 PM

  48. Speculations about cosmic rays and climate have been around since the 1950s. As soon as detailed mechanisms are proposed they get shot down. Svensmark & Co have revised their claims quite a few times. Each time the “correlation is really really good”.

    IEHO there are two things at work here. First there is a group of upper atmosphere and cosmic ray folk who really, really want what they study to be important. Second, a bunch of them are in Denmark. The CERN experiment is a bone tossed to the Danes.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 9 Oct 2009 @ 11:14 PM

  49. ” And do we have any real handle on what changing the amount of UV might do to the climate?”

    On a very gut feeling, since the reason why there is a tropopause, above which temperatures rise considerably is that UV light is disassociating O2 and O3 molecules, that most of the energy goes there.

    Note that as a proportion of power in that band, radio waves are massively variable.

    Just as comparing it to the overall heat budget of the sun makes it a small variation. The values are something I would once have had in my head, but google search isn’t good enough to get me a link.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Oct 2009 @ 4:35 AM

  50. Fleury:

    first the so called “market” is responsible for the mess and is inefficient to solve alone the problem,

    While I agree that massive government intervention is needed to fix this problem quickly, blaming “the market” for global warming is not fair. The Communist countries burned as much fossil fuel as they could, too. And the opposition to AGW theory is coming from the huge cartels which dominate the US and other economies–hardly a free market, since these firms generally act collusively and influence laws in their favor. Private ownership doth not a free market make. For a free market, you want conditions such as a large number of sellers and buyers, easy entry to either group, lack of government price-fixing, etc., etc.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Oct 2009 @ 4:40 AM

  51. Thomas:

    And do we have any real handle on what changing the amount of UV might do to the climate?

    Yes, we can run it through a climate model.

    There is little effect on most of the climate system since pretty much all the far-UV (7% of TSI) gets absorbed by oxygen and ozone in the ozone layer. Not no effect, but not enough for UV variation to matter very much.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Oct 2009 @ 4:48 AM

  52. Svensmarks latest paper isn’t about GCR versus CO2. It’s not about global cooling or warming. It’s about GCRs impact on earths atmosphere. My understanding of this is as follows:

    The proposed mechanism (for a Forbush decrease) is that a sudden increased strength of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) shields cosmic rays (GCR) from entering earths atmosphere. The reduced amount of GCR causes a reduction in the production of ultrafine aerosols (1). The missing aerosols would eventually have grown into Cloud Condensation Nucleis (CCN), thus in a few days time the reduction of aerosols will cause a reduction of CCN. With fewer CCN in the atmosphere water vapor will condensate into larger droplets compared to if there would have been more CCNs around. Larger droplets translates into quicker build up of drops that are big enough for rainfall to start. So the rain falls and dries out clouds (2).

    In Svensmarks latest paper there are some nice graphs indicating that (1) and (2) is a reality. If you don’t agree with that it would be interesting to hear why.

    Comment by Bengt A — 10 Oct 2009 @ 5:54 AM

  53. Re Thomas #47,

    Given the ever increasing number of reported skin cancer cases, I think there is compelling reason to seriously address the ozone depleting causes of CFC’s (NASA uses them quite abundantly still I think to have read recently) and their replacements who are because of volume found to be acting in the same even more devastating fashion… ozone depletion resumed in the last 2 years. No, it’s not GCR’s induced 3rd party effect doing that as was predicted by some Japanese scientist recently [discussed also here or at Open Mind I think]. It’s direct reaction to sources released from ground level… by Homo Sapiens Sapiens… bromides and what not.

    By product of Ozone restoration in the stratosphere… it’s got a cooling effect as well to down below…. a knife cutting on 2 sides, somewhat mitigating CO2/CH4 greenhouse effects as by product.

    Comment by Sekerob — 10 Oct 2009 @ 6:18 AM

  54. sekerob — citations needed.

    > resumed in the last 2 years
    This assumes it stopped — why do you think this?
    > direct reaction to sources released from ground
    Nope; lag time

    > NASA uses them quite abundantly still I think to have read recently
    Maybe some, but not ‘abundantly’–compared to baseline, no chance. Check whether you were reading it; there are sites attacking NASA because it studies climate, and for screwier reasons.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Oct 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  55. “Svensmarks latest paper isn’t about GCR versus CO2. It’s not about global cooling or warming. It’s about GCRs impact on earths atmosphere.”

    GCR is used to explain the warming trend (when it is deigned to be recognised) and delay AGW.

    And plenty has been looked at and it says “very little effect on climate”. So why keep pushing?

    Hence the thread.

    “In Svensmarks latest paper there are some nice graphs indicating that (1) and (2) is a reality.”

    Go right back to Rasmus’ conversation. It’s right at the top of the thread. Read this:

    “Good practice would then be to present all the curves that cannot be ruled out because of errors. When asked why he didn’t present the other cures too, he said that he only wanted to show the one curve. Not a very convincing answer, and not very reassuring.”

    If he’s picking what he’s showing you, then there’s no proof of (1) and (2) being real at all, unless he can answer the quesions:

    1) Does this concordance continue with the other possible graphs?
    2) Why did you pick just that one?

    You know. Like a real skeptic.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Oct 2009 @ 11:33 AM

  56. re #52

    re your comment:

    In Svensmarks latest paper there are some nice graphs indicating that (1) and (2) is a reality. If you don’t agree with that it would be interesting to hear why.

    Svensmark’s data don’t show that (your nice description of a hypothesis) is a reality at all. If we take the data at face value we can say that for an average of 5 very strong Forbush events, that some atmospheric metrics show a delayed (between 5 and 9 days) response (Figure 1).

    That may or may not indicate there is a causal relationship along the lines you suggest, Bengt. One of the problems with drawing this conclusion is that an independent study of Forbush events came to a rather different conclusion [***]. There is a lot of overlap in the two studies; Svensmark analyzed 26 events; Kristjansson 22 events, with 13 events being common to both studies. Of the 5 strongest events that Svensmark averaged into his Figure 1, all of these were in Kristjansson’s analysis. Kristjansson made a detailed analysis of the strongest event (31 October 2003) and came to a completely different conclusion than Svensmark. Kristjansson found that analyzing the 6 strongest events (corresponding to the same 5 in Svensmark’s figure 1 + 1 other) resulted in weak correlations with atmospheric parameters, but if a delay of several days was allowed for cloud-relsted effects to develop, any weak correlations were lost and even became anti-correlated. And so on…

    So there’s clearly a problem. If a tentative conclusion arises only from one particular set of analyses then one would want this descrepancy to be resolved before any confidence can be ascribed to whether a hypothesis is consistent with the data.

    More generally, I think we all recognize that there hasn’t been any trend in the GCR count during the past 50 years (e.g. [*****]), and so whether or not variations in the CRF does have a small effect on the properties on climate-relevant atmospheric properties, the issue is not relevant to the very marked warming of this period.

    [*****] http://ulysses.sr.unh.edu/NeutronMonitor/Misc/neutron2.html

    [***] Kristjansson JE et al. (2008) Cosmic rays, cloud condensation nuclei and clouds – a reassessment using MODIS data Atmos. Chem. Phys. 8, 7373-7387

    Abstract: The response of clouds to sudden decreases in the flux of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) – Forbush decrease events – has been investigated using cloud products from the space-borne MODIS instrument, which has been in operation since 2000. By focusing on pristine Southern Hemisphere ocean regions we examine areas where we believe that a cosmic ray signal should be easier to detect than elsewhere. While previous studies have mainly considered cloud cover, the high spatial and spectral resolution of MODIS allows for a more thorough study of microphysical parameters such as cloud droplet size, cloud water content and cloud optical depth, in addition to cloud cover. Averaging the results from the 22 Forbush decrease events that were considered, no statistically significant correlations were found between any of the four cloud parameters and GCR, when autocorrelations were taken into account. Splitting the area of study into six domains, all of them have a negative correlation between GCR and cloud droplet size, in agreement with a cosmic ray – cloud coupling, but in only one of the domains (eastern Atlantic Ocean) was the correlation statistically significant. Conversely, cloud optical depth is mostly negatively correlated with GCR, and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean domain that correlation is statistically significant. For cloud cover and liquid water path, the correlations with GCR are weaker, with large variations between the different domains. When only the six Forbush decrease events with the largest amplitude (more than 10% decrease) were studied, the correlations fit the hypothesis slightly better, with 16 out of 24 correlations having the expected sign, although many of the correlations are quite weak. Introducing a time lag of a few days for clouds to respond to the cosmic ray signal the correlations tend to become weaker and even to change sign.

    Comment by chris — 10 Oct 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  57. There are some skeptical remarks in this thread about the CLOUD (not CLOUDS) experiment at Cern. It is strange that someone would want to oppose this research project, a good description of which was recently given by Jasper Kirkby: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073/ – In the beginning of the lecture he says he does not know the answers. How’s that for an attitude in science?

    Comment by Matti Virtanen — 10 Oct 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  58. Mark #55

    Surely you understand that this paper I’m trying to discuss isn’t about finding a trend? So why keep on arguing that it doesn’t show a trend? This paper is about trying to understand how GCR interacts with the atmosphere.

    Chris #56

    There’s a difference in methodologies between Svensmark and Kristijansson and the resulting discrepancies are discussed in Svensmarks paper. Svensmark chooses to study the strongest Forbush decreases and he uses three different indicators which all show a response to Forbush decreases. That can’t be purely coincidental, can it? Referring to Science daily Kristijansson finds Svensmarks results “astonishing”.

    http://ftp5.members.downloads.bleachworld.com/articles/show/191260-Do-Clouds-Come-From-Outer-Space-

    I’m not arguing for a casual relationship between GCR and global warming from this paper. I’m just trying to answer Rasmus question why there’s still interest for Svensmarks research.

    Comment by Bengt A — 10 Oct 2009 @ 3:46 PM

  59. Bengt the basic problem is that the atmosphere is pretty much completely chock full of really small aerosols and ions. The rate limiting step appears to be how many of them grow into CCNs. In that case having more ions or nanodust really is not going to make much of a difference.

    Someone told Eli a bunch of weeks ago that they tossed Svensmark out of the CERN experiment. Is that true?

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 10 Oct 2009 @ 4:48 PM

  60. Matti Virtanen, A confession that we don’t know the answers is a typical response in science, but I would contend that it is also wrong to understate what we do know or to fail to assess how significant our lack of knowledge might be wrt a subject of interest like climate change.

    A lot of us would absolutely love to know whether GCR have an effect on climate. It would be one less unknown source of noise. What we object to is the appeal to this unknown to explain an unknown when in fact we have a perfectly adequate explanation in terms of a known physical mechanism–the greenhouse effect.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Oct 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  61. re #57

    Matti, I mentioned the CERN CLOUD study in my post #6 and also suggested that I had no problem with research in this area. However I do have a problem with the misrepresentation of the science by some of the individuals involved.

    You link us to a talk by Jasper Kirkby. You seem impressed that “in the beginning of of the lecture he says he does not know the answers”. That doesn’t seem that impressive to me – after all that’s the whole point of doing science. What’s less impressive is the misrepresentation of science in the talk that follows. Here’s a few things that stand out from just the first 20 minutes (I might listen to the rest later):

    Kirkby goes out of his way to pretend that CO2 and solar irradiance effects have been insignificant in temperature change from the Maunder minimum to mid 20th century. In order to insinuate a role for the CRF, he misrepresents two bits of science:

    First he states that anthropogenic CO2 can have had no effect before the 20th century. In fact there’s little doubt that the rise in CO2 from 280 ppm (pre-industrial) to nearly 300 ppm by 1900 (and around 310 ppm by mid 20th century) was anthropogenic. Taking the mid range of climate sensitivity (3 oC of warming per doubling of CO2) it’s easy to calculate that the pre-20th century anthropogenic warming contribution was likely 0.25-0.3 oC (that’s what we expect), and nearly 0.5 oC by mid-20th century.

    He then shows a solar irradiance (TSI) reconstruction of Judith Lean’s (Lean 2002), and asserts that this shows that the TSI change between the Little Ice Age (LIA) and today is “a few hundreds of a degree”.

    Never mind that Lean 2002 only reconstructs TSI back to 1840, and that the data Kirkby shows looks more like a solar irradiance reconstruction that Lean published in 2005 in which she and her collaborators explicitly considered irradiance changes since the Maunder Minimum:

    Y.-M. Wang, J. L. Lean and N. R. Sheeley, Jr. Modeling the Sun’s Magnetic Field and Irradiance since 1713 Astrophysical J. 625 522-538

    Lean’s analysis in fact yields a TSI contribution to surface temperature of 0.14-0.2 oC (not Kirkby’s “a few hundreds of a degree”).

    In other words it’s straightforward to understand the warming since the LIA of around 0.6 oC to mid 20th century according to the (rather extreme possibly) temperature reconstruction Kirkby used (Moberg’s), as a combination of an anthropogenic warming (up to 0.5 oC), TSI (0.14-0.2 oC) as well as a small contribution from volcanic activity that suppressed temperatures during the LIA (around 0.1 oC), with perhaps some countering of all of this by anthropogenic aerosols.

    In other words Kirkby’s insinuation of a lack of CO2 and solar contribution and a (ah-ha!) role for CRF in the LIA to mid 20th century warming is entirely bogus.

    I won’t go through the others in so much detail, but you’re welcome to ask for clarification:

    a. His insinuation that the MWP had a major CRF contribution is bogus

    b. The 500 MYR so-called CRF variation (according to movement of the solar system through the spiral arms of the galaxy) with temperature is likely bogus.

    c. He pretends that there is no relationship between temperature on the Phanerozoic time scale and CO2 concentrations by ignoring the actual CO2 proxy data and showing an (otherwise excellent) model of long term CO2 levels. When the actual paleoproxy CO2 data is compared with paleotemperature data there is a rather strong link between earth temperature and CO2 levels in the deep past; e.g.:

    DL Royer (2007) CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta v. 70/23, p. 5665–5675

    http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf

    etc…etc.

    Comment by chris — 10 Oct 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  62. “Low solar activity and poorer shielding against cosmic rays result in increased cloud cover and hence a cooling. As the Sun’s magnetism doubled in strength during the 20th century, this natural mechanism may be responsible for a large part of global warming seen then.” Translation approved by Henrik Svensmark @ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/10/svensmark-global-warming-stopped-and-a-cooling-is-beginning-enjoy-global-warming-while-it-lasts/

    Is there a “Leibigs Law” that applies to cloud formation – e.g., can lack of – water vapor, or sulfate aerosols, or charged particles – limit cloud formation?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 10 Oct 2009 @ 7:46 PM

  63. Steve

    Bengt A (~58 — 10 October 2009 @ 3:46 PM}:

    I understand your “finding a trend” problem (re Mark ~ 55) with the specific paper, but it is reasonable to evaluate Svensmark’s research in light of his high profile public statements. For example- “we are advising our friends to enjoy global warming while it lasts” and “In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. …” It appears that he has a preconceived goal for his research that doesn’t include the physics of CO2.

    As for the different methodologies problem (as per Chris ~56), when the research is not supported by a reasonable replication it raises major questions. Claiming that different methods makes the competing research inapplicable is only reasonable when one makes a cogent argument regarding which methods are appropriate, and then this contention can then be tested with subsequent research. It is most damaging to Svensmark’s argument that he did not respond to Rasmus’ question about specific methods, as stated in the OP.

    If you want the answer to Rasmus’ question regarding continuing lack of interest in Svensmark’s research, he will first have to respond to reasonable criticism.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 10 Oct 2009 @ 9:03 PM

  64. “Surely you understand that this paper I’m trying to discuss isn’t about finding a trend?”

    What does that have to do with Rasmus’ question.

    Please go and read the text at the top of the thread. It tells you what the thread is about. You haven’t read it yet, obviously.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Oct 2009 @ 3:33 AM

  65. PS what IS it about finding, then? That charged atomic particles are CCN’s? Well, I think they knew that already, since that’s how they found charged particle tracks before they had computers.

    And when you say “correlation”, surely YOU are going on about a trend.

    Comment by Mark — 11 Oct 2009 @ 3:34 AM

  66. Eli Rabett #59

    If the atmosphere is “chock full of really small aerosols and ions” then why is it that you can see ship tracks and airplane contrails?

    http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=3058

    Steve #63

    It’s seems reasoneble to me that you’re upset by Svensmarks opinion piece where some of his claims have weak support by science, and I’m not prepared to defend every word Svensmark has ever written or said. But to me you all just seem so eager to ditch Svensmark that you don’t see the findings within his scientific papers.

    I think it would be more correct to say that Svensmark tried to replicate Kristijanssons work, and not the other way around. And to put it frankly, and I don’t think Kristijansson will agree with this, Svensmark did a better job. He used more indicators, as the AERONET network for aerosols that Kristijansson didn’t include. Kristijansson exclusively used the MODIS data. Svensmark used only the strongest Forbush decreases which translates into better signal-noise ratio compared to Kristijansson.

    Let me just ask one question about this paper – the AERONET aerosol network shows a very clear response to Forbush decreases. Is there something wrong with this measurement? Is there something wrong with the selection of stations or selection of wavelengths or what’s the problem? Someone has to come up with some serious flaws otherwise we have to consider this as an important scientific finding.

    Comment by Bengt A — 11 Oct 2009 @ 3:44 AM

  67. #58 Bengt A

    The paper may be about how GCR’s interact with the atmosphere, but what Rasmus has pointed out, is that he did not weigh all the data objectively and the graph he did use was in question. The old adage correlation does not equal causation has not been abandoned.

    Favoring a particular graph may be a personal preference but it is still a cherry pick.

    Also, what is important here is the fact that once again Svensmark exceeds the general claims of the paper when talking about the paper by inferring that his findings are “remarkable”. Given the context, it becomes and thus contributes to the red herring museum of silly climate claims and inferences.

    For Christy to maintain credibility in his statements, he has to ignore climate sensitivity and latitudinal shift as well as basic economics and resource capacity tied to infrastructure.

    For Pielke Sr. too, I think probably the same. Cherry picking seems to be their modus operandi.

    Svensmark has to keep ignoring the bulk of climate science and relative context such as forcing through layers of atmosphere as well as the cumulative effects of Co2 as infrared climbs through the columns, and feedbacks… well, not a lot of integrity there.

    In reality, he may actually have something interesting, but how relevant to AGW?. GCR’s probably do affect clouds… But as far as forcing relative to AGW, it’s still in the noise. There are some valid questions if ones goal is to determine the resulting changes…

    Would be great if he can tease out the signal and add it to the body of science to further separate the signal from the noise between natural variation and AGW forcing… but to claim or infer that GCR’s are responsible for the current warming signal would be something similar to saying that as a locomotive comes down a hill with 300 loaded railcars, the inertial force is mainly attributed to the lack of pebbles on the track.

    Svensmark has a history of public assertions and claims that exceed the scope of the science though, so listening to him and giving him credence in that respect is a fools errand.

    Would really be great if Svensmark would stop claiming how remarkable his work is in the context of AGW when in reality he has proven nothing of significance in that respect, when weighed in context.

    When it comes to what is causing the warming, Svensmark needs to explain the attribution of the forcing that is causing the heating. GHG’s and associated effects do fit the bill as models and observations clearly indicate. So GCR’s may have an effect, but that is only a part of the bigger picture. Until he can show that his GCR’s account for 3.6 W/m2 of increased forcing, I’m afraid he’s going to remain in the darkness of his perspective on this one.

    So, can he show that GCR’s give us +3.6W/m2 of forcing? Well, I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Oct 2009 @ 3:53 AM

  68. Bengt A, Contrails have nearly immediate effect–no 5-9 day delay. It’s a totally different realm of aerosol size. What is lacking is any evidence we have a dearth of aerosols that agglomerate to become CCN on the proposed timescale.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Oct 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  69. Bengt, don’t imagine that people are just ignoring Svensmark’s science because they’re upset about that op-ed of his. Noone (maybe #20) even mentioned it before you did. I hadn’t heard of it, but I had read six articles of Svensmark’s, as well as the hype in ‘Cosmoclimatology’, ‘The Chilling Stars’, and some press releases, so the op-ed didn’t shock me.

    But it was impressing how Svensmark cited the recent misreported remarks of Mojib Latif to
    a) take an alleged cooling prediction (based on ocean circulation patterns) from a climate model that ignores GCRs,
    b) present it as validation for his GCR theory, and
    c) suggest climate models that ignore GCRs will be shown to have failed because they did not predict a cooling.
    That’s chutzpah!

    Speaking of which, I think it’s a stretch to cast Svensmark et al. 2009 as trying to “replicate” Kristjanson et al. 2008. You’re usually interested in seeing if you can replicate a study that rejects the null hypothesis, not a study that doesn’t. And “no significant GCR/cloud link” remains very much the null hypothesis. It’s Svensmark who’s got something to prove.

    Comment by CM — 11 Oct 2009 @ 1:34 PM

  70. John #67

    I don’t get this. Why does Svensmark have to come up with the number of 3.6 W/m2 of forcing? He’s trying to establish a plausible mechanism for GCRs interaction with the atmosphere. That is what he does. Would be interesting to visit that “red herring museum of silly climate claims and inferences” of yours! Is it AGW-skeptic only or does it include silly pro-AGW claims as well?

    Ray #68

    Airplanes and GCRs impact on the atmosphere clearly are two different things. I agree with that. I was just trying to make the point that adding ions/aerosols can have an effect on cloudiness

    No, there’s no evidence for the whole chain of events as suggested of Svensmark. But the SKY experiment in Copenhagen revealed some information about the possible initial steps (se abstract below). Hopefully the CLOUD project at CERN will give us some more information about this.

    Abstract from Svensmark et al (2007)
    Experimental studies of aerosol nucleation in air, containing trace amounts of ozone, sulphur dioxide and water vapour at concentrations relevant for the Earth’s atmosphere, are reported. The production of new aerosol particles is found to be proportional to the negative ion density and yields nucleation rates of the order of 0.1–1 cmK3 sK1. This suggests that the ions are active in generating an atmospheric reservoir of small thermodynamically stable clusters, which are important for nucleation processes in the atmosphere and ultimately for cloud formation.

    Comment by Bengt A — 11 Oct 2009 @ 2:00 PM

  71. Re 61. Chris. Thanks for the reply (“bogus. bogus, bogus”). Whether one likes it or not, the experiment at CERN seems to be going ahead, and in a couple of years we may read the results. Will they settle the question about the relative strengths of natural and anthropogenic warming? Probably not, because many “skeptics” will only be convinced by temperature data. Will the experiment shed light on how cosmic rays affect the formation of cloud condensation nuclei? Probably yes, but how, that we don’t know until we know.

    Comment by Matti Virtanen — 11 Oct 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  72. Oh, aye, that reminds me, Ray. Wasn’t there a few days delay for the effect to look convincing? Despite these particles being a few light-seconds away and travelling at near light speed.

    Just delayed so as to make some short perturbation look good.

    Was it Svensmark’s paper too?

    Comment by Mark — 11 Oct 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  73. “If the atmosphere is “chock full of really small aerosols and ions” then why is it that you can see ship tracks and airplane contrails?”

    You do know that combustion creates water too, don’t you?

    [Response: Contrails are related to direct water vapour emissions (and enhanced by associated aerosols) but ship tracks are almost exclusively driven by sulphate emissions, not water vapour. – gavin]

    Comment by Mark — 11 Oct 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  74. Brian Dodge (62) — Water vapor at saturation + CCN –> clouds. Need both.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Oct 2009 @ 4:45 PM

  75. # Bengt A

    I’m confident you would like to only discuss the one paper, but I am a generalist, so I tend to put everything I see into perspective with other things. I think myopia is inherently dangerous when examining systems, especially systems such as climate which are composed of multiple interacting systems.

    So concentrating on a single paper, or a single system, or a single idea is pretty darn silly from that perspective. There are some videos on youtube listed at the bottom of this page:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/henrik-svensmark

    In the videos, it is claimed that when Svensmark and his team presented their findings to the IPCC and they were rejected, and they were disappointed.

    “Bert Bolin thought it was irresponsible of us to say that something else other than Co2 could be the main driver for climate.”

    The video also claims that:

    “most of the people today think that most of the climate change is because of co2, but this is wrong, most of the warming of the 21st century is because of the sun”

    Svensmark claims “the climate is a result of the clouds”. That’s a pretty bold statement, don’t you think. In fact, based on the compendium of the science, downright arrogant.

    So yes, if he is going to push the above claim and go along with the notion that climate is a result of clouds, and 21st century climate is because of the sun, not co2, then he has to explain how we get 3.6W/m2 of forcing (from the effects he is asserting are the culprit), which happens to be the mean assessment of the forcing above natural cycle for the 21st century, generally speaking.

    You can call me silly all day long if you wish, but your going to have to bring some substance if you really want to put me in my place. I’ve got Svensmarks words and others in the video claiming and inferring that Co2 is not such a big deal. Well Co2 is a big deal. You can argue semantics all day if you want, but in the end, you will lose that argument.

    Or can you prove Svensmark and his team are not asserting the things they have stated in the video?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Oct 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  76. #70 Bengt A

    Could you give me some examples for silly pro-AGW claims? I don’t get out much.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Oct 2009 @ 6:17 PM

  77. I wanted to discuss foundational memes, and how they may be affecting the way skeptics think. First, as someone with training in Astrophysics, with an interest in energy technology, one of my foundational memes is that perpetual motion machines are impossible. If someone proposes that they have invented one, I don’t need to understand the details of the thing, I know that they have missed something fundamental in their analysis. Therefore I would consider it to be a collosal waste of my time for him to demand that I read/understand his papers in detail, and make detailed arguments about the correctness of each step in his train of thought in order to have the right to assert my opinion.

    Now, let us say you meet a technically adept person, but that he fully subscribe to the meme “God created this planet to be under his control, any suggestion that anything man does can affect the global climate is more than wrong, it is pure arrogance”. Now, if he held this meme as a central tenant of philosophy, in the same way that I hold that because of the laws of thermodynamics prove that anything which purports to be a perpetual motion machine is wrong, how would I view climate science? Clearly I would be convinced that climate scientists had completely missed something fundamental. I wouldn’t feel that I had to understand any of their arguments in detail, for their results violate a fundamental theorem of how the universe works. Therefore, I might simply search elsewhere for alternative explanations. It would also be impossible to convince him otherwise based upon your arguments concerning how the science works, in detail. For, he would be certain that you are missing something fundamental, and all your detailed models simply serve to obscure this fact. That avenue for becoming convinced of your science, is simply closed to him. In order for him to be “converted”, his foundational worldview has to be challenged and overcome. It is only by this direct confrontation of his “priors”, that he could be convinced.

    Now, look at an argument between this hypothetetical individual, and a climate scientist, as seen by a member of the general public (or a journalist). Both of these people, are using technical argumentation far beyond my ability to evaluate. I am forced to fallback on other methods to determine who is likely to be right. If I were honest, I would just have to conclude “opinions on the shape of the earth differ”. Perhaps the only way forward is to expose the foundational myths on which convinced skeptics thinking is based upon.

    Comment by Thomas — 11 Oct 2009 @ 10:29 PM

  78. Can you guys please comment on the recent paper by Tripati et al and the relationship to other proxy temperature reconstructions. Does this latest paper confirm our current understanding of the on-set of the ice ages and the relationship to CO2 and what are the implications for the coming decades of cliamte change?

    Comment by Ricki (Australia) — 12 Oct 2009 @ 12:27 AM

  79. : Contrails are related to direct water vapour emissions (and enhanced by associated aerosols) but ship tracks are almost exclusively driven by sulphate emissions, not water vapour. – gavin

    OH, Aye, remember now: those contrails were from piston engines.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Oct 2009 @ 3:07 AM

  80. Mark, re “trend”:
    the recent Svensmark paper Bengt is discussing is about aerosol and cloud response to sudden falls in GCR intensity (Forbush decreases – FD), not trends over time.

    Re #72 (“light speed”), no, I remember that remark from a previous thread. It was certainly not Svensmark’s suggestion.

    Bengt, re #66,

    Svensmark did a better job. He used more indicators, as the AERONET network for aerosols that Kristijansson didn’t include. Kristijansson exclusively used the MODIS data. Svensmark used only the strongest Forbush decreases which translates into better signal-noise ratio compared to Kristijansson.

    Kristjánsson et al. did not look at aerosols, did they? Only at cloud parameters. So there was no call for them to use AERONET data. Kristjánsson too tried using only the strongest FDs.

    (The experts here can perhaps speak to the different choices of cloud parameters in the two studies, and whether it makes any difference that Kristjánsson got them all from MODIS while Svensmark used a different data source for each parameter.)

    Comment by CM — 12 Oct 2009 @ 3:28 AM

  81. John #76

    I’m not calling you silly and I have no intention to put you in your place. But I find it hard to defend every You tube video of Svensmark. I’m just trying to answer Rasmus question in his opening post “Why the continued interest” by referring to Svensmarks two most recent scientific papers . I’m still interested to hear what the flaws are with these papers.

    Comment by Bengt A — 12 Oct 2009 @ 4:32 AM

  82. This initial post considers the role of melt water and iceberg production and temperature and iceberg production. High iceberg production is prompted by two different processes: 1) a calving retreat, where glacier volume is shed by calving. 2) Advancing glaciers with positive mass balances delivering more ice to the glacier front. The role of melt water lubrication provided from the surface has been demonstrated to be limited in Greenland as reviewed-
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/04/moulins-calving-fronts-and-greenland-outlet-glacier-acceleration/#more-550
    The melt water needed to sustain rapid flow is generally basal melt water and warm basal conditions. Note the rapid flow of Antarctic Ice Streams that lack surface melting. The connection between more melt water and more icebergs may exist at a point in time such as the last decade, but it is not the main causal agent.

    Comment by mauri pelto — 12 Oct 2009 @ 6:41 AM

  83. To address the initial post. The reason the theory requires further investigation is the undoubted correlation between solar cycles and climate shift. Because TSI can probably be ruled out as the primary causative agent some other mechanism must be in play. The GCR theory therefore remains the strongest alternative. The experiments at Cern will be followed with great interest I think. http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073/

    [Response: “undoubted”? Actually, it is very much doubted at least if you are talking about any recent shifts. -gavin]

    Comment by bushy — 12 Oct 2009 @ 8:27 AM

  84. “But I find it hard to defend every You tube video of Svensmark. ”

    However, you’re trying to do so by ignoring them.

    “He isn’t doing this to avoid CO2 being the cause”

    (as long as we ignore any statements where he says he is)

    Comment by Mark — 12 Oct 2009 @ 9:02 AM

  85. #81 Bengt A

    Just for the record, I don’t mind being put in my place (corrected). As to the the flaws Svensmarks papers, I thought Rasmus did a good job above. And others in the thread have already outlined many of the issues. Maybe just review the thread and look up Svensmark in other RC items and review the discussions.

    Generally there are some flaws in his lack of consideration of time spans regarding residence and CCN’s to effects (hope that is close), as has been pointed out. I don’t recall the details but you can find the discussions. Beyond that is, the assertions he makes extend beyond the scope of his papers ability to support the assertions, and then claiming loosely in an obtuse fashion that because he writes papers… his assertions are somehow profound or remarkable and by extrapolation and therefore disrupt the scientific consensus on global warming, thus showing GCR’s…

    Plato would have had a ball with all the shadows he is casting.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Oct 2009 @ 9:02 AM

  86. “Re #72 (”light speed”), no, I remember that remark from a previous thread. It was certainly not Svensmark’s suggestion.”

    OK, it could easily have been another “paper” trying to make CO2 a non-issue.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Oct 2009 @ 9:03 AM

  87. google finds it in several threads here

    site:realclimate.org “light speed”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  88. 58 Bengt said, “I’m not arguing for a casual relationship between GCR and global warming from this paper. I’m just trying to answer Rasmus question why there’s still interest for Svensmarks research.”

    But without a purported significant link between GCR and global warming, there would be no significant interest in Svensmark’s research. The reason for continued interest is that people tend to jump from “a possible [small] effect” to “most likely the primary driver” when it suits their preconceptions.

    Comment by RichardC — 12 Oct 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  89. http://elib.dlr.de/45218/01/g-214.pdf

    Proceedings of the TAC-Conference, June 26 to 29, 2006, Oxford, UK
    Contrails, contrail cirrus, and ship tracks
    K. Gierens*
    DLR-Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

    ABSTRACT: The following text is an enlarged version of the conference tutorial lecture on contrails, contrail cirrus, and ship tracks….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2009 @ 10:45 AM

  90. re #71
    Yes indeed Matti, they did get their experiment funded. To my mind they’ve been a tad dishonest since some of the misrepresentations of the science in Kirkby’s lecture were also in their funding application(s) (and in a rather dismal review that Kirkby published a few years ago), and some of the supporting documentation for their CLOUD proposal is somewhat dodgy too:

    e.g. “The changes in global cloud coverage are thought to be responsible for the observed global warming. Therefore experimental investigation of these processes are very important” (from a supporting letter from the vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

    http://cloud.web.cern.ch/cloud/documents_cloud/cloud_addendum_3.pdf

    Still, maybe there’s little point in being “po-faced” about this. Perhaps this odd group of CRF advocates are disciples of the Paul Feyerabend school (“anything goes”!), and it doesn’t really matter if they misrepresent the science wildly in order to get funding and attention. We’ll see what they come up with when they actually publish this stuff. My feeling is that while they should obtain some useful data on gamma-ray-induced condensate formation under controlled conditions, this is unlikely to have much impact on pinning down events in the real world since competition from other endogenous and man-made nucleation species, and air transport processes (surely relevant for a phenomenon with an apparent 5-9 day post-cosmic-ray-impact delay!), and so on, can’t necessarily be translated to a chamber connected to a particle accelerator.

    In this respect their acronym “Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets” is a tad inaccurate since it’s not an “outdoors”y experiment at all….it’s an indoorsy experiment!

    Comment by chris — 12 Oct 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  91. As far as I can tell, there is no disputes that cloud cover was
    – low for the period of suspected AGW (~ 1980-2000)
    – high for the period of flat temperatures (~ 2000-2009)
    and this change correlates to solar activity changes.
    Is that not reasonable prima facie support for Svensmark?

    [Response: Not when you realize that these correlations are made with data that are i) not homogeneous in time, and ii) have been ‘corrected’ by svensmark in ways that make absolutely no sense in order to preserve his correlations. -gavin]

    Comment by Josephine M — 12 Oct 2009 @ 11:49 AM

  92. re #83

    The reason the theory requires further investigation is the undoubted correlation between solar cycles and climate shift. Because TSI can probably be ruled out as the primary causative agent some other mechanism must be in play. The GCR theory therefore remains the strongest alternative.

    Your post is unsupported assertion Bushy and a bit of a non-sequitur. Which “undoubted correlation between solar cycle and climate shift” are you referring to specifically? Climate variations for the last 1000 years very likely have some solar contributions but these can be understood in relation to TSI variations (with other contributions like volcanic activity, ocean heat transport variability and anthropogenic greenhouse gas contributions), and don’t need introduction of contributions for which their isn’t any evidence.

    And as far as I’m aware we don’t have a good handle on TSI for solar activity before around 400 years ago. So I don’t think we can assert that TSI variations weren’t responsible for solar-related climate inputs before the MWP (for example), if we don’t know what the TSI was for those periods!

    It’s helpful to address some of the substantial science on this subject (e.g attributions of climate variation during the Holocene if that’s what you’re referring to). As well as TSI variations, one should take into account orbital forcing, volcanic activity, ocean heat transport variations (which might be linked to TSI-variations), greenhouse gas variaions etc. A good review on this subject has recently been published:

    [**] Wanner H et al. (2008) Mid- to Late Holocene climate change: an overview Quaternary Sci. Rev. 27, 1791-1828

    Comment by chris — 12 Oct 2009 @ 12:18 PM

  93. Thomas #77, thoughtful comment.

    Did you notice though the fundamental difference between the two ‘foundational memes’? Conservation of energy can be proven false on its own terms. Just build one of those devices, success guaranteed. Actually it isn’t even foundational enough for physicists themselves not to doubt it, as happened when apparently beta decay violated it. Not all that implausible given that weak interactions violate conservation of parity, strangeness, …
    As for the ‘God created this planet…’Ã’ foundational meme, the only way to prove it false on its own terms would be for Him to come to Earth and point out ‘hey, you wanted to be root… it’s your job now’ ;-)
    But yeah, judging who is right and who is wrong without the relevant expert knowledge is tricky — and yet something done all the time by politicians and ordinary folk alike.

    There are ways. Michael Tobis touches upon this in http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-craven-rave-at-last.html

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Oct 2009 @ 1:55 PM

  94. Mark says:
    12 October 2009 at 3:07 AM
    : Contrails are related to direct water vapour emissions (and enhanced by associated aerosols) but ship tracks are almost exclusively driven by sulphate emissions, not water vapour. – gavin

    OH, Aye, remember now: those contrails were from piston engines.

    These all were. ;-)

    http://contrailscience.com/fightercontrails-over-kent-1941/

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 12 Oct 2009 @ 2:24 PM

  95. $ Stands up for the theme music for “Battle Of Britain” $

    :-)

    Was taught about a tephigram once. There’s a line there (dot dash, I think) marked contrails. Except the contrails don’t form there any more: the height of contrail formation was calculated on 1950’s planes and nobody cared enough about contrails on a tephigram to change it.

    Given that contrails act like Svensmark’s GCR CCN and that they’ve moved quite a distance further up, should he not get a ballpark figure of the effect to expect by looking at the change in temperatures due to the rising height of contrails?

    Comment by Mark — 12 Oct 2009 @ 2:47 PM

  96. “First, as someone with training in Astrophysics”

    Well that should give you a good start.

    Photometry of stars is used to work out the temperature profile of our sun and the composition of the stars including our sun.

    This is done by looking at the absorption lines of the spectrum.

    Despite these being 100% opaque to the centre of the star, we can tell if the star contains 1% He, 2% He, 3% He… likewise Oxygen, Carbon, Beryllium, and all the other metals (from an astrophysicists’ meaning of “metals”.

    So even though it’s 100% opaque, we can tell the difference between 1% He and 2%.

    If the effect of a line spectrum absorber stopped due to the application of Beers law that those who deny AGW is a problem, then this would be impossible.

    As an astrophysicist/astronomer you should know this is incorrect.

    Do like I do:

    I don’t understand much of the AGW science (either pro or anti CO2), but I let what I do know guide be as to which one I think is true.

    And the denialist use of Beers Law is wrong. I know this because I’ve searched for Helum Rich stars myself in my Astrophysics lab and worked out the He content (and by accident included Bellatrix, a Helium poor star, but turned it to our favour by pointing out that this helium poor star was a great example of how you can see the differences in the spectral classification and the peak temperature colour).

    So I don’t understand the mixing layer physics, or the North Atlantic Gyre’s effect.

    But I DO undestand what goes on in astronomy.

    And that is consistent with what the pro AGW science says and inconsistent with the anti AGW science being proposed.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Oct 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  97. “- high for the period of flat temperatures (~ 2000-2009)”

    If by “flat” you mean “rising”.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Oct 2009 @ 3:01 PM

  98. It is just: ABC

    Anything But Carbon

    We are witnessing a twisted, contorted search for an ABC cause for global warming.

    Human action is a huge factor in climate models, now it is human thinking.

    Thanks for all that you do.

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 12 Oct 2009 @ 4:10 PM

  99. Just to support Hank Roberts (#21). This site is supposed to be about climate science, not psychology. What does the motivation of the deniers matter? Just prove them wrong and leave it at that.

    Comment by Mr Henderson — 12 Oct 2009 @ 4:26 PM

  100. Wonderful site, Phil.

    Aside, from the TAC Conference link I gave above:

    “Not all ships produce tracks. Ships powered by Diesel units that emit high concentrations of accumulation mode aerosol can produce ship tracks. Ships that produce few particles (e.g. nuclear ships) or particles too small for activation as cloud drops (even if in high concentration) do not pro- duce ship tracks. The most likely, if not the only, cause of the formation of ship tracks is the direct emission of cloud condensation nuclei from the stack of a Diesel powered ship…. The type of fuel burned seems to be more important than the type of ship engine in determining whether a ship will produce a track or not.”

    I wonder — though diesel-electric locomotives burn a lot less fuel at a time than a large ship, has anyone looked for train, er, tracks in the clouds?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2009 @ 4:53 PM

  101. > 21
    Oops (blush)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2009 @ 4:55 PM

  102. Richard Pauli,
    The question of whether GCR influence climate is an interesting and valid area of inquiry. If it were not for the unfortunate fact that our energy infrastructure is carbon based, these efforts would chug along slowly attracting only limited interest and funding. The ABC interests pour gasoline and liquid oxygen on the smouldering ember–which still doesn’t catch fire, because there just isn’t that big an effect.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Oct 2009 @ 4:57 PM

  103. #77 Thomas – it’s not about climate change true or false, right or wrong, it’s about appetite for risk. Once again I’ll punt greg craven’s approach. I think his analysis is brilliant and not too late I hope. Sure, continue debating the nitty gritty of the science, but the scientifically illiterate that post here would be best served by reading Greg’s book first – even before they tried to learn some science. In fact they will learn what science is about by an honest reading of the book.

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 12 Oct 2009 @ 5:05 PM

  104. “What does the motivation of the deniers matter? Just prove them wrong and leave it at that.”

    Problem: they get to decide when they’ve been proven wrong.

    This is not easy.

    So you have to nail them down on what they consider proof.

    Heck, they’re still saying “CO2 ***lags*** climate change!” and “Computer models aren’t Science!”.

    Until we have control over time (and a spare earth or three), if we try to prove them wrong before finding out what would prove them wrong, they’ll just say “that’s not proof. GET ME PROOF!!!!”.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Oct 2009 @ 5:34 PM

  105. Mr Henderson asks:”What does the motivation of the deniers matter? Just prove them wrong and leave it at that.”

    You can’t reason someone out of a position that they did not reason themselves into. Psychology is important – why does someone deny reality?

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 12 Oct 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  106. 79 Mark,

    I’m sure I’m missing something humorous there but I can’t see it.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 12 Oct 2009 @ 6:08 PM

  107. piston aircraft burn a lot of hydrocarbon fuel.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 12 Oct 2009 @ 6:30 PM

  108. 96,103,105,106:
    I think the motivations of the denialists do matter. In my example (btw I have no problem with AGW theory, its just radiative transfer complicated by CFD & weather processes) the second law of thermo principle is falsifiable, the religious based one not so much -especially as we don’t have a spare planet to demonstrate what happens with/without GHGes.

