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  1. I don’t really understand Prof. Curry’s continued problem with the form of probabilistic statements made by the IPCC, c.f. the “Uncertainty Monster” paper (the monster turns out to be something like an ewok). The statement essentially gives the probabiilty that a bound on some quantity holds. This is very similar to PAC (probably approximatly correct) bounds used in computational learning theory, which suggests there isn’t any real problem with ambiguity or imprecision.

    The point I think Judith is missing is that it is not intended to be a more precise statement than “we are 95% sure that the anthropogenic component of the increase in tempertures since 1950 is at least 50%.” Even that directly contradicts her position as it means that the IPPC only allocate a probability of 5% to the possibility of an anthropogenic component as low as 50% (i.e. it isn’t really plausible).

    Comment by DikranMarsupial — 27 Aug 2014 @ 9:21 AM

  2. “what would the temperature would have done in the absence” has an extra “would” I think.

    Curry seems confused on ‘warming in the pipeline’ since this comes about from stabilization of forcing which has not occurred.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 27 Aug 2014 @ 9:30 AM

  3. Dumb question – if the fraction of warming attributable to human activities is 1.1, does it to be interpreted that absent human activities, there would be a cooling trend?

    Thanks in advance!

    Comment by Arun — 27 Aug 2014 @ 9:47 AM

  4. Um, I’m getting a little confused about an attribution greater-than 100%. Does this mean that the trend without human influences would have been ‘cooling’, ie that the human effects are offsetting influences that would have (before we destablizing the system) gone the opposite direction?

    [Response: exactly. – gavin ]

    Comment by forrest curo — 27 Aug 2014 @ 9:56 AM

  5. I think part of the issue in regards to Judith’s insistence of a binary mode of thought processes, and also in regards to asking when AGW began, is simply an artifact of Modernist thinking. It seems to be a common theme in the “skeptical” blogosphere. Skeptics want the time and date AGW started, they fail to understand why surface temperature is a poor overall measurement of added energy, they provide endless straw men by creating a false dichotomy of equal choice, and I posit that these are idea of people who fail to grasp the probabilistic (maybe pluralistic is a better term here) choice of postmodern reality. This fundamental flaw seems to be at least partially responsible for the disconnect seen in your post.

    Comment by Nikilaus Wycha — 27 Aug 2014 @ 10:59 AM

  6. It’s like an upscale version of Two New Sciences, with Gavin in the role of Salviati and JC in the role of poor Simplicio. It’s not kind to Ms. Curry, but it’s a fine tutorial for the rest of us. : )

    Comment by robert — 27 Aug 2014 @ 11:01 AM

  7. Gavin,

    Thanks for this detailed take-down.

    You write “I don’t know what she refers to as the ‘cooling argument’”.

    I’m pretty sure that’s in response to me bringing up the same point on twitter as you do here, namely that internal variability may as well have been cooling or warming (we can’t exclude the possibility that int. var. had a cooling influence, hence also the net anthro contribution is not capped at 100%.

    Her response doesn’t make a lot of sense though, since the fact that the globe warmed up doesn’t negate the argument above.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 27 Aug 2014 @ 11:57 AM

  8. Thanks, Gavin. Typo in last sentence (remove “has”).

    Comment by Scott Mandia — 27 Aug 2014 @ 12:19 PM

  9. Gavin,

    Lets stick with the IPCC time scale. My comment concerns figure 10.5 (shown above).
    The ‘Observed temperature’ rise since 1950 is given as 0.65±0.05 C, while both NAT and Internal Variability are shown as 0.0±0.1 C.

    Tung and Zhou (2013) present evidence of an AMO induced natural 60y signal. The correct way to remove this from the analysis is to compare two dates where that are in phase with the AMO oscillation. Therefore the start date should be 1940 and not 1950.

    [Response: The CORRECT way to do this, as Gavin alludes to, is to first remove an estimate of the forced component. See Mann & Emanuel (2006) and Mann et al (2014). -mike ]

    See this graph for the result

    The observed temperature rise since 1940 is then 0.45±0.05 C. So comparing this to figure 