    But, if you can expose the reason why ABC is nonnegitiable then you have to chance to do two things:
    (1) Maybe, the denialist will realize he is starting from a false presense, and come around.
    or
    (2) His credibilty will be taken down several notches.

    The reason this matters, is proving them wrong with detailed analysis/argumentation is beyond the capability of the large bulk of the target audience, they simply cannot judge based upon the quality of the science. Your odds of winning a popular debate with scientific truth alone is small.

    Comment by Thomas — 12 Oct 2009 @ 8:39 PM

  109. Is the continued interest perhaps a somewhat benign version of the manufactured controversy that newspapers were/are accused of?
    Making sure there is some alternative viewpoint considered.

    In order that an alternative idea not appear to be “shut out” some accommodation is being made???

    Comment by MacDoc — 12 Oct 2009 @ 9:17 PM

  110. Hi,

    I have a question that keeps bugging me. I often read that the average global temp has risen by 0.6 degrees C since 1850. So, that makes 0.04 C/decade or 0.004 C/year on average. My question is how were these temperatures measured before modern digital equipment? Surely prior to the 1960 or 70’s the accuracy of the equipment used would have been at least +/- 0.1 C for each reading? Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Jake — 12 Oct 2009 @ 9:28 PM

  111. #104 Mark

    I agree

    On one site a guy asked for one example that shows Co2 is a greenhouse gas and he would change his mind. I sent him to a youtube item. And he said but that is not the same concentration that’s in the atmosphere, show me one example of temperature rising with the levels of Co2 in our atmosphere. I said the earth atmosphere has that, and temperature is rising… and he said that doesn’t prove anything…

    If an individual is sold on a believe (psychology is important) then you really do need to address the premise of that psychology to unravel the twisted mechanism that leads one astray. It seems moving the goal posts on a question is always valid in the mind of some.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Oct 2009 @ 1:33 AM

  112. I think that by and large, the scientists active in the field are sincere in what they believe, and that counts for contrarian scientists as well. What may play a role for some of them is what I call professional deformation (as BPL also noted in comment 2): Everybody has a tendency to think along familiar lines. Moreover, once you have made a name for yourself in proposing a certain theory, it’s hard to step away from it. There’s a certain attraction in being the underdog, which, in extreme cases, leads some to think of themselves as (supporting) the new Galileo. And, as I pointed out in a previous comment, the correlations (if taken at face value) are seen by many as a sign that there is something to it, though we don’t know what and how much yet.

    The ABC process (anything but CO2) is probably more important for the non-scientific followers of contrarian hypotheses, but also in that segment there are a good few who are sincerely confused of where the bulk of evidence is pointing towards.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 13 Oct 2009 @ 2:29 AM

  113. “My question is how were these temperatures measured before modern digital equipment?”

    http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blthermometer.htm

    “Galileo Galilei invented a rudimentary water thermometer in 1593 which, for the first time, allowed temperature variations to be measured. In 1714, Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the first mercury thermometer, the modern thermometer.”

    Why do you need a digital thermometer to take the temperature?

    Comment by Mark — 13 Oct 2009 @ 2:42 AM

  114. “(btw I have no problem with AGW theory, its just radiative transfer complicated by CFD & weather processes) ”

    btw, if that’s all the problem you have, then forget the complications.

    You’d have to have a very unlikely amelioration to get all these complications wrong so that

    a) it looks like you’re boned on a business as usual scenario
    b) but they will come back and make it all A-Ok.

    How likely is that?

    In this case, the uncertainties mean that you’re as likely to underestimate the problem as overestimate it.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Oct 2009 @ 2:44 AM

  115. MacDoc, 109, you are so right!
    I think this is exactly it! And I am 100% one of these people. I don’t like reading in the papers the same AGW theorie again and again…even if it is the most likely. The problem is: if this theory is correct, it means urgent action. For urgent action you need a consensus. And then it becomes political. And then you cannot see anything else in the newspapers. But we (at least I) NEED to see the other points of view. We need to breathe. It is as simple as that.
    To make a simple comparison, I don’t like when too many good things are told about one single person, because I believe nobody is a angel. And it leads to the cult of personality.
    The same thing for climate science. I don’t like this consensus. It is a “cult of a science”. We NEED contradiction! Just to breathe.

    Comment by Naindj — 13 Oct 2009 @ 4:00 AM

  116. Jake,

    Even with big error bars on an individual measurement, the more readings you have, the more tightly you can pin down the average. See the definition of “standard deviation” in a statistics text.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Oct 2009 @ 5:30 AM

  117. #104 Mark “So you have to nail them down on what they consider proof.”
    In a sense this is Greg Craven’s approach. You, as skeptic or warmer are challenged to set up your own criteria for what will convince you that AGW is happening or not happening, respectively. You are also challenged to set up your own “credibility spectrum”, from more credible to less credible, and fill in the various sources of information (for AGW real or not) on that spectrum – sources such as the IPCC, professional scientific societies, business groups, the military, blogs, individuals, petitions, etc. Then you decide, using your own crediblity spectrum, whether to bet “take no significant action now” (because future catastrophic climate change if we don’t take action now is an unreasonable probability) or “take significant action now” (because if we continue CO2 emissions future catastrophic climate change is a reasonable probability). This circumvents the need to even consider the “odds of winning a popular debate with scientific truth alone” (Thomas #108). Time is short, governments are back-tracking as Copenhagen approaches and it’s looking like the winning bet will be “take no significant action now”. And by that I mean that CDM has been a failure and no sense that anything more significant will replace it. Commitment must be to a level of CO2, not some possible future temperature rise – Jim Hansen says 350ppm max, that means carbon sequestration to remove CO2. I’m voting 350 and I have applied Greg’s process to reach that conclusion – anyone else here prepared to show their hand? No use winning the debate and losing the battle.

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 13 Oct 2009 @ 6:16 AM

  118. Mark #95

    “… the height of contrail formation was calculated on 1950’s planes …”

    Indeed. The height of contrail formation was crucial to the successful recording of the attempt at the World Air Speed record by Peter Twiss in the Fairey Delta 2 in 1956. Twiss’s account in his book ‘Faster than the Sun’ makes a fascinating read.

    Comment by Lionel A Smith — 13 Oct 2009 @ 6:35 AM

  119. Jake, you are confusing “digital” with “accurate”. By the mid 1800s, 0.1 degree accuracy was certainly obtainable with good laboratory equipment. Coverage was a more serious issue. However, there are independent lines of evidence (e.g. phenological studies, melting of glaciers and ice caps, etc.) that support a rise of about that magnitude.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Oct 2009 @ 6:47 AM

  120. 107 Eli,

    And jets don’t?

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 13 Oct 2009 @ 6:58 AM

  121. BTW, “prima facie” means, roughly, “at first glance” or “on the face of it.” It doesn’t imply certainty or obvious truth. A “prima facie” case is simply one that’s worth looking into.

    I belive Svensmark is looking into it.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 13 Oct 2009 @ 7:11 AM

  122. Jeffrey, but at first glance, or on the face of it, GCRs aren’t causing any significant warming.

    So, again, why the continued interest?

    Comment by Mark — 13 Oct 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  123. “But we (at least I) NEED to see the other points of view. We need to breathe. It is as simple as that.”

    Do you need to see the other points of view on ritual mutilation of women? Do you need to see the other points of view on murder?

    Do you need to see the other points of view of the earth’s shape?

    a) there are some things that are just verboten by any civilised society that wants to continue to exist

    b) there are some things where the other points of view are so bad, they’re not even wrong

    Comment by Mark — 13 Oct 2009 @ 8:04 AM

  124. “So, again, why the continued interest?”

    I suspect it’s a hobbyhorse idea for him. Like something out of Tristam Shandy.

    He’s imagining the same kind of mechanism for GCRs as do the people who contrive perpetual motion machines or who can fly in their dreams.

    There’s a mocking poster which shows a correlation between global warming and the number of pirates. Since there’s a demonstrable mechanism involved with GHGs and warming, the poster is simply a dumb joke. However, it’s apt for Svensmark. He can see all manner of correlations, but there’s nothing that can parlay the tiny energy behind GCRs into global warming.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 13 Oct 2009 @ 9:00 AM

  125. re #121/123

    I think these statements are true:

    1. Yes it’s worth looking into the CRF-cloud nucleation-climate hypothesis

    2. No there isn’t any compelling evidence for a CRF climate relationship.

    3. There is very little doubt that there has been negligible CRF contribution to the very marked warming of the last 30-odd years.

    4. Yes there is some somewhat tantalizing evidence that there might be a CRF-cloud effect but this is so far based on small bits of observation of apparent correlation (e.g. solar cycle 22 with the ISCCP-IR product), which didn’t hold up to subsequent observations (e.g. CRF – cloudiness become discorrelated through cycle 23 and in any case the correlations are poorer with the more reliable ISCCP-IR/vis product), and further a significant body of work now indicates that the apparent CRF-cloud correlations through cycle 22 are actually correlated with the irradiance (TSI) component of the solar cycle (rather than the CRF component). There are also some tantalizing possible effects observed in some rare Forbush events, but the reproducibility is so far questionable and causality not established.

    5. There is no compelling evidence whatsoever for any CRF contribution to earth surface temperature change throughout the last 1000 years, the climate variation of which can be understood pretty well in terms of known internal and external forcings.

    6. There is no compelling evidence whatsoever for a CRF-climate link throughout the entire Phanerozoic period. In fact much of the climate variation during these vast periods (500 MYA) can be understood in terms of greenhouse gas levels, the steady increase in the solar constant, continental land mass rearrangements, plant evolution, and various internal and extraterrestrial catastrophes (tectonic events and impacts)….

    7. If we’re serious about understanding the contributions to very marked 20th century and contemporary warming, and the likely consequences of continued massive enhancement of atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, the CRF hypothesis is of little interest or relevance.

    And the key point for this general discussion:

    7. A very small number of CRF advocates entirely ignore or misrepresent the rather abundant science on this subject and present a false view of the science that elevates a potential phenomenon with a marginal evidence base as if it were a well established contribution to climate variation including mid-late 20th century and contemporary warming. This is done not only under the rather understandable psychology in which scientists may make strong personal investment in poorly evidenced hypotheses, but in this cases encompasses various degrees of dishonesty (i.e. it’s difficult to conclude that the scientific misrepresentations are not made knowingly).

    Comment by Chris — 13 Oct 2009 @ 9:15 AM

  126. 124 Jeffrey,

    I assume you mean Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 13 Oct 2009 @ 10:26 AM

  127. “There’s a mocking poster which shows a correlation between global warming and the number of pirates. Since there’s a demonstrable mechanism involved with GHGs and warming, the poster is simply a dumb joke.”

    ARE YOU MOCKING HIS NOODLY APPENDAGE????

    Well, next time you open a can of chopped tomatoes and it squirts over the floor, you will know His Wrath at last!

    Comment by Mark — 13 Oct 2009 @ 10:27 AM

  128. Bart #112

    I’ve read your fine piece about aerosols and climate here on Real climate (15 april 2009). So I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask if, in your opinion, Svensmarks newest paper adds any relevant knowledge in that context? If the answer is no, then my next question is if there’s anything, whatsoever, of interest in that paper.

    Chris #125

    That was a pretty good summary (though I wouldn’t agree on all points)!

    Comment by Bengt A — 13 Oct 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  129. As you’ve maybe noticed I’m new at this blog. I have to say that I’m quite surprised by the language used here! This guy Mark equals AGW-skepticism with murder and mutilation of woman. Is that for real?

    [Response: Don’t be ridiculous. You made a general philosophical point in support of your anti-AGW position which Mark showed (reducto ad absurdum) was bogus. It is a comment about your logic, not your science (such as it is). No more on this particular red herring please. – gavin]

    Of course I can skip every post by Mark and read only those with some quality, like Chris, Bart V etc. Not a big deal, but I’m still confused. What are the moderators doing? Isn’t this supposed to be site for scientific discussions?

    Comment by Bengt A — 13 Oct 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  130. Some relevance to this discussion in a recent paper in atmospheric chemistry and discussions:

    “Atmospheric data over a solar cycle: no connection between galactic cosmic rays”
    and new particle formation, see:
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/21525/2009/acpd-9-21525-2009.pdf

    The open interactive discussion will probably be both lively and interesting…

    Comment by Theo Kurten — 13 Oct 2009 @ 11:43 AM

  131. ” Of course I can skip every post by Mark and read only those with some quality, like Chris, Bart V etc. Not a big deal, but I’m still confused.”

    Now how does this square with his earlier statement:

    “But we (at least I) NEED to see the other points of view. We need to breathe. It is as simple as that.”

    Are not posts by mark not another point of view? Has Bengt stopped breathing, as simple as that?

    PS this is one reason to take things WAAAAAY over the line. Bengt has decided after all, there ARE things that aren’t worth considering.

    Like the demands to see others POV even if they are unscientific or even anti-scientific.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Oct 2009 @ 1:02 PM

  132. #59 Eli,

    Yes, correct, Svensmark has been tossed out – although he is a coauthor of

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/18235/2009/acpd-9-18235-2009.pdf

    Also, a number of authors of the paper referred to by Theo (#130) are involved in CLOUD.

    Comment by Adder — 13 Oct 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  133. Has any plausible reason been given by Svensmark for why we’re looking at low level clouds, and not also high altitude clouds?

    Comment by tharanga — 13 Oct 2009 @ 1:27 PM

  134. In my comment above, “atmospheric chemistry and discussions” should have read “atmospheric chemistry and _physics_ discussions”, of course…

    Comment by Theo Kurten — 13 Oct 2009 @ 2:04 PM

  135. Thanks Adder (post #132)…that’s encouraging.

    It seems like there are some serious scientists involved in the CLOUD experiments (e.g. Lockwood; Harrison), and good for whoever it was that brought together this expertise. My initial impression was that a substantial amount of cash (my tax Euros!) had been winkled out of the EU 7th Framework Programme under slightly dubious pretences, but I’m much more confident that the data will be assessed and interpreted properly now.

    I still have my doubts whether the experiments will have very much to say about CRF-cloud responses in the real (outdoors!) world, but I have no problem in being proven wrong.

    … and perhaps it doesn’t matter so much that Dr. Kirkby seems to have a fundamental problem with [edit] depiction of the background climatology that bears on this subject….

    Comment by chris — 13 Oct 2009 @ 3:13 PM

  136. Jake (110) — Lots of thermometers were used and statistics applied to the resulting numbers. More gives a better estimate than just a few.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Oct 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  137. The clear difference between Svensmark, Lindzen et al. and the dominant CO_2 AGW theory is that the CO_2 theory has been thoroughly tested after its initial tenuous start in the 19th century before we had quantum physics and large-scale computers on which to model planet-scale physical systems. If you look at the timeline of the establishment of the CO_2 theory, it took the best part of 150 years to move from speculation to an established theory. It has been thoroughly tested in numerous models and thousands of publications. The GCR hypothesis will most likely end up like any other hypothesis in science that goes nowhere because the evidence doesn’t support it. The only reason Svensmark is attracting more attention than any other crackpot alternative to a mainstream theory is he offers hope to those who oppose change. If you really want an extreme case, look no further than Bjorn Lomborg (remember him?) who had published exactly 1 academic paper in a totally unrelated field (political science) and somehow was considered sufficiently expert in an extremely complex field to debunk the whole thing. When people are keen to grasp at a straw, they don’t check how well the straw has been made or who made it.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 13 Oct 2009 @ 7:41 PM

  138. #124, -6 & -7–There may be an “inadvertent experiment” going on. If recent news stories from the Indian Ocean are accurate, the number of pirates has recently shown an uptick above the 17 shown on the classic “spaghetti” graph. This should induce global cooling if sustained, no?

    (Does anybody have info on the “pirate/climate equilibrium equation?” There has to be a way to quantify pirate sensitivity.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 Oct 2009 @ 11:22 PM

  139. Umm, I probably don’t really need to clarify this, but I meant sensitivity of climate to the pirate forcing, not sensitivity of the pirates themselves. (That is of course still awaiting reliable measurement, but is certainly negligible for most boundary conditions.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 Oct 2009 @ 11:25 PM

  140. Why the continuing interest in a natural explanation for climate change? Because that is the conventional wisdom which must be disproved, in accord with the scientific method, before the challenging hypothesis can authoritatively replace it. The more interesting question is why the resistance by AGW adherents? Perhaps because the challenger has precociously inverted the burden of proof, proclaiming victory by consensus and demanding disproof of the challenge? The IPCC’s admission of primitive understanding of cloud behaviour is evidence enough of a premature declaration of settled AGW science.

    Comment by John Millett — 13 Oct 2009 @ 11:58 PM

  141. 110 Jake

    Hi Jake. I struggle with the same issue (can we really know the global temperature has risen .6 degrees using what we have for temperature records from 1850 until now). I’ve had only one course in statistics in college and unless I make the effort to get a deeper understanding of the power of using statistical analysis to come to this conclusion, I will have to remain a bystander watching the discussion play out.

    I have been developing software for the past 20 years and have a hard time accepting that use of the tools of the statistician can overcome gigo (Garbage in Garbage out) but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t so (not meaning that the data is garbage in general but for the purpose of drawing conclusions to a tenth of a degree …). I think there are a lot of us in this boat. We’re not part of the fossil fuel industry (I’m working in the clinical trials industry – doing records management, not statistical analysis), and it’s not a matter of having some internal bias one way or the other. It’s just we don’t have the understanding of the power that statistical tools have so can’t make the leap to fully trust them and the conclusions drawn that rely on them.

    I apologize if I’ve drawn you into my boat incorrectly. You may be a master of statistics for all I know but your post kind of hit the nail on the head for me, drawing out a rare post from me. I’ve made a few posts here and did receive very helpful info from the folks at this site (I read here almost daily). I don’t feel too comfortable posting much though because expressing any doubt as in the above, can draw some pretty ugly replies (which have had what is probably the desired result, I don’t post much). I had thought this was just tolerated by RealClimate as normal part of the blogosphere but the inline note from Gavin in post 129 suggests that it may be advocated.

    Good luck to us both in our search for the truth.

    Might find this interesting… There are a lot of documents like this out there that kind of give a feel for how some of the early data was collected.

    http://climate.umn.edu/pdf/Fisk_thesis.pdf

    Tad

    Comment by Tad Boyd — 14 Oct 2009 @ 12:18 AM

  142. “I have been developing software for the past 20 years and have a hard time accepting that use of the tools of the statistician can overcome gigo (Garbage in Garbage out)”

    There’s no need.

    DON’T PUT GARBAGE IN.

    GIGO is then not a problem.

    Why do people always assume that GIGO is impossible to avoid? Is it because those who deny AGW have nothing but garbage to put in? Maybe you should consider whether your attitude is a garbage out problem…

    Comment by Mark — 14 Oct 2009 @ 2:59 AM

  143. “Because that is the conventional wisdom which must be disproved, in accord with the scientific method, before the challenging hypothesis can authoritatively replace it.”

    Here’s a Garbage In problem.

    Why must conventional wisdom be disproved?

    What if conventional wisdom is in this case correct?

    And surely if you MUST disprove conventional wisdom, it would behoove you to find something BETTER at explaining the real world than the conventional wisdom you wish to replace.

    After all, you wouldn’t try to displace the conventional wisdom that the sun is the source of all our heat with a theory that it is actually The Interstellar Spaghetti Monster, would you?

    Well, maybe YOU would…

    Comment by Mark — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:02 AM

  144. Jake, Tad,

    If you’re seriously interested: try reading P. Brohan et al., “Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: A new data set from 1850″, Journal of Geophysical Research 111 (June 24, 2006): D12106. Even if your grasp of statistics is as shaky as mine, you should be able to get a rough idea of how it’s done.

    Comment by CM — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:03 AM

  145. Kevin, #138.

    However, you notice that the Som ali Pirates only recently came into mainstream press. Around 2000-2002, IIRC.

    And as any denialist will tell you, the temperatures have been flat since then…

    Proof Positive of the Organza Effect!

    Comment by Mark — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:05 AM

  146. Bengt A (128),
    I guess you’re referring to his paper on Forbush decreases (FD)? I have only skimmed it, but it is contradicted by other studies where no link with FD’s was found. A 7 day lag time as Svensmark proposed/found seems rather long to me; I wouldn’t expect a decrease in nucleation to affect CWC 7 days later. At first sight, it looks like a valuable contribution to the literature, as a polite reviewer would call it, but it doesn’t change the broad validity of Chris’s summary (125), nor would I have changed my post back in April because of it.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:37 AM

  147. Tharanga (133), you asked “Has any plausible reason been given by Svensmark for why we’re looking at low level clouds, and not also high altitude clouds?”

    See e.g. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/aerosol-effects-and-climate-part-ii-the-role-of-nucleation-and-cosmic-rays/:
    Based on his model for ion induced nucleation, Yu found that at low altitude, the number of particles produced is most sensitive to changes in cosmic ray intensity. At first sight, this may be a surprising result in light of the increasing cosmic ray intensity with increasing altitude. The reason is that high aloft, the limiting factor for particle formation is the availability of sulfuric acid rather than ions. Above a certain GCR intensity, increasing ionization further could even lead to a decrease in ion induced nucleation, because the lifetime of ion clusters is reduced (due to increased recombination of positive and negative ions). In contrast, at low altitude particle formation may be limited by the ionization rate (under certain circumstances), and an increase in ionization leads to an increase in nucleation.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:38 AM

  148. John Millet (139),
    Your depiction of what is the null and what the alternative hypothesis may have been valid a century or perhaps even a couple of decades ago, but it is not anymore. When the accumulated evidence for what once was the alternative hypothesis (the Earth is round; GHG cause global warming) is convincing enough for the vast majority of scientists in the field, it becomes the new null hypothesis. AGW is well past this point. That’s how science progresses. See also http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/how-do-we-know-theres-a-consensus-and-why-does-it-matter/

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:45 AM

  149. tharanga:

    Has any plausible reason been given by Svensmark for why we’re looking at low level clouds, and not also high altitude clouds?

    Sure. He found a correlation there (after fudging the data a bit), whereas he couldn’t find one with high or mid-level clouds. Despite the fact that the GCR flux is obviously greater at greater altitudes.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Oct 2009 @ 4:51 AM

  150. John Millett,
    Horse puckey! There are mountains of evidence favoring anthropogenic causation, and there is precisely zilch favoring GCR or any other natural explanation. It’s science. Don’t like the consensus theory? Find some evidence that contradicts it. Thus far, the denialists efforts in this regard have ranged from woeful to mendacious.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:00 AM

  151. Tad Boyd,
    WRONG!! Stats isn’t about overcoming GIGO, it’s about separating what isn’t garbage from the garbage. Visit Tamino’s blog. He’s got an excellent post on Kullback-Liebler Information up. You can learn this stuff.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:02 AM

  152. re #139

    That’s not right John. “In accord with the scientific method”, all natural factors with a substantial evidence base are taken into account in attributing contributions to climate variations. In accord with the scientific method, natural factors are identified, parameterized in relation to theoretical and empirical understanding of their mechanisms, amplitudes and contributions. That’s how we know with a reasonable amount of detail the effects of greenhouse gas variations, solar effects, volcanic contributions, ocean current effects etc. and their feedbacks on climate parameters (like hemispherically- or globally-averaged temperature).

    The “resistance” by scientists and informed individuals to the notion that an essentially uncharacterised, hypothesised phenomenon (which we know rather categorically can have made no significant contribution to the marked late-20th century and contemporary warming), can replace a vast body of knowledge on known natural and anthropogenic contributions, is due to it’s lack of accord with the scientific method…

    …i.e. we don’t throw out our pre-exisiting knowledge and understanding of causality, and attempt to explain phenomena by “shoehorning” hypotheses for which there isn’t a significant evidence base.

    Comment by Chris — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:08 AM

  153. John Millett #139: that’s what I addressed in #137. The contestation of the then conventional view that CO2 was not an issue for climate change started c. 1820. If you haven’t been paying attention and noticed that the conventional view has shifted as a result of a huge weight of evidence, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:24 AM

  154. Re Mark 123, BengT 129 and again Mark 131.

    I don’t know why so much confusion or personal attacks.
    The post about the need to hear other points of view was mine, Naindj.
    And I did not take bad the answer of Mark, I understood his point. And I will answer that we also need some other points of view for murders. If not, why so long trials for each murder? But we are digressing…
    I wanted to answer to the topic: “why so much interest?” And I repeat it is because of the consensus. It is an intuitive reaction to try to escape the consensus. The consensus was made too quickly (because of the emergency related to the results of the theory) and the science is too complex. Don’t expect people to accept it in a few years.
    Don’t forget it took long for Darwin or Einstein to be accepted. Einstein had to wait the eclipse of 1919 to be proven right…because relativity (and evolution) is not intuitive.
    John Millet in 139 explains it even better.
    The thing with AGW is that it is counter-intuitive. The intuition is to explain all with the BIG natural forces going out there. Explaining future catastrophes with some ppm of an invisible gas is NOT AT ALL intuitive.
    So people still hang to the intuitive thing, like solar or astronomical variations…

    Comment by Naindj — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:52 AM

  155. #139John Millet False – “conventional wisdom”, in the scientific sense is now AGW theory, and has been for years. Have you actually read any IPCC reports? Your dogmatic statements are without foundation and as is true of most “skeptics” posting here your statements show you have little, if any, understanding of the scientific process. The fact is that AGW IS sufficiently “settled” to warrant the world (us, not them)taking intense action to limit CO2 emissions, nay, to even sequestrate CO2 to try and get down to at least 350ppm. See http://www.gregcraven.com for the reasons why.
    #140 Tad Boyd This is primarily a science blog and if you want to comment on the science at least demonstrate that you appreciate simple logic and have a basic understanding of what AGW theory is. Otherwise how will you ever know when you’ve found “the truth” that you’re seeking? This post of yours is not at all pretty. If a posting is logically ridiculous then what choice does a moderator have? To not let the post through (poster then doesn’t know why post was rejected or posts elsewhere something to the effect “RC censors alternative views”, which is itself not a logical conclusion to draw), or, to let it through and point out the logical error in the post. Logically, there is no reason for any poster here to receive special treatment is there?
    As has been said before “don’t have such and open mind that your brains fall out”.
    Oh yea, data needs to be interpreted to be meaningful. Garbage in – garbage out. True. So how do you know the clinical trial data records you manage are not garbage? Will you take the medication that was used AND interpreted by others that such data was “true” and the interpretation of the data (that it’s going to work in the way specified) is also “true”?

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 14 Oct 2009 @ 6:12 AM

  156. Jake #110: there are 2 ways this is possible (in my non-expert opinion; corrections welcome). First, each thermometer may only be accurate to +/-0.1° (C or F, it doesn’t matter for purposes of example) but any variation from some baseline will be reasonably accurate, if that variation is small. If for example, the average temp in a location is 21°C and the average over time drifts up by 0.6°C, that difference will be measurable and accurate, because the +/-0.1°C actual error of the thermometer will not drift significantly over this sort of change. This is one reason why temperature anomalies (differences from a baseline) are used in temperature trends not actual temperatures. Secondly, there is something called the law of large numbers that says in effect that the errors cancel if (a) you have enough measurements and (b) there is no systematic bias. You can test for systematic bias by statistical methods like bootstrapping and jacknifing, where you systematically construct a new sample out of a subset of the existing data that should not be biased if the original data did not contain a bias (because you are leaving some of the original data out using an unbiased method). Sorry if I didn’t explain this totally clearly because I’m not a statistician, but this may give you some idea. Some variants on these techniques were discussed a few years ago RealClimate.

    As for etiquette, count the number of messages that get moderated here. Put your views reasonably even if you are wrong or disagree with the mainstream you generally get polite responses. I marvel at the patience of Gavin et al. who have to read through hundreds of comments, many near-content free repetitions of frequently debunked talking points.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 14 Oct 2009 @ 6:51 AM

  157. re: 139

    “a premature declaration of settled AGW science.”

    There’s lots of science. What part of the AGW hypothesis do you imagine Svensmark’s work challenges? It certainly doesn’t challenge the amount of energy reflected back to Earth by greater concentrations of GHGs. That’s settled and isn’t at issue. At best Svensmark can demonstrate GCRs affect a tiny fraction to the energy budget. And I doubt Svensmark today could say in which direction.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 14 Oct 2009 @ 7:15 AM

  158. “First, each thermometer may only be accurate to +/-0.1° (C or F, it doesn’t matter for purposes of example) but any variation from some baseline will be reasonably accurate, if that variation is small”

    It’s as much that a climate mean from one station is the mean of many, many readings from that station.

    And even if the reading of that measurement has a 1C error, that error is random so cancels out. Binomial counting statistics. 100 readings will reduce the error to 0.1C.

    Jake doesn’t seem to know of this very basic statistical phenomenon.

    Jake, learn a little more and then ask informed questions.

    Comment by Mark — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:36 AM

  159. An ethical caution heard for millenia, supported by recent science:
    http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/news/detail.asp?ID=492

    Excerpt follows:
    ______________________

    … engaging in good behaviours … can set up ‘moral credentials’ in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behaviour.

    “This was not done to point the finger …. Our study is part of an ongoing research on moral regulation and licensing that have shown that prior good behaviours ironically can license subsequent morally questionable behaviours….”
    ______________________

    Cautionary.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Oct 2009 @ 10:46 AM

  160. 154 Naindj: “The consensus was made too quickly…”

    Not exactly.

    Late in the 1700’s the physicists and astronomers found out that the temperatures observed were widely off the values that were calculated starting with observed earth orbital parameters and sun’s properties. The “Greehouse Effect” was initially a way of explaining this difference, basics of the widely used glass greenhouses being already understood. The magnitude of this atmospheric “greenhouse effect” is about 33 degC , so it was readily observable.

    Later on, laboratory experimentation revealed the effects of the atmospheric gases on transmission of electromagnetic energy. Some gaseous components passed easily both visible and heat radiation, while others absorbed the heat radiation. Based on these findings, in 1896 Arrhenius calculated theoretically the impacts for the first time, making also a first estimate on temperature increase if carbon dioxide amounts were doubled because of increasing burning of coal. He was able to compare his theoretical calculations against some 600 measured temperature time series available at the time.

    Arrhenius’ theory was challenged, of course, notably by the famous physicist Astrom. Despite his outstanding prestige, Astrom’s experiments were found wanting in design and execution. The whole issue was, however, rather academic, mainly seen in the context of scientific understanding of the ice ages. Slowly by the 1960’s a consensus emerged concerning the importance and nature of the impacts of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Initially this consensus was the result of a quite normal scientific process, at a time when the dire impacts of warming were not yet an issue. The consensus is still alive and well.

    If you refer to the 1970’s “ice age scare”, it is all bogus. Just sloppy reporting by the press, nothing in the scientific publications.

    So, doubling the carbon dioxide content increases the “greenhouse effect” from a natural background value of 33 degC to a value of 35 degC or more. The warming is just a strengthening of a key atmospheric process that has existed all along.

    Details can be found in the “Start here” box on every Real-Climate page …

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 14 Oct 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  161. Phillip, your main point is good, but let me expound a bit on details. If you’re talking about climate science in the 1820’s, you’re talking first and foremost about Fourier, who contributed the first Terrestrial energy budget and the conceptual framework (and mathematical tools) for the greenhouse effect. Here are links for a “life & times” piece and an English version of his paper, respectively:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Science-Of-Global-Warming-In-The-Age-Of-Napoleon
    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles/GlobalWarming/Article1

    The CO2 piece comes in later, with Tyndall’s investigations beginning in the late 1850s. See:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-Warming-Science-In-The-Age-Of-Queen-Victoria
    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles/GlobalWarming/Article3

    The notions of “atom” and “molecule” were still not completely defined at the time, as this excerpt from the minutes of the Karlsruhe Congress makes clear:

    “The chairman suggests that the discussion begin with the notions of molecule and atom, and he asks Mr. Kekulé and Mr. Cannizzaro, whose studies have especially encompassed this issue, to take the floor.

    “Mr. Kekulé emphasizes the need to distinguish between the molecule and atom, and, in principle at least, the physical molecule and the chemical molecule.

    “Mr. Cannizzaro is unable to conceive of the notion of the chemical molecule. For him there are only physical molecules, and the Ampère-Avogadro law is the basis for considerations relating to the chemical molecule. The latter is nothing other than the gaseous molecule.

    “Mr. Kekulé thinks, on the contrary, that the chemical facts must serve as the basis for the definition and determination of the (chemical) molecule and that physical considerations should only be invoked as a check.

    “Mr. Strecker points out that in certain cases the atom and molecule are identical, as in the case of ethylene. . .”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Oct 2009 @ 12:33 PM

  162. # 154

    “AGW” (or precisely, the idea of increasing GHG’s leading to higher temperatures) is intuitive to me. Perhaps I’m just insane.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 14 Oct 2009 @ 1:34 PM

  163. Like other posters here, I believe there is a psychological need for people to believe in something other than AGW.

    Most of us drive cars to work and most of us heat and cool our houses to a comfortable temperature.

    If AGW is correct, there is the implication that our consumption of the things that require fossil fuels will degrade the ability of the earth to sustain life, human and otherwise. I’m talking about a degradation here, not a complete, catastrophic collapse; so, don’t try to paint me into a corner as an extreme doomsayer.

    The earth seems to be straining to sustain the human population as it is. Accepting that AGW is largely correct means that we have to accept that there is a causal relationship between things that make us comfortable, and somewhere, at sometime, someone dying. That is a very hard thing to accept.

    BTW, regaring the Jake, et al, discussion on the accuracy of thermometers, I also have 20+ years of computer programming experience; I’m very familiar with GIGO. I also have a masters in psychology and lots of hours of graduate level statistics. Two thoughts: a) at the point where the measuring device meets the media, it’s analog, unless you want to get down to the quantum level. A digital readout is just that, a digital readout; it doesn’t really affect the measurement. b) Statistics can be used to filter out noise quite well. To suppose that the rise in temp that we are seeing is a result of thermometer inaccuracy is to suppose that, over the last 150 years, there has been a calibration drift downward over the whole of the population of thermometers that have been used.

    Comment by Chris G — 14 Oct 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  164. “The thing with AGW is that it is counter-intuitive.”

    In fact if you reason it through AGW isn’t counter-intuitive. If there were no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere the earth’s average temperature would be a cold -19C or 0 F. The actual average temperature is a much more moderate 15C or 59 F due to the natural greenhouse effect for the GHGs in the atmosphere prior to the industrial revolution in the 1750s.
    Since then human activity, mainly through the burning of fossil fuels has added GHGs to the atmosphere, increasing the natural greenhouse effect, and causing an upset in earth’s energy balance. This results in climate forcing that reflects the imbalance between incoming and outgoing radiation, and results in an increase in earth’s average temperature to eventualy return to an energy balance.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  165. Pekka Kostamo (160), It really little affects your argument, and I never have understood why you (guys) deny the number of scientists and scientific publications (Science for one) that supported (more or less) the “global cooling” of the 70s. It knocks a hole in your otherwise pretty good review of the history in your post. Where would the general press get the info for their “sloppy” reporting??

    [Response: The same place the sloppy reporters get it from now – putting together out-of-context misrepresentations and going for the outlier members of the community rather than the mainstream. William et al have looked and looked for evidence in the literature that there was some consensus on ‘imminent ice ages’ in the community and there just wasn’t. Please move on. – gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  166. “Don’t forget it took long for Darwin or Einstein to be accepted”

    Uh Urrrr.

    Darwin is often trotted out, I’m surprised you didn’t also pull Gallileo out too.

    Here’s an answer to your apparent misapprehension on how maverick they were:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/04/sometimes_on_reading_comments.html#P78348561

    Thought there’s another reason why these fellows ideas were accepted:

    THEY EXPLAINED THINGS BETTER.

    Did you hear that?

    Einstein’s case is a classic one illustrating this.

    Take the particulate nature of light that was the progenitor of the quantum physics world.

    Google for “Ultraviolet Catastrophe”. That is what the quantum-less photon-as-a-wave world led to: something that wouldn’t work.

    Now, there were very likely people explaining that this was because Science was wrong and that The Invisible Light Stealer was taking away the energy at UV levels (they hurt his eyes, so he stopped them). Or something along those lines.

    That explanation didn’t win, though.

    a) it didn’t explain anything

    b) it added a new thing that needed explaining

    But the quantum nature of light explained how the UV catastrophe was solved, explained the photoelectric effect and explained many other issues.

    Likewise, Einstein’s special and general relativity explained both the current science and didn’t have the problems that the current science had. In the case of special relativity, there was the problem that if light speed was added to the speed of the object, then you would see a different collision between two moving objects if one moved transverse to your sight and the other one along your line of sight. In the case of general relativity, it dealt with the problem of non-inertial frames and as a result explained Mercury’s orbit better than Newtonian gravity.

    Now take a look at the IPCC reports and the science there.

    There’s no “UV catastrophe” there, is there.

    The opposing views are multitudinous and do not explain the known science.

    Multitudinous is a problem because they can’t all be right.

    And not explaining the known science and the current knowledge is a problem because if it can’t explain NOW, it’s worse than the AGW science, isn’t it?

    “It’s the Sun!!!” doesn’t explain why the sun getting hotter is not being increased in effect by CO2. We know CO2 retains IR radiation.

    “It’s GCR’s!!!” doesnt explain why GCRs are negating CO2’s effect.

    “There’s NO WARMING!!!” doesn’t explain why the records say there is and doesn’t explain why increased CO2 isn’t having its effect that we know it can have.

    And so on.

    And when you mine down and see if the alternative points of view explain what we DO know better and reject the ones that fail this test, you’re not left with any points to take on in place of the AGW science the IPCC reports.

    And so despite being REASONABLY denied wide acceptance, those that want to explain the known universe as NOT having an AGW warming world and that warming not meaning “cut out CO2 production to the fullest extent NOW” then bemoan being silenced.

    They complain that “all views need to be heard” because they want any cocamamie story to be allowed because their hypothesis hasn’t worked when approached scientifically, so they have to approach those who do not know the science. By talking fast to those who have no training or time to know better, they want their ideas peddled.

    Another group of people trying their “science” did the same thing. And their name is not one that is respected:

    Snake-oil salesmen.

    They too sold not to the medical practitioners who knew a duffer when sold it, but to the ordinary joe. That the ordinary joe died was irrelevant: he had made his money and left before the consequences were visible and WELL before the payback could be demanded.

    A few snake-oil salesmen set up their own sanitorium to help sell more snake oil. A few people bought into the idea of this miracle cure and were not skeptical of any future products peddled.

    Shops sell “healing crystals” and there ARE people out there who swear by them. They don’t know a placebo can be just as effective as a genuine cure.

    So what alternative ideas out there explain the world we KNOW to exist better than the AGW science?

    If you find any, THEN they may be considered, but why should an idea that fails to explain now be treated seriously as a replacement for something that does?

    Comment by Mark — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:29 PM

  167. Sorry, picked up the wrong url:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/04/sometimes_on_reading_comments.html#P78813041

    We have three names from the first post.

    Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin

    Just thought I’d point out why this is a load of bull.

    Copernicus:

    The Copernican Revolution refers to the paradigm shift away from the Ptolemaic model of the heavens, which postulated the Earth at the center of the Universe, towards the heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the Solar System.

    But the Ptolemaic revolution overthrew the consensus of aristothenes view of a solar centric system.

    Galileo: Postulated a heliocentric system. Oh, hang on, that’s redundant. See what copernicus did…

    Darwin: Gould had already put forward many papers explaining that galapagos finches were different species, not merely varieties (as are dogs, who can intebreed, the definition of same species).

    And Alfred Wallace would have made the prime discovery first except he knew that Darwin had something to write and hadn’t gotten what he wanted to print ready yet. So told Darwin about his paper, said that he’d wait a little bit to let Darwin get the first paper (as a gentleman friend) and so Darwin cut the content of his original intended paper to produce the one that got him the fame.

    These people were not unique. They were ready for their time.

    Mayans knew that the earth was round. They knew that the pole precessed every 26,000 years. They knew the moon was round.

    Thousands of years ago.

    They knew.

    But to those who know only what you get taught in junior school, they think that all scientists thought the earth was flat.

    Comment by Mark — 14 Oct 2009 @ 3:30 PM

  168. #165 Rod Black

    I’m sorry, but I have to ask how old you are. If I were to judge by your posts I would actually guess maybe 10 to 13.

    If you are still stuck on global cooling then I have to imagine that you have no place in this blog at all. You obviously don’t do even the simplest reviews and assessments of long debunked arguments

    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/nas-1975.html

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/global-cooling

    I actually have a copy of the 1975 report. I can say with confidence in now way did it predict cooling. It was a review of what science understood then, which was there were natural cycles and it looks like we might be interrupting that cycle and it looks like we may be causing warming.

    “number of scientists”? Stop reading the comics. There was no consensus on cooling at all. It was a media driven catchy headline sell more magazines thing. That is all.

    Truly, get over it.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:26 PM

  169. 154 Naindj,

    I’d like to know what you think happened in the case of Einstein, specifically with the example you cite. How long do you think that was?

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:28 PM

  170. > Cooling … 1970s

    Rassool and Schneider, writing just when the Clean Air Act first began to limit what the coal plants were putting into the air, discussed what a continuing _increase_ in aerosols could do to temperature. It didn’t happen, fortunately.

    The EPA makes similar points, starting from more recent baselines, e.g. in
    http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/conference/ei14/session10/strum.pdf

    “… stationary source programs under section 112 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and mobile source programs which reduce hydrocarbon and particulate matter emissions, as well as toxic emission performance standards for reformulated gasoline, have contributed to and are expected to continue to contribute to large declines in air toxics emissions, in spite of economic and population growth.

    … In Figure 1, we also include, for 2010 and 2020, a scenario “without Clean Air Act” in which no reductions in emissions as a result of control programs are included…. without the air toxics programs implemented from 1990 to the early 2000’s, total air toxics emissions would have increased by 50% from 1990 to 2020 ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  171. naindj,
    Uh, excuse me, but you are WAY, WAY far off in your assessment of the readiness of the scientific community to accept new ideas. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was not accepted untel long after he developed it because he did not publish it until long after he developed it. It’s acceptance among biologists was actually pretty rapid–it was just too powerful a theory to reject. Einstein’s Special Relativity was accepted to immediate acclaim. Planck even bypassed the usual review channels to publish it more quickly. General Relativity gained acceptance after the 1919 eclipse precisely because that was the first time its predictions could be tested against Newtonian Gravitation. Where do people get this crap?!?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  172. Re 165
    Perhaps you should read this:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

    Among other things, you can learn what Science magazine really said about future cooling (hint: timescales on the order of 20,000 years and ignoring effects of anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gasses).

    Comment by spilgard — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  173. I think Eratosthenes (ancient Greek) also figured out the Earth was round roughly a half a millenium BC, based on shadow lengths at different places.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Oct 2009 @ 5:54 PM

  174. Einstein’s Special Relativity was accepted to immediate acclaim. Planck even bypassed the usual review channels to publish it more quickly.

    And the denialsphere, of course, warps this into “Einstein’s work wasn’t peer-reviewed, so why should McI etc publish?”

    It’s pretty amazing how misunderstood poor einstein’s history is.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Oct 2009 @ 7:00 PM

  175. Oh for the love of “Bob“:

    Scientists Return Fire at Climate Skeptics in ‘Destroyed Data’ Dispute

    Refuting CEI’s claims of data-destruction, Jones said, “We haven’t destroyed anything. The data is still there — you can still get these stations from the [NOAA] National Climatic Data Center.” …

    Still, CEI’s general counsel Sam Kazman remains skeptical of the IPCC’s conclusions. The fact that the report relies on several data sets “doesn’t really answer the issue,” he said.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:00 PM

  176. god i feel for you guys , having to refute the same old crap over and over
    well one thing you have gained is that i am going to start replying to the
    denier rubbish being published in our local regional newspaper { letters to the editor} thanks

    Comment by john byatt — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:13 PM

  177. By the way, why doesn’t this link take me to the “FAQ on climate models”?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

    Where is “FAQ on climate models”?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:31 PM

  178. Some time ago, this comment was made:
    “1) One could argue your statement is not “conclusively supported by the paleo-data” — one need only argue that C02 levels are a lagging result (rather than leading indicator) of temp change, and your 20,000 year ago glacial maximum as GHG evidence becomes tenuous at best. In fact some studies purport such a lag in CO2 levels, some by well over a century.” One of the oft repeated skeptics complaints is that since CO2 has often lagged behind global warming, how can it be a cause? I have been searching for a definitive answer to that question.

    [Response: Just use the “search” box on our website and enter the terms “CO2″ and “lag”. Or just click here – mike]

    Comment by WIlton Roberts — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:40 PM

  179. Patrick 027, that link works fine for me.
    The graphic at the top is the same as for other RC pages.
    Look below that — Do you see a foreign language?
    If so click the little British-type flag.
    It becomes: FAQ on climate models — group @ 3 November 2008

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:46 PM

  180. CM – thanks for the link to that paper, looks very interesting.
    Mark #158 – [edit] FYI, I have a Masters degree in EnvSci and completed several postgrad stats papers. [edit] Even if the same thermometer was measured everyday for 1000 days this does not meet the requirements of statistical repeatability and is subject to several confounding factors.
    http://www.statistics.com/resources/glossary/r/repeatbty.php

    Comment by Jake — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:52 PM

  181. Gavin (165), I said nothing about a consensus. Simply that there were some scientists and some scientific published papers, which Pekka (and others) said there were none, that supported global cooling in the 70s.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Oct 2009 @ 8:59 PM

  182. John PR (168), therein lies your (all’s) problem. First read my response to Gavin about your probably purposefully misconstruing my comment. And where did you dream that I was stuck on global cooling? Secondly if you shout to the heavens that there was no credible scientist and no peer reviewed scientific papers supporting global cooling in the 70s (which was my ONLY point, btw), people could hear your protestations better if you removed your head from your butt. Thirdly if you think there was no rationale for those thoughts, you either have never looked at a global temperature graph from 1940-1975, or just refuse to acknowledge it with the blind religious fervor of a zealot — or like the Bible says the faith of a child (probably around 10-13…). The fact that you give this any more than a passing interest or are highly threatened by the reality is telling.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Oct 2009 @ 9:32 PM

  183. Rod B — 14 October 2009 @ 8:59 PM, ~#181):

    OK. What did the studies in the 1970’s, that you are referring to, actually say about impending global cooling. Steve

    [Response: Look up Peterson, Connolley and Fleck (2008) for a full review. – gavin]

    Comment by Steve Fish — 14 Oct 2009 @ 9:37 PM

  184. Rod, I’d ask why you believe that, but it’d be pointless, wouldn’t it?

    You’d point to something like this

    http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0477/89/9/pdf/i1520-0477-89-9-1325.pdf
    or this
    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/papers-on-climate-predictions-of-1970s/
    or this
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Rs53-MPsJaI/RzWFDD34ohI/AAAAAAAADtU/N1WjwbboAdU/s400/1aconan2.bmp

    and you’d say what you believe is there, even if no one else can see it.

    Closest you can get are what-if: if aerosols — sulfate emissions — had increased, as they would have without the Clean Air Act controls.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Oct 2009 @ 9:47 PM

  185. Wilton (178)

    What do you require an explanation for? It seems intuitive that one would expect a change in atmospheric chemistry if the underlying biogeochemical and climatic boundary conditions change at the surface. In fact, it would be remarkable if you could change the temperature, salinity, and circulation and upwelling structure of the oceans (e.g., by inducing a southern shift in the Westerlies), and change the biosphere, WITHOUT changing atmospheric CO2 concentration (which is dependent on all those things).

    Just to reverse the situation around, what would the implications be if atmospheric CO2 could change ~100 ppm on the order of centuries without anything to cause it? And especially if that pattern was essentially cyclical? In other words, do you really expect changes in CO2 to continuously act as a forcing for climate change in the way it is today?

    Comment by Chris Colose — 14 Oct 2009 @ 9:49 PM

  186. Rod, et al.

    What does it mean if the mainstream group of scientists in the 1970’s were or were not wrong?

    Comment by Chris Colose — 14 Oct 2009 @ 9:50 PM

  187. Jake, do you have a subscription to Science or a library where you can read about how the weather station system handles these measurements?

    It might reassure you to find you’re not the first person to wonder.

    In fact the people who set up the weather stations did serious thinking and publishing on how to get the numbers out of the data. They’ve been publishing their work for a long time, and you could study it.

    These might be useful just for a start:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/304/5672/827
    http://sth.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/33/5/631

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Oct 2009 @ 9:58 PM

  188. Re Hank Roberts – Thank You !

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Oct 2009 @ 10:13 PM

  189. Why place “invited” in italics in the introduction? Does it seem strange to you for organisers to ask an expert to provide some information on GCR? Or are you saying Svensmark is not an expert on GCR?

    Comment by Ilajd — 14 Oct 2009 @ 11:44 PM

  190. 151 Ray Ladbury – Thank you, I’d gotten the idea that data was being corrected and filled in where observations could not be made, using statistical analysis, and not just being separated out as you’ve stated.

    142 Mark – I clearly don’t have the ability to deny AGW and I understand that my post (141) is not useful to the scientific discussion and I will keep my attitude in check.

    155 Hugh Laue – Your time and the time of the rest of those at RealClimate is valuable. I apologize for cluttering up the thread.

    163 Chris G – I was referring more to the spirit of Jakes post. I don’t really have a concern about thermometers being off + or – .1 degrees. I didn’t make that clear which was my mistake (one of my mistakes). The link I pasted into my post (141) was an example of documents I found describing the recording of temperature observations in the early part of the temperature record.

    http://climate.umn.edu/pdf/Fisk_thesis.pdf

    It describes issues with site location and positioning issues as well as instrumentation issues and issues with the staff that made the observations and records. An interesting thing I saw in the log entries was that they were rounded to the nearest full degree. At some point, observations started being recorded with more significant digits (to the tenth or hundredth of a degree). This is what I felt was the spirit of Jake’s post and why I latched on to it. 115 Hugh Laue – my attempt at basic logic may still be faulty but hopefully this makes it clearer why I struggle with a conclusion measured in tenths of a degree given the challenges shown in the document I linked to and others like it that I found. It may have been better if I’d just asked a question like when were observations first recorded in tenths of a degree. Putting out there that I have 20 years experience in software development was stupid. It does not give me any credentials in this discussion. I have my 2 year associates degree. I’d always worked multiple jobs (sometimes up to 3 at a time) and chipped away at my associates until I’d earned it. It took me 8 years. I have no special talents or credentials such as you do. I am definitely a commoner and don’t want to suggest otherwise.

    144 CM – I will go to the link you provided. Perhaps it will help me to see how the challenges mentioned above are overcome and conclusions such as .6 degrees of increase in global temperature can be confidently drawn.

    Thanks all for your replies. I hope I didn’t miss anyone. I don’t want to add to useless noise anymore and will go back to just reading the interesting articles posted here.

    Tad

    Comment by Tad Boyd — 14 Oct 2009 @ 11:50 PM

  191. Sorry, Jake, but I can’t understand what you meant in your comment #180. I suggest that before trying again, you first read this short expansion of what some other folks’ replies have been trying to convey to you, about accuracy being improved by large samples–Google this:

    “statistics hacks” Fey “improving accuracy”

    Look for Hack #5, the section “Improving Accuracy.”

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:08 AM

  192. Jake, here is a concrete example that might help your intuition: Measure your weight on a bathroom scale whose display rounds to the nearest pound. That is, the display does not show a decimal point nor any fractions of pounds, only whole pounds. Measure yourself 49 times in a row (just a few seconds apart). Average those 49 values. Let’s suppose the resulting average is 180.3 pounds. That value is a better estimate of your true weight than either 180 or 181 are.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:20 AM

  193. I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments, but has it occurred to anyone else that the interest in this has recurred at this particular time because these are dangerous times politically? Dangerous for the climate change deniers because there is real movement to address climate change on the part of the Obama administration and the US Congress, Copenhagen fast approaches; and dangerous for the rest of us because the deniers may succeed in thwarting or seriously compromising these efforts. Anything the deniers can do to confuse the issues abets their cause.

    Comment by Laurie Dougherty — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:36 AM

  194. “What does it mean if the mainstream group of scientists in the 1970’s were or were not wrong?”

    I read this and thought “Oh, no, is bob trying the old “We thought it was an ice age in the 70’s” thing.

    Then again when he says “Secondly if you shout to the heavens … people could hear your protestations better if you removed your head from your butt” it makes a kind of sense. Someone who things that putting your head DOWN is “shouting to the heavens” has all sorts of brain-issues going on.

    Rod, there WERE credible scientists. There were one or two papers in the journals about it. But why not actually READ them, instead of regurgitating what your Lord And Master Anthony Watts says on it. You may then find that the papers themselves say that the sulfates were *masking* the warming from CO2 increases and that more study was needed to see if this would continue or be overwhelmed.

    But I suppose if it can’t be made to make out AGW science is wrong, you can’t read it, can you.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:31 AM

  195. “Even if the same thermometer was measured everyday for 1000 days this does not meet the requirements of statistical repeatability and is subject to several confounding factors.”

    Jake, Grima has a PhD and have a look at some of his “work” on deltoid.

    Nassif has a bilogy degree and look at some of his “work” on deltoid.

    So having a PhD doesn’t mean you’re not a fool. There are plenty of examples of such. Show you’re not a fool by not using foolish arguments, not by showing off your degree.

    So with that out the way, the comment quoted.

    Who said anything about repeatability?

    The average month of june for climate work is 30 years of 30 days temperatures readings. Then averaged.

    If the readings have a reading error of 1C then the error in determining the ACTUAL reading is 1/sqrt(900) or 1/30 of a degree C.

    This has nothing to do with repeatability. Would you like your straw back?

    If you have some new whacky theory that says otherwise, please present it.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:39 AM

  196. “Einstein’s Special Relativity was accepted to immediate acclaim. Planck even bypassed the usual review channels to publish it more quickly.”

    Einstein had no way of working out the mathematics correctly.

    Lorentz for example helped him out immensely on it for special relativity. He had even more help on the tensor work required to formalize the general relativity.

    And, get this, IT EXPLAINED THINGS BETTER.

    You still haven’t managed to find an denialist talking point that explains the current system better than AGW science as collected in the IPCC reports do.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:43 AM

  197. r.e. leads and lags, there’s an in press QSR paper on this subject from Andrey Ganopolski:

    “On the nature of lead–lag relationships during glacial–interglacial climate transitions”

    hope this link works (if not, go to the in press section at QSR, 12th October):

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VBC-4XF8MND-2&_user=10&_coverDate=10%2F12%2F2009&_rdoc=3&_fmt=high&_orig=browse&_srch=doc-info%28%23toc%235923%239999%23999999999%2399999%23FLA%23display%23Articles%29&_cdi=5923&_sort=d&_docanchor=&_ct=72&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=3c0ad2a8be4bf24b83a0fea10585f35e

    Comment by SteveF — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:44 AM

  198. Didn’t notice it was you, Ray, so I assume that that quote was ill thought out.

    The point still stands. Can ANYONE get any denialist theory about climate that explains the current climate better than the IPCC one?

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:45 AM

  199. “I’m talking about a degradation here, not a complete, catastrophic collapse; so, don’t try to paint me into a corner as an extreme doomsayer.”

    Mind you, why the fear of being a doomsayer?

    When you go to the doctor and he finds you have cancer and will likely die in a year, would you want him to give you the worst-case scenario or say “well, you could be fine for decades”?

    Don’t let the denialists scare you away from telling the truth because you’re afraid they’ll label you an “alarmist”. They’ll do that anyway, if they don’t have anything else to say to discard your points.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:51 AM

  200. Patrick (#173), Eratosthenes (3rd century BC) *assumed* the sphericity of the Earth, his accomplishment (one of them) was measuring its *circumference* by the shadows cast in Alexandria and Aswan. The details are murky, but — on a controversial interpretation — he just may have got the right answer to within 1% by a single noon-time observation. Which would kind of put in perspective the questions raised here about 1860s temperature readings… :)

    Comment by CM — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:56 AM

  201. Back to Svensmark (though not entirely unconnected with the sphericity of the Earth), I’m wondering about something:

    The predicted effect of solar modulation of GCR flux on cloud cover should vary with the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, which also helps shield us from cosmic radiation. The weakening of the geomagnetic field 40,000 years ago (the Laschamp event), without a record of a corresponding climatic effect, is one problem for Svensmark’s theory. Also, Slo~an and Wolfendale (2008a) noted that the vaunted fall in low cloud cover at the 1991 solar maximum did not vary with latitude, whereas the effect ought to be more pronounced at the poles than at the equator where the Earth’s field is strongest. However, Svensmark has argued (e.g. in ‘Cosmoclimatology’, 2007) that the GCRs able to affect low cloud cover by showering ionizing muons down to an altitude of 2 km are too energetic to be much affected by the geomagnetic field anyway. He and his son did some work on this that I don’t think has been published. In any case, I have seen Slo~an reply (2008b) that at cloud-forming altitudes, muons are not the dominant source of ions: hadrons from low energy CRs are, and they *are* affected by both the Sun’s and the Earth’s magnetic fields.

    Considering that the supposed cloud cover correlation went away after the early 1990s anyway, I guess it’s a bit of a moot point. Still, it’s sort of interesting in its own right, and it’s one of the few objections that seem to have worried Svensmark a bit, so I’d like to ask your perspectives on this.

    Refs:

    Slo~an, T., and A. W. Wolfendale. 2008a. Testing the proposed causal link between cosmic rays and cloud cover. Environmental Research Letters 3, no. 2: 024001.

    Sl~oan, Terry, and Arnold Wolfendale. 2008b. Could cosmic rays cause global warming? EnvironmentalResearchWeb. April 3. http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/opinion/33642.

    Svensmark, Henrik. 2007. Cosmoclimatology: a new theory emerges. Astronomy & Geophysics 48, no. 1: 1.18-1.24. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4004.2007.48118.x.

    Comment by CM — 15 Oct 2009 @ 3:48 AM

  202. Guys,
    I appreciate your answers. About Einstein, I dare to insist: the fact that gravity is not a force but the consequence of the curving of space-time ,and as a consequence big masses can bend rays of light, is not intuitive. That is why it was not accepted until this 1919 eclipse.
    And about Darwin, I did not say he was alone against everybody…I’m just saying evolution took some decades to be accepted. And I remember he also published in two parts, and said only many years later that men were also part of this process (and that we come from monkeys). He knew that would not be accepted. But there was no emergency. For climate there is!
    To come back on climate, some precisions. What is counter-intuitive is the proportion. I think we all agree here that AGW is real: we release CO2 (and CH4), and that reinforces the greenhouse effect. This is very easy and intuitive, I agree. But it should not lead to such a big increase in temperature. Arrhenius himself, long ago, even if he was one of the discoverers of Greenhouse effect, was not worrying about the consequences.
    What is new is the huge feedback effects and the predictions of catastrophes…
    In other words, what is new (and what I think is counter-intuitive) is the hockey stick and the related strong feedbacks calculated by models. And we don’t have an eclipse to clarify, but instead dendro and models…less easy to convince, isn’t it?

    Comment by Naindj — 15 Oct 2009 @ 4:28 AM

  203. Rod B., your take on the “global cooling” in the ’70s is an illustration of why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Yes, there were concerns among some scientists that further aerosols could start a chain of negative feedbacks. However, their concerns were predicated on the misconception that CO2 sensitivity was much lower than it actually is. What is more, remember the computers in the ’70s. Even the oldest laptop clunking along has more computing power than all the supercomputers put together from that era. Try to learn the whole story.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:16 AM

  204. on “Global cooling in the 70s”

    I am probably one of the few people posting here who read of this at the time. I was working on the shop floor of a furniture factory in the Sultanate of Oman, in the Gulf. (Un-air conditioned!!) I thought it was a rather nice idea. Now, at the time, I was an environmentalist/greenie, so somewhat ahead of my time. The big greenie campaign in the UK at the time was to get lead out of petrol. When I returned to the UK, two years later, people were still campaigning to get lead out of petrol .. but no one had heard of global cooling. (Presumably as this was covered only in Newsweek, which no one in UK reads, but I did in the Middle East as that was the only newspaper I could get my hands on).

    As for lead-free petrol. Do any of you not remember the global oil industry saying:

    >. It is impossible to have lead-free petrol.
    >. It would cost four times as much to produce, so bringing the world economy to a halt.
    >. It would burn the valves out in your engine.
    >. Ferrari and Porsche would go bankrupt.
    >. The science linking lead to brain damage was “flawed”.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:16 AM

  205. #182 Rob Black

    Thank you for helping to confirm my assessment of at least the mental age from which you seem to be addressing the science. Your use of the terminology such as:

    “if you removed your head from your butt”

    blind religious fervor of a zealot”

    is quite telling

    As to “highly threatened”, threatened by what? Your unsupportable ambiguous assertions and opinions?

    You should not build houses with straw, especially in fire zones. Maybe you should reread the story of the three little pigs? I know, it was written for age group 5-8 but it’s not such a stretch if you try.

    Often times I find ambiguity is the root of all evil and you seem to be a font of it. Let’s face it, clarity does not seem to be your forte. I might agree with you in one regard at least…, I could not even pretend to understand all your contexts as they often are veiled or ambiguous. Now, maybe you can clarify a few things:

    Are you stating:

    “that there was no credible scientist and no peer reviewed scientific papers supporting global cooling in the 70s”

    in the sense that you believe there were no papers supporting global cooling or are you attempting some sort of irony as a contradiction? I would just like to know your context.

    If the former, you would be wrong. There were papers supporting cooling, but they were examining Milankovitch cycles without relevant consideration of anthropogenic GHG’s, and of course there was no consensus. If the latter, then you are still operating from a misinformed premise.

    You also state

    “if you think there was no rationale for those thoughts, you either have never looked at a global temperature graph from 1940-1975, or just refuse to acknowledge it with the blind religious fervor of a zealot”

    I am most certainly not refusing to acknowledge the cooling between the 40’s and 70’s. Read on:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/40s-to-70s-cooling-co2-rising

    As far as “the faith of a child (probably around 10-13…).” Context is key as always. Back in those days, that was around the time you were looking to get married. Applicably, child would be more akin to 3-7 or possibly 8.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:29 AM

  206. 173 Patrick,

    The Earth was already known to be round. What Eratosthenes did was to estimate its size to remarkable accuracy (in about 240 BC, not 500 BC).

    It is a myth that everyone believed in a flat earth until the time of the Renaissance.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:48 AM

  207. “About Einstein, I dare to insist: the fact that gravity is not a force but the consequence of the curving of space-time ,and as a consequence big masses can bend rays of light, is not intuitive.”

    Why?

    gravity bending light is very hard to explain with a force particle. How does the gravity catch up with something going as fast as it?

    But if you bend the space it’s travelling through, there’s no need for the force particle and the bending of light is just as easy to understand as the funny shapes bubbles make when packed together: they are reducing how much energy they’re wasting on their shape.

    And may I ask, what is the consequence of that?

    General relativity answered a really problematical question: mercury’s orbit.

    So even if it is unintuitive, it explains reality we see better than the ideas it replaced.

    This is not true for the anti-AGW hypotheses being bandied about.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:59 AM

  208. “In other words, what is new (and what I think is counter-intuitive) is the hockey stick and the related strong feedbacks calculated by models. ”

    How can something that has been true for thousands of years be “new”? The only newness is our ability to see the temperature records.

    If you wish to break the Hockey Stick, you need to break the method of measuring used. Which requires breaking:

    1) Ice core physiognomy
    2) CO2 entrapment in ice
    3) Tree grown
    4) thermometers
    5) Satellite IR images
    6) species evacuation
    7) tide gauges
    9) …

    It’s a lot of breaking.

    Do that and come back with it and see if you have managed to break them all without breaking science.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:06 AM

  209. “The predicted effect of solar modulation of GCR flux on cloud cover should vary with the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, which also helps shield us from cosmic radiation.”

    CM, can I please ask you is the magnitude of effect significant?

    After all, if a signal comprises of two effects:

    y=Sin(x)/32 + x

    then there is a variation on the sine wave.

    However, this doesn’t mean you can approximate y to Sin(x), does it.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:09 AM

  210. “he just may have got the right answer to within 1% by a single noon-time observation. Which would kind of put in perspective the questions raised here about 1860s temperature readings… :)”

    Or because we don’t know exactly how long a cubit is.

    However, he DID know it wasn’t flat.

    Mayans knew too and they didn’t use sticks. They used the shadow the earth makes on the moon.

    Yet every denialist at some point in their career comes up with “And scientists used to think that the earth was flat!!!Oneone111eleventyone”.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:11 AM

  211. 202 Naindj,

    You ignored my question about Einstein. You insist that it took a long time for his theories to be accepted. You have given no evidence for that claim. In the meantime, there have been several posts showing your claim to be false. Well?

    Just repeating a false claim doesn’t make it any less false.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:16 AM

  212. Naindj: You said: “Arrhenius himself, long ago, even if he was one of the discoverers of Greenhouse effect, was not worrying about the consequences.”

    Actually, if you read the paper, he wasn’t worried about the consequences because he didn’t think there was any shot in H*** that we’d emit enough carbon to be worried about. He was talking hypotheticals. His original paper’s estimates of the climate sensitivity were right in bounds with today’s estimates.

    Comment by Marcus — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  213. 210 Mark,

    The doubt is whether he used the Attic stadium (185 m) or the Egyptian stadium (157.5 m). If the first, he was in error by about 16%, if the latter, only 1%. I’d say that even the first is pretty good considering the measurement techniques available at the time.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:46 AM

  214. Naindj, I am afraid your understanding of the history of science is flawed. First, Einstein’s General Relativity already had some empirical support in that it accounted for the precession of Mercury. It also had support on heuristic grounds. There really wasn’t much opposition to the theory. The eclipse of 1919 merely provided an opportunity to verify an a priori prediction of the theory.

    Likewise, Darwin’s theories gained rapid acceptance among biologists precisely because their explanatory power made them indispensable. Opposition came mainly from religious figures.

    As to climate change, Arrhenius actually estimated a CO2 sensitivity well above the current range. He merely failed to take into account that fossil fuel consumption would increase exponentially rather than linearly.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:48 AM

  215. #210 Mark

    I know how long a cubit is!

    Well…, I know how long it is from my perspective at least ;)

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Oct 2009 @ 8:02 AM

  216. Oh, forgot to tell you.

    A cubit is 48.1cm (18.93″)

    They must have had smaller people back then :)

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Oct 2009 @ 8:08 AM

  217. Naindj, you’re giving us grade school stuff and claiming it’s the history of science. This is ridiculous. Please question your assumptions and look up what you believe, read a bit.

    You’re getting people caught up in arguing with your misconceptions who could be working to help you learn for yourself why you’re wrong. Read!

    For biology for example, try starting here, with Mayr.

    Read at least the first 8 pages, up through the sentence containing

    > … anyone who writes about “Darwin’s theory of evolution” in the
    > singular, without segregating the theories of gradual evolution,
    > common descent, speciation, and the mechanism of natural selection,
    > will be quite unable to discuss the subject competently.

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=pHThtE2R0UQC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=who+first+thought+of+evolution%3F&ots=KvU6ZCCiRD&sig=8TYNzv8BEBa-cxNB8P2brg41Qg4#v=onepage&q=who%20first%20thought%20of%20evolution%3F&f=false

    Really, you just waste a lot of time and prolong confusion if you don’t bother to read at least a bit about ideas before using outdated oversimplified gradeschool science teaching stories as debate tools. And you draw others into making the same mistake. It wastes everyone’s time and is bound to annoy most of the people eventually. You could stop.

    You’d do far better to actually go read something contemporary about the ideas you take for granted first, not throw them around as debate tactics.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:04 AM

  218. > (and that we come from monkeys)

    Oh, why do I even bother.
    Do you know the difference between your cousins and your grandparents?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  219. The doubt is whether he used the Attic stadium (185 m) or the Egyptian stadium (157.5 m). If the first, he was in error by about 16%, if the latter, only 1%.


    Either is far better than the size “computed” by that earth-size denialist clown Columbus who we just celebrated early this week. He thought the earth’s about 1/3 its actual circumference.

    Seems appropriate that we here in the ‘ole anti-science contrarian USA would celebrate him …

    1. He denied that the earth could be as big as computed by the Greeks, despite having no empirical evidence to the contrary. He thought it was about 1/3 the actual circumference.

    2. He sold his charlatan views to politicians, and managed to get funding despite expert advisors telling the crowns of Portugual and Spain that Columbus was full of it.

    3 He sailed west, found land, but was lost and never accepted the fact for his entire life, despite overwhelming evidence that the lands he found where nowhere near Asia.

    He got luckier than your average american science denialist, but other than that, what’s difference is there between and say, Watts? Willful ignorance all around.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:19 AM

  220. Re 215, I was going to say “yeah, it’s about this big”.

    Actually, they know it’s something around a foot and a half, but there’s no metrological proof of how long a cubit was, so it’s entirely possible 48.1cm was picked because

    a) it’s about a foot and a half

    b) and the size of the earth from Eritothenes (why can’t they have names like Fred?) then turns out to be within 1%

    c) ???

    d) profit!

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:24 AM

  221. TrueSceptic, 211 and Ray Ladbury 214

    Thank you for your corrections.
    You are right; Einstein is not the best example. There was not so much opposition. And it took only 5-10 years to be definitely accepted.

    Mark 207 and 208, intuition (or shall I have used “common sense”) is based on the knowledge of your time. In a Newtonian age, the theories of Einstein are not intuitive. That is why Einstein was such a genius. His thoughts experiments seem very logical when we read it today. But at that time!! Are you considering that all people and scientists before him, including Maxwell, are stupid?
    However I agree that it explains reality much better. And so for the evolution. And so for the AGW.

    I was just trying to bring some light in “why so much interest?” Agree that my examples are not the best.
    Maybe we can find a parallel with quantum theory instead. Einstein (again him!) tried during many years to find flaws (with the experiment of twin particles or something like that) because he thought “God does not play dice”.
    Same thing here, people are trying to find flaws because they cannot believe such a high human CO2 sensitivity.

    For Mark, it seems you are taken me as a denialist. I’m not. But I am a little bit skeptic. I can’t help, sorry. And reading this site helps me a lot to be convinced that it is really happening. I am just trying to bring my point of view to “why so much interest?”
    About your question in 208, I don’t see why you link Hockey stick with satellites?

    (I know I lost some credibility with my bad examples, but please forget them and receive my apologies)

    PS about Arrhenius, does somebody have a document showing that he had already estimated such a high sensitivity?

    Comment by Naindj — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  222. My view is

    1. Svensmark is comitted to the theory ( was It Einstein that said Scientists who don’t believe relativity don’t change their minds … they just die out ). This doesn’t necessarily mean he is wrong.
    2. The current ” pause” in warming makes other theories besides CO2 more attractive
    3. The climate does indeed vary for reasons other than CO2 concentrations and the suns output ( UV,visible, solar wind and its impact on GCR is a sensible thing to look at. Clearly the GCR theory is far from proved but it is not yet, IMO, dismissable as rubbish.

    In general we need to understand all the things that can and do impact global climate. If we did then we would have a better fix on the amount of forcing that CO2 produces which is the big unproven factor in predicting the AGW impact and a better explanation for pauses and accelerations in warming than the cop out of “natural variability”

    Comment by colin Aldridge — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:54 AM

  223. “Mark 207 and 208, intuition (or shall I have used “common sense”) is based on the knowledge of your time.”

    No, it depends on what requires the least twisting to fit the observations.

    “Einstein (again him!) tried during many years to find flaws (with the experiment of twin particles or something like that) because he thought “God does not play dice”.”

    And again, his work didn’t explain things better, so it didn’t gain interest.

    Now, back to the theme of the topic, this segues nicely: GCRs don’t explain climate better, so why is it still gaining continued interest?

    All you seem to have is “well, people are interested in it” which is tautological and rather a waste of electrons. Why is it that despite having been looked into and found wanting, it still gets so much fluffing to make it appear important?

    It can’t be “knowledge of your time” because the knowledge of our time shows that the GCR work doesn’t merit the attention demanded for it.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:55 AM

  224. Re 218 Hank,

    I already apologied (without reading your comment). I do it again here.
    About Darwin, I said “two parts” to simplify. I was talking about “The origin of species” and “the descent of man”, which was published much later. Partly because he knew that would not be accepted in one shot.
    I read quite a bit. But it was long ago, so I will follow your advice and read again, at least some Wikipedia to refresh.
    Just a precision: in “the descent of man”, Wasn’t Darwin saying that we descent from monkeys? Now we understand that they are more our cousins that our parents, but it is pretty new, no?

    Comment by Naindj — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:05 AM

  225. “1. Svensmark is comitted to the theory ( was It Einstein that said Scientists who don’t believe relativity don’t change their minds … they just die out ).”

    Read up on Johannes Kepler.

    He was convinced that the regular solids related the planets (six regular solids, six planets) and that this was proof of the right order in the universe.

    But such methods didn’t fit reality as measured by Tycho Brahe.

    So he changed his mind and fitted an ellipse to the motions of the planets.

    It worked and he accepted it.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  226. Colin, I also wonder at this piece:

    “If we did then we would have a better fix on the amount of forcing that CO2 produces which is the big unproven factor in predicting the AGW impact”

    We already know that CO2’s effect is between 2 and 4.5 C per doubling.

    Knowing all the other variables, we may be able to tell if 4.5C is less likely or if 2C is less likely.

    But in neither case will anything currently on display cause CO2 not to have a seriously deleterious effect on the climate and nothing means we would be wasting our time reducing CO2 production to as near nil as possible.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:34 AM

  227. Naindj: “For Mark, it seems you are taken me as a denialist. ”

    No, I see you as not answering the point.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:35 AM

  228. Mark,

    So is it only because, as already said, people are looking for a reason to keep burning fuel without feeling
    guilty??
    No…that is only part of the answer…there must be something else…

    Comment by Naindj — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:42 AM

  229. Paste the question into the Google search box, thus:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Wasn’t+Darwin+saying+that+we+descent+from+monkeys%3F

    From the first page of results I suggest reading this one, all the way through:
    http://scienceblogs.com/laelaps/2009/10/darwin_ardi_and_african_apes.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  230. Naindj: Look at http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/1/18/Arrhenius.pdf: pg. 266 has his table of temperature change due to CO2 changes: for a doubling of CO2, he gets a 5 degree C change in the tropics, and 6 degrees in the high latitudes, which is higher than the IPCC likely range of 2 to 4.5 degrees C. The paper discusses both the “constant relative humidity” feedback and the snow-albedo feedback. On pg. 270 he discusses the “instructive calculation” of showing that 500 million tons per year of coal would only correspond to 1 thousandth the quantity of CO2 already in the atmosphere. What he didn’t guess was that we would be using 6 Billion tons of fossil fuels a year soon…

    On Darwin: he was pretty clear about the idea of common progenitor: eg. “It must not be supposed that the resemblances between man and certain apes in the above and in many other points- such as in having a naked forehead, long tresses on the head, &c.,- are all necessarily the result of unbroken inheritance from a common progenitor” (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Descent_of_Man/Chapter_VI)

    Comment by Marcus — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:51 AM

  231. Chris Colose says (186), “What does it mean if the mainstream group of scientists in the 1970’s were or were not wrong?”

    If you are referring to the mainstream scientists that did support the global cooling hypothesis, it would mean that they were wrong.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:00 AM

  232. And what difference does that have for the science? After all, the mainstream scientists in 1970 are not the same mainstream scientists in 2009.

    Even when they include the same people, we are not the same person at 25 that we are at 45.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:03 AM

  233. re 228, I think that is Rasmus’ hope, really.

    That there’s some reason that can be countered and cleared by the science.

    E.g. if someone ABSOLUTELY believes that the earth is flat, you can sail with them around the world. You can go out a long way until a tall tower falls below the horizon then ask them to climb the mast and look at the tower now visible again.

    If that someone believes that the earth is flat because the Great Green Arkleseizure said so in a dream, you can walk away and not waste your time.

    Likewise if it’s just to make someone feel better about doing something bad, there’s not a lot the *science* can do about that. Except build a better cattle-prod…

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:06 AM

  234. Wasn’t it Aristarchus (some smart dude in greece, about 400BC) who considered that life came from the water, mud and slime and populated the land, descended from less complex creatures.

    Over 2000 years later, Darwin prints a book about it.

    And who gets the credit? I can’t even remember the guy’s name off the top of my head.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:09 AM

  235. John PR, when someone claimed there was NOTHING in the scientific publications, I asserted that was incorrect — no more, no less. Can’t hardly be much clearer than that. But making things clear for people who imagine all sorts of things in a commentary is not possible.

    You say, “As to “highly threatened”, threatened by what? Your unsupportable ambiguous assertions and opinions?”

    Evidently.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:13 AM

  236. Naindj says, “No…that is only part of the answer…there must be something else…”

    Like…?

    Well, I mean, there is also the well financed anti-science campaign by the petroleum, coal and auto industries…and the right-wing (and occasional left-wing loon like A. Cockburn) talk-show hosts, politicians and other ideologues…and science-illiterate science journalists more interested in selling papers than getting the story right… and an electorate that have been told repeatedly that they can have something for nothing… and the occasional religious nutjob who claims we can’t harm “God’s creation”…

    And of course, there’s the fact that humans aren’t very bright except when it comes to fooling themselves.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  237. 221 Naindj,

    Thanks for the clarification. It’s just that the (false) examples you gave are often used by people who are “sceptics” (note the quotes).

    I agree that Quantum Mechanics is a much better example.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  238. 219 dhogaza,

    Columbus was a shyster, no doubt, but without persuading his sponsors that the Earth was as small as he claimed (so that the riches of the Orient were accessible by sailing west), he would never have discovered the West “Indies”. I don’t think he ever landed on the N American mainland (was he even aware of it?).

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  239. 222 Colin,

    It was Max Planck who said

    A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

    and

    An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out.

    Interestingly, one of the best examples of this was the resistance of geologists to plate tectonics, geologists now being prominent among AGW denialism.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  240. > scientists that did support
    Can this be distinguished from trolling? Imaginative, off topic, persistent, repetitive, uresponsive to fact cites.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:16 PM

  241. If you are referring to the mainstream scientists that did support the global cooling hypothesis, it would mean that they were wrong.

    Which of the two groups?

    1. Those pointing out that aerosals were a cooling forcing, and that if we continued spewing them forth that would increase. At the same time pointing out the poorly understood sensitivity to increase CO2 output?

    – or –

    2. Those pointing out that Milankovich cycles would lead to a new ice age in some tens of thousands of years in the future.

    And how, exactly, were they wrong?

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:20 PM

  242. I thank you all for your suggestions about Darwin. It is just a question of simplification again. We descent from a “kind of monkey” that could look similar to the actual monkeys, because the actual monkeys evolved less than humans from the common ancestor. Is this summary better for you? Or do I have all wrong again?
    To come back to the topic (I am so sorry now to have brought this digression with my approximations), what is your answer Mark : “why so much interest?” Is it not possible to find any parallel with other science controversy? What is so specific to the actual debate? Only because people want to (desperately) find a reason to stay lazy?

    Comment by Naindj — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  243. “We descent from a “kind of monkey” that could look similar to the actual monkeys,”

    Or monkeys descended from a “kind of human” that could look similar to the actual humans.

    Yes, you have it wrong.

    It isn’t that evolution is weird, it’s that you’re painting it weird. The “your grandfather wasn’t a chimpanzee!!!” was a common meme used by those who thought Humans had A Higher Calling ™.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:52 PM

  244. “Is it not possible to find any parallel with other science controversy? What is so specific to the actual debate?”

    What is so specific is that all countertheories that were later successful actually explained things.

    GCRs don’t explain CO2’s role away and it doesn’t explain what effect and testable outcome would be seen. It also adds many new questions that are raised solely by the incompleteness of the hypothesis. E.g. “why the 7 day lag?” “why did you use just one pattern out of many that also equally show the situation?”.

    Yet those who are “looking into this” aren’t asking questions.

    If they were really looking into this, they’d sort out the questions it raises and Rasmus raises there.

    And you still haven’t answered them or even acknowledged they exist on the thread.

    They aren’t looking into this GCR thing is the only conclusion, so the question remains: why the continued interest?

    If all you have is “they want to be selfish” then say so.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:56 PM

  245. Naindj, why keep bothering Mark and other readers about this?

    The question is asked _for_the_researchers_ in hopes they will come here and respond.

    > So what makes the GCR-hypothesis so convincing that
    > warrants a solicited talk at the EMS annual meeting and
    > an invited presentation at the NASL? Is the support based
    > on the attention in media, or does it have a scientific
    > basis?
    >
    > I want a response from the community still supporting the
    > GCR hypothesis, explaining why they find it convincing
    > after all these misgivings.

    If we leave an opportunity for _them_, maybe _they_ will come and respond as _they_ were invited to do here.

    The rest is amateur stuff, my own posts included.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  246. Mind you, True Skeptic, just because Max Plank said it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

    All sweeping statements are wrong.

    Including that one I just said, likely.

    Better to say “the resistance to a new idea that explains reality better reduces as the old guard die off”.

    Although that does hint at one way for GCR proponents to work this: mass murder, so I’m not too sure about that phrase…

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 12:59 PM

  247. 228 Naindj,

    Have you read much from AGW denialists? It is clear that guilt (or its avoidance) is a very small part of the picture. These people are overwhelmingly right-wing/libertarian types and have a hatred of anything that is both “Green” and that involves restrictions on industry and consumption. They are often the same people who lied (and continue to lie) about tobacco, DDT, and CFCs, just to give the most obvious examples.

    GCRs are just the latest thing they’ve seized on as it’s still a “possible” (in their world) factor in GW. Anything, anything but CO2!

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 1:02 PM

  248. 232 Mark,

    You know, of course that the “coolers” were a minority even then?

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 1:04 PM

  249. Yes, I know.

    I believe I even wrote “one paper (maybe two)”.

    Hardly a horde.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 1:17 PM

  250. Oh, that post, TS.

    Uh, there were thousands of scientists in the 70’s.

    If anything, more than there are now (with the cold war era meaning ramped up defence work and science to “get one over on the Filthy Reds/Capitalist Pigs (delete as appropriate)”).

    And many of them are alive now. And some very likely still working.

    And just because some scientists said “well, maybe there’s a chance we’ll pollute ourselves into an ice age” and were wrong (were they, though? clean air acts changed the forecast) or any other prediction Rod B cares to produce to show how “scientists” were “wrong”, this doesn’t mean that the scientists now are necessarily wrong, even those who were also scientists in the 70’s.

    Hence Bob Bob’s attempt to slur “science” (kept deliberately vague so that he can dodge any counter by saying “well, not *them* obviously” whilst keeping the slur alive) makes me mystified.

    It’s proof of nothing and is so vague as to *say* nothing.

    Just weaselling out doubt.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 1:22 PM

  251. “If you are referring to the mainstream scientists that did support the global cooling hypothesis, it would mean that they were wrong. …”

    But why were they wrong?

    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but the climate, independent of mankind’s interference, would be cooling and heading to an eventual ice age. Is that not correct?

    Comment by JCH — 15 Oct 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  252. “Maybe I’m wrong about this, but the climate, independent of mankind’s interference, would be cooling and heading to an eventual ice age. Is that not correct?”

    It wouldn’t be *warming*. Not any more than it did for thousands of years before 1750, anyway.

    The point is, man IS interfering. And despite any “interest” people have in GCR’s role in climate change, it won’t change the fact that we produce lots of CO2 and it will warm the planet.

    After all, these GCRs were bombarding the earth back in the Jurassic when higher CO2 and higher temperatures were around.

    If it didn’t kick in then (it had plenty of time to do so) and reverse the warming, bringing it to ~15C average why would it do so now?

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:09 PM

  253. There is a bit in the index to the site that explains it — basically there was a slight cooling trend from 1940-70, driven largely by a some large eruptions as well as minimal sunspot activity.

    But the real problem was the popular press that got it all wrong and said that a glaciation was imminent. There were even a few bits of science fiction written that reflected that — I remember one story from Asimov’s back in the early 80s… anyway, the point is the ice age would be a long time coming in any event.

    There was also some idea floating around — and I gather it was garbled — that a fast warming would precipitate a cooling and glaciation because the water vapor would condense out as increased snow at the poles, setting us on another ice age rather quickly, but as far as I know that theory is dead.

    Anyone, tell me if I missed anything, please!

    Comment by Jesse — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:22 PM

  254. Could someone tell me what the magnitude of the temperature difference is that’s associated with the difference between a solar maximum and a solar minimum?

    RB

    Comment by rb — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:32 PM

  255. Gavin in my ~#183, 14 October 2009 @ 9:37 PM:

    Thanks. I have seen this information multiple times. I just couldn’t believe that anyone would actually have the nerve to bring up the 70s cooling bit here. But along comes RodB! I strongly agree with Hank Roberts (~240, 15 October 2009 @ 12:16 PM).

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  256. #251 JCH

    They were wrong because we are warming. If there were no industrial GHG’s then we would still be around thermal equilibrium and moving slowly toward an ice age in about 20k yrs.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:49 PM

  257. #253 Jesse

    I think the lead theory is that it is a combination of natural variation and human influence. Industrial output of aerosols that reflected a lot of sunlight back out to space before it hit earth likely had a lot to do with it.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/40s-to-70s-cooling-co2-rising

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:53 PM

  258. #254 rb

    Maybe someone else knows the temp difference, but the forcing difference is about .2 W/m2

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    Our current forcing is way out of whack at 1.6 W/m2 (mean including negative and positive industrial factors). Top end positive forcing above thermal equilibrium is estimated at 3.6W/m2 during solar minimum (would be 3.8 W/m2 during typical solar max).

    PS Feel free to use your real name here, if you don’t have a reason not too. As you can see most people do.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Oct 2009 @ 2:58 PM

  259. re 253, I think there was also the papers used “Glacial period onset overdue” because we were beyond the mean interglacial period by some tens of thousands of years. The paper said that this was not unusual because of the large variation in the lengths of interglacial periods.

    But newspapers saw a headline:

    Ice Age Overdue Say Scientists!

    And left out all that maths stuff. Making it rather like “NEWSFLASH: Sun going down! May Never Return, Say Pedants!”. And leaving out the logical arguments the pedant made: you can’t PROVE the sun will come up tomorrow. Because that’s boring.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 3:17 PM

  260. Mark (#206), re: magnitude of the effect,

    Just to be clear on this, I was not claiming either that there is a solar-GCR-cloud effect, nor that, if it exists, it has a discernible impact on climate, much less that it would somehow magically make CO2 unimportant.

    In the paper I referred to, Sl_oan and Wolfendale define the magnitude of the “effect” as the amplitude in the dip in the low cloud cover per unit change in sun spot number. For solar cycle 22 (1985-96) only, they get a good fit: If the correlation is real and is accounted for by the causal connection suggested by Svensmark, it suggests a very large fraction of low cloud cover is due to GCR ionization. However, the lack of latitude dependence, among other things, suggests that the correlation (if real) must be due to some solar-correlated effect other than ionization. — You’d better read it yourself, though, since I’m not a physicist and could easily get something wrong.

    Comment by CM — 15 Oct 2009 @ 3:21 PM

  261. 253 Jesse,

    That 40-70 cooling trend was really a sharp drop from the mid-40s to about 1950, followed by a flattish period until the late 70s (I know, climate is 30 years. ;) ) See here.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  262. If we did then we would have a better fix on the amount of forcing that CO2 produces which is the big unproven factor in predicting the AGW impact”

    Mark Says
    We already know that CO2’s effect is between 2 and 4.5 C per doubling.

    Knowing all the other variables, we may be able to tell if 4.5C is less likely or if 2C is less likely.

    But in neither case will anything currently on display cause CO2 not to have a seriously deleterious effect on the climate and nothing means we would be wasting our time reducing CO2 production to as near nil as possible.

    Well Mark . We don’t KNOW that CO2 will 2C to 4.5C if we double CO2 Doubling, on its own on its own drivess between 0.8 and 1.2C increase according to the IPCC. The rest is due to forcing, mainly by higher water content in the atmosphere and it is this that is difficult to model/ test and prove. If doubling ONLY gave 0.8C then this would be a lot less than catastophic since we have already got 0.6 of warming today

    Comment by colin Aldridge — 15 Oct 2009 @ 4:18 PM

  263. “For solar cycle 22 (1985-96) only, they get a good fit:”

    This should be ringing bells in your head, CM.

    Remember, a broken watch is right twice a day, so if you find out that for 8:32 your watch is actually correct by your computer, this doesn’t mean you can forget about the stationary hands on the watch.

    Same idea with the graph picked and Rasmus is asking about: why that one? Was it selected for viewing because it happened to fit?

    “The science of discworld” has a good long section on this sort of selective reporting. I suggest you get a copy (good series of three, actually, not discworld books, but TP writes stuff every other chapter in a Discworld story).

    Listen to the little alarm bells.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Oct 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  264. #150 “…zilch favoring GCR or any other natural explanation”

    Big call, Ray Ladbury. Model designers also ignored the natural alternating warming-cooling pattern in the instrumental temperature record. They made temperature change a function of a rising concentation of atmospheric CO2. That’s why the models look smart during warming periods and dopey during the current one.

    [Response: You are very confused as to how climate models work and what kind of output they produce. In fact they don’t input the observed temperature trends and do produce plenty of sort term cooling within any long term warming trend driven by the totality of forcings. -gavin]

    Comment by John Millett — 15 Oct 2009 @ 4:57 PM

  265. CM, TrueSceptic, Mark – (on Eratosthenes) – okay.

    “colin Aldridge” –

    It is possible that any particular wiggle attributed to internal variability for lack of known cause might/could later be found to have an external cause. However, it is not generally a cop out to assume that variations with no known external forcing are manifestations of internal variability. WE KNOW internal variability is REAL. It is even simulated by the computer models.

    Also, CO2 forcing is not ‘the big unproven factor'; it is actually one of the best understood things about climate. In general, the unknowns are those things which take climate sensitivity away from where it is expected to be, or pin it and some regional effects down to a narrower range than we can right now.

    Mark –
    “Wasn’t it Aristarchus (some smart dude in greece, about 400BC) who considered that life came from the water, mud and slime and populated the land, descended from less complex creatures.”…”And who gets the credit? I can’t even remember the guy’s name off the top of my head.”

    And Democritis(sp?) came up with atoms. But what kind of evolution and what kind of atoms are we talking about? It’s interesting to find similiarities between modern scientific understanding and old philosophies and religions (Is there an element of quantum mechanics in Hinduism?)…

    Naindj –
    “because the actual monkeys evolved less than humans from the common ancestor.”

    Depends on what you mean by ‘less’. By certain traits, most likely – the amount of body hair has decreased more with humans – assuming the common ancestor was not merely half as hairy as today’s apes and monkeys, etc. Humans are bipedal, don’t have opposable toes, and many have a very different ecological niche (some of that being cultural evolution, though over time culture and genetics interact – adult lactose tolerance, for example). And there is the big one, intelligence (the biological part of that supports the cultural evolution). But could there be other traits that have changed less along the lineage that leads to us? If we quantify the amount of evolution by the amount of change in the DNA sequences, my guess is the difference in the amount of evolution might be less (some of that may owe to what I think are called silent mutations – when a mutation doesn’t affect the amino acid sequence) – of course, it needn’t be the same – a group of organisms that encounters a more different environment or starts to exploit a more different ecological niche might then evolve more. And mutation rates could vary, as well as generational spacing. And if one species lives at higher altitudes, it will experience a (inconsequential) different amount of time (General Relativity).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:00 PM

  266. “we were beyond the mean interglacial period by some tens of thousands of years.”

    The mean interglacial period is negative? (Just kidding).

    Here’s what I’ve read about the next ice age:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=2&t=71&&n=36#2768

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:13 PM

  267. “or starts to exploit a more different ecological niche”

    OR evolves to fit a niche which then shifts more than other niches filled by relatives.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:23 PM

  268. Naindj (various posts): what’s “intuitive” is conditioned by learning. Newton’s Laws are by no means intuitive, otherwise why did it take so long for them to appear? And no, it’s not just because no one had calculus before his time (please don’t tell me the theory of limits is intuitive: infinitesimals caused the otherwise very clued ancient Greek mathematicians serious problems: Zeno’s paradox, for example). The notion that gravitation is an inversed squared law is mathematically easy once you have the formula, but by no means intuitive (we experience gravity as something that makes things fall, not as something that attracts bodies over large distances and results in elliptical orbits); the notion that objects move indefinitely unless slowed by an external force is not at all intuitive.

    CO2-forced warming is no less intuitive than any of these things. Once you know that a greenhouse gas absorbs in the infra-red, it’s a small step to understand that this can have an effect not too dissimilar to that of a blanket (if by trapping radiation rather than by reduced conduction). The detailed science is hard, but that’s nothing special. All science of the real world is hard.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:26 PM

  269. A few people had already figured this out:

    Bush Admin Acknowledged Threat of Climate Change

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/10/bush-admin-acknowledged-threat-climate-change

    Comment by catman306 — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:30 PM

  270. On solar cycle: I see NASA has reported that we are at or near a 100-year sunspots minimum. Meanwhile temperatures remain stubbonly at or near 100-year record highs — and did so through the last La Niña, with the solar cycle firmly headed down.

    You want your answer as to why the GCR hypothesis is still attracting interest?

    The it’s all the sun and it’s all ENSO hypotheses are in tatters. The denial cult are nothing if not persistent.

    Meanwhile here in Queensland, Australia, the state government is spending tens of billions of dollars on a massive ramp up of coal export capacity. Could that be a sign that the industry sees the end is near, and wants to cash in while they can? After all, if coal really had a 200-year future as they want us to believe, what’s the rush to dig it up and sell it so fast? Unfortunately I am one of the poor mugs who’s paying for this idiocy through my taxes…

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:38 PM

  271. RE : 233 might it be argued that the effect could be the result of earths gravity bending the light rays/particles? (e=mc2)

    Comment by david cook — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:50 PM

  272. #143 “After all, you wouldn’t try to displace the conventional wisdom that the sun is the source of all our heat with a theory that it is actually The Interstellar Spaghetti Monster, would you?”

    Is that what the GCR is about? I don’t think so. However, it is what the AGW is about – the IPCC’s energy budget shows the surface receiving twice as much radiation energy from the cold atmosphere than from the hot sun.

    Comment by John Millett — 15 Oct 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  273. rb (254) — The reference to Tung & Cabin (2008) is many comments back by now. They determine an estimate for the variation in global temperature over an average solar cycle. The estimate is almost twice anybody else’s, so I don’t know how well accepted that work is (yet). Anyway, it is just another small pertubation on the long upward trend driven by excess global warming (so-called greenhouse) gases.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  274. #152 “…i.e. we don’t throw out our pre-exisiting knowledge and understanding of causality, and attempt to explain phenomena by “shoehorning” hypotheses for which there isn’t a significant evidence base.”

    Chris, along with the IPCC you didn’t include clouds in the list of variables about which we have good knowledge. My understanding is that GCR is about clouds and the CERN experiment is designed to test its evidence base.

    Comment by John Millett — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:13 PM

  275. And now a word from our sponsors…

    It seems the Saudis want some incentives to come to the table to discuss climate change in Copenhagen.

    It is better than anything the Onion could come up with.

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/Saudi-Arabias-Money-for-No-Oil-Scheme-Dubbed-a-Real-Knee-Slapper-1297

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  276. #148 and #153

    The passage from alternative to null hypothesis is the issue isn’t it? Both natural variation (A) and man (B) affect climate. To explicitly claim with 90% confidence that B is the cause of warming since the mid-70s is to implicitly claim with the same confidence that A isn’t. Can models that don’t understand clouds authoritatively support the claims?

    Comment by John Millett — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:41 PM

  277. John Millet: “the IPCC’s energy budget shows the surface receiving twice as much radiation energy from the cold atmosphere than from the hot sun.”

    This is basic physics. You can make yourself a 1D climate model in Excel: Assume the surface receives 238 W/m2 from the sun. Calculate heat of earth using blackbody stefan-boltzmann. Have the surface radiate heat as T to the 4 time appropriate constant (also stefan-boltzmann). Calculate surface temperature: 254 K.

    Now, add one slab of atmosphere: assume some percent of surface emits directly to space. 1 – that percent is absorbed by your slab. Have the slab radiate (stefan-boltzmann), but half up, half down. The surface receives the sun’s heat, plus heat from the atmosphere (which originally came from the sun, via the surface). This is a circular equation, but Excel can handle that these days. If the percent directly transmitted is 25, then the surface heats up to 286, because it is receiving 381 W/m2 from the atmosphere. You can add more slabs and the answer doesn’t change much if you do it right…

    Really, in order to keep the surface at 33 degrees C above the blackbody temperature, there has to be 2 times the sun’s radiation coming from the atmosphere. Remember, the sun is a tiny bit of the sky, very far away. The atmosphere is wrapped around the earth, very close. That’s why we don’t die every night when the sun goes down…

    Comment by Marcus — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:52 PM

  278. 271 John Millet,

    Those figures would be interesting. Perhaps you could supply them?

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 15 Oct 2009 @ 6:53 PM

  279. John Millett says, “the IPCC’s energy budget shows the surface receiving twice as much radiation energy from the cold atmosphere than from the hot sun.”

    WRONG!! Greenhouse forcing is less than 5% of solar forcing. Do you bother to even find a reference or do you just make this [edit] up?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:27 PM

  280. Better question — John Millet, someone misinformed you; can you tell us where you got the information, and why you believed it enough to repeat it here under your own name? It’s sometimes very useful to find out where these ideas arise. I did search for a while and could not find anything.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 7:46 PM

  281. Re: #33

    “But already the examinations say “it’s wrong””

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t necessarily arguing against the hypothesized effects of cosmic rays on global mean temperature. I think that’s been done pretty well here and elsewhere. That fact that global mean temperature is around record levels now could just mean the cooling effect of GCRs (along with reduced TSI) is strong offset by other influences (i.e. human-induced greenhouse gases). The observation of global mean temperature alone isn’t enough to refute it.

    Comment by MarkB — 15 Oct 2009 @ 8:00 PM

  282. Did all you guys just do a 180 and are now fully on board and agree with the global cooling hypothesis of the 70s? Were you once a moonshiner?? ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Oct 2009 @ 8:01 PM

  283. well, some of you guys…

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Oct 2009 @ 8:04 PM

  284. Ray, don’t pull the trigger so fast. Marcus described the relative energy budget simply but well in #275. From the standard T&K diagrams, the atmospheric back radiation absorbed by the surface is roughly twice the solar energy absorbed by the surface. Granted this is simplified and could be misleading; but it is not “WRONG.”

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Oct 2009 @ 8:34 PM

  285. Ray Ladbury – John Millet obviously didn’t get the physics and also remembered the wrong values, but I don’t think you’re refering to what he was refering.

    (John – see Marcus)

    The backradiation from the atmosphere to the Earth is not twice what the surface+atmosphere absorb from the sun; it is just a little bit more than what the surface+atmosphere absorb from the sun; but that is beside the point of the physics; with a strong enough greenhouse effect it easily could be twice as much.

    (Figures from
    Kiehl and Trenberth:
    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf
    see also update:
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/an-update-to-kiehl-and-trenberth-1997/
    Note that this is an approximation. Note also that innaccuracies larger than a few W/m2 do not render useless studies of the effects of a 1 W/m2 forcing or feedback – a good first guess is that the errors would tend to be proportional to the values; proportionalities might vary but perhaps in a predictable way … anyway: (and here I am also using the approximation that all solar radiation and zero terrestial radiation is in the SW range of wavelengths, which is a good approximation.)

    Total greenhouse effect at the top of the atmosphere is around 155 W/m2. This is the amount of LW radiation emitted from the surface (390 W/m2) minus the total LW emitted to space (235 W/m2).

    Total solar forcing at the top of the atmosphere is 235 W/m2. This is the downward SW (solar) radiation (342 W/m2) minus the upward SW radiation at that point (107 W/m2), equal to the absorbed SW below that point (235 W/m2).

    In general, a radiative forcing or feedback at a given vertical level is the amount downward minus the amount upward, thus representing a net gain in energy over time below that level. The vertical variation of such a net radiative flux is equal to a radiative heating or cooling rate of a layer.

    One approximation in particular: that the surface is a perfect blackbody. This is not quite true – I think it has an emissivity in the LW band around 95 % (or maybe a bit more?). Note however, while this means that emitted surface radiation will be less than 390 W/m2 (at ~ 288 K), there will also be some reflection of backradiation upward from the surface. If the LW albedo (the term albedo is often used in the context of SW – please don’t confuse this with LW albedo) of the surface were 5 % (for example), than the emitted radiation would be 19.5 W/m2 less than 390 W/m2, or 370.5 W/m2, but the total upward radiation from the surface would be closer to 390 W/m2 – though the albedo could depend on wavelength and angle and the downward radiation from the atmosphere is not generally isotropic, so the same LW albedo might not apply.

    I could say more but I’m stopping for now.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:39 PM

  286. Marcus is correct. Back radiation from the atmosphere is large.

    Comment by sidd — 15 Oct 2009 @ 9:54 PM

  287. Look at the picture:
    ftp://ftp.apop.allenpress.com/EP-inbox/bams-90-03/bams-90-03-pdf/bams-90-03-311-323-tren.pdf
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/an-update-to-kiehl-and-trenberth-1997/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:04 PM

  288. I wonder if any of the experts on this site can give me any information about Peter Taylor, author of the book “Chill.” Taylor is a policy analyist who used to work for Greenpeace. I see him refered to regularly as an “environmentalist and scientist.” I’m not that interested in the environmentalist part. But I would like to know his training and pubs record. I ahve not been able to find a CV.

    Thanks,

    Comment by Paul Thiers — 15 Oct 2009 @ 10:47 PM

  289. RodB:

    Did all you guys just do a 180 and are now fully on board and agree with the global cooling hypothesis of the 70s? Were you once a moonshiner?? ;-)

    No, we agree what was said then, when honestly presented, with all the various caveats (primarily “we don’t know how much warming increased CO2 will trigger”) and “we’re talking about 10s of thousands of years in the future (for the Milankovich guys).

    How about you? Are you willing to turn a 180 and admit that you’ve presented strawmen?

    RodB – you’ve been here for years, with people trying to educatue you for years, and you continue to present the denialist talking points as though you’re incapable of learning.

    What’s your excuse? Is it medical? Can you tell us the diagnosis?

    Or is it too much exposure to Ayn Rand or Robert Heinlein?

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:41 PM

  290. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinion/ssi/images/Toles/s_10162009_520.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:56 PM

  291. John Millet (276),

    you wrote:
    “The passage from alternative to null hypothesis is the issue isn’t it? Both natural variation (A) and man (B) affect climate. To explicitly claim with 90% confidence that B is the cause of warming since the mid-70s is to implicitly claim with the same confidence that A isn’t. Can models that don’t understand clouds authoritatively support the claims?”

    It’s one issue that you got backwards. And I guess the incomplete understanding of the system (eg clouds, aerosols) is a major reason for our confidence in a strong human influence being 90% rather than 99%.

    However, the longer the warming trend continues and natural forcings exhibit no trend, the stronger the confidence will get that natural forcings can not explain the warming, no matter how little we know about the microphysics of clouds.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 16 Oct 2009 @ 2:18 AM

  292. Mark (#263), I’m trying to have an on-topic discussion in a thread that’s filling up with monkeys for some reason, so could you please cut me some slack and take as read that I understand the problem of the disappearing correlation? I thought I had already made that pretty clear when I raised this question (#201), and I cited Sl_oan & Wolfendale’s findings to you (#260) emphasizing their caveat “if it is real”.

    By taking the sun-cloud correlation on face value, even though it could well be spurious, S&W appeared to neatly falsify Svensmark’s GCR hypothesis by deriving an empirical consequence from it (latitude dependency) and testing it on the same period and phenomena for which Svensmark found a link.

    What I’d like to know whether scientists think (a) this is one sound objection against the GCR hypothesis, or (b) it’s considered beside the point because the correlation is cherry-picked junk anyway, or (c) it could be relevant, but the physics might be challenged.

    Comment by CM — 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:01 AM

  293. “Can models that don’t understand clouds authoritatively support the claims?”

    Yes.

    If they model clouds sufficiently well to explain past climate as the cloud emerges as the property, yes.

    They do.

    We can’t model each human’s consumption but army stores still model the needs of an army well enough to ensure supply lines are adequate.

    Why do you think you have to be 100% right to not be 100% wrong?

    We also know from measurements that the climate is sensitive to CO2 doubling in a range that the models with their “faulty” clouds agree with.

    This independent corroboration shows that clouds are sufficiently explained to explain climate.

    So why do you think you have to be 100% right to not be 100% wrong?

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:03 AM

  294. Millet asks of the FSM : Is that what the GCR is about?

    It seems to be.

    All the papers raise more questions than they answer.

    “Why do you use that graph when other graphs explain the observations”
    “Why is there a 7 day delay”
    “What is the magnitude of the change”
    etc

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:06 AM

  295. Patrick asks: “And Democritis(sp?) came up with atoms. But what kind of evolution and what kind of atoms are we talking about?”

    What kind of atoms were we talking about 100 years ago?

    Dalton’s plum pudding atom or Bohrs mini-solar system? Or later ones like the humming string model or the even later one of smeared possibility clouds?

    And evolution? Well, Aristarchus (if that was him) thought we grew from simpler creatures that moved from the slime and the water to colonise the land. In what way (apart from the “speciation driven by natural selection”) is this different from the current evolution theory?

    If we evolved from simpler organisms, so did everything else.

    Ergo some time in the past, we evolved from the same creature the monkey did.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:12 AM

  296. “We don’t KNOW that CO2 will 2C to 4.5C if we double CO2 Doubling, on its own on its own drivess between 0.8 and 1.2C increase according to the IPCC.”

    Oh dear, colin.

    We know that if we increase CO2 we will increase water vapour. We know we will increase cloud. We know ice will melt and the albedo of the earth change.

    We know that when we increase CO2 lots of other things will change.

    We know from measurements that doubling CO2 increases temperatures by 2-4.5 C.

    We know from models that add all these effects in that doubling CO2 increases temperatures by 2-5 C.

    You’re just proving that the models are very much more skillful than you think. Just doubling CO2 and if that (as the denialists want to insist is true when they demand monotonic increases of temperature with monotonic increases of CO2) CO2 were the only driver, we’d get 1C per doubling.

    So what is included in the models, despite you and Millar’s attempts to cast doubt on them by not being 100% correct is correct enough to model the overall temperature change of the system with all the feedbacks it has.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:20 AM

  297. John Millett:

    the IPCC’s energy budget shows the surface receiving twice as much radiation energy from the cold atmosphere than from the hot sun.

    That’s about right.

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/JJandJ.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Oct 2009 @ 4:17 AM

  298. Columbus believed the Earth was 1/3 smaller than Eratosthenes’s estimate, not 1/3 the size. His estimate was a diameter of 5,800 miles and a circumference of 18,000 miles (versus the actual 8,000 and 25,000), because of an argument involving the Earth’s shadow on the moon.

    What disturbs me much more is that his chief lieutenant beat a native woman with a belt to force her to have sex with him, and that Columbus did nothing about it, and generally let his men abuse the hell out of the Arawaks/Taino.

    He died thinking he had found a western route to India, even after four trips. He was a confirmed pseudoscientist as well as being a tyrannical jerk.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Oct 2009 @ 4:23 AM

  299. PS Colin, I don’t understand where this is coming from AT ALL: “If doubling ONLY gave 0.8C then this would be a lot less than catastophic since we have already got 0.6 of warming today”

    That doesn’t follow. The 0.6C is from CO2 and all other feedbacks (that add up to 2-4.5C per doubling), not just CO2 (that makes 0.8 C per doubling in your assumption).

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 4:24 AM

  300. Rod B., You utterly ignored what I said about the ’70s global cooling meme. It is what I have said all along, and the same goes for Dhogaza and Hank Roberts and the others.

    Facts: Aerosol-induced cooling was a concern to some climate scientists in the ’70s, mainly because they underestimated CO2 sensitivity. This was NOT a consensus view, but it was not beyond the pale either. In fact, aerosols did curtail warming from 1944-1980. Now why is that so hard to understand and why do we have to explain it to you over and over again every 6 months. You know, there are starting to be treatmens for dementia. Have you tried Soduku?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2009 @ 4:55 AM

  301. Paul thiers, you can find him asking for people to contact him on

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/open_thread_27.php

    Given that he thinks the ocean accounts for 80% of the warming but has not asked himself “where did that warming come from” and checked if his hypothesis is right, and states that the past few years has seen as much cooling as the warming of the last 50 years (which isn’t shown in any temperature reading of the earth’s surface), I would discount what he says.

    He does a lot of grandstanding, too:

    http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/monbiot-challenged-to-debate-by-chills-peter-taylor/

    which just happens to help sell his book.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 5:40 AM

  302. PS A common troll on deltoid counters any suggestion that they are biased by saying “I read the Guardian!”.

    I would place Peter’s protestations that he isn’t a denier because he does some consulting work for Greenpeace in the same basket.

    It’s proof of nothing.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 5:41 AM

  303. I am afraid I misunderstood Millett’s argument, perhaps because what he is arguing against is simply accepted physics–not at all controversial. If you are correct, he seems to be arguing against all of radiative physics–from Stefan-Boltzmann to the very concept of a black/gray-body radiator.

    My apologies for failing to comprehend that he could actually be that stupid.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2009 @ 7:22 AM

  304. I wonder if any of the experts on this site can give me any information about Peter Taylor, author of the book “Chill.”

    I am no expert but I do read blogs! Recently Mr Taylor popped up in the comments at George Monbiot’s blog in the aftermath of the Plimer debate no-show, offering to debate Mr Monbiot. He gains credibility points for a Natural Sciences degree from Oxford, a record of environmental activism, sitting on several well-regarded scientific and environmental committees and for writing a book describing his views. According to one reviewer the book has ‘brave words from a career environmentalist who has managed to keep his head when all around him are losing theirs.’. The blurb also contains this ‘At the very least, Taylor raises issues and questions that must be addressed conclusively before global warming can be genuinely regarded as truth, inconvenient or otherwise. This book is a must-read for everyone on all sides of the climate change issue.’ – W. Jackson Davis, professor emeritus, University of California, and author of the first draft of the Kyoto Protocol’

    But he loses credibility for some embarassing factual errors, also by proposing Monckton as an authority on climate sensitivity. Although his conclusions are based on ‘his studies of satellite data, cloud cover, ocean and solar cycles’ none of these studies is apparently worthy of publication, other than in this non-peer-reviewed book. I for one will not be spending £14.99 on ‘Chill’ – his main thesis seems to be the IPCC underestimates natural cycles and variability which I think is demonstrably false. There is a pdf appendix available online that repeats the ‘warming pause’ canard among others, he also captions a graph that is clearly from woodfortrees.org as ‘excellent source material provided by Anthony Watt.’ (sic) which does not exactly inspire confidence.

    Author Profile:http://www.clairviewbooks.com/pages/viewauthor.php?id_in=29

    He participates in a blog thread here, including email exchange with Monbiot …
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=220&cp=all#comments

    Appendix http://www.ethos-uk.com/downloads/books/chill/CHILLAppendices.pdf

    Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUUYcfsaSnw

    Phil Clarke.

    Comment by pjclarke — 16 Oct 2009 @ 7:39 AM

  305. #282 Rod Black

    Context is still key. You seem to enjoy every opportunity to nitpick at someone’s blog post who is trying to help someone understand things (#160 Pekka Kostamo).

    What I, arrogantly or not, think you need to assimilate into your thinking process is context and relevance. You have ignored evidence time and time again. What a terrible reputation you have in showing how truly unreasonable a person you are. Is that really the legacy you wish to foster.

    The main argument about global cooling centered around the 1975 NAS report. The media took pieces of the report and quoted them out of context. Have you actually read the global cooling papers from the 70’s? I have not, so I really can’t speak specifically, but it is clear that we are not cooling so they were wrong. Simple as that. Therefore those papers have various degrees of irrelevance in the context of the main argument re cooling/warming.

    Your statement,

    I never have understood why you (guys) deny the number of scientists and scientific publications (Science for one) that supported (more or less) the “global cooling” of the 70s.

    , illustrates that you continue to ignore context and relevance, hence my assertion as to your immature views in your general argument presentation. In other words, grow up… please. You are really boring, and wasting peoples time… but I’m confident that does not concern you.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 16 Oct 2009 @ 8:28 AM

  306. Mark 293 says:

    “We also know from measurements that the climate is sensitive to CO2 doubling in a range that the models with their “faulty” clouds agree with.”

    Cite references please. Which measurements? Are they from empirical research or just from more modelling?

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 16 Oct 2009 @ 9:02 AM

  307. “Is that really the legacy you wish to foster.”

    It could be.

    After all, there are people out there working in marketing who “know” that they are buying the services of spammers. They don’t ask, so it’s only quote know unquote.

    Rod B could easily be doing the same thing. Either because that’s what he’s paid for, what he *thinks* he gets paid for (workers for oil companies probably convince themselves that there’s no problem with CO2 for example) or he doesn’t WANT CO2 to be a problem and refuses to investigate his queries to see if there’s a denialist lurking in his soul, just so that he doesn’t know he’s a denialist.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  308. The ‘cold atmosphere’ phrase suggests a case of Gerlich-Tscheuschner, perhaps the variety transmitted by Marohasy and Siddons.

    jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/04/on-the-first-principles-of-heat-transfer-a-note-from-alan-siddons/

    That one has been amply refuted (Rabett, Deltoid, basic physics texts) and the notion that heat can flow only one direction belongs on a FAC list (frequently asserted confusions). I’ll ask over at skepticalscience, I don’t see it listed.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Oct 2009 @ 9:49 AM

  309. ““We also know from measurements that the climate is sensitive to CO2 doubling in a range that the models with their “faulty” clouds agree with.”
    Cite references please.”

    Using multiple observationally-based constraints to estimate climate sensitivity
    J. D. Annan and J. C. Hargreaves

    Observational constraints on climate sensitivity
    Myles Allen, Natalia Andronova, Ben Booth, Suraje Dessai, David Frame,
    Chris Forest, Jonathan Gregory, Gabi Hegerl, Reto Knutti, Claudio Piani,
    David Sexton, David Stainforth

    It’s been done on this site before many, many times, Rod B. The Annan paper specifically and the RC threads talking on this subject included these and other papers.

    But I guess the four-year-old just can’t remember before this morning, can it.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 9:58 AM

  310. Mark 293 says:

    “We also know from measurements that the climate is sensitive to CO2 doubling in a range that the models with their “faulty” clouds agree with.”

    Steckis asks:”Cite references please. Which measurements? Are they from empirical research or just from more modelling?”

    If only there was a website about climate that you could search “climate sensitivity”. I suppose the world may never know.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 16 Oct 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  311. Mark, whoever you may be, the point of science is to arrive at an acceptable explanation of the subject in hand and if that does not work out, move on and research some more ad infinitum. Your continuing attacks on all who disagree with your particular view is boring and sad. I am sure that Gavin and Michael are both actively and continuously looking at all aspects of the science and new information as it comes to hand. There is no need to badmouth folk because of their current perception of the state of the debate, and debate it is, because we are nowhere near arriving at the truth no matter how you spin it. Keep it up researchers and good luck.

    Comment by bushy — 16 Oct 2009 @ 11:56 AM

  312. dhogaza (289), I presented nothing. I corrected someone else’s. I was correct. What’s your excuse?

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Oct 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  313. Ray Ladbury (300), why do you make me explain simple things over and over again? Assertion was that there were NO (that’s none; zero if you like; nada if that’s more familiar) published papers supporting the expected “global cooling” in the 70s. I stated accurately that this was wrong. Nothing was said or implied about aerosols, M cycles, consensus, or anything else that you keep debating with me over.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Oct 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  314. Rod, you keep claiming, if I understand what you keep writing, that there is a science journal paper “supporting the expected ‘global cooling’ in the 70s”

    Citation needed — what is it you see that was
    “supporting the expected ‘global cooling’ in the 70s” — precisely?

    What paper? What authors? Published where and when?

    Don’t just wave your arms. Tell us what– exactly–you believe to be true.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Oct 2009 @ 1:37 PM

  315. RodB 313, Did you really say that?

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 1:41 PM

  316. dhogaza (289), I presented nothing. I corrected someone else’s. I was correct. What’s your excuse?

    Really? This is what you responded to:

    If you refer to the 1970’s “ice age scare”, it is all bogus. Just sloppy reporting by the press, nothing in the scientific publications.

    And that’s a true statement regarding the “ice age scare” as the denialsphere talks about it today, i.e. the claim that in the 1970s scientists were claiming we were entering an ice age over the *short term*.

    Maybe you can find us a paper that predicted north america would be mostly covered in ice, by, say, 2050 and prove us wrong.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Oct 2009 @ 1:46 PM

  317. “There is no need to badmouth folk because of their current perception of the state of the debate,”

    No, I agree.

    But there IS a need to tell people off who continuously and malignantly fail to listen because they don’t like what they’re being told.

    Like Bob bob.

    “because we are nowhere near arriving at the truth no matter how you spin it. ”

    And you.

    What do you mean “nowhere near arriving at the truth”? 2-4.5C warming per doubling with all the model inputs matches pretty acurately what reality with all it’s “scary unknowns” (that denialists like yourself and RodB like to cast it as) says it is.

    How much closer to the truth do you have to get before you start accepting that the models are damn good? When they can tell us when the first raindrop to hit your head will happen???

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:07 PM

  318. PS Bushy, maybe you ought to go here and see what the other side get up to on their day off:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/10/blog_action_day.php

    Comment by Mark — 16 Oct 2009 @ 4:06 PM

  319. #311 bushy

    You may be “nowhere near arriving at the truth” but the major forcings are well understood. Your statement is vague and inappropriate in the context of the well understood science. The less understood science will help refine the view, but that does not diminish in anyway that we ‘know’ this global warming event is human caused with extremely high confidence form a scientific point of view.

    I also find it odd that you state “we”. Do you have any evidence to support the notion that you speak for everyone? Some sort of certificate perhaps?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 16 Oct 2009 @ 5:10 PM

  320. John Millet – I read what he wrote too quickly, thinking of the solar heating of the surface + atmosphere (significantly more than 1/2 of backradiation) instead of the surface alone. But that’s beside the point, as I said earlier.

    Hank Roberts – “The ‘cold atmosphere’ phrase suggests “…

    We had that discussion here
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/comment-page-7/
    (started on page ?)

    and I went at it with the perennially ignorant Gord (who managed to warp both the first and second laws of Thermodynamics, and apparently dissaproves of algebra*) starting here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?p=6&t=537&&a=18#2842
    (PS one way to make the case: imagine being inside an isothermal red-hot object with significant emissivity (at red wavelengths) in all directions; would you not see red radiation coming from all directions, or would it look completely dark for lack of temperature gradient?)

    Aside from that, of course there’s the RC wiki:
    http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=G._Gerlich_and_R._D._Tscheuschner

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 16 Oct 2009 @ 5:27 PM

  321. Rod B., Exactly WHERE did someone say no scientists were concerned about aerosol cooling?
    Schneider and Rasool raised the possibility in 1971:
    “However, it is projected that man’s potential to pollute will increase 6 to 8-fold in the next 50 years. If this increased rate of injection… should raise the present background opacity by a factor of 4, our calculations suggest a decrease in global temperature by as much as 3.5 °C. Such a large decrease in the average temperature of Earth, sustained over a period of few years, is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age. However, by that time, nuclear power may have largely replaced fossil fuels as a means of energy production.”

    This paper is the one that gave rise to the famous NEWSWEAK (spelling intentional) article. However, note that his concern only arises for much greater apacity in the atmosphere. What is more this paper used a very limited climate model and a very low value for sensitivity. The fact we aren’t cooling is in fact one of many lines of evidence favoring higher sensitivity.

    Rod, if you are looking for hysteria, you won’t find it here.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2009 @ 5:56 PM

  322. Bushy, Your use of “debate” is imprecise. What matters is what is under debate–and the role of CO2 in climate is not among such topics in scientific circles. Since science is the subject of this blog, continual appeals to long and repeatedly discredited arguments become tiresome quickly. While Mark is rather quick to strike out, his frustration is shared by those who know the science and even those trying to learn it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  323. #277 “Really, in order to keep the surface at 33 degrees C above the blackbody temperature, there has to be 2 times the sun’s radiation coming from the atmosphere. Remember, the sun is a tiny bit of the sky, very far away. The atmosphere is wrapped around the earth, very close. That’s why we don’t die every night when the sun goes down…”

    Marcus, the sun is distant but powerfull. Like a pig on a spit, wrapped in our cold atmospheric blanket we rotate daily in its 1368 Wm-2 flux and 394K effective temperature (121C, 250F). We soak up enough of it during the day to keep us alive at night. Marcus, what if the number 33 was changed to 9 – what would be the back-radiation?

    Comment by John Millett — 16 Oct 2009 @ 6:28 PM

  324. _this_ John Millet? page down …
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26116014-21147,00.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Oct 2009 @ 6:49 PM

  325. _that_ John Millet over at the Australian says:
    “… it’s not 33 degrees due to trace gases in the cold sky above, it’s 7-8 degrees due to hot rocks below…”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Oct 2009 @ 6:55 PM

  326. John Millet.

    Solar radiation in space – 1368 W/m2 or so. Okay, now divide that by 4 to get the average incident solar flux over the surface of the Earth (the surface of a sphere has 4 times the area as it’s circular cross section). Now multiply by 0.7 because 30 % of the incident solar radiation is not absorbed but reflected to space. The equilibrium temperature is then 255 K. (Qualification – variations in temperature allow the actual average temperature to be less because of the nonlinear dependence of blackbody radiation on temperature. However, for the temperature variations at the Earth’s surface, this only has an effect of about 1 K.)

    The atmosphere is somewhat opaque to LW radiation, so some of the radiation emitted to space comes from the atmosphere. There has to be a temperature difference between the atmosphere and surface to drive the radiative and convective fluxes that make the energy flow balanced. And so on for individual layers of the atmosphere.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 16 Oct 2009 @ 7:07 PM

  327. Jeremy #3:

    I know at least one person who sticks by his assertion that global warming is “god’s will”. I’m sure if I asked more, I’d find more who think that as well.

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 16 Oct 2009 @ 7:21 PM

  328. Can we end this digression soon? The theme’s old, well battered and fried:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/03/fred-says-when-anonymice-comments-are.html

    “… Early Symptoms: An infected individual will often display the following symptoms within 24 hours:
    (a) Frequent and fevered claims to the effect of “a cold atmosphere can’t warm a hotter surface”….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Oct 2009 @ 7:21 PM

  329. John Millett, What color is the sky on your planet?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Oct 2009 @ 8:06 PM

  330. #297 Barton Paul Levenson
    Thanks for the reference which will take some time to digest. Whenever I’ve thought along those lines I figured that wave interference would play a part. Is it a comfort that the system stabilises? How many iterations?

    Comment by John Millett — 16 Oct 2009 @ 8:33 PM

  331. John Millet spumes:

    Thanks for the reference which will take some time to digest. Whenever I’ve thought along those lines I figured that wave interference would play a part. Is it a comfort that the system stabilises? How many iterations?

    Yet, in Hank’s reference, he posits:

    The natural greenhouse coat fell off next – it’s not 33 degrees due to trace gases in the cold sky above, it’s 7-8 degrees due to hot rocks below. Finally, under close examination of the global energy budget, which reveals a self-falsifying AGW hypothesis, the trousers fall around the ankles.

    Which is it, John Millet? You’re sure of your “science” and have disproven the physics behind AGW, or not?

    If you’re not sure, why did you post such doo-doo elsewhere?

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Oct 2009 @ 10:56 PM

  332. John Millet –

    Iterative methods can help illustrate the idea.

    Nothing against it, but I think it is also quite helpful to think of what it would look like if you could see at any particular wavelength.

    If you were enveloped by a white-hot opaque (at all visible wavelengths) object in which a sufficient portion of that opacity were absorptivity (as opposed to scattering/reflection), then you would see white light coming from all directions. But if the object is isothermal, there shouldn’t be any net flow of heat (At least not within it’s depths where opacity blocks radiation to and from the outside). No problem – the radiation you’d see is isotropic – it would be the same intensity in all directions, so that there would be no net flux in any direction (more precisely, the radiatiant intensity adjusted by some measure of index of refraction would be isotropic … same result, though; no net flow of heat).

    Now if there is a temperature gradient, there will be a net flow of radiant heat within the region that the temperature gradient can be seen – large opacity requires a larger temperature gradient to sustain the same net flow, and restricts the net flow of heat across a sharp jump in temperature into a smaller volume concentrated at the jump (so there will be stronger cooling and heating within a smaller volume). On the other hand, if there is a thin layer of material at a different temperature, then the net radiant fluxes near that layer caused by the temperature variation will increase from zero at zero layer opacity and approach a limit as the opacity increases, provided that a portion of that opacity is absorption.

    (This is not so important to Earthly conditions, but in general: Without any atmospheric LW absorption, a greenhouse effect can be caused by atmospheric LW scattering (or reflection if the ‘atmosphere’ had some thin interface, which would be odd for gaseous matter) – in that case, the atmosphere would scatter radiation emitted by the surface, and some of that would go back to the surface. The radiation that escapes to space would be less than the amount emitted by the surface – this can be visualized as a consequence of the partial backscattering of the darkness of space (the lack of radiation from space would be partly reflected – if this sounds odd, rest assured it (and the rest of this) can be formalized in terms of *’weighting functions’).)

    (PS for emission by processes at local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE), at any given wavelength (and where important, polarization), along any given path over a given distance, absorptivitiy of radiation going in one direction = emissivity for radiation coming backward along that direction.)

    *Weighting function:

    At a given location, for a given wavelength and polarization, for radiation in a particular direction going through that location, the distribution of the absorption of that radiation is a distribution in space of absorption per unit volume (or per unit mass, if mass-related coordinates are used, etc.) This distribution is a weighting function, and the volume integral of this distribution is 1, because the total absorption is 1 * (*for these purposes, escape to a void with no return is like absorption – space absorbs the LW radiation from the Earth and the SW radiation reflected by the Earth – allowed sufficient time and distance, this ultimately is true.) If there is no scattering or reflection, this distribution is focused along a line, and for a given constant opacity along the length of that line, it decays exponentially away from the location. If there are partially reflective interfaces, the distribution will have branches. If there is scattering, the distribution will fan out from the line. Note that scattering and reflection tend to concentrate the distribution closer to the location; in the limit of strong isotropic scattering, the distribution becomes spherically symmetric about the location, assuming there is some nonzero absorption and any reflective or absorbing boundaries are sufficiently far away. Greater opacity from absorption will still concentrate the distribution toward the location even when scattering is important.

    AT LTE, the weighting function for emission of radiation going through the location in the opposite direction is identical to that of the absorption of radiation in the original direction. The intensity of the emitted radiation is equal to the volume integral of the produce of the weighting function and the blackbody radiant intensity at that wavelength for the temperature (which can vary over space).

    The net intensity at a location in a direction (for the wavelength and polarization) is the difference between emitted radiant intensities going in opposite directions and thus depends on the different temperatures found in the different weighting functions. And so on for a radiant flux through a unit area…(see next paragraph).

    A radiant flux in a direction per unit area (area of a plane perpendicular to the direction) is the integral over solid angle of radiant intensity multiplied by the cosine of the angle from the direction perpendicular to the plane. (Radiant intensity is the flux per unit area normal to a direction, per unit solid angle – the total flux per unit area is the sum of fluxes in different subsets of directions that pass through the unit area in the same direction. The cosine factor is a consequence of geometry. If you can get geometry, you can get radiation. To make radiant intensity more familiar, it is how bright something looks – ie if the sun were seen through a frosted glass window, assuming no reflection from the window, the same total flux would pass through the window, but it would look less bright because the rays of the sun will be scattered and spread into a larger solid angle of directions.)

    Except for the forward-scattered radiation seen coming from directions near the sun (CAREFUL!), the diffuse radiation from a clear sky (made of scattered solar radiation) generally appears brighter near the horizon because there is greater opacity in that direction – the volume of the atmosphere is glowing with scattered radiation, and looking through longer mass-weighted distances through the atmosphere, one can see greater intensity of that glow, up to the point that it would saturate.

    Analogous to that, generally, one would see greater intensity of LW backradiation from the atmosphere coming from nearer the horizon. There are some exceptions – under some conditions (clouds, humidity) or at some wavelengths, where there is sufficient LW opacity and there is a temperature inversion near the surface, the intensity of LW radiation will be greater for radiation coming more directly downward. If the opacity is not great enough, the inversion is less visible and the general decrease of temperature with height above it dominates. If there are wavelengths where the stratosphere is optically thick and the troposphere is not, then the LW intensity of backradiation could be dimmest near the horizon or at an intermediate angle – this might occur with some wavelengths where ozone is important – maybe – but is not the case at most wavelengths, because the stratosphere has less mass then the troposphere, water vapor and clouds are concentrated in the troposphere (water vapor in particular is concentrated near the surface, though the little bit at higher altitudes has importance), and because of the way optical properties of gases depend on pressure and temperature.

    Adding greenhouse gases concentrates the weighting function of radiation crossing the tropopause closer to the tropopause over various parts of the LW spectrum. At the ‘top of the atmosphere’, adding greenhouse gases concentrates the weighting function of emission to space higher up, removing it from the surface, and adding it to the stratosphere – whether the troposphere gains or loses parts of it depends on the initial optical properties – it will gain if starting from lower opacity, it will max out and then lose as opacity increases.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Oct 2009 @ 12:12 AM

  333. “but it would look less bright because the rays of the sun will be scattered and spread into a larger solid angle of directions.)”

    less bright per unit of your visual field.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Oct 2009 @ 12:17 AM

  334. The greenhouse effect for CO2 is not saturated because adding CO2 increases the width of the wavelength interval that surpasses a given level of tropospheric opacity.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Oct 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  335. John Millett:

    Is it a comfort that the system stabilises? How many iterations?

    The Basic program stabilizes in four iterations if I use a temperature resolution of 0.001 K. Here’s the code (Gavin et al., sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but it’s relevant to the entropy associated with cooler and warmer objects radiating at each other):

    ‘=====
    ‘ Granite models the temperatures of two granite blocks interacting
    ‘ only by radiation.
    ‘=====

    Aplug = 90.7 ‘ A electrical power input.
    Bplug = 221.5 ‘ B electrical power input.
    sigma = 5.6704e-8 ‘ Stefan-Boltzmann constant.

    ‘—–

    Ta = (Aplug / sigma) ^ 0.25
    Tb = (Bplug / sigma) ^ 0.25

    maxA = 379 ‘ Arbitrary.
    maxB = 852

    print “Ain”, “Aout”, “Ta (K)”, “Bin”, “Bout”, “Tb (K)”

    cycles = 0

    while maxA > 0.001 or maxB > 0.001
    maxA = abs(Ta – lastTa) ‘ Temperature resolution so far.
    maxB = abs(Tb – lastTb)

    lastTa = Ta ‘ Previous value.
    lastTb = Tb

    Aout = sigma * Ta ^ 4 ‘ Stefan-Boltzmann law.
    Bout = sigma * Tb ^ 4

    Ain = Aplug + 0.01 * Bout ‘ 10 m, inverse-square.
    Bin = Bplug + 0.01 * Aout

    Ta = (Ain / sigma) ^ 0.25 ‘ Inverse S-B law.
    Tb = (Bin / sigma) ^ 0.25

    print using(“###.###”, Ain),
    print using(“###.###”, Aout),
    print using(“###.###”, Ta),

    print using(“###.###”, Bin),
    print using(“###.###”, Bout),
    print using(“###.###”, Tb)
    wend
    end

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Oct 2009 @ 5:01 AM

  336. One last plea, folks.

    Rasmus created this to ask for feedback about a particular question from climate scientists. You can read that at the top of the page.

    Everything else is off topic — much of it inspiringly, creatively, may I even say professionally effective in distracting from Rasmus’s question.

    Gavin, I’d love to quietly read a parallel weblog: _Real_Climatologists_

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Oct 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  337. Hank, not one has come on here.

    If we wait, we’ll hear the rustling passage of tumbleweeds.

    So we make do with what conversation and hypothesis for the continued interest we do get.

    Which is all about “well, they could be…”. Always “they”. Not “me”. But it’s all we’ve got to work with here.

    Maybe some of them will go along and ask. And, since they have been previously very pro GCR they may get the answer Rasmus hasn’t been getting himself.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Oct 2009 @ 10:48 AM

  338. > if we wait, we’ll hear ….

    Precisely.
    “… consider if what you are about to say will improve upon the silence.”

    http://www.tricycle.com/essay/skillful-speech

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Oct 2009 @ 11:22 AM

  339. Ironic:

    Words or actions that have an effect opposite to their literal intention.

    :-P

    Comment by Mark — 17 Oct 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  340. Why climate change denial must be taken seriously
    By Peter Gorrie, Science Reporter

    …This is the paradox and potential triumph of Not Evil Just Wrong, a new documentary that attacks the environmental “elites” and “extremists” who campaign for measures to curb climate change. The Irish husband and wife co-directors, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, are among those who argue policies to combat the build-up of greenhouse gases are not only unnecessary but also potentially calamitous.

    They present the familiar roster of skeptics and their readily rebutted scientific claims – that the poles and glaciers aren’t melting; it’s a happy time to be a polar bear; Pacific sandbar islands like Tuvalu will stay high and dry; and, in fact, the planet isn’t heating up after all.

    But none of those details really matter: Facts change few minds these days. American politics and policies – like Canada’s – increasingly rely on raw fear, anger and division.

    The film declares culture war: It pits Tiffany – whom McElhinney met in a pub while seeking human faces for her story – and other average Americans against unfeeling, wealthy elites – the likes of Al Gore – who want to rip away the slim hopes they cling to.

    “The elites of the world are making extraordinary decisions about what’s going to happen to ordinary people,” says McElhinney. …

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 17 Oct 2009 @ 12:02 PM

  341. 340 Jim Galasyn

    That is a very important article for us all to read. The Science Reporter carefully points out how important it is to bring the middle class into the debate on the right side.

    Those of us who believe there is a looming problem with CO2 have to contend with “deniers” as well as “wealthy elites” who take a callous attitude toward middle class values. Change has to come but it will not work out well if we are not careful.

    I bring up again the fact that plug-in cars, whether hybrids or all electric are a cruel green washing hoax. Cars running on electricity are cars running on coal until there is reserve capacity to tap to run them. The IEA recently put out an exerpt of one of their expensive reports that purports to show that there is a great benefit in electric cars but at the same time it shows that the reserve generating capacity in 2030 will still be coal. (Go to http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/ and download the “exerpt.”)

    When the hoax shakes out it will be way too late to bring the public into the cause of combatting global warming. The hoax will poison the water for real solutions.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Oct 2009 @ 4:34 PM

  342. Re my last, I meant to say “– a reserve capacity of something better to tap –“

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Oct 2009 @ 4:36 PM

  343. #326
    Patrick, your 255K average temperature of the imaginary atmosphere-free planet is a derivative of energy flux which is the reverse of the Stefan-Boltzmann formulation. Dr Smith’s “Proof of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect” (see WIKI – a rebuttal of Gerlich and Tscheuschner)corrects this fault and arrives at 144K average. The “greenhouse effect” is thus (288-144=144)K or an unbelievable 36% of the power of the sun.

    Comment by John Millett — 17 Oct 2009 @ 6:05 PM

  344. #331
    dhogaza, a number of posts that didn’t get by the moderator would have clarified matters considerably. One lists 8 areas in which, for me, the AGW hypothesis does a poor job of explaining climate change and why, in my opinion, there is continuing interest in GCR. Another one demonstrated how internal inconsistency between the general fromulation of the AGW hypothesis and the energy budget effectively rendered the hypothesis moot. [edit]

    [Response: They are moderated because they are nonsense. Stick to specific issues that you are actually interested in, not tiresome generalities that have been debunked hundreds of times. Discussion of theories that posit that the greenhouse effect violates the laws of thermodynamics are OT and will remain so. -gavin]

    Comment by John Millett — 17 Oct 2009 @ 6:29 PM

  345. #332
    Patrick, a shorter explanation. The atmosphere is mostly void (we know this if only because of the 200+ atmospheres needed in liquefying air). Of the 1.5% of atmospheric volume occupied by matter, absorbent matter (greenhouse gases) accounts for 1%. That is greenhouse gases exist in the atmosphere at 150ppmv. Assuming 0.9 absorbance efficiency, overall atmospheric opacity would be 0.000135 cm2g-1. A simple average of atmospheric density at 5km intervals over 15km is 0.00064 gcm-3. This atmosphere would absorb 12% of radiation from the surface, a much lower figure than the AGW energy budget’s 90%.

    Comment by John Millett — 17 Oct 2009 @ 7:42 PM

  346. Millet, do you have even a grain of intelligence? :)

    Smith‘s 144K is the average temperature for an idealized non-rotating planet with the dark side at absolute zero, and is one of several intermediate steps before he gets close to a real planet. How is this relevant to calculating the greenhouse effect for our very real planet?

    Besides, this is totally OT unless you are trying to illustrate by example how some are so in denial of reality as to pursue irrelevant arguments when the main point is lost. (A good answer to Rasmus’s original question.)

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 17 Oct 2009 @ 8:38 PM

  347. John Millet-

    I recall skimming over Dr. Smith’s writing – it looks very good; I only didn’t read it more closely because I already understand the concept.

    But I don’t remember specifically what situation results in the 144 K average. Is it the situation where the Earth rotates once a year, keeping the same side facing the sun, and without any horizontal heat flow? Or is it with rotation and setting aside diurnal temperature cycles and any longitudinal variations in albedo, so that temperature varies only with latitude – and also assuming no heat transport from north-to-south, and perhaps assuming zero tilt (permanent equinox configuration)?

    I already mentioned that temperature variation causes increased LW emission for the same average temperature, so horizontal and temporal temperature variations over the surface of the Earth will allow the average temperature to be below, perhaps much below, 255 K, and still be in radiative equilibrium in the global time average with absorbed solar radiation.

    But I also mentioned that for the actual temperature variations found over the surface of the earth, I was able to estimate that the actual difference in the equilibrium average temperature is around 1 K. It was a rough estimate (numerical integration over latitude bands and taking an average of two extreme seasons with the annual average, with some experimenting with likely diurnal variation (which really is only significant on land) to see how much that could do), so it might be a little different, but still around 1 K. That would allow the surface to be 254 K or around there. Not 144 K.

    Or do you mean that it would be 144 K without the greenhouse effect and with an albedo feedback in response to the removal of the greenhouse effect? Well, it depends on what the resulting albedo is – I recall coming up with something near 220 K for an albedo increase from 0.3 to 0.6, but that’s just from memory…

    Now, if you include the effect that the surface is not actually a perfect blackbody, you can actually get a temperature that is somewhat warmer than 255 K. If the surface had an emissivity (at all significant LW wavelengths) of 0.96, then the equilibrium temperture T could be found from:

    (255 K/T)^4 = 0.96.

    (T/ 255 K)^4 ~= 1.04

    T/255 K ~= 1.01

    So that’s roughly a difference of 2.6 K, give or take a little.

    —-
    Now, with an atmosphere, the surface also reflects some of the backradiation from the atmosphere; if the LW albedo is isotropic as well as wavelength independent (within the LW part of the spectrum), then the LW albedo would be 0.04 for a LW emissivity of 0.96, thus if the backradiation is 324 W/m2 and the surface LW emission (at 288 K) would be 390 W/m2 for a perfect blackbody, then the actual surface emission with emissivity 0.96 would be:

    (setting significant figure limitations aside):

    390 W/m2 – (390 W/m2 * 0.04) = (390 – 15.6) W/m2 = 374.4 W/m2

    While the reflected backradiation would be

    0.04 * 324 W/m2 = 12.96 W/m2

    So the upward LW radiation, emitted and reflected, from the surface would be (374.4 + 12.96) W/m2 = 387.36 W/m2, which is only 2.64 W/m2 less than what it would be if the surface emissivity were 1.

    And the effect on the radiation going to space, given that 40/390 of the radiation coming up from the surface (assuming both emitted radiation and reflected backscattered radiation is isotropic, as perfect blackbody radiation would be) is 4/39 * 2.64 W/m2 ~= 0.3 W/m2. If the radiation coming from the surface is not isotropic, the result would be a bit different. If the LW albedo increases for radiation at large angles from vertical, then a larger portion of the emitted radiation from the surface will reach space, but a smaller portion of the radiation reflected from the surface will reach space, although the reflected amount will generally be larger because the backradiation intensity is generally larger at larger angles from vertical. IF the LW albedo is wavelength dependent, then it gets more complex. But accounting for the surface emissivity being less than 1 is a relatively small adjustment, and it’s effect on forcings and climate sensitivity would also be small in proportion to those things. The one exception might be a feedback or forcing involving a change in the surface LW albedo, but the effect on tropopause level radiant fluxes will be muted, and I’m unaware of any way for such a LW surface albedo forcing or feedback to be sizable, at least on the global scale, at least in the context of AGW (From Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology”, 1994, pp. 91 – 92, most land surfaces have a LW emissivity of about 0.90 – including deserts, grasslands, and forests, so ecological shifts wouldn’t do much; water has an emissivity of 0.92 to 0.96 (surface roughness, which is affected by wind, will have an effect), ice is 0.96, fresh snow ranges from 0.82 to 0.995; If 17 % of the land (5 % of the globe) (far beyond what AGW is expected to do) were submerged by water, this could be up to change in LW albedo of 0.06 * 0.05 = 0.003; 390 W/m2 – 324 W/m2 = 66 W/m2, 0.003 * 66 W/m2 = 0.198 W/2 ~= 0.2 W/m2, so depending on the spatial-temporal and angular and wavelength distribution, such a change could increase net upward LW flux from the surface by 0.2 W/m2, give or take, and the effect at the tropopause would have to be less than what it is at the surface. For a warming of 3 K, The water vapor feedback would have a much, much larger effect on the net surface radiative flux, and the effect of regional changes in evapotranspiration might also be larger; the tropopause-level (with equilibrated stratosphere) radiative forcing from doubling CO2 is somewhere around 3.7 W/m2).

    If not that, then what are you talking about? What ‘fault’ are your refering to?

    (If by “derivative”, you mean that the formula for equilibrium temperature for wavelength-independent emissivity, Teq = (absorbed radiant flux per unit area/(Stefan-Boltzmann constant * emissivity))^(1/4), was derived from the formula for blackbody radiant flux per unit area, radiant flux of blackbody = Stefan-Boltzmann constant * T^4, then I don’t see where the fault lies. If by “derivative”, you mean that the 255 K figure was found by taking the derivative of one of the equations just mentioned with respect to temperature or with respect to radiant flux per unit area, then you’re wrong.)

    And what would be unbelievable about something (without knowing what that thing is) being 36 % of the power of the sun. The sun itself is 100 % of the power of the sun. The outgoing LW radiation at the top of the atmosphere is about the same as the solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere and surface.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Oct 2009 @ 8:47 PM

  348. John Millet –
    “Patrick, a shorter explanation.”

    Beware of double counting. It doesn’t make sense to multiply the chance of rain tomorrow by the chance of rain tomorrow to find the change of rain tomorrow. It doen’s make sense to multiply the probability of the evolution of horses by the probability of the evolution of horses … etc.

    Patrick, a shorter explanation.

    “The atmosphere is mostly void (we know this if only because of the 200+ atmospheres needed in liquefying air).”

    So what? It is what it is.

    “Of the 1.5% of atmospheric volume occupied by matter,”

    I would have thought it was closer to 0.2 %, and that’s not even including that most of the atom is devoid of matter – but what does that even mean, considering the space-filling distribution of electron orbitals?

    “absorbent matter (greenhouse gases) accounts for 1%.”

    (PS don’t forget clouds – though the condensed water phase is actually a very small fraction either by volume or mass.)

    Roughly true – it will be a little different if we go by mass fraction or by molar fraction, but that’s in the ballpark.

    “That is greenhouse gases exist in the atmosphere at 150ppmv.”

    I’ll let it be for the sake of being entertained that you are using ppmv as the density of a substance relative to what it would be if it filled the space with about 66.7 times the ___ that the atmosphere actually has.

    Assuming 0.9 absorbance efficiency, overall atmospheric opacity would be 0.000135 cm2g-1.

    0.9 what? Since this is unitless, I’ll assume you mean the absorbance over the thickness of the atmosphere. Which pretty much answers the question, doesn’t it.

    But I’m just slightly interested in where 0.000134 cm2/g comes from. By the way, you’ve got the right kind of units, there – area per unit amount of substance. Bare in mind that this comes from effective cross-section areas of molecules/particles, and that they are generally arranged at random in space over a sufficiently small macroscopic volume that it can be approximated as being at constant pressure, etc. This means that over any given infinitesimal distance, those cross sections will block a fraction of the unit area equal to the density times the unit area times the distance. But with each additional distance, the additional cross sections start to overlap. So that the fraction of transmission declines exponentially, not linearly. See Beer’s Law: transmission = exp[- distance * density of extinction cross sections]. The derivative is d(transmission)/d(distance) = – density of extinction cross sections * transmission up to that point. Distance * extinction cross section density = optical thickness = optical depth = extinction cross section per unit area; extinction cross section = absorption cross section + scattering cross section.

    The atmospheric mass is about 10,000 kg/m2. 1 % of that is 100,000 g/m2. 0.000135 cm2/g * 100,000 g/m2 = 13.5 cm2/m2 = 0.00135; the optical thickness over a vertical path through the atmosphere would be 0.00135 if 1 % of the mass had an extinction cross section per unit mass of 0.000135 cm2/g, or 0.135 if all of the mass of the atmosphere had that extinction cross section per unit mass. For small optical thicknesses, transmission decays approximately linearly, so the later figure implies transmission near 87 %, or a bit more.

    “A simple average of atmospheric density at 5km intervals over 15km is 0.00064 gcm-3.”

    Let’s see; most of the atmosphere (close to 90 %) is below 15 km. 0.00064 g/cm3 = 640 g/m3 = 0.64 kg/m3, 0.64 kg/m3 * 15 km = 9600 kg/m2. Okay, that’s roughly correct.

    “This atmosphere would absorb 12% of radiation from the surface, a much lower figure than the AGW energy budget’s 90%.””

    12 % absorption over 15 km is correct for absorption cross section per unit mass of atmosphere of 0.000135 cm2/g.

    ******BUT******

    1.
    Blackbody radiation is isotropic – it is emitted in all directions. While not a perfect blackbody, the surface can’t come anywhere near close to being almost a blackbody without emitting photons over a wide range of directions. For any given angle from vertical, some fraction of photons will be at that angle or farther from vertical than that angle, and those photons will have to go through a path longer than 15 km to get 15 km above the surface, and a higher fraction of those will be absorbed.

    2.
    You never showed how you got 0.000135 cm2/g from ‘absorbance efficiency’ of 0.9; furthermore, whered did you get ‘absorbance efficiency’ of 0.9 from? If you took it from the absorbtion of LW radiation from the surface by the atmosphere, do you not realize that this is the absorption of surface radiation by the atmosphere, given the atmosphere’s density, mass, and composition?

    3.
    Considering how absorption and blackbody radiant intensity vary over wavelength, as well as the directional dependence, there is no single absorption cross section per unit substance that applies to all necessary calculations. There are some wavelengths at which, in the absence of clouds or relatively high humidity, the atmosphere is signicantly transparent, while at other wavelengths it is extremely opaque.

    4.
    Consider a cloud with droplets of 10 micron diameter, with a droplet density of 1 per mm3; this is a density of liquid water of 4 g per cubic meter. A 500 m thick cloud of such density would have a vertical mass path of 0.2 kg/m2. Do you think you could easily see through such a cloud? Now, cloud droplets will affect LW radiation differently than solar radiation (absorption instead of scattering being dominant, and the cross section per unit mass would probably be less, I think), but I’m pretty sure you’d still have trouble seeing through it at 10 micron wavelength or … In fact, satellite imagery of clouds at night use the infrared opacity of clouds to detect them.

    Consider a sheet of aluminum foil. How thick is it? Can you see through it? Granted, condensed matter generally has different properties than gases, but still… Maybe consider some molecules dispersed in a liquid, like food coloring dyes in water.

    Consider the blue light of a clear sky. Why doesn’t the sky look black?

    Look at one of your hairs. How thick is it? If you took a bunch of strands of hair and simply laid them next to each other, without overlapping them, how well do you think you could see through them?

    Maybe you’ve never seen a gas that’s not obviously somewhat opaque at visible wavelengths. I’ve heard that chlorine looks green.

    My point is that small amounts of mass can be significantly opaque.

    You can’t actually see with your own eyes that some atmospheric gases and clouds have significant opacity at LW wavelengths. But we have scientific instruments. We have satellite imagery. We know the atmosphere absorbs a lot of radiation. We can also test gases in labs under controlled conditions. These things have been meausured. There is no data-theory mismatch with these basic atmospheric radiative processes. Look at water vapor imagery. Look at satellite IR cloud imagery. Look at the spectrum of outgoing LW radiation from the Earth (and remember that a majority of the radiation that reaches space is emitted from within the troposphere; so 100 % absorption of surface radiation doesn’t mean zero LW radiation to space – but even the nonzero LW radiation observed can’t be explained without the atmospheric optical properties as they are, given the temperature distribution, and also, we can measure the backradiation from the atmosphere, which can’t be what it is without the atmospheric opacity being as high as it is, etc.).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Oct 2009 @ 10:01 PM

  349. In light of what I’ve just contributed, could anyone point me to a derivation of the Rossby wave phase speed on a PV front? (It isn’t completely OT because Rossby waves and PV fronts are related to jet streams and barotropic and baroclinic instability and the eddy fluxes of heat and momentum and the tendency of midlatitude storms to lose their tilt with height and decay as equivalent barotropic systems and the momentum fluxes in the stratosphere and NAM and SAM etc. which is related to the shift in midlatitude storm tracks that are expected with global warming as well as ozone depletion, and also occur with volcanic aerosol forcing and I’m not sure how solar forcing would affect it via stratospheric-tropospheric interactions – I’m curious.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Oct 2009 @ 10:10 PM

  350. “So what? It is what it is.”

    It’s here. It’s atmosphere. Get used to it. :)!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Oct 2009 @ 10:13 PM

  351. I would assume some are aware the sun is moving towards a deep solar magnetic cycle minimum. The magnetic field intensity of new individual sunspots has been declining linearly. To survive the trip from the tachocline (name for the interface of the radiative zone and the convection zone)through the convection zone, the magnetic ropes are hypothesized to required a minimum field strength of 1500 gauss. Livingston and Penn estimate if the magnetic field strength of new sunspots continue to linearly decline there will be no sunspots sometime around 2015.

    There are two mechanisms by which the sun is hypothesized to modulate cloud cover and planetary temperature. Changes to the strength of heliosphere and solar wind bursts. The solar wind bursts create a space charge in the ionosphere which Tinsley and Yu hypothesize removes cloud forming ions via a process they call electroscavenging. So if there are solar wind bursts it makes it appear GCR cloud cover does not correlate with planetary cloud cover.

    Now as the heliosphere is currently the weakest in roughly 170 years and solar wind bursts are starting to abate it should become evident as to whether GCR does or does not affect planetary cloud cover.

    Looking at the satellite data it would appear there should be an increase in low level cloud cover and a reduction in high level cloud cover.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JA014342.shtml

    If the Sun is so quiet, why is the Earth ringing? A comparison of two solar minimum intervals.

    “Observations from the recent Whole Heliosphere Interval (WHI) solar minimum campaign are compared to last cycle’s Whole Sun Month (WSM) to demonstrate that sunspot numbers, while providing a good measure of solar activity, do not provide sufficient information to gauge solar and heliospheric magnetic complexity and its effect at the Earth. The present solar minimum is exceptionally quiet, with sunspot numbers at their lowest in 75 years and solar wind magnetic field strength lower than ever observed. Despite, or perhaps because of, a global weakness in the heliospheric magnetic field, large near-equatorial coronal holes lingered even as the sunspots disappeared. Consequently, for the months surrounding the WHI campaign, strong, long, and recurring high-speed streams in the solar wind intercepted the Earth in contrast to the weaker and more sporadic streams that occurred around the time of last cycle’s WSM campaign.”

    “In response, geospace and upper atmospheric parameters continued to ring with the periodicities of the solar wind in a manner that was absent last cycle minimum, and the flux of relativistic electrons in the Earth’s outer radiation belt was elevated to levels more than three times higher in WHI than in WSM. Such behavior could not have been predicted using sunspot numbers alone, indicating the importance of considering variation within and between solar minima in analyzing and predicting space weather responses at the Earth during solar quiet intervals, as well as in interpreting the Sun’s past behavior as preserved in geological and historical records.”

    Comment by William — 17 Oct 2009 @ 10:56 PM

  352. This is a link to Livingston and Penn’s paper that notes solar cycle 24 appears to be anomalous.

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009EO300001.pdf

    Are Sunspots Different During This Solar Minimum?

    “But something is unusual about the current sunspot cycle. The current solar minimum has been unusually long, and with more than 670 days without sunspots through June 2009, the number of spotless days has not been equaled since 1933 (see http:// users . telenet .be/ j . janssens/ Spotless/ Spotless .html). The solar wind is reported to be in a uniquely low energy state since space measurements began nearly 40 years ago [Fisk and Zhao, 2009].”

    “The same data were later published [Penn and Livingston, 2006], and the observations showed that the magnetic field strength in sunspots were decreasing with time, independent of the sunspot cycle. A simple linear extrapolation of those data suggested that sunspots might completely vanish by 2015.”

    “Yet although the Sun’s magnetic polarity has reversed and the new solar cycle has been detected, most of the new cycle’s spots have been tiny “pores” without penumbrae (see Figure 1); in fact, nearly all of these features are seen only on flux magnetograms and are difficult to detect on whitelight images.”

    Comment by William — 17 Oct 2009 @ 11:21 PM

  353. John Millett:

    The atmosphere is mostly void (we know this if only because of the 200+ atmospheres needed in liquefying air). Of the 1.5% of atmospheric volume occupied by matter, absorbent matter (greenhouse gases) accounts for 1%. That is greenhouse gases exist in the atmosphere at 150ppmv. Assuming 0.9 absorbance efficiency, overall atmospheric opacity would be 0.000135 cm2g-1. A simple average of atmospheric density at 5km intervals over 15km is 0.00064 gcm-3. This atmosphere would absorb 12% of radiation from the surface, a much lower figure than the AGW energy budget’s 90%.

    It doesn’t work that way. What matters is the absolute amount of absorber in the path, not its volume fraction. The Beer-Lamber-Bouguer law is (ignoring scattering):

    I = Io exp(-k rho ds)

    here,

    I is the intensity of radiation received at the end of the path (in watts per square meter of area per meter of wavelength per steradian of solid angle).

    Io is the original intensity at the start of the path (same units).

    k is the absorption coefficient (in square meters per kilogram).

    rho is the density of the absorber (kilograms per cubic meter).

    ds is the distance along the path (meters).

    For example, the absorption coefficient of carbon dioxide in the wavelength range 14.3 to 16.0 microns is 163 m^2 kg^-1. There are 5.9 kg of CO2 above every square meter of Earth’s surface. Earth’s surface, at a mean global annual temperature of 288.15 K and an emissivity of 0.95, emits 371 W m^-2, of which 7.85% or 29.1 W m^-2 is in the wavelength range 14.3-16 microns (from the Planck curve). So if we make the problem one-dimensional (F in W m^-2 instead of I in W m^-2 m^-2 sr^-1) and consider the first ten meters of atmosphere above the ground, a beam of infrared light in that wavelength range from Earth’s surface would be attenuated such that

    F = 29.1 exp (-163 0.00072 10)

    where 0.00072 is the density of carbon dioxide at sea-level conditions. This works out to I = 9.0 W m^-2. Therefore (29.1 – 9) / 29.1 or 69% of the beam was absorbed in the first ten meters.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Oct 2009 @ 5:47 AM

  354. And Beer’s law only applies in a medium with no temperature gradient.

    It also assumes that the absorption is a step function, not (as in reality) a curve that goes mathematically to infinity.

    The first point is important because “it’s all saturated” means naff all in a REAL atmosphere (don’t you find it ironic that denialists say that Arrhenius’ experiment isn’t applicable to a real atmosphere because it’s done in a jar, whilst Beers law, done in a jar, IS applicable? Selective credulity.) where there’s a temperature difference and temperatures that add to the flux being obscured themselves.

    The second one is important because CO2 isn’t saturated through the entire depth of the atmosphere on the wings of the absorption spectra. And those absorption lines go asymptotically to zero absorption.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Oct 2009 @ 6:53 AM

  355. The papers above that allege to disprove the solar magnetic cycle modulation of planetary cloud cover do not consider solar wind bursts. Planetary cloud cover did track GCR intensity and GCR energy levels (The penetrating power and number of ions produced by the secondary particles that are produced by GCR collisions in the upper atmosphere “muon” (heavy electron) is related to the GCR energy levels which in turn is inversely related to the strength of the solar heliosphere.), until solar wind bursts stated to appear, particularly late in the solar magnetic cycle.

    There is correlation of planetary temperature changes (temperatures move up and down) with the geomagnetic parameter Ak. The solar wind bursts causes a change in the geomagnetic field which is measured Ak.

    When Svensmark states he is adjusting the GCR vs Cloud cover data, he is adjusting it for solar wind bursts which are alleged to remove cloud forming ions and hence making it appear that GCR does not modulate planetary cloud cover.

    Due to practical issues with measuring cloud cover by satellite and with measuring the planet’s albedo it has been difficult for the two sides to definitively prove or disprove the mechanisms.

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

    The proof or disproof of the GCR and solar wind burst mechanisms will be determined in the next few years as the heliosphere is weakening and solar wind bursts are abating.

    http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MSAIt760405/PDF/2005MmSAI..76..969G.pdf

    “Once again about global warming and solar activity K. Georgieva, C. Bianchi, and B. Kirov”

    “We show that the index commonly used for quantifying long-term changes in solar activity, the sunspot number, accounts for only one part of solar activity and using this index leads to the underestimation of the role of solar activity in the global warming in the recent decades. A more suitable index is the geomagnetic activity which reflects all solar activity, and it is highly correlated to global temperature variations in the whole period for which we have data.”

    “In Figure 6 the long-term variations in global temperature are compared to the long-term variations in geomagnetic activity as expressed by the ak-index (Nevanlinna and Kataja 2003). The correlation between the two quantities is 0.85 with p<0.01 for the whole period studied. It could therefore be concluded that both the decreasing correlation between sunspot number and geomagnetic activity, and the deviation of the global temperature long-term trend from solar activity as expressed by sunspot index are due to the increased number of high-speed streams of solar wind on the declining phase and in the minimum of sunspot cycle in the last decades."

    Comment by William — 18 Oct 2009 @ 10:23 AM

  356. In answer to pjclarke (304)

    I was pointed to your comment on this blog. Unfortunately I have very limited time for blogging – but I will answer some of your questions and in a week’s time – if RealClimate would wish, I could post something for discussion (I am travelling til the end of the week).

    Who am I to write a book on climate change? I have no academic or institutional base – I am a working ecologist, mostly in the field of biodiversity policy and planning – but have at times been commissioned (by a government agency) to look into climate change, its potential impacts (on community as well as wildlife) and also on the integration of renewable energy with other sustainability objectives. My website [edit] will show you my work in these fields – as well as provide a means to contact me if you wish to discuss my work.

    However, between 1980-1993 I was rather more active in the fields of energy policy, toxic and radioactive waste disposal, and the critical review of global circulation models – about half my work was supported by Greenpeace International, and the other, at times, by the UK government, several other governments, the EU and the UN. In the latter case I was involved in developing both the Precautionary Principle in international conventions and Clean Production Strategies – by way of finding good people to develop the ideas and using my experience to push against the resistance (all written up and published in peer-review). In 1993 I wrote a critique of the UN’s ocean protection system – and it was published in the peer-reviewed literature.

    I undertook to write ‘Chill’ because it had become evident that the UN had not learned its lessons from the bad old days of carefully selected panels and secretariats and the marginalisation of dissenting voices when it came to putting out simple messages for policy makers.

    In my view, the IPCC’s Summary for Policy Makers is a travesty of the science found within the technical reports (and my view is shared by some very senior scientists – I quote them). In my book I outline several key areas of the science where there is no consensus within the Panel – but it is covered over in the Summary.

    You mention my claim that the IPCC underestimates the power of natural cycles and that this is demonstrably false. I would like to see you refer to the IPCC’s work on those cycles and also how you can demonstrate this. In my reading, IPCC admits openly that its knowledge of natural cycles is very poor. Yet, it argues from a key graph of computer simulations that if natural cycles alone had operated, there would have been no warming in the late 20th Century – since 1950 – (its the Wigley graph, my figure 1 in Chill). Given that in 2007 (AR4), IPCC had no computer studies to refer to that attempted to specifically model ocean oscillations (30 year cycles) such as the PDO and AMO, they were being honest. Since then, there have been at least two such attempts – one at Hadley, the other in Kiel (Germany) – the latter published in Nature and updated recently at a conference in Geneva. These studies predict that there will be no warming in the next decade because ‘natural variability’ (cycles – and if you doubt that, look at my figure 18 on Arctic temperatures – where 1940 has a peak to rival that of 2005-2007 – and if you don’t want to buy the book, you can get the same data, more up to date to show the falls in 2009, from the Arctic Report Card – google will find it – I think NOAA host it).

    [Response: This is a complete misreading of the situation. Neither of the two papers you are referring to use different models from those used in the attribution by IPCC. If they have AMO and PDO-like modes of variability, then they did when they were used before as well. In fact, all the models have such internal variability. The difference with Smith et al and Keenlyside et al (as we have discussed extensively) is that they were initialised differently in order to try and sync up the phases of their internal oscillations with those in the real world. It’s not very clear whether they succeeded (and in the Keenlyside case, they almost certainly didn’t), but in neither case did they put in any physics that wasn’t already in the model. – gavin]

    I would say that the latest peer-reviewed studies demonstrate that natural cycles are more powerful than previously thought by IPCC (but not by a great many oceanographers and paleontologists who are not part of the IPCC, and who have studies other longer term cycles – 400/800 years, on top of which these shorter cycles have peaked). If you have other studies, I would be happy to receive details.

    [Response: Where are yours? Blanket statements like this are worthless. People have been reporting on natural variability in climate for hundreds of years. It is the size of the anthropogenic signal that has increased, not the natural ones. – gavin]

    Regarding Christopher Monckton – if you read the relevant section you will find that I was referring to the absence of any broader discussion outside of the IPCC and very restricted laboratories and obscure journals of the crucial ‘gain factors’ that James Hansen argued for at the outset of building the atmospheric models. I had a hard time accessing any material that would show a) the range of options for those factors, b) the evidence for choosing them. Monckton had asked the same question but more publicly – in the pages of a journal of the American Physical Society – an organisation I have, over my years as an environmental analyst, come to revere – in part because of the quality of its work, and in other part because it holds open and frank discussions about awkward things with awkward people.

    Response: Quoting Monckton as any kind of source of information (expect perhaps on the decline of the English upper class) completely disqualifies you as someone with whom sensible discussions can be had. Monckton is a charlatan of the highest order. – gavin]

    I am well aware of how complex are the issues and the literature relating to sensitivity studies – and I was quite shocked to discover how simple were Hansen’s formulae and how basic the potential error when the gain factor (around 3) was assumed without any direct evidence or supporting argument. Was this not the substance of Richard Lindzen’s criticism of at its very first report. Without that factor – the so-called water vapour amplifier, doubling CO2 has very little potential to warm the globe – somewhere between 0.5 and 1 degree.
    [edit]
    But I wrote about this more to show some history – I brought things up to date with reference to a discussion at NASA by Takmeng Wong in 2008 on the satellite data. By the way – the reason my own studies have not been published is because all I have done is to pick over NASA’s published data to see if it corroborates a string of peer reviewed papers in Science in 2005 that seemed to show the whole of the 1980-2000 warm period can be explained by an excess of short-wave radiation to the ocean surface due to thinning cloud. It does. Maybe I should try and publish this – but the last time I did such a thing it took me a year and cost me ($20,000) and I only did that when the UN Panel I was addressing refused to discuss the science until it was published – rather like George Monbiot did – but those UN scientists had a much better idea of how difficult it is to get any kind of meta-analysis published unless you are an acknowledged expert in the field.

    In any case, Takmeng Wong, who has recently reviewed and updated all the satellite data, makes the issue clear: either the clouds were thinned by warming oceans (possibly warmed by GHGs) or they thinned naturally and warmed the oceans (and hence GHGs have little power). Other work (Compo and Sardeshmukhe) reviews the computer studies and finds that almost all land-warming is down to heat transfer from the oceans.

    [Response: Another gross misreading of the science. If you take an atmospheric model and drive it with only a warming trend in the sea surface temperature, the land temperatures will of course follow, but it doesn’t come any where close to to showing why the oceans are heating in the first place. – gavin]

    These authorities are the ones I refer to in the book. I used the woodfortrees graph to show the recent ‘flatline’ or ‘cooling’ whatever you wish to call it because it was accessible and clear – the data are available to anyone and they are taken from the four main data sets on global temperature – all of which show the same pattern. Of course it does not mean ‘global warming’ has ceased – the ‘greenhouse effect’ from emitted CO2 cannot cease…..but it does show, in my view, that the percentage of the driving force has been seriously over-estimated. The IPCC says ‘most’ of the late 20th century warming is anthropogenic – I do not think the data supports that statement. My estimate is a maximum of 20%.

    [Response: The IPCC bases its estimate on published studies that anyone can read and replicate. Yours…. not so much. – gavin]

    If that is right – and another decade will tell, then halving emissions will have no significant impact on what the climate does for the next century. The misdirected mitigation strategies (biofuels, megaturbines, barrages, nuclear reactors) will all have serious and certain impacts upon community, economy (I think Stern was exceptionally naive) and biodiversity.

    I think there is a strong argument for a no-regrets strategy of doing things that adapt to climate change (which I see as largely natural and highly dangerous given the precarious food, water, population and biodiversity situation) – yet less than 1% of resources are devoted to adaptation. Secondly, oil will become very expensive and scarce by 2030, and we need to look at coal and gas and how to make them cleaner (renewable energy sums do not add up – which marks me out from my ‘green’ compatriots) – as well as a massive investment in reducing demands. I am not hopeful of an orderly transition – but I fear that the focus on CO2 emissions is directing resources away from the most urgent issues. This is a rational and valid debate.

    It is for these latter reasons that I investigated the science of global warming. So far, every scientist who has read the book, has given positive feedback – it has caused them to think again. It is being read behind the scenes – in many different realms, but what is shocking to me, and a sign of these times, is that the climate science community do not wish to engage in discourse, and moreover, in the realms of the media and academia where my book is read, people tell me they have to keep their heads down because of the dogma that the science is settled, the UN is the authority, and any dissent is denial.

    And in case anyone really does believe the UN has a reputation for sound science – they should read those chapters of the book recounting my experiences around its licensing system for toxic and nuclear waste disposal in the ocean, or the 15 years that its special panels (100% consensus) opposed the findings that X-raying pregnant women was not a good idea. The UN is not all-bad, but it has a chequered history.

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 18 Oct 2009 @ 3:58 PM

  357. It is for these latter reasons that I investigated the science of global warming. So far, every scientist who has read the book, has given positive feedback – it has caused them to think again. It is being read behind the scenes – in many different realms, but what is shocking to me, and a sign of these times, is that the climate science community do not wish to engage in discourse, and moreover, in the realms of the media and academia where my book is read, people tell me they have to keep their heads down because of the dogma that the science is settled, the UN is the authority, and any dissent is denial.

    Nothing like rounding out your argument with the standard denialist conspiracy theory crap to convince people who understand the science …

    Comment by dhogaza — 18 Oct 2009 @ 4:03 PM

  358. Peter Taylor –

    “and I was quite shocked to discover how simple were Hansen’s formulae and how basic the potential error when the gain factor (around 3) was assumed without any direct evidence or supporting argument.”

    Sorry Peter Taylor, but you discovered nothing. The feedbacks in a simple formula are not picked out of a hat; they are based on the results of complex models that use physics; they are corroborated by observations and data, and the paleoclimatic record. The simple formula is not the origin of the conclusions; it is a synopsis of the results of modelling and the analysis of data.

    We don’t dismiss Christopher Monckton because of his conclusions; we dismiss his conclusions because his arguments don’t hold water.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 18 Oct 2009 @ 5:49 PM

  359. #347
    Patrick, Dr Smith presented 3 models of increasing reality. The first one was a non-rotating, atmosphere-free sphere which gives an average effective temperature of 255K, replicating the figure used in calculating the AGW natural greenhouse effect. This results from averaging the sun’s flux and extracting the fourth root. This is the reverse of the physical reality that temperature gives rise to the flux. The model also produces the correct average temperature of 144K by averaging the effective temperature of the sun’s flux.

    Comment by John Millett — 18 Oct 2009 @ 7:42 PM

  360. #335
    Barton Paul Levenson, being programming illiterate regrettably I can’t use the code; thanks anyway. You’ll have to ask Gavin for my comment on your opposing granite block radiators.

    Comment by John Millett — 18 Oct 2009 @ 7:52 PM

  361. #348
    “Blackbody radiation is isotropic”. Point taken, Patrick.
    The 0.9 figure simply reflects GHG’s being good absorbers. The 0.000135 is the product of 0.9 and the density of the absorbers.

    Comment by John Millett — 18 Oct 2009 @ 8:27 PM

  362. Re 259 – John Millet, you’ve lost me.

    (
    “This is the reverse of the physical reality that temperature gives rise to the flux.”

    Well, that’s how you solve for equilibrium temperature. What’s the problem?

    “The first one was a non-rotating, atmosphere-free sphere which gives an average effective temperature of 255K”

    No, the isothermal sphere gives a temperature of 255 K (and the temperature variations on the Earth as it is are sufficiently small (as important as they are) that it shouldn’t make much more of a difference than roughly 1 K. The nonrotating sphere with no horizontal heat transport is the colder one (144 K according to another comment above).
    )

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 18 Oct 2009 @ 8:38 PM

  363. #325 and #331 Hank Roberts and dhogaza.

    Imbuing an imaginary, atmosphere-free planet with the same reflectance as the real one looks anomalous, removing which increases the imaginary planet’s surface temperature to 279K and reduces the temperature difference between the real and imaginary planets to 9 degrees. The further reduction reflects probable warming bias in the real observed temperature due mainly to UHI. The 9 degree difference can’t come from the atmosphere for reasons I am not permitted to say. It must be due to the planet’s internal energy field.

    Comment by John Millett — 18 Oct 2009 @ 9:11 PM

  364. The 9 degree difference can’t come from the atmosphere for reasons I am not permitted to say.

    Oh, gosh, we have a genuine Secret Agent Man who’s been whispered data, unknown to science, which he can’t repeat!

    Who’s whispering? Aliens in Roswell, NM?

    Comment by dhogaza — 18 Oct 2009 @ 10:53 PM

  365. Barton Paul Levenson, being programming illiterate regrettably I can’t use the code; thanks anyway.

    Well, your efforts to overturn most of modern physical science are going to be stymied if you can’t understand a simple program like that, and additionally simply blow it off because you’re not interested in learning modern scientific tools (and BASIC is called BASIC for a reason, dude).

    Comment by dhogaza — 18 Oct 2009 @ 10:55 PM

  366. Observational evidence missed in post #363. If cattle relied on the sky above for evening warmth they would flop down wherever they were grazing. Instead they expend energy seeking bare earth – roads are very popular – where the internal energy flux is strongest.

    Comment by John Millett — 19 Oct 2009 @ 12:07 AM

  367. “The 0.9 figure simply reflects GHG’s being good absorbers. The 0.000135 is the product of 0.9 and the density of the absorbers.”

    Poe!

    CO2 is a much better absorber than its percentage size would give.

    [edit – calm down]

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 2:54 AM

  368. Is there or is there not some correlation between cloud cover and temperatures? And is there or is there not some correlation between sun cycles and cloud cover?

    Comment by Rene Cheront — 19 Oct 2009 @ 4:12 AM

  369. This is OT for the thread (but what the heck, this is gone well OT for a while).

    The conservapedia tagline is “The trustworthy encyclopedia”.

    Much like WUWT tag themselves as the TRUE story of AGW.

    But have a look at this short (well…) escapade:

    http://conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:Lenski_dialog

    Note how this trustworthy encyclopedia doesn’t read the papers, demands the raw data (and touts freedom of information and tax dollars to demand it) and makes the contention that he’s just a fraud.

    Very similar to the denialists all round, really.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 5:10 AM

  370. What the heck is the planet’s “internal energy field?”

    LT. MATSUMOTO: But how does this defense work, Professor?

    PROFESSOR TAKAHASHI: It makes use of the Earth’s internal energy field! I call it “Gaia energy!”

    LT. MATSUMOTO: But will it stop Godzilla?

    PROFESSOR TAKAHASHI: HAI! Godzilla depends on Gaian energy for his own strength! Once it is disrupted, he will be compelled to return to the depths from whence he came!

    ENSIGN NAKAMURA: I don’t believe it! It sounds like pseudoscience. For that matter, how can Godzilla be 130 meters tall in light of the square-cube law?

    LT. MATSUMOTO: Shhh!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 19 Oct 2009 @ 5:50 AM

  371. hmm – my first introduction to RealClimate blogging is salutary – I was quite hopeful on reading the first part of this thread which argued for open rational discussion (in relation to the GCR correlations). I have a chapter on that issue in my book – and will comment below – but comments such as ‘denialist conspiracy crap’ do not encourage dialogue!

    Gavin:

    you say I have ‘completely misread’ the science – that the two new attempts at modelling variability have no new physics, but are simply ‘initialised differently’ and ‘sync up the phases of their internal oscillation’.

    Well – there are two choices – either we leave all of this discussion to experts such as yourself, who have access to the models and a wealth of programming experience (and contrary to one comment, models that not ‘anyone can replicate’), OR

    people like me who do not have such access, attempt to review the situation from outside because from past experience I know that if a prior commitment develops in the modelling fraternity (for example, the ‘dilute and disperse’ models for toxic metals that were then coupled to licensing procedures), there then develops a psychological disincentive to change the models – it is human nature – not conspiracy but blindspot and groupthink – and I am an intelligent, scientifically literate person with some experience of the use of models that are rather similar to the climate models and suffer from a huge level of prior commitment and developed vested interests, both political and financial – not to accept this is also denialist and very naive.

    And if there is to be respect for the latter path of outsider-critical- reveiew as preferable to the public, of which I am a part, having blind faith in science insitutions and the UN, then there also needs to be a way of preventing ‘complete misreadings’ – that can only come about by furthering discourse – and so far a great many of my overtures in that regard have been rebuffed (mostly within my own conservation science community that have uncritically accepted the projections of future warming).

    [Response: Hmm… well maybe people who realise that they don’t know what they are talking about should refrain from writing books about the subject and declaring the whole peer-review system to be corrupt? – gavin]

    If I had had the resources I would have visited Hansen’s labs and asked to be shown in detail how the formulae were derived – not expected at all that they would have been ‘picked out of a hat’ – but certainly that there would have been a range of possible gain factors and I could then ask which were used and what the graphs would look like if the outliers (ie near zero gain) had actually been the case. This is not so outrageous an exercise when you consider that in 2001 the IPCC were still ascribing a 30% probability that the ’cause’ of the warming was natural (i.e. either random variability or as I would argue, peaking cycles). By 2007, the probability didn’t improve enough to confirm a null hypothesis (ie above 95%) but I will be the first to admit, I found IPCC’s wording hard to comprehend as it was replete with double negatives.

    [Response: Again, in your shoes I would have hesitated to criticise what I didn’t understand. Hansen’s work is very clearly discussed in his papers and does not require a personal visit to the lab to understand. – gavin]

    As I stated above – I do not use Monckton as any kind of authority – nor as far as I know, does he pretend to be one. He simply asked questions – and these were good enough for the American Physical Society to give him the space to do so.

    [edit – unsubstantiated accusations of fraud and corruption are not permitted]

    Patrick: you state with some certainty that these gain factors were derived from models and analysis of data – but as the discussion by Wong to which I referred shows, there are two main choices from the data as to what the mechanism and main driver is – and when someone intones ‘what heats the ocean (dummy)?’ – perhaps they would have the grace to read Wong and the chapter on satellite data in my book – it is clear what has heated the oceans – short-wave radiation coming through from clearer skies (both cloud and aerosol). There is no clear signal of infra-red that stands out above the natural variability. The question then is what thinned the clouds and cleared the air of (largely natural) aerosol?

    To return to the model synchronisation. This has been a main criticism of the previous suite of models – they use a starting point at equilibrium – which is not an aspect of the real climate world but a virtual reality of the model. In my limited understanding this is not in order to downplay natural cycles, but because the periodicity of those cycles is not regular enough to be used for relatively short-range predictions (over the next 100 years, for example). And of course, the driving mechanisms for those cycles are not understood. The models thus have to mimic that variability and they do so assuming it is random but within certain naturally observed bounds. This approach has been criticised by other modelling communities – for example, those involved in hydrology (Koutsoyannis and colleagues – http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/850/- ) which I found very cogent – it was about starting points.

    Now Keenlyside and Smith may simply, as you say, have adjusted their models to sync up the internal oscillation to match the AMO – and that would imply that the AMO was there in the beginning (if only in the variability generator – however that was done) – I would love to have had the resources to go and ask them. But that does not address longer term cycles – which some think do not exist and others think do – and in my reading, they deserve equal treatment. The problem with these is that at 400/800 years with a larger irregularity (100+) nobody really knows where the starting point would be. I think it at least feasible (and I would say likely) that between 1980 and 2005 – the period of high temperatures – all of the cycles peaked together – the PDO/AMO/AO on top of the longer cycle (up from the Little Ice Age) with ENSO riding on top of that – and it is the thesis of my book that this ‘seventh wave’ was the signal taken to confirm the global warming hypothesis that rested upon those gain factors in the model. If there had been no evidence of those natural peaks – then I for one would have agreed the global warming hypothesis and resumed my work on energy strategies. If I am right, then vast resources will be devoted to preventing something that can’t be prevented – reason enough to engage in the argument.

    On the GCR thread:

    I have followed the GCR controversy and deal with it in ‘Chill’ not from a perspective of wishing it were true – but from a policy perspective – that a) there is a body of science that makes it into the peer-reviewed literature, b) the researchers were for many years unable to get funds and were openly denigrated for their efforts at explaining a long-standing mystery of what drives natural cyclic variability that can be correlated with solar activity, c) after publishing their theories in the journal of the Royal Society, they received significant research funds from the European Space Agency. That’s good enough for me to consider they might be on to something.

    I can see however that their correlations appear to break down after cycle 22. That other work both does (Usoskin) and does not (Wolfendale) corroborate their thesis (but the latter actually does corroborate an effect, but on a lower scale than claimed). And I am aware that the effect may be small and that anything that parallels the GCR flux may also be contributing. In my book I argue that the cyclic variability of the solar magnetic field is the likely ultimate cause acting via effects of UV and electrical phenomenon on the polar vortex and the tracking of the jetstream. Thus – a multiplicity of factors is at play – as often in a complex Earth environment.

    The tracking of the jetstream affects the build up and decline of heat in the upper oceans – and the shorter term oscillations redistribute that heat with various phase interactions. If you look at the current ‘quiet sun’ you get an indication of what happened for 50 years during the Maunder Minimum and the Little Ice Age – the spotless state is associated with very low geomagnetic readings and a southward shift of the jetstream – and if you look at where the excess heat of the late 20th century warming is stored (80% according to IPCC) in the top 200m of the oceans, it is not uniformly distributed – but concentrated in the northern Pacific and Atlantic gyres – they will lose heat according to the interplay of cloud cover and extractive cyclones. Thus, I was able to predict, in contrast to the UK MetOffice, that the 2007 wet-summer would be repeated – it was, twice; that the summer-ice would start to recover (now three years in a row) and that the UK would begin to experience some harsh winters (the first was last winter). I also predicted that because of the impact on the northern hemisphere grain belt, food security would be a major issue long before predicted shortfalls from the IPCC warming scenarios.

    If the quiet sun heralds another Maunder type minimum, then correlations at the very least suggest we should be preparing for a cold future and one in which ironically carbon dioxide would work to ameliorate that (but not much, I fear).

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 19 Oct 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  372. Shorter Peter Taylor …

    I don’t understand the science, don’t have the background to understand the science, yet I am more qualified to judge the science than scientists or laypeople who understand the science.

    Ballsy, I must admit.

    Comment by dhogaza — 19 Oct 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  373. Peter Taylor, By all means, if you want to critique the science, you are welcome. However, your efforts might be a bit more productive and informative if you bothered to actually LEARN THE SCIENCE. All of the science is publicly available. Given that you express interest, there is no excuse for remaining an ignoramus.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Oct 2009 @ 9:40 AM

  374. “[edit – calm down]”

    Well since you can’t slap some sense into people over the internet, what can I do but get ratty?

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 9:49 AM

  375. #371 Peter Taylor

    Peter, did you notice that your own argument that temperature is tracking the ‘electromagnetic energy of the sun’ meme has been so thoroughly debunked that it is now completely boring to talk about?

    Peter Taylor, Science Policy Analyst

    Author of ‘Chill’… Taylor thinks we have to prepare for global cooling?

    Geez where do you start. Between the argument to authority, the straw man constructs, the red herrings and the veiled references to Svensmark (“discussion at very high levels within science on these issues”).

    I dunno, Gavin, I’d love to see you go through this one on a line by line, but of course I’d love to see all the varied discussions about just how far Peter Taylor, the “highly trained analyst, and scientist” is from the reality of the myriad arguments he presents. I could take a lot of this part myself, but I think Mr. Talyor should defend his positions on the science here.

    My favorite is this one is the one about solar radiation hitting the oceans with many hundreds of W/m2 while CO2 effect is measured in “one or two W/m2 average”.

    Statements from Peter Taylor:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdTfgz_WGtI

    “I began to examine the models upon which these assumptions were based, and quite frankly I was shocked by what I found. I’m a highly trained analyst, and scientist, and from the very beginning that there was not a consensus amongst climate scientists on what was causing what we’ve seen.

    I’m not a global warming denier, there’s no doubt that the planet has warmed up over the last hundred years. But a number of other things have happened at the same time, not just carbon emissions. We’ve also had a 200% increase in the electromagnetic energy of the sun. And many scientists have noticed a correlation between the magnetic cycles of the sun and temperatures on the planet.

    And that is the area that I’ve investigated. And there are significant lack of consensus among scientists. And actually if you read into the technical working groups of the IPCC, you can see this lack of consensus. You can see it in the number of scientists that have pointed out that virtually all of the increase in temperature first of all is not linear, its cyclic.

    There are a series of peaks and troughs. those peaks and troughs correlate with the electromagnetic energy of the sun. There are scientists working on the mechanisms whereby electromagnetic cycles can effect cloud cycles. The cloud changes are noticed by satellite data.

    There’s other satellite data which measures the amount of solar radiation hitting the surface of the planet in particular the oceans. And there you see increases in sunlight reaching the surface of the ocean. Many hundreds of watts are absorbed by the ocean per square meter, according to whether there are clouds, or whether its clear sky. The difference between the two can be a hundred watts easily.

    The carbon dioxide effect is measured in one or two watts per square meter average.

    So what’s happening to clouds is very, very important. There are discussion at very high levels within science on these issues, but they don’t surface, they don’t come through the process of advice to policy makers. The IPCC issues a summary for policy makers and it’s this upon which the politicians, and properly more important the environmental groups, react to this supposed consensus. There isn’t such a consensus.”

    Peter, have you ever actually looked up the definition of the world consensus?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consensus

    1 a : general agreement : unanimity b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned
    2 : group solidarity in sentiment and belief

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 19 Oct 2009 @ 11:03 AM

  376. I forgot to say context is key!

    Peter, what is your understanding of thermal equilibrium in the climate system?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 19 Oct 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  377. Re 368 Rene Cheront (and this is also for Peter Taylor)- “Is there or is there not some correlation between cloud cover and temperatures? And is there or is there not some correlation between sun cycles and cloud cover?”

    Yes, of course, and yes, of course (at least through TSI changes, possibly UV-ozone-stratosphere-troposphere interaction? – I’m not sure about that last one, though). It isn’t that the effect is zero but that it is likely small (the TSI is certainly much smaller) compared to anthropogenic forcings (because the changes in forcings themselves have been small in comparison).

    (A method of Scaffeta and West to estimate solar cycle contribution to global warming based on shorter-cycle correlations is of the sort that could easily overestimate the climate sensitivity so solar forcing, but on the other hand, perhaps it could be used to set an upper limit (baring solar changes that are not represented in the shorter cycles), and this upper limit still requires a majority role for anthropogenic forcings, and that itself is smaller than the anthropogenic greenhouse forcing alone due to anthropogenic aerosols, the later not likely to keep growing in proportion to the former. Anyway, there is the known physics that still must be dealt with – we very reasonably expect greenhouse gas changes to result in x amount of change; theory (models) and paleoclimatic evidence do not disagree with each other. Any changes to the understanding have to come in groups – how something else affects climate + how things we understand have less effect than otherwise. See Occam’s Razor. Also, burden of proof: the effect of CO2, etc, and feedbacks have been established as at least existing; the remaining uncertainties do not toss the burden of proof all the way back to square 1.)

    —————————

    Re 361,363,366 John Millett –

    “The 0.9 figure simply reflects GHG’s being good absorbers. The 0.000135 is the product of 0.9 and the density of the absorbers.”

    You don’t seem to know what the physical relationship actually is. Here’s an experiment for you to try (or at least think about) – take some food dye and put it in a cylindrical transparent container, so that it evenly fills the circular cross section. Look down through it. Dilute with a little water. Look down through it again. Dilute with more water. Look again. You’re looking through the same total amount of food dye each time and so it should look about the same, unless there is a source of light coming into the container sideways, or… But you get the point? Note that if the container were wide enough so as to not constrain your viewing angles, you would look through more dye at larger angles from the vertical (assuming the container is upright – you know what I mean), but at a fixed angle, the total amount you look through is still the same as you dilute with more and more water. It only changes if you make the experiment so big that you can swim around in it – as with the atmosphere, a greater portion of radiation emitted upward from higher in the atmosphere can reach space than from lower down or at the surface, and a greater portion of that emitted downward can reach the surface from nearer the surface, etc. (And even if opacity is such that not much more radiation from the surface can be blocked from reaching space, there can still be room for blocking more radiation emitted from higher in the atmosphere from reaching space. Although it is true that at some wavelengths, the CO2 effect is saturated for tropopause level radiative forcing, but given such an amount of CO2 to start with, adding more continually expands the width of the wavelength interval that exceeds a given opacity, thus blocking radiation over more and more wavelengths.) The main difference between this experiment and the atmosphere is that the spectra of gases are altered a bit by changes in temperature and pressure (and even composition itself), so an amount of CO2 in a layer of air at the tropopause will be less opaque at most wavelengths and more opaque at some wavelengths than the same amount of CO2 in the same mass of air near the surface. But note that this is all known by the scientists who study atmospheric radiation or apply it to climate science.

    “Imbuing an imaginary, atmosphere-free planet with the same reflectance as the real one looks anomalous, removing which increases the imaginary planet’s surface temperature to 279K and reduces the temperature difference between the real and imaginary planets to 9 degrees.”

    279 K is the equilibrium temperature for no greenhouse effect and zero albedo.

    But

    1. Even if the Earth had no atmosphere, it would have some nonzero albedo. There is snow and ice, and sand and bare rock. Even deep water is not perfectly absorbing.

    2. And that being beside the point – the ~ 33 K from the total greenhouse effect is from the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect does not include albedo; albedo is a seperate thing. There are feedbacks, yes – they are not completely independent causally – as is the case for parts of the greenhouse effect (water vapor, clouds). But they are still identified as distinct entities.

    “The further reduction reflects probable warming bias in the real observed temperature due mainly to UHI.”

    No; UHI is real but the instrumental temperature record is corrected for it before looking for climate trends; furthermore, the UHI does not explain the warming oceans, the warming expanses of land, the melting ice, and various ecological signals, and the large scale shifts in weather patterns. UHI is a local effect that has a very small (in the larger scale context) amount of heat flow associated with it so spreading that heat perturbation out over the globe results in negligable change. On the other hand, the UHI does exist in Atlanta Georgia, whereas ***(as I recall) the regional temperature trend of the Southeastern US has recently been small so far (correct?)*** in comparsion to the global average change. Furthermore, the UHI would have to be changing in order to affect temperature record trends – the most obvious way to do this is via the expansion of cities/towns/built up land toward and around weather stations.

    “The 9 degree difference can’t come from the atmosphere for reasons I am not permitted to say. It must be due to the planet’s internal energy field.”

    You mean geothermal heat.

    The average geothermal heat flux through the surface is something less than 0.1 W/m2. Most of that is through conduction through the crust (groundwater might carry some of that in some places (not just the obvious hydrothermal activity), although it still has to conduct to get to the ground water or get out of ground water), and can’t fluctuate much over short time periods.

    Removing a heat source of 0.1 W/m2 would result in a cooling likely around 0.2 to 0.4 (or 0.45) K, at least without land ice sheet feedback, and vegetation albedo feedback and carbon cycle feedback. For zero atmosphere, no feedbacks, and 255 K equilibrium temperature, removing 0.1 W/m2 is a change of about 0.042 % in the absorbed solar radiation and would thus result in a about a 0.01 % temperature change, a cooling of roughly 0.027 K.

    By the way, 0.1 W/m2 is about 50 TW over the globe; the geothermal heat flux is a bit less than that; tidal heating is a whole order of magnitude smaller. Anthropogenic primary energy consumption is globally about 0.02 W/m2.

    Now, take away solar heating, and then 0.1 W/m2 (which is rounded up from geothermal heating) could sustain a surface temperature of (0.1 W/m2 / (5.67*(10^-8) W/(m2 K4)))^(1/4) ~= 36 K. But the difference 0.1 W/m2 can make is much much much much smaller when the temperature is just a bit larger due to other much larger heat sources.

    “If cattle relied on the sky above for evening warmth they would flop down wherever they were grazing. Instead they expend energy seeking bare earth – roads are very popular – where the internal energy flux is strongest.”

    No expert on cattle behavior, but that could be because heat is stored in the upper layer of soil/rock from daytime heating. The ground can also be used as a heat sink – I think Kangaroos do this (saw it on “Planet Earth”).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  378. > cattle

    Sun-warmed bare dirt is warmer than grassland in the early evening.
    conduction =/= convection =/= radiation

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/05/20/notes-from-underground/
    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/bore1.jpg

    “… a borehole temperature profile enables us to reconstruct the ground surface temperature history at that location.

    In fact this is a remarkably reliable way to reconstruct temperature history. Most ‘proxy indicators’ of temperature depend on many factors besides just temperature. Tree ring growth, for example, depends on temperature, but also on the availability of rainfall, the length of the growing season, and other factors. Unlike most proxy indicators, borehole temperature profiles don’t depend on these ‘other factors.’ They’re a simple reflection of the temperature history.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Oct 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  379. Peter Taylor, as quoted by John P. Reisman – “We’ve also had a 200% increase in the electromagnetic energy of the sun.”

    You (Peter Taylor) would have to mean energy besides a chunk of the solar UV, all of solar visible visible and solar infrared, which makes up the vast majority of all solar energy, and is much much much less variable.

    Re 371 Peter Taylor –
    “I was quite hopeful on reading the first part of this thread which argued for open rational discussion”

    Many would like an open rational discussion.

    …”I know that if a prior commitment develops in the modelling fraternity”…”there then develops a psychological disincentive to change the models – it is human nature – not conspiracy but blindspot and groupthink” … ” – and I am an intelligent, scientifically literate person with some experience of the use of models that are rather similar to the climate models and suffer from a huge level of prior commitment and developed vested interests, both political and financial – not to accept this is also denialist and very naive.”

    If you don’t know how the ‘gain factors’ (feedback values contributing to climate sensitivity) are determined, then you are not familiar with climate models or how they work. Even given human nature such as it is, it is hard to see how groupthink, blindspots, etc, could actually make a big dent in model results, or paleoclimatic studies, or observations of the 20th centurty, or studies of other planets, etc. I will soon give you a couple links that might show you what I mean.

    “it is clear what has heated the oceans – short-wave radiation coming through from clearer skies (both cloud and aerosol). There is no clear signal of infra-red that stands out above the natural variability. The question then is what thinned the clouds and cleared the air of (largely natural) aerosol?”

    1. clouds
    I’m not sure exactly what you’re describing, but it might be a shift in cloud cover due to a shift in midlatitude storm tracks (to higher latitudes, where the albedo effect is reduced while the greenhouse effect might not be, depending on tropopause height, humidity and temperature, etc.), or a reduction in subtropical marine stratocumulus.

    The former (poleward shift of midlatitude storm track with expansion of Hadley cells and shift in subtropical dry belts) is actually a general expectation (with potential or expected regional variations, of course) of atmospheric circulation change in response to a generic warming, whether through GHGs or solar forcing – although changes in stratospheric circulation associated with ozone depletion, volcanic forcing changes, GHGs, and maybe (not clear on this) solar forcing, and maybe in particular solar UV forcing, could affect this (there’s a LOT I don’t know myself, but there is (A LOT OF) information out there).

    (Exactly why would midlatitude storm tracks shift? Well, I still don’t know, but based on things I do understand, there will be a general tendency to reduce vertical static stability at higher latitudes, particularly in winter, with an opposite change at lower latitudes, I think in all seasons – this would increase system growth (intensification) rates through dry baroclinic instability at higher latitudes and reduce it in lower latitudes – the greater role of latent heating would add to the change in growth rates at higher latitudes but tend to cancel out the effect at lower latitudes, though to a first approximation, for cyclones only, not for anticyclones. Meanwhile, there is the increase in meridional temperature gradient in the upper troposphere, a decrease of the temperature gradient nearer the surface that is not at all latitudes and not in every season, and a general upward shift in the tropopause. The underlying changes I have mentioned that will contribute to changes in atmospheric circulation patterns are easily understood as consequences of the distribution of latent heating changes and surface albedo feedbacks, and the way a change in greenhouse forcing acts at different vertical levels (increased greenhouse effect tends to cool the stratosphere, etc.). There is something in particular that must be understood about the Southern hemisphere, that continued upwelling of colder water at some latitudes will (until the warming has sufficiently penetrated through the deep ocean) tend to drive atmospheric circulation so as to enhance itself.)

    I recently became aware of a study that suggested the later (subtropical marine stratocumulus reduction) might be a positive feedback to global warming. The study was based on data from natural variations. Maybe I’ll get around to posting something about it here if I have the time later.

    “To return to the model synchronisation. This has been a main criticism of the previous suite of models – they use a starting point at equilibrium – which is not an aspect of the real climate world but a virtual reality of the model.”

    Natural forced variations can be simulated as with any forced climate change. That leaves internal variability, which by its nature tends to fluctuate with characteristic texture so that, within a given longer term climatic state, different sufficiently long time periods will appear quite similar in the same way that two lawns of grass will appear similar if they use the same grass variety, are mowed the same way, have the same sun, rain, soil, etc. But they will not have the exact same blades of grass. And so on with specific events that occur within a climate state, such as a single El Nino.

    The exact timings of such events are not necessary to characterize a longer-term state, and it isn’t necessary to predict the specific trajectory of internal variability in order to predict forced climate change – the climate change is a change to a new climate state that has different time averages, for the globe, for the year, and for different regions, etc, for each season, time of day, etc, … and possibly a different texture of internal variability, but it is a climate state that generally will still have some internal variability. Even without knowing, for example, the precise timing of each phase of AMO, a projected climate state can be characterized as being a certain way during any particular phase of AMO, and having particular tendencies for AMO intensity and period, etc.

    In other words, for example, for any particular region, there will be droughts of some intensity/length that are 100 year droughts – they occur on average once every hundred years – but if the climate changes, the same intensity/length of drought might occur once in 50 years or once in 500 years, depending, and the new 100-year drought will have a different intensity/length, and that is important and useful and interesting, even without knowing the precise timings of those droughts – whether one occurs in the year 2087 or 2115, it is not so important in so far as knowing the longer term climate that shapes the risk of such a drought happenning sometime between 2080 and 2180, or 2080 and 2120, etc..

    …”In my limited understanding this is not in order to downplay natural cycles, but because the periodicity of those cycles is not regular enough to be used for relatively short-range predictions (over the next 100 years, for example).”

    Okay…

    … “And of course, the driving mechanisms for those cycles are not understood. The models thus have to mimic that variability and they do so assuming it is random but within certain naturally observed bounds. ”

    Not everything is understood, of course, but there are things that are understood, and even if not understood by a human mind, can be simulated by models based on underlying physics that is known. Also, inability to predict specific events is not necessary to understanding how and why events happen. For example, much of weather (day-to-day variations), such as the timing, trajectory, and strength of a tropical cyclone or an extratropical cyclone, can’t be predicted much beyond about 2-weeks, but there is a general understanding of the mechanisms that make these things happen – the role of thermal gradients, wind, latent heating, the coriolis effect, potential vorticity and Rossby waves, jets (not all independent of each other – potential vorticity in particular is a variable that is a fucntion of thermal and momentum fields that can be used to reconstruct thermal and momentum fields but at the same time changes following the motion of the air only as latent heating/cooling, radiative heating/cooling, and smaller-scale eddy mixing and viscosity cause it), etc.

    … “(if only in the variability generator – however that was done) ”

    This indicates a lack of understanding of how the models generally work. Of course, it may be instructive for some purpose to make a model in which an entire large-scale phenomenom such as ENSO or NAM or the Hadley cell is parameterized, but the computer models generally used are based on underlying physics that is mostly rock solid (conservation of energy, conservation of (angular and linear) momentum, force = mass * acceleration, gas laws, physical properties of water and air, etc, optical properties of gases – and clouds (in some cases, the exact properties might be uncertain but the consequences of the property are known and the value can be estimated to some accuracy).

    Some approximations are made, but with very good reason. Relativistic effects just aren’t important to the processes within the climate system, for example, so Newtonian mechanics is used.

    The uncertainties come in with processes that cannot be explicitly resolved by the grid scale used, which itself cannot be arbitrarily small because of limited computing power. Such processes must be parameterized. But that is not a guessing game – the possible relationships can be constrained by other modelling excercises and by observations.

    So far as I know, significant internal variabilily larger than grid scale (as opposed to the growth of individual cloud droplets and ice crystals, or turbulent eddies a few meters across or smaller that evolve over seconds, two extreme example of things that must be parameterized on a global scale model that simulates hundreds of years) is not parameterized by arises from the model physics. It helps support confidence in models that they can produce such behavior as ENSO, as well as such climatological seasonal averages as the ITCZ, without being explicitly told to do so.

    Website on climate models will wait for next comment…

    “and it is the thesis of my book that “this ’seventh wave’ was the signal taken to confirm the global warming hypothesis”

    There’s a lot of reason to think it works that way even without the 20th century record.

    “In my book I argue that the cyclic variability of the solar magnetic field is the likely ultimate cause acting via effects of UV and electrical phenomenon on the polar vortex and the tracking of the jetstream. Thus – a multiplicity of factors is at play – as often in a complex Earth environment.”

    Sounds interesting, but explain how. What does change in the E-region dynamo do to the EP flux so as to produce a signal that somehow propagates downward to significantly affect tropospheric circulation and move clouds around, in spite of the insignificant mass of the E-region dynamo itself in comparison – or whatever it is you might be thinking of? (Because everything could be connected to everything, but not equally, so you can’t just say, well, this could happen, without considering the math and physics in some sufficiently specific manner to justify a level of suspicion of significance. ie Occam’s Razor.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 1:39 PM

  380. “Re 371 Peter Taylor –
    “I was quite hopeful on reading the first part of this thread which argued for open rational discussion”

    Many would like an open rational discussion.”

    In fact, Peter, could you do us a favour and START being rational?

    “Internal energy waves” indeed…

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  381. “Thus – a multiplicity of factors is at play – as often in a complex Earth environment.”

    Peter, could it be that one of those factors is CO2?

    Could it be that the biggest single contributor after solar radiation and water vapour (another greenhouse gas) is CO2?

    If it cannot, please explain why.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  382. I work in a tangentially-related field, so take these initial impressions with a grain of salt and correct me if I am wrong. My impression is that the notion that periods of higher cosmic ray intensities cause long-term cooling has not been proven, and that suggestions that mechanisms have been found to explain the historical and pre-historical correlations with presumed climate indicators are considered controversial. It is unlikely, but possible, that they have found a mechanistically-based correlation. At the same time, the correlations are interesting – almost compelling – which suggests that variations in solar intensities (perhaps even cosmic rays) may influence the climate in a way that is much larger than proportional to TSI variations. I haven’t a clue why, but I do think the temperature reconstruction vs. CR correlations show that investigation is needed, to learn more about poorly-understood ways in which the Sun affects the climate.
    Furthermore, I personally feel that just as AGW-skeptics are quick to accept theories contrary to the hegemonic belief that CO2 drives most of the modern warming, the AGW-faithful are too quick to demonize alternative theories. Svensmark’s controversial work is precisely the type of work that should be presented at conferences, to be dissected, discussed, refuted and/supported as appropriate. I would even go so far as to say that if his theory were to be proven true and significant (I personally happen to feel that this is unlikely), that it might be handy for the AGW-faithful. Why? CO2-induced warming is a well-understood and accepted phenomenon within the climate community. If the climate is not cooling right now even though solar variations are of significance, then this is further observation-based evidence of global warming. After all, my take on Svensmark’s curves is that the correlation starts to break down a bit after 1985. If the Sun’s variations affect climate, then this deviation might even be evidence of AGW! So, relax, let him have his show, and don’t even worry if he turns out to be right!

    Comment by MG — 19 Oct 2009 @ 2:17 PM

  383. comments such as ‘denialist conspiracy crap’ do not encourage dialogue!

    Mr Taylor, people here are all for dialogue. It’s the denialist conspiracy crap we don’t like. We find it gets in the way of dialogue. Want to discuss the models, the sun, the clouds? You’ve come to the right place. Want to invoke all those unnamed scientists intimidated into silence? Please pick up after yourself.

    Comment by CM — 19 Oct 2009 @ 2:36 PM

  384. Peter Taylor –

    Climate Models:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii/
    (if you want English and it comes up in a different language, click on the flag.)

    Anything else under the same category at RealClimate.

    See also links (such as “AIP: Discovery of Glob. Warm.” under “Science Links” on the right-hand side of this window).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  385. Correction: so far as I know, “significant internal variabilily larger than grid scale”…”is not parameterized, *BUT* arises from the model physics.”

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 3:24 PM

  386. 371 peter T said, ” If the quiet sun heralds another Maunder type minimum, then correlations at the very least suggest we should be preparing for a cold future and one in which ironically carbon dioxide would work to ameliorate that (but not much, I fear).”

    How so? we’re already in an extended minimum and yet temperatures are at an all-time high. I am reminded of the scarecrow’s lament.

    Comment by RichardC — 19 Oct 2009 @ 4:04 PM

  387. 383 CM,
    Is the “the denialist conspiracy crap” you don’t like, the notion that science can get shaped by its funders?

    Comment by Rene — 19 Oct 2009 @ 4:15 PM

  388. Unless I am totally misunderstanding the GCR hypothesis – that more GCRs cause clouds and hence cooling – doesn’t this report from NASA totally knock the thing on the head? Small quote: “In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we’ve seen in the past 50 years”. And the trend has been strongly up since 2001. Meanwhile we’ve also hit the deepest solar minimum in almost 100 years. Shouldn’t we be at all-time lows (in the instrument record), not near all-time temperature highs?

    If GCR, the sun and ENSO are all taken into account, assuming all these have the effect claimed (GCR) or known (the others), 2007-8 should be pretty much the coolest years we can expect under current levels of CO2. Reverse all these things (El Niño on top of peak of solar cycle; forget GCR, it’s probably noise at best) and we could be at something more like 1°C above preindustrial temperatures. (Allowing that there are other apparently chaotic terms in a real model; but still, I’m solely relying here on the views of those who make such a big deal of natural variation.)

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 19 Oct 2009 @ 4:40 PM

  389. “383 CM,
    Is the “the denialist conspiracy crap” you don’t like, the notion that science can get shaped by its funders?”

    Duh. Details? Who funded the study that suggests energy is still conserved in a closed system? What agency funded the study that shows that ice has a higher albedo than bare rock or ocean? Who gave George Soros a time machine to go back and tell Tyndall and Arrhenius (sp?) what their results should be? And who pays Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer to avoid coming up with arguments that actually hold water and are rooted in actual facts?

    Meanwhile, who funds CEI, CATO, the Heartland Institute? Is it true that the Reverend Sung Myung Moon (sp?) is associated with the Washington Times? Who did George W. Bush put in charge of editing EPA documents, and where did he go to work when he left that post?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 5:17 PM

  390. MG, the problem is that you have to explain why then CO2 isn’t having the effect that mathematics and the known science says it should.

    ALL of that is missing from your post.

    And if such wondrous occurrences are strong evidence with you, take a look at BPL’s work on the proof that 74% of the variation in temperature is correlated with the log of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

    ALL of that GCR change has to take its slice of the remaining 26%.

    If the slice GCRs take give you such intense feelings that there’s something more to it, then that monumental correlation of CO2 must hit you with the blinding light of the divine.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 5:34 PM

  391. Patrick, it looks like its saying something other than your reading: Not “Is the …” but “It’s the …”.

    Your and his post seem to say the same thing.

    Quick reading is a bugger.

    I’ve been on both sides of that. ‘cept all I get are yells of STFU. Go figure.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  392. Ah, now I’m doing it. Thought I wasn’t for a while, but it’s rene you were quoting not CM.

    I wonder if Rene thinks that money is sooo powerful it can change reality?

    Because just like Pons and Flieshmann (I never can remember, silly phonemes…) found out: it doesn’t matter what your work comes up with, eventually people will find out.

    And either you bribe the entire world, or you’re found out.

    Which is why so many denialist papers are published on blogs.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Oct 2009 @ 5:41 PM

  393. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122597017/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    It is a near certainty that you will discredit this study – why doesn’t all of the scientific community come to you first to have you screen what is worthy, and what is not.

    [Response: There aren’t enough hours in the day…. – gavin]

    Comment by John — 19 Oct 2009 @ 7:42 PM

  394. Re Mark 391-392

    – yeah, I could have been clearer there. That was quoted from and in response to Rene.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 8:32 PM

  395. The world especially the US should heed the words of PM Gordon Brown for if we compromise in copenhagen the catastophic consequences of our in)action will undoubedly massively exceed the global impact of both world wars. If America has some perverse sense of its own perceived importance it will jeaporise the deal and screw us all. If the US fails in joining the copenhagen fray with hard hitting emission reduction targets it will endure global condemnation for the rest of the borrowed time we have on this dying planet. The famous american ego is hopefully based on its ability to lead..well now is the chance to prove that once and for all OR rightfully disappear for into social and ecomomic obscurity. Many are saying this is our LAST chance to get this right..and the way the arctic is vanishing before our eyes and the consequent increase in methane levels over this area would give me complete confidence in supporting this veiw. Don’t we ALL agree!!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 19 Oct 2009 @ 8:37 PM

  396. John’s link is to the tree rings/cosmic radiation article. Try:
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118538954/home
    or
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122652654/PDFSTART

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Oct 2009 @ 9:07 PM

  397. Peter Taylor –

    I forgot to point out as part of comment 379 that there is an IR-signal.

    1. We know there has to be some signals in the range of 12 to 18 microns caused by increased CO2. At 15 microns, at the tropopause level, the signal would be minimal, while from space, that signal should be an increase in outgoing LW radiation (if the increase in CO2 were sudden – read on) – this combination is an example of how a greenhouse gas increase causes stratospheric cooling, although stratospheric cooling results generally from increased opacity at other wavelengths except perhaps if the gas is concentrated in the stratosphere … depending. But sufficiently far from 15 microns, the effect of a CO2 increase which would dominate space-based observation is a reduction in outgoing LW radiation from below the tropopause – at some intermediate wavelengths, the two effects would cancel (at first – read on) leaving no net change in outgoing LW radiation to space – but the consequences are not zero at such wavelengths, rather it is that there would be surface+tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. Of course, the consequent cooling of the stratosphere
    —-
    (it is not convectively coupled to the surface, including in particular the ocean, and so isn’t tied to a large heat capacity, and can achieve radiative equilibrium on a sub-seasonal time scale (exactly how fast, I forget, but it’s shorter than a whole season)
    —-
    would counteract the increased outward LW flux from the stratosphere, so perhaps the net effect for a change in CO2 occuring over years wouldn’t produce an increase in outgoing LW radiation to space at any wavelength. (?)

    This can all be calculated with great confidence, by the way, so actually taking measurements from space to confirm the physics is just icing on the cake. The spectrum of CO2 in outgoing LW radiation is distinct enough (by the way, also observable for other planets, as so for other gases), so it’s a no brainer really that adding CO2 will adjust this effect except at those wavelengths where the effect is saturated, etc. My understanding has been that climatologically significant changes are still small enough that they are hard to measure with satellites (there are issues about callibration and drift), however, I believe recently it has been done (right? – anyone remember that?).

    And of course one can measure radiation reaching the surface emitted by the atmosphere.

    I think space-based and surface measurements of LW radiation have been used to look at the water vapor feedback. I’m not up on all the details of what has been done, but I do know that radiation data can be analyzed to determine both temperature and composition, because gases have spectra where opacity at different wavelengths have some relationship to each other, and I think some wavelengths are actually based on oxygen (not a significant greenhouse gas, but then, in general some measurements are made at wavelengths where the energy is not climatologically significant).

    ———-

    What I really want to emphasize, though, is that climate models are not explicitly told to produce an ITCZ, monsoons, jet streams and their undulations, midlatitude storm tracks, nor are they told to produce ENSO, NAM, SAM, etc. They are given some information about the thermodynamics of gases, water, etc, optical properties (may need to be parameterized over wavelength intervals, see “FAQ on Climate Models”), the geography of the Earth (grid-resolved topography and bathymetry, the layout of the continents and oceans, etc.), and so on. The models then produce jet streams, deserts, precipitation patterns and cloud patterns, humid and dry air masses, cold and warm air masses, midlatitude storms and jet streams, the ITCZ and monsoons, and ENSO, etc. Not that they do so perfectly, but perfection is not necessary for usefulness. For example, why would a model that can’t simulate the MJO necessarily be way off on climate sensitivity overall?. Also, a model might not allow all things to be variable. Earlier models had oceans fixed in some way (a boundary condition), so the results only showed how the atmosphere would behave if the oceans behaved in a specific way. That does not make such a model useless, however, because that is still knowledge. Now, carbon-cycle feedback and maybe vegetation and ice-sheet feedback (I’m not quite sure where the state of the art is just now) might be left out of the interactive part of the model, if only for remaining uncertainty in how to put that in or to use computing power efficiently, so they would be treated as boundary conditions. But that is still useful information – we know what the models do given A, B, C, now we can consider what happens if A does this and B does that… etc.

    And so the model can react to a forcing, and produce some overall global average surface temperature change, along with characteristic spatial-temporal patterns in temperature, water, and wind, and the results imply a climate senstivity which requires some net feedback, whose components (clouds, water vapor) can be found in model output (and compared to measurements and paleoclimatic data).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 9:18 PM

  398. Actually, I think the study (of outgoin LW radiation) I was thinking of was measuring the total radiant flux, but that may have involved measurements at different wavelengths.

    There is an IR, specifically LW, signal

    (LW, not to be confused with solar IR, although water vapor will affect that too. Actually, CO2 also has some absorption of solar IR, although it is not the main feature of CO2 (but it is included in climate modelling so far as I know) (the instantaneous effect of absorption of solar IR in the stratosphere would tend to warm the stratosphere and cool the troposphere; with stratospheric equilibration (as with the LW stratospheric cooling and surface+tropospheric warming), the forcing at the tropopause level is reduced by the change in downward LW radiation from the stratosphere; complete equilibration will further result in changes in the stratosphere in response to surface and tropospheric changes, by the way) (tropospheric solar IR absorption will instantaneously act to cool the surface and heat the air, but the convectively coupling will counteract that effect by spreading temperature changes vertically. Meanwhile, any increase in solar radiation absorption in the air will tend to decrease the albedo by intercepting photons either before or after reflection from the surface or lower-lying cloud, thus reducing the solar energy reflected back to space – although some high albedo surfaces are more reflective in the visible wavelengths (water, snow, clouds) – but the opposite is true of at least some vegetative cover; see Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology”, 1994, pp. 88-90).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 19 Oct 2009 @ 10:55 PM

  399. I disagree with almost every one of Mr. Taylor’s points.

    In fact, I was stunned to see a claim that was almost plausible, that the 80% of heating of the late twentieth century was confined to the upper 200 meters of the ocean, specifically to the N. Atlantic and N. Pacific. Mr. Taylor, as usual, did not see fit to provide a citation, except a phrase ascribing the statement to the IPCC.

    So amazed was I by this evidence of acuity, that I unearthed Levitus et al. (GRL, v32, L02604, 2005). Alas, as usual, I discovered that Mr. Taylor was incorrect, as Table A-1 of the supplementary material shows.

    However, this was not a complete waste of time. (Although I do wish I hadn’t had to read all of Mr. Taylor’s comments to get to the semi-sane bit.) It led me to reread Schuckmann et al. (JGR, v114, C09007, 2009) and I see the pattern continues with large warming at depth as seen in Figure 5.

    The deep ocean is warming quickly.

    And the Southern Ocean is freshening, and I wonder how much of that is due to ice melt ? I estimate from the color coding in Fig. 5 that ice melt from Antarctica is too small by two orders of magnitude, but perhaps someone here has better data and calculation ?

    Comment by sidd — 19 Oct 2009 @ 11:38 PM

  400. #371 Peter Taylor

    Peter, did you know that a maunder minimum event at this point in time would be a wonderful and welcome event, but would not stop global warming.

    Solar variance in the Schwabe cycle adds and removes 0.2 W/m2 from the forcing budget. We are varying 1.6 to 1.8 W/m2 now (which is 1.6 to 1.8 over budget). So at solar peak it’s 18. W/m2 and we are at minimum (1.6 W/m2).

    1.6 is still positive, so we continue to warm.

    As I asked previously, what is your understanding of thermal equilibrium in the climate system?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:26 AM

  401. The notion that science can get shaped by its funders

    “389 Patrick 027 says:
    Duh. Details? Who funded the study that suggests energy is still conserved in a closed system….”

    It’s a question of an overall bias rather than a detailed control over each and every scientist and project. All funders have objectives, and will tend to select scientists that seem to share those objectives, and projects that show promise of fulfilling them.

    And it makes a great deal of difference how much of a bearing an idea has on a funder’s objectives. A project that is orthogonal to a funder’s objectives – no matter how radical – is less likely to be canned than one that actively undermines them. The idea that energy is conserved in a closed system, for example, would bother neither a funder eager to prove AGW, nor one eager to disprove it.

    “392 Mark says:
    I wonder if Rene thinks that money is sooo powerful it can change reality?…it doesn’t matter what your work comes up with, eventually people will find out.”

    Money can’t change reality, but it can certainly change perceptions of it. And so, in the courthouse that is science, the more money that is put into promoting an idea, the greater its chances of being accepted (other things being equal).
    And ‘eventually’ can be a long time, the actual length of time being related to the amount by which your funder outspends his opposite number.

    [Response: Your idea is brilliant – except that it is completely impervious to any input from objective reality. Look up the grants funded by NSF in climate science and demonstrate this ‘obvious’ correlation you hyothesise. Evidence remember is what distinguishes science from mere rhetoric. – gavin]

    Comment by Rene — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:36 AM

  402. Rene #387, no, “the notion that science can get shaped by its funders” was not at issue. See dhogaza’s #357, excerpting from Taylor’s #356. That funding sources *can* influence research outcomes is a truism. It’s not much to discuss unless you have an argument that specific research *is* so biased.

    Comment by CM — 20 Oct 2009 @ 2:23 AM

  403. Mark: Don’t get me wrong here. I do in fact believe that CO2 has a positive radiative forcing on the Earth. However, I take issue with your comment on the “monumental correlation of CO2″ that “must hit (me) with the blinding light of the divine,” and not only because I am an atheist :) The tight correlation between temperature and CO2 only occurs for the CO2 impoverished period of the recent past. This is for two reasons. First of all, this is because most of the correlation is caused by temperature, a fact that even most AGW-friendly climatologists agree with. Secondly, changes in CO2 are important to climate when concentrations are as low as they are now. If you go back further, to periods with much higher, and likely almost saturating, levels of CO2, then the correlation is worse. To top it all off, during the period of anthropogenically-induced warming (ie., post-industrial), the correlation between temperature and CO2 is actually not that impressive, because the scale allows us to resolve some of the ‘natural variability’ within the climate system, allowing (for example) cooling to be seen for a couple of decades preceding the 1970’s and some would argue the same for the 2002-2008 period. The cause of these variations is complex (atmospheric and oceanic circulation, solar intensity, volcanism etc.), and I personally find these variations to be more interesting than the overall upward trend that is likely caused by CO2. It’s not because I don’t believe “all the mathematics” that I think controversial papers are perfect keynote talks at conferences (though I have met reasonably well-known climate scientists who seem to know how to run the models much more effectively than how to make them). My concern is that the vociferous reaction toward anyone with an off-message theory smacks of agenda and political bias.

    Comment by MG — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:13 AM

  404. Peter Taylor:

    there then develops a psychological disincentive to change the models – it is human nature – not conspiracy but blindspot and groupthink – and I am an intelligent, scientifically literate person with some experience of the use of models that are rather similar to the climate models and suffer from a huge level of prior commitment and developed vested interests, both political and financial – not to accept this is also denialist and very naive.

    Apparently you have never read the extensive climatological literature. Almost all of the discussion of the models in peer-reviewed science journals is over WAYS TO CHANGE THEM. Climatologists are constantly seeking better parameterizations, better constants, better algorithms. The models today are not the models of the ’60s, or even the models of five years ago. They are constantly being improved, updated, and rewritten by a fraternity of thousands of scientists around the world.

    You really don’t know what you’re talking about. But ignorance is curable. Start reading the journals, for God’s sake! And maybe get a basic grounding in the subject. You might start with Henderson-Sellers’s “A Climate Modeling Primer” (1985).

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 Oct 2009 @ 4:50 AM

  405. The notion that science can get shaped by its funders

    “Gavin: Your idea is … completely impervious to any input from objective reality…Look up [actual] grants funded…and demonstrate this ‘obvious’ correlation you hypothesise”

    We are probably not able to meaningfully measure the state of a funder’s or a funded scientist’s intentions, as easily as we can measure the temperature. But this is no reason to take as an implicit working assumption, the opposite, highly unintuitive notion, that funding does not influence science.

    [Response: Ah-ha… So since this theory is impossible to test, it must be true! And you wonder why I’m sceptical…. – gavin]

    “CM : That funding sources *can* influence research outcomes is a truism. It’s not much to discuss unless you have an argument that specific research *is* so biased.”

    The basic argument is that any funding of anything is done to advance the funder’s objectives. Science is no different to anything else in this respect. And where the emerging ideas have large implications for the welfare of the funder, assumptions of sustained impartiality strain credibility.

    Comment by Rene — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  406. “But ignorance is curable.”

    Not when the ignorant don’t want curing.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:21 AM

  407. “I do in fact believe that CO2 has a positive radiative forcing on the Earth.”

    Aye, a very weak statement there.

    “The tight correlation between temperature and CO2 only occurs for the CO2 impoverished period of the recent past”

    And over which past did we develop and mutate into humans? Our plants into potatoes, rice, wheat and so on?

    It’s also been lower in the past than now.

    “This is for two reasons. First of all, this is because most of the correlation is caused by temperature, a fact that even most AGW-friendly climatologists agree with”

    Nope, the effect of CO2 causes temperature rises. The CAUSATION is CO2. The correlation proves the causation.

    “Secondly, changes in CO2 are important to climate when concentrations are as low as they are now.”

    And why do you want the jurrasic plants out there? We can’t eat them.

    And this meme you have invented here is strawman pure and simple. How does the CO2 being poor and impoverished now make the correlation and causative effects irrelevant?

    They don’t.

    “If you go back further, to periods with much higher, and likely almost saturating, levels of CO2″

    CO2 is saturated at the peak bands in the atmosphere now. If you mean “cannot hold more CO2″ then it’s never been anywhere near saturated.

    “To top it all off, during the period of anthropogenically-induced warming (ie., post-industrial), the correlation between temperature and CO2 is actually not that impressive,”

    ” because the scale allows us to resolve some of the ‘natural variability’ within the climate system”

    The first doesn’t follow from the second.

    Just because you put a “because” in there doesn’t mean the following reason is anything to do with the effect you precede it with.

    In this case, it doesn’t.

    “The cause of these variations is complex (atmospheric and oceanic circulation, solar intensity, volcanism etc.)”

    Variations in what? weather? Yes.

    In climate? No. It’s 74% due to CO2.

    “My concern is that the vociferous reaction toward anyone with an off-message theory smacks of agenda and political bias.”

    Neither I nor anyone here can be held to blame for your paranoia and unwarranted connections.

    The vociferous reaction is because they are talking tosh. The tosh they talk has been the same tosh talked by thousands of other mewling voices trying to grab the last few days of eden before they die. And after 40 years of it, we’re sick fed up of it.

    Also have you ever read any of the reaction of anyone on WUWT against the surfacestations work? Or Greenman’s work? Or here on this site?

    Just because you have no clue but want to be considered to have one doesn’t mean you can justify a persecution complex.

    There isn’t always two sides to an argument. Sometimes one side is just plain wrong.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:31 AM

  408. > periods with much higher, and likely almost saturating
    (‘saturation’ was long since debunked; who do you trust on this?)

    > levels of CO2
    The PETM is the classic counterexample. Got one that fits your claim?

    > ‘natural variability’… cooling … for a couple of decades
    > preceding the 1970’s
    High anthropogenic aerosols up to 1970 from coal plants–‘natural’?
    Clean Air Act restrictions on aerosols–‘natural’?
    Measurable, yes; documented, yes; natural, arguably, but not meaningfully.

    > and some would argue
    Citation needed

    > My concern is that the vociferous reaction toward anyone with an
    > off-message theory smacks of agenda and political bias.
    Agreed. Pay attention to the science, read the first hand journal articles, and cite your sources when you state what you believe to be facts.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:35 AM

  409. “Money can’t change reality, but it can certainly change perceptions of it.”

    No it can’t. It can make you justify avoiding the perception of reality to be tested, but that doesn’t stop someone else having a look.

    And then all that money spent bribing that one person is for nothing.

    So you’d have to bribe everyone else too.

    And when someone finds out that, they’ll ask for more, because not only is there the truth being hidden, but there’s the bribing to be hidden too.

    Then one of the previously bribed hears about it and wants a bigger cut.

    But now you’ve spent a LOT of money on a lot of people. If you don’t pay them what they demand, they’ll say what’s happening and all that much larger amount of money will have been spent for naught.

    And if climate science were being bribed, all it would take is ONE of those scientists to be bribed more by the oil industry to show evidence of the bribing.

    After all, that’s how they catch blackmailers in the real world, and this IS blackmail, even if it’s bribery.

    And because these are government funded agencies bribing all these hundreds of thousands of scientists, the money has to be accounted for. And every new scientist that enters the field (for the bribes, one presumes, rather than the science) is another one to bribe.

    Government spending is pretty easy to account for. If much of it goes to bribes, then it’s obvious. If not much goes to bribes, why are scientists taking it?

    If that person was moral then they may reject the bribery. And again the entire edifice of bribes fall down.

    Meanwhile the oil industry can just come up with repeatable experiments for the REAL science.

    But they don’t do they.

    They have scores of different incompatible reasons for what’s going on and nothing to explain what IS incontrovertibly known.

    And they post on blogs or paid-for sites like Hearland Institute.

    And all the blackmailers have to be bribed to keep quiet. And all the accountants. And all the people who work on the “black projects”. All the people who know that they aren’t getting the money they’ve been said in the accounting reports need bribing. And bribing after retirement too.

    How monumental must the conspiracy be? How expensive?

    How unlikely.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:40 AM

  410. PS MG despite having it pointed out to you so very bluntly, you still haven’t said why your position holds despite having nothing explaining why CO2 isn’t having the effect the maths and science baldly says it does.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:43 AM

  411. MG, the correlation with CO2 concentration is actually pretty good:

    http://www.bartonpaullevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Yes, the variability is an interesting subject in itself–but that is not where the threat comes from.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:48 AM

  412. Mark says:
    20 October 2009 at 8:31 AM
    “If you go back further, to periods with much higher, and likely almost saturating, levels of CO2″

    CO2 is saturated at the peak bands in the atmosphere now. If you mean “cannot hold more CO2″ then it’s never been anywhere near saturated.

    IR absorption is not saturated now see for example the result of doubling [CO2] from current levels:

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/CO2spectra.gif

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  413. re #43

    MG, the broad correlation between atmospheric CO2 and climate regimes in the deep past is pretty robust right through the last ~ 500 million years:

    This subject has recently been reviewed:

    D.L. Royer (2006) “CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 5665-5675.

    https://wesfiles.wesleyan.edu/home/droyer/web/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf

    Even more recent studies supplement the information in Royers compilation and cover additional periods with new data sets right through the past several hundreds of millions of years:

    R.E. Came, J.M. Eiler, J. Veizer et al (2007) “Coupling of surface temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the Palaeozoic era” Nature 449, 198-202

    W. M. Kurschner et al (2008) “The impact of Miocene atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of the terrestrial ecosystem”Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 499-453.

    D. L. Royer (2008) “Linkages between CO2, climate, and evolution in deep time” Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 407-408

    Zachos JC (2008) “An early Cenozoic perspective on greenhouse warming and carbon-cycle dynamics” Nature 451, 279-283.

    Doney SC et al (2007) “Carbon and climate system coupling on timescales from the Precambrian to the Anthropocene” Ann. Rev. Environ. Resources 32, 31-66.

    Horton DE et al (2007) “Orbital and CO2 forcing of late Paleozoic continental ice sheets” Geophys. Res. Lett. L19708 (Oct. 11 2007).

    B. J. Fletcher et al. (2008) “Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked with Mesozoic and early Cenozoic climate change” Nature Geoscience 1, 43-48.

    etc…etc..

    Comment by chris — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:11 AM

  414. whoops, my post just above is in response to MG’s post #403

    Comment by chris — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:16 AM

  415. > and likely
    NOT
    > almost saturating

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii/

    If you don’t have time to read the science, at least look at the picture:
    http://www.realclimate.org/images/CO2Abs.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 10:22 AM

  416. “IR absorption is not saturated now see for example the result of doubling [CO2] from current levels:

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/CO2spectra.gif

    Can’t go to the link, but optical depth of the earth’s atmosphere at the peak bands of CO2 absorption is significantly over 1.

    I.e. you can’t see the earth’s surface from space at those wavelengths.

    I.e, saturated.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 10:28 AM

  417. The notion that science can get shaped by its funders

    …We are probably not able to meaningfully measure the state of a funder’s or a funded scientist’s intentions, as easily as we can measure the temperature. But this is no reason to take as an implicit working assumption, the opposite, highly unintuitive notion, that funding does not influence science.

    #405 Gavin Ah-ha… So since this theory is impossible to test, it must be true! And you wonder why I’m sceptical….

    Ah c’mon! Gavin, I’m not saying anything like that. Admitting that this is not science, I’m merely saying it fits our basic understanding of how people generally think and act. Far better than the alternative theory – ie that funders do not seek to further their goals when allocating funds. A theory just as unscientific and untestable, at least as deserving of scepticism.

    [Response: No. It simply fits your prejudices about how organisations behave. I’ve been in dozens of review panels and been involved in many funding decisions and what you describe has *never* played a role in those decisions. People have been funded based on how interesting their idea is, how likely it is they will be able to do what they claim and (occasionally) how much they have done already. People’s political outlook or what the anticipated results would show just doesn’t get a look in. Unlike you, I have real experience and data on this, and the list of NSF funded proposals to look at, and the basic fact is that there is absolutely no evidence to support your claim. Thus, I am entitled to no longer give it the equal weighting in the true and false stakes than its converse. Bayesian reasoning in action folks… – gavin]

    Comment by Rene — 20 Oct 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  418. Gavin, you’re coming down too hard on poor Rene. He just has a different prior

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:02 PM

  419. The most climatologically relevant saturation or lack thereof is with regards to changes in net LW flux at the tropopause. When opacity is great enough, all you can see from the tropopause is other layers of air with pretty much the same temperature, so there is almost no net LW flux and very little room to affect it further with more opacity increases.

    I think CO2 is saturated or nearly so between about 14 and 16 microns (hence, the brightness temperature as seen from space is nearly flat over that interval in spite of CO2 opacity fluctuation, except for the peaks in brightness temperature due to larger stratospheric opacity.

    Of course, even at those wavelengths, there is always room for more upper atmospheric cooling – first everything above the tropopause (thus contributing to the tendency for tropopause level shifting), and then when that is too opaque, just the mesosphere and so forth.

    If the tropopause could shift upward to keep up with opacity changes (were it not for the pressure and temperature dependent line broadenning and temperature dependent line-strength, this would require halving the pressure at the tropopause, cutting the mass of the air above in half, for a doubling of CO2), the range of saturated wavelengths would never actually change, but the tropopause doesn’t shift upward that much, so the wavelength interval of saturation widens with increasing CO2 – but the wavelength interval exceeding any significant opacity tends to do the same, because of a generally exponential decay of optical thickness going away from 15 microns (the smaller-scale texture of the spectrum breaks up the wavelength intervals that exceed a given opacity level, so that the edges of any such interval essentially has fuzzy edges – but the width of that fuzz tends not to change (to a first approximation) even as it shifts outward from 15 microns). So after enough CO2 is there to saturate the central part of the absorption band, the width of the band that exceeds a given level of significant opacity through a given layer of air with significant temperature variation, etc, tends to increase in proportion to the logarithm of CO2 concentration – and because the blackbody radiant intensity varies slowly enough over wavelength in comparison to the wavelength shifts being considered, the radiative forcing tends to increase in proportion to the shifting of the edges of the wavelength intervals, and thus with the logarithm of CO2 concentration (the temperature variation with height also affects this – except for polar regions, and perhaps after sufficient reduction of meridional temperature gradients, the lapse rate of the troposphere will generally decrease with greater temperature; however, the temperature difference between the surface and tropopause cand remain the same or increase as the the tropopause level height increases (presumably it increases or increases more for greenhouse effect warming more than for solar forced warming, since the later warms the stratosphere as well). Clouds and water vapor also affect the potential for CO2 forcing as well. If a point were reached where the upper troposphere were completely filled with cirrus, that would drastically cut the potential for additional greenhouse-forced warming, although by itself would be a huge positive feedback to warming up to that point. If cloud fractional area within each layer of air defined relative to the tropopause remained similar, this would not so much alter the potential for additional forcing by greenhouse gases, barring realignments of clouds among different vertical levels or relative to temperature and humidity variations, etc. (and the upward shift in clouds would be a positive LW feedback, while the addition of more cloud area farther below the tropopause (due to increasing depth of the troposphere) would have a negative SW feedback, and there would be some negative SW feedback from higher cloud tops as their albedo effects would be less reduced by absorption from gases above them than they otherwise would given the changes in those gases). As the width of significant CO2 effect widens, it would eventually run into the water vapor absorption bands

    (there is some overlap now, but the overlap effect at the tropopause level is not as big as near the surface because water vapor is concentrated near the surface, so CO2 opacity effectively sits on top of the water vapor where water vapor opacity is not too large. But water vapor opacity gets larger going into longer wavelengths from the CO2 band, and into shorter wavelengths past about 8 microns. (the ‘atmospheric window’, the interval from about 8 microns to about 12 microns, sandwiched between large water vapor and large CO2 opacity, and interupted by a narrow band of ozone absorption, does have some partial absorption by water vapor, and it fills in at higher temperatures with the same relative humidity, essentially bringing net LW cooling of the surface to near zero, requiring an increase in convective cooling except in so far as solar heating of the surface is reduced by water vapor and clouds (if that happens) – but this is only in the lowest layers of the troposphere; the window would still exist for radiation from within the troposphere to escape.)
    —-
    Since an increasing greenhouse effect tends to cool the stratosphere, conceivably the tropopause level itself would also cool, and so, even given the positive feedback of increasing water vapor at given pressure levels, the water vapor concentration at set distances below the tropopause might decrease (?), so that the CO2 band would actually be chasing the water vapor band, delaying their ultimate merging… (????) Interestingly, after the expansion of the CO2 band to longer wavelengths loses some effect (if that does happen at some point), there would still be an effect from the expansion at the other edge of the CO2 band into the atmospheric window.

    Of course, changing temperatures will also shift the peak wavelength of emission, but the shift could go in opposite directions between the top and bottom of the troposphere if the tropopause level is cooling.

    All of which has little to do with the prospect for AGW – a mere doubling or two of CO2, catastrophic though that could be to ecosystems and economies and societies, would not reach any limit where the bands run into each other, etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:12 PM

  420. I’m not sure whether this will meet your strict criteria to be a valid article, but it appears to show statistacally significant correlation between GCRs and tree ring growth – a stronger correlation than with, for example, temperature.

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122597017/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    Comment by Peter Plail — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:17 PM

  421. Peter, see the previous mention of that article earlier in this thread: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/why-the-continued-interest/comment-page-8/#comment-138828 and followup

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  422. … Interesting thing about CO2 forcing – because air-to-air net LW radiant energy exchanges are hindered by both lack of absorption/emission, and by too much opacity blocking photons from traveling over significant temperature variations, the greatest air to air net radiant energy fluxes tend to occur at intermediate opacity (assuming scattering is not too large a part of that, which is a very good assumption for Earthly conditions for LW fluxes) relative to the spatial (vertical) scales of temperature variations.

    Since, past the point of saturation at the center of the band, the width of the intervals of intermediate opacity do not change much as they shift outward from the center, adding CO2 changes mainly the net LW cooling of the surface to space, to the atmosphere, and the net LW cooling of the layers of atmosphere to space. (Except at sufficiently high altitudes where temperature variations occur very sharply relative to the mass distribution.)

    Actually, CO2 forcing is larger at the tropopause than at the surface (perhaps ?mostly? due to water vapor overlap?).

    The overall shape of the water vapor spectrum is quite different, so the water vapor feedback concievably may slow the upward propagation of LW radiation within the air itself, thus requiring a higher convective heat flux to balance the radiative fluxes, depending on what happens to the distribution of SW heating. The temperature increase itself will tend to increase net LW fluxes because for the same temperature difference, the difference in blackbody radiant intensity increases with increasing temperature, especially at short wavelengths. But the decreasing lapse rate in much of the lower troposphere (except polar regions) would have the opposite effect. Although greater warming at nightime at the surface would … well you get the idea.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  423. ” thus requiring a higher convective heat flux”

    In addition to the changes in the net LW cooling of the surface.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:38 PM

  424. Or here in HTML
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122652654/HTMLSTART

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:38 PM

  425. “” thus requiring a higher convective heat flux”

    In addition to the changes in the net LW cooling of the surface.”

    I mean, in addition to the convective flux changes required by the changes in net LW cooling of the surface.

    PS while on that point, I think I realized something about the land-amplification of warming relative to the ocean.

    Of course, this is because the oceans have higher heat capacity. But I had wondered, shouldn’t the effect then be largely reduced after several decades past stabilized forcing, and then eventually go to zero after the warming signal has fully penetrated the deep ocean and thus equilibrated the temperature of upwelling water?

    But I forgot about the diurnal temperature cycle. Given the way convective maintenance of the lapse rate works, and the slowness (relative to day-to-day and hourly changes) of radiative cooling of the atmosphere (generally around 1 K per day within the troposphere), the tropospheric temperatures outside the boundary layer should tend to be set by daytime maximum surface temperatures. As tropospheric air is advected around, the oceans downwind of land will be indirecly radiatively affected more by daily high temperatures on land more than daily average land surface temperatures. So it makes since that at climatic equilibrium, sea surface temperature changes might be more similar to daily high land surface temperature changes, which will be less than daily average land surface temperature changes, so long as it is forced by the greenhouse effect, and aside from other effects. Am I on to something, here? (PS the water vapor feedback by itself would tend to subdue two distinctions of positive solar forcing – the increased diurnal range and stratospheric warming. But my understanding is that the signs of those changes are still expected to be the same (stratospheric warming, larger diurnal range) even at equilibrium (before equilibrium, the stratospheric and diurnal range responses will be ahead of the water vapor feedback).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:50 PM

  426. Rene,
    Try to wrap your head around the idea that 1)science is curiosity driven, and 2)if you fudge your results in science–even slightly–your career, which you worked for a couple of decades to get into, is effectively over. How’s that for incentive to stay honest. Do you have any similar incentive?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:53 PM

  427. Rene #405,

    The basic argument is that any funding of anything is done to advance the funder’s objectives.

    The scientists sitting on funding panels tend to be oddly partial to research that could gain interesting new knowledge, as Gavin is trying to tell you.

    Beyond that, climate science is generally funded by governments. The objectives of government include the protection of public health and safety; the maintenance of public infrastructure; the growth of the national economy; the uninterrupted supply of food, water, and other vital commodities; and the defense of national security. Governments advance these objectives inter alia by funding climate science to learn how much of a threat global warming will be in all these areas, and how they can plan to prevent it or adapt to the consequences.

    And where the emerging ideas have large implications for the welfare of the funder, assumptions of sustained impartiality strain credibility.

    Indeed. You might suspect publicly funded scientists of being partial to public welfare.

    Comment by CM — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  428. Re chris 413 – Nice reading list!

    Re sidd – excellent point about the warming oceans.

    “And the Southern Ocean is freshening”

    If ice can’t explain it (?), I would look at less evaporation (warmer, more humid air from elsewhere advected over upwelling water that has not changed as much in temperature (yet)) or more precipitation.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  429. rene, the only way you can honestly believe that such a conspiracy could exist is that you personally are extremely venal and would take any bribe for any amount and do what the briber wants as long as you don’t get hurt.

    Since you have experience only about how you think, this is the only way you can honestly think your scenario has *any* legs at all.

    Or you just want to slur those who you hate.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:19 PM

  430. … Actually, additional CO2 will affect net LW fluxes among more humid air, clouds, the surface, and space, and between any of those and dryer air, just not so much among the different layers of relatively dryer air – I think.

    (So in the hypothetical situatuation of a continuous blanket of cirrus clouds, adding CO2 would tend to cool the cirrus cloud layer from below, increasing deep convection through the troposphere.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:22 PM

  431. I agree with Rene, funding agencies do have agendas and “seek to further their goals when allocating funds.” For example, my experience with the NIH regarding my applications and my instructions as a reviewer was that the agency was very clear that grant applications fair best if the proposed research was likely to produce significant findings and was doable by the applicant utilizing the proposed methods. It was all very biased against inferior science and blatantly unfair to poorly prepared researchers.

    As a very biased person I think that some biases are useful. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  432. Hank Roberts
    Thank you for pointing me to the additional information. It seems that the Finns’ work tends to support the findings of the British study albeit with a lower correlation. I don’t understand why this is dismissed.

    Comment by Peter Plail — 20 Oct 2009 @ 4:15 PM

  433. Re: Southern Ocean freshening

    Please not to trust my quick calculation that Antarctic melting is too small to cause the freshening. The color coding on the grafs in Schuckman et al. are not sufficient for my eyes to accurately estimate. Really need the ARIVO or CORA or ISAS data for this, i think it is on the net, but havent had the time to look yet.

    Comment by sidd — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  434. “I agree with Rene, funding agencies do have agendas and “seek to further their goals when allocating funds.” ”

    But that isn’t what Rene is saying.

    He’s saying that the whole AGW thing is wrong because these scientists will be bribed.

    And again, all it takes is people looking at reality and the lie is punctured.

    If denial of AGW were right, why is it that Lindzen et al have not yet managed to make any progress in finding even a description of what’s going on instead?

    Either they’re inadequate to the task or they’re wrong.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:56 PM

  435. Peter Pail writes

    > I don’t understand why this is dismissed

    Blog science isn’t science, remember.

    There hasn’t been time for dismissal of that paper by any scientist in the field that I’ve seen. It was published what, four days ago.

    Look at the references (link is with the paper) and check Scholar for papers citing _them_ to get a feel for how that area of science works.

    It’s not a new idea; look with Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/
    Put this into the search box: correlation “cosmic ray” “plant growth”

    That finds: about 127 papers; you can narrow the search yourself as you figure out the key terms and read more.

    But if you start searching for papers mentioning correlation and any two things you can think of that might be somehow related, you’ll find them. Then you have to see if the idea went anywhere — if the paper was cited by any later writers, if it led to any interesting results over time.

    Most correlations are coincidence or related to something else.

    You learn this by studying or trying things. I did a fifth grade science project in the 1950s, taking bean seeds to the local facility with an electron beam and asking the lab people there to irradiate them for me — they did, I grew them out, and the ones hit by the low level electron beam actually germinated better and grew faster than the controls.

    No, I didn’t prove (or even think) in fifth grade that radiation improved the growth of the bean seeds. Most likely explanation, well known at the time — you can preserve food by irradiating it. Low intensity electron beam would mostly damage viruses, bacteria, and mold normally present on the outside of dried beans. (The medium dose beans grew poorly, the high dose ones mostly unsuccessful.)

    Have a look at the hundred-odd papers turned up searching on cosmic rays and plant growth; don’t pay attention to people on blogs who think each brand new paper is conclusive proof but who never bother to read the actual journals to see what’s already been published and watch for later work.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:57 PM

  436. TSI seems to be past the minimum:

    http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png

    Explained: “The adjusted flux is shown with its noon value [at 20:00 UT] that sits around 70 flux units. You can see that TSI has begun its slow upwards climb and that F10.7 background is also climbing [up from minimum values around 66], so SC24 is on its [slow] way. The solar mean field [MF] shows the magnetic field in low-latitude coronal holes and since there aren’t any of these yet, will stay low for a while.”

    (I quote from his post in a ham radio thread; lots of us who are hams are watching and waiting for radio propagation changes)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  437. MG:

    To top it all off, during the period of anthropogenically-induced warming (ie., post-industrial), the correlation between temperature and CO2 is actually not that impressive,

    Look again. http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:15 AM

  438. I’ve been in a bit of a dust up with moderately well known denialist William Kininmonth at The Australian, which I’ve summarized on my blog.

    The punchline: he is now claiming that past records of solar output from sunspots are unreliable, after claiming less than a year ago that they were robust. And he accuses me of misunderstanding science.

    He also missed the rather obvious point that I was talking about the recent past, and proceeded to say those records are robust. If only it was always this easy.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:17 AM

  439. We should specify what we mean by saturation. To an atmosphere physicist, CO2 saturation refers to the fact that the line centers are black. To an AGW denier, it means “adding more CO2 makes no difference.”

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Saturation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:38 AM

  440. Re 435

    Yes its a dangerous game laying too much significance on correlations between tree rings and environmental factors, particularly when the correlation is good in some time periods but diverges in others.

    Comment by Paul Gosling — 21 Oct 2009 @ 7:39 AM

  441. Patrick 027

    Not wanting to get into your discussion with Peter Taylor, wherein you express a higher degree of confidence in CGMs then he does (to simulate and even be able to predict our planet’s climate), there was one point you made that caught my eye.

    In defending the ability of GCMs to simulate our climate even when there are uncertainties, you wrote:

    “The uncertainties come in with processes that cannot be explicitly resolved by the grid scale used, which itself cannot be arbitrarily small because of limited computing power. Such processes must be parameterized. But that is not a guessing game – the possible relationships can be constrained by other modelling excercises and by observations.”

    Here there is a very good case in point.

    The net cooling impact of clouds is generally known. Low altitude (water droplet) clouds reflect incoming solar radiation (climate forcing is estimated to be –48 W/m^2). High altitude (ice crystal) clouds allow incoming solar radiation to pass through, but absorb outgoing LW radiation (climate forcing is estimated to be +30 W/m^2). The net forcing impact of clouds is –18 W/m^2, or over 4 times as high as the GH warming expected from a doubling of atmospheric CO2.
    http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/FCMTheRadiativeForcingDuetoCloudsandWaterVapor.pdf

    [Response: Apples-to-oranges comparison. How does a $1 price rise for a bag of rice become inconsequential if potatoes are $4 a pound? Don’t play games here. – gavin]

    Naturally caused changes in cloud cover are not considered by the GCMs cited by IPCC

    [Response: Nonsense. Clouds change naturally in GCMs as well as changing due to aerosol indirect effects, or contrails, etc. – gavin]

    (see Peter Taylor’s book for more on this).

    The GCMs consider the impact of clouds only as feedbacks to the warming caused by increases in anthropogenic GHGs. These are estimated to contribute +1.3°C to the 2xCO2 temperature impact (or climate sensitivity) of +3.2°C total (IPCC AR4 Ch. 8).

    [Response: Wrong again. Models show a large range of responses – some which show almost none, others that show a lot. – gavin]

    But back to your statement.

    A recent study based on physical observations in the tropics (Spencer et al.), showed that clouds exhibit a strongly negative feedback with warming, of at least the same order of magnitude as the positive feedback from the model outputs cited by IPCC. I would submit that these are the observations that should now be used to constrain the GCMs, as you suggest.

    [Response: A complete misreading of the study (though to be fair to you, this is how the author has described it outside of the literature). He looked however at the impact of a dynamical mode of variability (the ISO a.k.a the MJO) and looked at the effect it had on both SST and clouds. This is very certainly not the same as the impact of SSTs have on clouds despite what might be claimed. – gavin]

    Then there is the question of parameterization.

    GCMs have not been able to do a good job of simulating the impact of clouds, due to the limited computing power, which you mentioned.

    A study entitled: “Climate sensitivity and cloud response of a GCM with a
    Superparameterization” touches on this problem.
    ftp://eos.atmos.washington.edu/pub/breth/papers/2006/SPGRL.pdf

    “Cloud processes in conventional GCMs rely on parameterizations to represent motions smaller than the resolved grid scales and to calculate the fraction of the sky covered by cloud within each grid box.”

    “Using SP-CAM, we present the first global atmospheric climate sensitivity experiments in a GCM with superparameterization.”

    “The world’s first superparameterization climate sensitivity results show strong negative cloud feedbacks driven by enhancement of boundary layer clouds in a warmer climate.”

    “The CAM-SP shows strongly negative net cloud feedback in both the tropics and in the extratropics, resulting in a global climate sensitivity of only 0.41 K/(W m-2).”

    All the models cited by IPCC AR4 chapter 8 indicated a net positive feedback from clouds, although there was some disagreement on the magnitude, and IPCC has made no mention of this study or of superparameterization, although the study was published in March 2006, before the final deadline.

    But, again, these physical observations and model studies using superparameterization actually confirm your statement of how the process should deal with uncertainty.

    At the same time they provide evidence to support the premise that the net feedback from clouds is strongly negative and, thus, that the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is likely to be no higher than 1°C (rather than 3.2°C as assumed by the GCMs cited by IPCC).

    [Response: Wrong again. Even the model with close to zero cloud feedback has climate sensitivity much larger than this. Plus the constraints from paleo make it almost impossible that sensitivity could be this low. – gavin]

    Would you agree that I have understood your statement on how the modeling process works to resolve uncertainty through parameterization and constraints based on physical observations?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:13 AM

  442. “To an AGW denier, it means “adding more CO2 makes no difference.””

    Although that’s never true, is it.

    Even if you take their misapplication of Beer’s law, you only asymptotically get to 1.0 fractional loss.

    The thing is, they look at beers law and say “that is all there is”.

    There isn’t.

    Assume, for example, that the GG layer is 3 optical depths deep. practically 100% of the IR is blocked and re-radiated.

    The denialist then says “so therefore adding another layer of greenhouse gasses cannot change a thing, because 100% of the ground’s IR is blocked”.

    WRONG.

    The IR isn’t blocked. That layer of GG reradiates it. Half going down, half going up.

    So if you double the GG layer, you have two layers. the one touching the ground reradiates upward but that is now blocked practically 100% by that second layer. And, just like that first layer warmed the ground by blocking the IR leaving, that second layer is warming the layer below.

    But warming a layer increases its IR output.

    So that first layer, now warmed by the layer above reradiates its energy and half goes up, but half goes down.

    Therefore the ground is warmed by the extra warming the second layer did to the first.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:56 AM

  443. Gavin

    Thanks for your comments to my post directed at Patrick 027.

    Let me see if I can respond.

    The reference to the Ramanathan and Inamdar study did indeed show that clouds have a net cooling effect on our climate.

    You commented that this was an “apples to oranges” comparison.

    There is no “apples to oranges” comparison made or intended here, Gavin, just stating what the study concluded, namely that clouds on average have a cooling impact on our climate.

    [Response: Much as I’d love to have the time to point you to dictionary definitions of the word ‘comparison’ or school you in the difference between an absolute level and a change in that level, or point out (yet again) that you are indulging in strawman argumentation, I really don’t. So please go and play games somewhere else. – gavin]

    [edit]

    Comment by manacker — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  444. “The reference to the Ramanathan and Inamdar study did indeed show that clouds have a net cooling effect on our climate.”

    Ah, so all the other studies (and did this one use a “computer model”?) that say it’s a net warming are wrong?

    I would ask why, but you won’t answer and just waste more time.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:42 AM

  445. Chris: Thanks for the references. I will get to them in November, so you might not get a proper reply, but thanks for taking the time.

    Comment by MG — 21 Oct 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  446. Mark,

    That was a very good summary of why the saturation argument fails. Nicely done.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:37 PM

  447. Kulmala et al. 2009 and Overholt et al. 2009 didn’t seem to get nearly the kind of attention that Svensmark or Shaviv pull. Funny that.

    Comment by thingsbreak — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:43 PM

  448. The most important point made in this article/rant is at the end when the media is mentioned to have overrepresented the GCR proponents. The fact is, is that the boring, monotonous, and amazing discoveries that science, and specifically climatology, makes are being underrepresented by the media. To average Joe the Plumber, the media telling them that GCR’s are uncorrelated with average global temperature is A) uninteresting because he is simply uneducated on the issue and has no idea what GCR’s are or how to spell it, and B)improbable, since people don’t pay attention to what they don’t understand and they are uninterested in things do nothing to challenge their current understanding of a situation, they will naturally cling to GCR’s as being something to talk about with their idiot buddies during the commercials of a football game. They would rather say “dude, did you know global warming isn’t real? They just found out that this thing called RCG’s are makin in hot.” than “dude, did you know GCR’s are totally uncorrelated with global warming, and is the widely accepted scientific view of their relationship?”.

    So what I’m trying to say, is that the world doesn’t need more media telling people what’s interesting. They need more scientists doing so. The gap between the scientific community and Joe the Plumber needs to be closed; and it needs to be closed by YOU! All of you scientists out there that have any idea how to speak to people and aren’t totally socially awkward need to make their voice heard. Open science to Joe and Jane the plumber, they are interested if it becomes accessible to them.

    Comment by Nick D. — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:32 PM

  449. Mark 442,
    To my understanding, saturation means 100% of the radiation (for the wavelengths where CO2 is active) is blocked and re-radiated down. The extra heat induced by the re-radiation down (100% minus the heating of the layer itself) is ALREADY taken into account.
    So there is no radiation up. So if you add a layer above, it will have no radiation at these wavelengths to deal with.
    And if you add a layer under (that is your example, isn’t it?), you simply redistribute the temperatures, but the radiation bilan is the same. i.e. ok the layer near the ground is heated and radiates more. But then it means that the ground is less heated and emits less…
    Or I missed something?

    Comment by Naindj — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  450. Naindj writes:

    “… 100% of the radiation … is blocked and re-radiated down….”

    “… down … no radiation up …”?! Think this through.

    How do you imagine it could be that the CO2 molecules would know to emit radiation only downward, not sideways or up?

    Down, into thicker air, toward the ground, but not sideways or up into the cold thin upper air toward space?

    Down, so any photograph in those wavelengths would see — what, a completely dark surface with no emission upward?

    I won’t say anything sarcastic here. You somehow believe this. I would very much like to know why you think this could be true. Where did you find the idea? Why do you think it’s believable?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  451. Oops…please read “balance” instead of “bilan”…now you know I’m French ;-)

    Comment by Naindj — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  452. Mr Naindj writes:
    “To my understanding, saturation means 100% of the radiation (for the wavelengths where CO2 is active) is blocked and re-radiated down.”

    This seems to be a misunderstanding. a CO2 molecule that absorbs IR energy will very quickly equilibriate through collision with other molecules or reradiation. The latter will occur randomly in all directions, not just downward. I do not have handy the lifetimes of CO2 excited states against collision and reradiation; perhaps someone would care to post th numbers?

    Comment by sidd — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:47 AM

  453. Re Naindj –

    Different types of saturation:

    1. near 100 % absorption. But as Mark already pointed out, greenhouse (LW radiative) forcing is not just about blocking the direct radiation of the surface to space. It is about altering the destinations of atmospheric emissions. Even if nearly 100 % of surface radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere, there can still be room to reduce the net LW flux out of the tropopause, because the temperature generally decreases with height (as shaped by convective processes) so farther increases in opacity could still decrease the net upward LW flux at the tropopause level by making the troposphere look even colder from above (increasing the opacity of the uppermost layers of troposphere) and by increasing downward LW radiation from the stratosphere. (Vertical variations heating from the changes in radiative heating or cooling below the tropopause level tend to be smoothed out by convective processes so that the troposphere and surface generally tend to warm up or cool down together, with regional, seasonal, and diurnal variations in that tendency.)

    2. Tropopause level saturation – this occurs when the atmosphere is so opaque that photon paths are limited over distances too short for much of a temperature gradient to be visible at the tropopause level. The net LW flux at the tropopause level will simply approach zero as this occurs. Even when this happens, though, the temperature variations over smaller optical thickness-weighted distances allow for changing radiative forcings above the tropopause.

    It is also important to note that tropopause level saturation can occur at some wavelengths while the greenhouse effect remains unsaturated at other wavelengths (as is the case now for adding more CO2).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:32 PM

  454. Re 452 – in most of the mass of the atmosphere, collisions are frequent enough to thermalize the changes in energy caused by absorption and emission of photons. keep optically-‘active’ (emitting and absorbing) gases at about the same temperature as the air as a whole over a given unit volume of air. If a lot of molecules were absorbing and emitting photons without collisions occuring in between, this would not be the case.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:40 PM

  455. …by absorption and emission of photons, keepING optically-’active’ …

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  456. Mr Naindj is right except he’s missing out a couple of REALLY important points. Deliberately?

    1) saturation means practically 100% is absorbed (for the wavelengths where IT IS SATURATED)

    *** capitals are the wrong bit from Mr Naindj’s undestanding corrected ***

    2) This doesn’t mean much in a thermally inhomogeneous transport medium that itself is engaged in the radiation picture.

    That is, in visible wavelengths at earth atmospheric temperatures, the inhomogeneity doesn’t matter because the temperatures do not contribute to the visible wavelengths. At stellar atmospheric temperatures, it does and again you get breaking of the beer’s law generated saturated gas argument.

    Sidd, from previous posts, the time taken to collide with something else is of the order of 1000 times shorter than the relaxation time of the CO2 excitation. I.e. 99.9% or so do not reradiate directly.

    “The extra heat induced by the re-radiation down (100% minus the heating of the layer itself) is ALREADY taken into account.”

    What makes you say this? Already taken into account by what?

    It isn’t taken into account by those who propound the saturated gas argument of the denialosphere. It IS taken into account by AGW science all the way back to Arrhenius and computationally (MATHS ONLY) proved by Gilbert Plass when computers became powerful enough to do the sums in 1956.

    And Arrhenius had a doubling of CO2 causing ~6C warming from his data and Plass got something around 4C per doubling.

    (I don’t have the link here, but I’ve posted it on RC before a few times.)

    Including the downward reradiation isn’t included already in the 0.1C per doubling that Spencer (or McIntyre?) used as (GI) input to the radiative transfer model one of the owners of the site wrote (getting GO, but proclaiming that even their model “proved” the IPCC warming level wrong. Funny how they’re always going on about computer models suffering from GIGO…).

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  457. BPL, post #446, thanks.

    (we have had some terrible arguments, which makes the appreciation more welcome. Ta.)

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  458. manacker – besides Gavin’s responses, I’ll add:

    1. Single studies of cloud feedback have to be taken as contributions to the whole body of knowledge.

    2. Sometimes a study’s results are later shown to be erroneous.

    3. Cloud feedback in the tropics, whatever it may be, is not necessarily the same as cloud feebacks in the subtropics, midlatitudes, and elsewhere.

    And:

    Total cloud radiative effect (which is a significant cooling, which is a larger albedo cooling effect minus a greenhouse effect) is not the same as the change in cloud radiative effect that may occur, such as a feedback to forced climate change or as part of the feedback loops in internal variability – the later not tending to propel the climate too far in one direction or another.

    That was Gavin’s point about ‘apples to oranges’.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  459. “besides Gavin’s responses”

    Well maybe I’m just being too nitpicky with myself, but “besides” is really not the best word choice. Better to say “in addition to”.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:56 PM

  460. Hank (450), within the scope of the theory, doesn’t the radiation upward decrease geometrically/asymtopically to, for all rational purposes, to zero?

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Oct 2009 @ 3:05 PM

  461. Rod, do you imagine the molecule knows which way is up, to emit only down?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2009 @ 3:59 PM

  462. Rod B – the great majority of the mass of the atmosphere is within 50 km of the surface, and this is also true of the atmosphere’s opacity. Of course, SW and LW fluxes are of greatest importance to the temperature of the mesosphere and thermosphere, etc, but those can generally be neglected without much error when calculating tropopause-level radiative forcing, especially for non-UV forcing, etc.

    Because of the thinness of the atmosphere relative to the Earth’s radius, a the consequences of spherical geometry can be neglected without much error for at least some purposes. Which is to say, for example, if the LW flux per unit area emitted from the surface were x W/m2 and y of that were absorbed up to height z, the flux per unit area directly from the surface that reaches height z could be approximated as x*(1-y) W/m2, so long as z is much smaller than a, the radius of the Earth. A more exact value would be x*(1-y) * (a/(z+a))^2 W/m2.

    Both the increasing area with height (divergence of vertical lines) and the curvature of horizontal surfaces (causing the angle from vertical or horizontal along a straight line to vary over the length of the line) can be neglected for at least some purposes.

    Also, the macroscopic scale refraction (as opposed to refraction on the scale of aerosols/cloud particles, which, along with reflection and diffraction, is manifested on a macroscopic scale as scattering) can generally be ignored without much error. The same is true of gravitational lensing and red-shift, and the red-shifting/blue-shifting of solar radiation reaching the Earth at different times of day, etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Oct 2009 @ 5:53 PM

  463. “Of course, SW and LW fluxes are of greatest importance to the temperature of the mesosphere and thermosphere, etc, but those can generally be neglected”

    Meaning radiation is important in determining temperature in the mesosphere and thermosphere, but the radiative flux convergence and divergence (absorption and emission of fluxes) within those layers is a very small fraction of what it is in the stratosphere, troposphere, and surface, at least at most wavelengths outside of the shorter wavelength UV, and over the whole spectrum, the radiant power absorbed and emitted by the mesosphere and thermosphere is a very small fraction of that absorbed and emitted by lower layers.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Oct 2009 @ 6:05 PM

  464. Simple words:

    Rod, the guy was claiming infrared couldn’t radiate _down_ from the atmosphere to the Earth. I asked him how a molecule could know which way was up, to avoid emitting infrared toward the ground.

    You asked something that on second thought probably was unrelated to the discussion above — more along the lines of repeating the same question you’ve asked for years, how infrared can possibly go from Earth to space since it runs into things.

    Same answer to both — it goes, hits something, gets absorbed, the molecule that picked up the energy rattles and wiggles and bounces and almost always transfers the energy to oxygen or nitrogen. Meanwhile the oxygen and nitrogen are bouncing around and sometimes wind up a greenhouse gas molecule with enough extra energy that it emits an infrared photon.

    The photon going out can go in any direction, with no preference.

    Visualize a crowd. If you can pitch a baseball all the way across it, you can pitch it out of the field in just one throw. Everyone in the crowd just stands around looking cool.

    If you can’t throw it that far and it falls into the crowd, each person who catches it throws it again, in a random direction. Eventually it also goes out of the field, but it takes longer. Some of the time someone throws it back at you. While it’s in play, everyone stays warm from the exertion of throwing it back and forth.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  465. Rod B –

    About refraction, increasing area with height, curvature, and relativistic effects:

    See
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?p=10&t=538&&a=18#3398
    and for feedbacks:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?p=11&t=538&&a=18#3406
    (it’s in there somewhere)
    (IF you see my discussion of “emission distribution” (which I should have refered to as “weighting function”) – see clarification here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?p=11&t=538&&a=18#5113 )

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Oct 2009 @ 6:50 PM

  466. “The photon going out can go in any direction, with no preference.”

    And when it gets to open space, it doesn’t change direction any more. So it won’t from there get bounced back to the earth. This gives a preferential diffusion of the photons in the atmosphere to “out to space”.

    Comment by Mark — 25 Oct 2009 @ 5:57 AM

  467. I want to get rid of my copy of “The Chilling Stars” so if anyone wants it just pen a PO Box number or whatever.

    Comment by Mike Donald — 25 Oct 2009 @ 8:17 AM

  468. Mike,

    Is there any useful data in it? Tables, equations, anything that might help someone interested in the actual science? I’ll read a crummy book if it has some useful stuff in it, even though I think the thesis here is crackpot stuff.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Oct 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  469. Hi Barton,

    I can’t see hard data or equations but there’s two pages of references of Svensmarks’ papers. So maybe the science is there. Anyrate it’s yours if you want it. Btw – Chapter 9 “carbon dioxide is feeble” is guaranteed to annoy you.

    Comment by Mike Donald — 26 Oct 2009 @ 8:08 AM

  470. Re Hank 450.
    Re Mark
    Re Robert 027

    Of course you are all right and I am wrong!
    It is a pity I always need one stupid intervention to understand. I will definitely stop posting here and just read what more clever people have to say (both here and the literature)
    This is how I now understand the situation. And if I got it all wrong again, consider it is my last post.
    The Earth is emitting 390 W/m2 of radiation, roughly between 4um and 100 um, peaking at 10 um.
    At 10um, practically no gas will absorb it; that leads to 90 W/m2 going straight to space.
    The other 300 W/m2 will be absorbed (mainly by H20 and then by CO2) and re-emitted 50% UP and 50% down…
    What I said about “no radiation up” was (in my mind) about a particular wavelength of– let’s say -16 um. I simply did not consider that the re-emission is in the same range of wavelength because the CO2 particles are in the same range of temperature…stupid!

    Thank you to all and apologies again.
    Just a last adding: I came to this site after beeing intrigued by a conference of mister Courtillot. So I was really interested in what was going on. This site has kept me away from becoming a so-called “skeptic”. (because Courtillot is very convincing, and it is in French!)
    Keep the good (and necessary) job!

    Comment by Naindj — 26 Oct 2009 @ 1:27 PM

  471. “I simply did not consider that the re-emission is in the same range of wavelength because the CO2 particles are in the same range of temperature…stupid!”

    I wouldn’t worry too much. You’ve been fed this line by others who SHOULD know better.

    They’re shoving garbage in, you’re posting garbage out. Because GI==GO.

    I don’t know whether those numbers are accurate, but it’s one major way in which the “saturated gas” argument is bull. Be a little more skeptical of those who deny AGW to AT LEAST the level you’ve played on the IPCC (which seems to have been “not read it at all”: try reading the IPCC reports, at least you’ll know what you’re told you should be skeptical of).

    And having noted that you’ve been fed a plausible lie, ask them next time to prove their point.

    You’ll either get ignored, get so much garbage it becomes OBVIOUS that it’s garbage or slagged off for being “on the gravy train”.

    Not stupid: misled.

    Comment by Mark — 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:40 PM

  472. naindj, at least you are making the effort to understand–and admit your mistake when you find it. With such a person, science is possible. The reason so many physicists are bald and have sloped foreheads is all the dope slaps we’ve given ourselves when we finally saw how simple the problem we were working on was.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Oct 2009 @ 5:11 PM

  473. Re Naindj – a couple clarifications.

    At wavelengths where the opacity of the atmosphere is low, the atmosphere doesn’t block much radiation from the surface to space, and it doesn’t emit much itself. But what it does emit mostly reaches the surface or space equally, because the atmosphere is too transparent for individual sublayers at different temperatures to block each other’s radiation. In such conditions, you’d see emissions from different parts of the atmosphere almost equally (from above or below), so the atmosphere would have the same effective ‘brightness temperature’ as seen from below and from above.

    When the air is more opaque, however, the layers of the atmosphere, which are at different temperatures, can hide each other more. Thus, the atmosphere can radiate more to the surface than upward to space, because over most of the optical thickness of the atmosphere, there is a general tendency for temperature to decrease with height. This is true within the troposphere in particular (which is the majority of the mass of the atmosphere).

    I think the radiation that reaches space directly from the surface may be closer to 40 W/m2. Clouds are opaque (to varying degrees) at wavelengths that gases are not. Sufficiently high water vapor concentration can make the lowest part of the troposphere almost completely opaque to LW radiation.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Oct 2009 @ 6:04 PM

  474. Mike,

    Thanks, I appreciate it! Email me at ReaderMail1960@aol.com and I’ll send my USPS address.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 6:02 AM

  475. Excuse my delayed response – the filter system turned against me over the weekend. I’ll respond to Richard, Patrick, Sidd and John Reissman once I am sure I am getting through – its frustrating to write a long response and then find my email rejected.

    [edit – ‘ just quoting’ someone who makes unfounded and unjustified accusations is not a way to duck responsibility for spreading nonsense. If you want to engage with scientists (which why I presume you are posting here), don’t start off by accusing them of corruption. You want a dialogue? Then start by treating the people you want to talk to with a modicum of respect. If you want to rant, do it elsewhere – gavin]

    As an analyst seeking to understand how mistakes can be made from ‘groupthink’ processes, such an opinion is an important indication that all is not well with the way IPCC formulates its conclusions. I can readily list five key areas where there was a lack of consensus within the IPCC’s 4th report but this did not surface in the Summary for Policy Makers. I can readily understand how summarisers seek to create simple messages for simple policy conclusions – but it then gets treated as if there is a consensus on the science when that is not entirely the case.

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:24 AM

  476. “As an analyst seeking to understand how mistakes can be made from ‘groupthink’ processes”

    Two problems, Peter.

    1) That idea is itself a groupthink

    2) It presupposes that groupthink is the explanation

    “I can readily list five key areas where there was a lack of consensus within the IPCC’s 4th report but this did not surface in the Summary for Policy Makers.”

    Please cite.

    NOTE: please also check that the summary doesn’t also state the uncertainty or doesn’t state the thing that you are going to quote as an example of groupthink: there’s no need to place the uncertainty in the summary of an element you don’t mention in the summary. It IS, after all, a summary. Not a BBC repeat.

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:27 AM

  477. Peter Taylor,
    OK. Don’t like the IPCC? How about the National Academy of Science? The American Geophysical Union? The American Physical Society? And on and on. In fact, there is not a single professional or honorific scientific society that dissents from the consensus. Or you can look at the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Guess what, virtually no publications in significant dissent–and those few that do lead nowhere, as evidenced by the lack of citations.

    Sorry, Peter, the denialists just don’t produce anything that increases our understanding. And science… well, it works.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Oct 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  478. Re Peter Taylor –

    and also, consider that if humans are vulnerable to group think and also corrupting influences of money, power, and ideology, consider that many scientists and the IPCC may be less vulnerable than Exxon’s hired shills, and more innocently, people who haven’t studied the matter.

    When you here of people pointing out the corrupting/biasing influences among ‘skeptics/contrarians/deniers’, note that it may not (depending on where the criticism comes from) be the source of of suspicion of error, but that the errors themselves are already evident and the roles of money, power, connections, and ideology are only sought as explanations for error and/or to find blame for the error.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Oct 2009 @ 11:37 AM

  479. Ray Ladbury477:

    The IPCC reminds me of the UN’s Group of Independent Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution – which also suffered from a severe case of group-think and defended its models of dispersal of toxic metals, organic pollutants and radioactivity – all of which were wrong. Or the UN panel on ionising radiation that prevaricated on the X-raying of pregnant women, arguing that the models showed no effects (the data showed otherwise but was not collected by UN agencies, rather by hospital doctors). And as for the US National Academy of Sciences – it changed its stance rather late on, as did the Russian Academy, with both former President of NAS and the Russian Vice President of IPCC stating their view that the GHG hypothesis was not confirmed and there was a lot of unjustified alarmism. I think it was 2004 before all the Academies got into line. I have not gone through line for line just what they found consensus on – but I don’t think it is much more than IPCC.

    [Response: References for these claims? Forgive us if we don’t just take your word for it. Given that your claim that the NAS changed it’s mind on GHGs is completely false, I’m sceptical. The NAS has published over 25 reports on climate change issues and each one has been more definitive than the previous – the musings of a senile ex-president notwithstanding. – gavin]

    Patrick478:

    I am not party to the view that IPCC scientists are influenced by finance, bribes, or whatever. Some good friends of mine have worked for the Climate Convention – my book, for example, is endorsed by the marine biologist Jackson Davis, who was given the task of drafting the Kyoto Protocol itself and who represented the Pacific Island states on the Convention.

    The way that finance influences the work of the IPCC is through the disproportionate emphasis throughout climatology upon computer models and a virtual reality of planetary systems. This branch of science competes for funding by emphasising its successes and downplaying its failures (as did the marine modelling before it – on which I have published a critique of the UN system in the peer-reviewed literature). Doubtless those who for their own vested interest seek to downplay global warming – whether oil interests or whatever, also seek to fund analyses in areas that would benefit their argument. In any area of science there are dissenters from and critics of the orthodox view. The real question at stake here is how is the dissent managed – by exclusion or by inclusion, by admission of the uncertainties and their implications, or by covering them over in order to simplify the message.

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 28 Oct 2009 @ 5:36 PM

  480. “by exclusion or by inclusion, by admission of the uncertainties and their implications, or by covering them over in order to simplify the message.”

    The IPCC does admit uncertainties, as do others.

    ‘skeptics/deniers/contrarians’ sometimes make statements with a degree of certainty that might not be justified. And sometimes they make statements that are factually incorrect, sometimes in the extreme (Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, Pat Michaels – see how they allocate the greenhouse effect to various gases, and look at Fred Singer’s take on the carbon cycle – it could be the work of a crazy person). And sometimes they do both at the same time. And when they consider the uncertainty, they often distort it, seeming to have unjustified certainty that the sign of the error will tilt their way (that climate change will be less severe, the costs will be less, and the costs of alternatives will be larger). Sometimes they cherry pick, present misleading half-truths, and generally obfuscate if they know what they’re talking about.

    “The way that finance influences the work of the IPCC is through the disproportionate emphasis throughout climatology upon computer models and a virtual reality of planetary systems.”

    What in your opinion needs greater emphasis? Physics is very very important. But there are paleoclimatic studies and observations, too, and they don’t really disagree much.

    What errors have actually been made by the IPCC?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Oct 2009 @ 10:13 PM

  481. Sure, the UN’s a political assembly, and national self-interest has always led to pressure to minimize the danger of all sorts of things.

    Low level radiation? Sure, no problem — remember ‘hormesis’? It’s still an argument in use today. http://dose-response.metapress.com/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,2,3;journal,4,18;linkingpublicationresults,1:119866,1
    It’s highly politicized and the worry about studying the health issues affects climate discussions to this day.
    Compare the links in this comment: http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/07/14/counterpoint-nuclear-power-and-the-low-carbon-economy/#comment-19617
    to this post: http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/
    You can be all in favor of something and still want ongoing dispassionate careful scientific study of the outcomes — but not on _this_ planet the way _we_ think and do our politics.

    Sure, the UN can be shown to have made political decisions in the past.
    Were they overcautious? Nope.

    Toxic waste disposal? Dunno, citation welcome.

    But can you come up with an example of the UN being _over_cautious about that? Or about something where its constituent nations and their industries wanted freedom to pollute or do other risky things to externalize their costs?

    The UN has been a least common denominator about climate change. Still is.
    Like it has been about every other issue you’ve raised.

    Clearly, the UN is by far the worst form of planetary management ever invented, except for all the others we can speculate may have existed anywhere, c.f. Fermi Paradox. Nice planet you’ve got here. Shame to lose it.

    Andrew Dessler — who knows whereof he speaks, look up his work — made this point far more clearly some time ago:

    http://www.grist.org/article/Why-you-should-believe-the-IPCC-part-134992653/
    Why you should believe the IPCC, part 134,992,653
    The ideological tensions inside the IPCC gives its reports alarming credibility (Posted 8 months ago)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Oct 2009 @ 11:29 PM

  482. “What errors have actually been made by the IPCC?”

    I think what he considers the error, Patrick, is that the IPCC have said AGW is happening.

    He KNOWS this is incorrect, so there must be a pony in there somewhere.

    Comment by Mark — 29 Oct 2009 @ 4:58 AM

  483. Peter Taylor, You seem to want to make this a UN issus. It isn’t. Most climate scientists are not on the IPCC. Most of the scientific organizations that have statements supporting the consensus position have no connection the the UN or to any US or other government organization. Nonetheless, there is not one well respected scientific professional or honorific scientific organization that is in dissent. Zero, Nada, Rien de tout, Nichts. Ferchrissake, event the frigging petroleum geologists could not maintain a credible dissent in the face of the data! This and the woeful publication record from the tiny fraction of scientists who do dissent suggests that maybe you might want to contact the mother ship for further instructions. The fight in the scientific realm is long lost. The only question now is whether our policy will be based on science or on anti-science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Oct 2009 @ 7:28 AM

  484. 2. The issue of upper ocean heat content

    IPCC based its 2007 conclusions largely upon the analysis of Levitus in 2005, as did Barratt reporting in Science that the models had done an accurate job of replicating the build up of heat since 1950. (In relation to the earlier comments by Sidd399 about the deep ocean warming – I will read Schuckmann as suggested about deeper ocean warming but I would still expect the bulk of the signal to be confined to the top 200m. I make reference in my own review to three papers by Warren White and his colleagues at Scripps between 1997-2003 which concluded that the global warming signal was essentially locked in the upper 200m. This makes sense oceanographically because there is little interchange of surface waters with deeper water other than in areas of downwelling and upwelling and these movements are very slow. When Lyman reviewed the data in 2006 and thought he had found a massive heat loss he thought it would have gone to space from surface waters rather than to deeper areas – but as we know, that signal was false, there was no massive loss, rather a steady flatline since 2003. The current use of 700m as upper ocean heat content might disguise the pattern down to 200m – I hope to get time to look at this.

    With regard to IPCC – they reference some of these issues in the working group – but not the later 2x revision of ocean heat content by various authorities since Levitus in 2005 (e.g. Gouretski & Koltermann in 2006)and do not flag the developing lack of consensus – which has increased between 2007 and 2009 – with work by Domingues and Smith , and Palmer at Hadley confirming Gouretski, but Levitus recently pulling back a few percentage points. It still looks as if upper ocean heat content was rather grossly over estimated (50-100%).

    This has major implications for the models. Again, it was a plank of the validation argument that they replicated the early curve. Now that curve is under serious question – as is the size of ‘warming in the pipeline’ upon which future projections have been made. Clearly, the models falsely replicated the signal.

    [Response: Not true at all. The matches to the models to the latest NOAA OHC numbers over the last 30 years are very good and this was shown in Domingues et al as well. I’ll show a graph of this in a couple of posts’ time. – gavin]

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 29 Oct 2009 @ 1:43 PM

  485. 3. Cloud thinning between 1983 and 2001

    IPCC deal with this issue at length in the technical reports. There is a mass of satellite-derived data – from radiation surveys at all levels of the atmosphere as well as ground surfaces, and from reflected light or ‘earthshine’ (Big Bear Solar Observatory) that is consistent and shows that a) global cloud cover fell by 4% over this period; b) low level cloud cover was probably the main factor; c) short-wave radiation to the surface, especially of the oceans, increased. The extra radiative effect was 4-5 times that of the computed Radiative Forcing of carbon dioxide over that same period.

    At the same time, ship-borne synoptic measurements did not show such a trend. IPCC therefore regarded the discrepancy as unresolved and the whole issue was downplayed and did not figure prominently in the summary.

    A phase change in cloud patterns occurred between 2000-2001 (2% up maintained since that time) – followed by the flatlining of ocean heat content and the flatline also in surface temperatures.

    Now – this could be justified by saying that the models deal with all of this as ‘feedback’ – and there is no reason to question them or the attribution studies – but everywhere I look in the literature pertaining to those models I read that dealing with clouds is their main weakness (Bart P Levinson, 404, in reply: I started to read the model literature three years ago – The latest review I read was Koutsoyiannis’s team funded to evaluate how well the models performed in comparison to those of the hydrological cycle, where start-points were more clearly factored in to cycles; or the review by Compo and Sardeshmukh on transfer of heat from ocean to land (they found no obvious carbon dioxide signal, only that land warming was due to heat transfer from the ocean). Thus, how the oceans warmed between 1980-2000 is rather crucial.

    [Response: Wrong again. The ‘earthshine’ data are not consistent with independent measures from satellites and have a much larger uncertainty than you realise. – gavin

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 29 Oct 2009 @ 1:46 PM

  486. 4. Attribution studies

    The IPCC still holds to the attribution studies – little changed in their conclusions – entirely based upon the models – revised of course – but still (by 2007) not replicating the PDO/AMO/ENSO patterns – nor any models that might factor in the correlations of solar magnetic cycles/ocean temperatures even though the mechanisms are not elucidated (I am not greatly impressed by the GCR correlation, more so with the UV variability). The potential for an alternative model based on alternative assumptions about the balance of the driving force is not explored – it is a perfectly legitimate scientific exercise – even if ultimately proved to be wrong – but not one the IPCC would regard as legitimate when faced with providing a simple message to policy makers. That is groupthink driven by the need to relate the report to a political process.

    [Response: More nonsense. How do you propose to make any kind of attribution study of a singular event without recourse to models of some sort? Think about trying to do it for the Pinatubo eruption (which carries far less political baggage) and demonstrate how to convincingly link the subsequent cooling to the stratispheric aerosol injection without using models. This is not groupthink, this is just ‘think’. – gavin]

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 29 Oct 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  487. My thanks for the space to express these views. Please do read the book. I will take on board any feedback and incorporate it into any future work. Although I am here presenting the case for one side – in my book and in my work I am careful to present opposing views so that policy makers can see my own views in context – naturally, as you might expect, at this present time, there are very few beating a path to my door! I have not been wrong on any issue thus far (which is why I have been listened to before) and I am well aware of how far out I have stuck my neck – but then, there are very high stakes on things I care about – the Scottish Highlands, palm-oil in Borneo, the Amazon, the Congo rainforests, the Tana River Wilderness, the Iceland wild rivers, the Severn Estuary, China buying up millions of acres of productive land in Madagascar (not sure if they expect cooling and compromised food supplies – as they are better informed on solar cycle links to famine, or just looking for biofuels and carbon credits). And yes, I do appreciate that if I am wrong, these areas would be affected by global warming. And I know that oil is running out. My point in the book is that the answers in each case are different in emphasis and timing.

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 29 Oct 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  488. Peter Taylor, I am puzzled to see your book published by Clairview Books, a source of notoriously inaccurate information. What’s the connection? Don’t they help do any fact checking? The kinds of errors already noted above are truly worrisome.

    And you have such a smooth, polished, enticingly green website.

    But — Clairview?!

    One Small Step? by Gerhard Wisnewski, Clairview Books, 2008,
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Moon_Hoax

    And of course
    CHILL. “Do you believe the earth is warming? Think again,” says Peter Taylor, a committed environmental analyst with the unusual gift of following scientific evidence ruthlessly wherever it may lead. ….

    More following seems appropriate. I’d hope you’ll put your fact claims on a website, add the corrections made above, and show how you plan to gather information for the next book. It seems like the process needs some improvement.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Oct 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  489. I’d hope you’ll put your fact claims on a website, add the corrections made above,

    Hank, I think you missed this:

    I have not been wrong on any issue thus far (which is why I have been listened to before)

    This is not an attitude amenable to self-education.

    Comment by dhogaza — 29 Oct 2009 @ 4:03 PM

  490. I plugged the phrase “Group of Independent Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution” into google, and got one hit – this page on RC. I shortened the phrase to “Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution”, and the first hit was
    http://books.google.com/books?id=TacOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=%22Scientific+Aspects+of+Marine+Pollution%22&source=bl&ots=7ohS0vpVIk&sig=W3LkTckNTKXQU1uGM0A-tqRDG8c&hl=en&ei=uPXpSsaIF4OnlAenz8H_BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CA0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Scientific%20Aspects%20of%20Marine%20Pollution%22&f=false
    “IMCO does, however, take part in the work of, and provide the administrative centre for, the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution,…”, so they are not really independent.

    Googling for “intergovernmental marine consultative organization” led to
    http//www.law.georgetown.edu/LegalTheory/documents/MovementandCommons_000.pdf
    “Originally founded in 1949 as the Intergovernmental Marine Consultative Organization, IMO was really just a “shipowners’ club”, ensuring only the barest level of
    international regulation… “, and eventually to
    http://www.imo.org/environment/mainframe.asp?topic_id=231
    “As on previous occasions, there was some resistance on the part of the oil industry to double hulls being made mandatory…”
    “In 1991 a major study into the comparative performances of the double-hull and mid-height deck tanker designs was carried out by IMO, with funding from the oil and tanker industry.”
    which led to “…existing tankers must comply with the requirements of 13F not later than 30 years after their date of delivery.” IMHO, allowing thirty years to achieve compliance doesn’t reflect a “severe case of group-think”, but of industry meddling.

    Isn’t it ironic that a group that Peter Taylor mischaracterizes as independent is in fact neither independent nor free from influence of the oil industry?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 29 Oct 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  491. Mr. Taylor: Re: Ocean Heat Content

    I agree with Gavin. I am right now looking at Levitus 2005 (GRL v32, L02604, 2005), Levitus 2009 (GRL v36, L07698, 2009) and Domingues(Nature, v453, 1090, 2008). Levitus 2009 adds data and corrects for instrumental errors and has a comparison with Domingues 08. I see substantial agreement in trends of increasing ocean heat content (OHC) Levitus has 0.32+/-0.05, Domingues has 0.41+/-0.06 in units of 1e22 J/yr for the period 1969-2003. Year to year variability is different, but the trends agree to within the error, against differential processing algorithms, and different data sets.

    As Gavin points out and Domingues shows clearly, once volcanic forcings are included, the models do agree with the measurements.

    Please do read the Schuckman paper (JGR, v114, C09007, 2009)
    You will see the signature of deep warming, Southern freshening, and an OHC trend estimate (over 2003-2008) which is much larger than the Levitus estimate (which spans the last 5 decades)

    Lastly: Please use complete citations, or include a complete list of references at the end of your posts.

    “three papers by Warren White and his colleagues at Scripps between 1997-2003″ is not a citation.

    “Gouretski & Koltermann in 2006″ is very slightly better, but I note the publication date is actually 2007. The actual reference is GRL v34, L01610, 2007.

    “work by Domingues and Smith, and Palmer” is completely horrible.

    I am familiar with some of these papers. It will take me unnecessary work to track down the rest. I hope and anticipate that you will show me and the rest of the readers here more courtesy in future.

    Comment by sidd — 29 Oct 2009 @ 5:13 PM

  492. re “On the possible links between tree growth and galactic cosmic rays” Markku Kulmala, Pertti Hari, Ilona Riipinen, and Veli-Matti Kerminen

    Their Figure 1 shows a positive correlation between cosmic rays and tree growth. The argument from Svensmark et al is that more GCRs make more clouds, higher albedo, and cooler weather. Cooler weather and less sunlight reaching the trees should result in less, not more, tree growth. At least hormesis directly linked to increased GC radiation would have the correct sign, (as opposed to “…it is possible that the observed correlation of cosmic radiation flux with tree growth might be related to cosmic ray-induced changes in cloud properties.” by a mechanism which “remains to be elucidated.” I’m tempted to say something snarky involving a quote from Lewis Carroll, but I’ll leave that to others.)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 29 Oct 2009 @ 6:16 PM

  493. Chuckle. Brian, one suggestion is that diffuse light gets scattered enough to light up the bottom as well as the top of leaves, while not overheating the plant to the point it shuts its stomata to avoid dehiscence.

    I dunno if anyone’s shown that actually happens. Could be done with some experimental use of fogs machines, I suppose.

    I do know I’ve been in a nighttime forest in a thin mountaintop cloud — on a full moon night — and we couldn’t see the moon even as a brighter spot aboveus, but there were absolutely no shadows anywhere at all under the trees — everything was alight, evenly glowing pearly air everywhere, each droplet reflecting and refracting the light from all the others.

    “Haven’t felt anything quite like that since” as Holly Near said about something else entirely.

    So I can imagine a tree having the same experience in a misty sunlit environment.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Oct 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  494. Re 492/493

    The graph showing the cosmic ray / tree ring correlation (New Phytologist Vol. 184, 3 Pages: 511-513) shows a lot of noise, but it is very hard to see any correlation there (let alone an indication of causation).

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 31 Oct 2009 @ 3:05 PM

  495. Why the Climate/Sun/GRC link has not been buried?

    I think the observational evidence for a link between reconstructions of past climate change and solar activity/GRC’s is far too strong to ignore.

    There are lots of observations which show that the sun seems to be affecting climate, but the physical mechanism remains unknown.

    The CLOUD-09 experiment at CERN which has only just started should give us some answers over the next 2-3 years, proving or disproving whether cosmic rays can affect clouds and climate.

    Comment by M_B — 2 Nov 2009 @ 1:59 AM

  496. I fully agree with M_B that the CLOUD experiment at CERN will tell us a lot more, and it it still way too early to write off the “idea that galactic cosmic rays (GCR) play a role for the present global warming”, simply because number of scientific arguments have been made “that normally would falsify a hypothesis and lay it dead”.

    There is still, as M_B points out, the observed evidence of a link between past climate change and solar activity, for which we still do not know the physical mechanism, and CLOUD could provide this.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 2 Nov 2009 @ 2:00 PM

  497. Further to the post by M_B

    “Why the continued interest” in the “idea that galactic cosmic rays (GCR) play a role in our climate”?

    New scientific knowledge is ALWAYS a good thing. We should not be afraid to learn that our current knowledge is incomplete or even partially wrong.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 2 Nov 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  498. “New scientific knowledge is ALWAYS a good thing”

    Correct.

    Now please explain where the new scientific knowledge is.

    Because apparently you love new scientific knowledge but ignore it if it says “you know that Cosmic Ray thing? Well, it doesn’t explain the warming you’ve been getting”.

    Since that is the new scientific knowledge that prompted Rasmus to ask “why the continued interest?”

    Is it only new knowledge if it says CO2 isn’t the cause? Because current scientific knowledge says that Svenmarks’ idea doesn’t work.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Nov 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  499. “There are lots of observations which show that the sun seems to be affecting climate, but the physical mechanism remains unknown.”

    Well, duh.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sf_UIQYc20

    Yes, the sun is very heavily involved in the climate. But now that it is a tremendously unusual quiet period, why is the temperature record still breaking records?

    Comment by Mark — 2 Nov 2009 @ 2:40 PM

  500. Brian Dodge (490)

    In the late 1980s and early 1990’s the IMO building in London provided the venue for the London Dumping Convention – an intergovernmental body under the auspices of the UN that controlled the disposal of toxic wastes at sea (from ships). The IMO’s own work on maritime safety was a separate issue – and if you are going to have regulations on double hulls you do not phase them in immediately because that would cripple the oil fleet and bring the world economy to a halt – as I am sure you appreciate this would be counterproductive to getting an intergovernmental aggreement – rather, by setting a deadline, you make sure that all new-build meets the regulation at minimal cost and disruption. But I hold no brief for the oil industry.

    Under Manfred Nauke at IMO, the side of the organisation that I advised was making great strides toward cleaning up the world’s oceans. As a group of us spearheaded new legislation to prevent the dumping of toxic waste, I felt it incumbent to use the expertise we had gained to find a better way forward for the industries that produced the waste (at which point I departed from my usual alliances with environmental campaign groups and worked directly with IMO). I found funding to send a post-doctoral assistant on a mission to assemble best practices throughout key industries. In the years that followed he pioneered ‘Clean Production Strategies’ and now sits on the UK Sustainable Development Commission and holds a professorship in sustainable development. A UN Office of Clean Production also emerged from these initiatives.

    It would be wrong to characterise the IMO as a patsy of the oil industry or to suggest I had any such links. Their very good offices contributed to making the oceans safer and cleaner.

    As for GESAMP – my last meeting with them was not at IMO but at the IAEA offices in Vienna in 1992 – when rather than quietly sit down and find a way out of the ‘dilute and disperse’ paradigm that had gone so badly wrong, they stonewalled and challenged me to public my critique in the peer-reviewed literature. It took a year and cost about $40,000, of which half came from a somewhat begrudging Greenpeace who did not at first see the merit sof helping the UN solve its own problems. You can read this critique:

    Taylor P. (1993) ‘The state of the marine environment: a critique of the work and role of the Joint Group of Experts on Scientific aspects of Marine Pollution (GESAMP)’ Marine Pollution Bulletin, 26 (3) 120-127

    and I would also suggest

    Stairs K and Taylor P (1992) ‘Non-governmental organisations and the legal protection of the oceans’ in International Politics and the Environment ed. Hurrell & Kingsbury, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

    which will give you insights as to the interplay of commercial, environmental and governmental forces in legislative initiatives.

    If you want to go further then ‘Clean Production Stratgeies’ ed Tim Jackson, Stockholm Environment Institute (1993)

    also relates to that work, and has a chapter which I contributed on the role of the Precautionary Principle.

    I go into some detail on this historical precedent in ‘Chill’ because I perceive the IPCC as making similar errors to those of GESAMP – largely arising because of a strong prior-commitment and the way in which technical reports from real scientists are edited into summary documents by the ‘committed’ secretariat – and I could find a many examples in key areas of science where no consensus existed in the technical areas, but somehow manifested in the summary document.

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 3 Nov 2009 @ 10:55 AM

  501. Mark (499)

    The sun’s unusual minimal sunspot activity, low solar wind pressure and slightly reduced irradiance became obvious only after 2006 when the new cycle 24 failed to start. Whatever the solar-terrestrial climate mechanisms are, there are time lags. If you look at the last few cycles – you will see cycle 22 peaked in 1990 and was the highest in a steadily increasing amplitude since 1900 – cycle 23 was down on that, and 24 is now expected to be further down (if indeed it kicks off properly at all). Any solar pattern will impress a pulse pattern upon the ocean surface waters (well attested) and these are subjected to internal oscillations ranging from ENSO (3-4 years) to the AMO (60 years or more) all of which interact to influence global temperature records.

    Which records did you have in mind since 2006? The two highest global averages were 1998 and 2005. There have been some very high sea surface records for particular months, but generally, ocean heat content has flatlined, and the decadal average has been dragged down by two significant La Nina periods.

    If the current solar minimum is going to affect global averages, it will become evident in the decade ahead with reduced amplitude El Nino and prolonged La Nina. negative PDO, negative AMO and a shift in the Arctic Oscillation as well. The jury is out on whether this is all internal variability and/or driven by the sun, but there is certainly no consensus on the matter.

    Comment by Peter Taylor — 3 Nov 2009 @ 11:12 AM

  502. Mark

    You asked “please explain where the new scientific knowledge is”.

    Wait until the CLOUD experiment results come out from CERN, Mark.

    One way or the other, we will have “new scientific knowledge” from them, as M_B has pointed out.

    Now as to the current cooling and the low level of solar activity. Are they linked? Who knows?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 3 Nov 2009 @ 12:43 PM

  503. “Mark

    You asked “please explain where the new scientific knowledge is”.

    Wait until the CLOUD experiment results come out from CERN, Mark.”

    So the new scientific knowledge doesn’t exist.

    So why the continued interest in a work where the results have so far said “it’s not this, kid”?

    “One way or the other, we will have “new scientific knowledge” from them, as M_B has pointed out.”

    But so far you’ve ignored any other “new scientific knowledge” that’s said “nope, it’s not this, kid”, so why are you going to accept this one when it says “nope” again?

    “Now as to the current cooling”

    It’s not cooling! Given you have never yet after the scores of times you’ve been corrected (there’s even this link to tell you: http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/ap-impact-statisticians-reject-174088.html ) you still seem to avoid any new knowledge when it doesn’t agree to your preconceptions.

    Hence: why do you have continued interest? Your assertion “I’m interested in new scientific knowledge” is debunked by your own refusal to accept new scientific knowledge.

    “and the low level of solar activity. Are they linked? Who knows?”

    The climate scientists.

    At least as much as any current technology and science knowledge can make someone know.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Nov 2009 @ 1:22 PM

  504. “The sun’s unusual minimal sunspot activity, low solar wind pressure and slightly reduced irradiance became obvious only after 2006 when the new cycle 24 failed to start”

    That it was *unprecedented* for over 100 years was only known by then.

    But as you said yourself, it had already reduced. Else it would not have been expected to come OUT of a minima, if it had not already been in one for some time, yes?

    “Which records did you have in mind since 2006? The two highest global averages were 1998 and 2005.”

    2008 and 2007 too.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116163206.htm

    In fact there are several years in 2000 that are easily (within the errors of a selection of indefinitely larger localities to produce the actual temperature average) that are warmest.

    “If the current solar minimum is going to affect global averages, it will become evident in the decade ahead with reduced amplitude El Nino and prolonged La Nina. negative PDO, negative AMO and a shift in the Arctic Oscillation as well”

    It’s the first I’ve heard of that theory.

    A few years lag is not entirely impossible but only over the laggard average temperatures and the assumption of overwhelming offset from oceanic rather than land temperature effects. Remember, temperatures have still been rising, despite the solar constant lowering over the same period.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Nov 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  505. > CLOUD experiment at CERN will tell us a lot more

    Unless it doesn’t, of course. They warn that it may not:

    “The challenges of a laboratory experiment are to duplicate
    the atmospheric conditions realistically and to ensure that the detector dimensions are sufficiently large
    that wall effects do not influence the measurements….”

    Faith that experiments not yet done will be informative?
    Charming, but naive. Excellent troll though, you hooked a lot of responses to the stuff this time around.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Nov 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  506. Nice blog you got here. I’d like to read more about that matter.

    Comment by Jammer — 5 Nov 2009 @ 9:42 AM

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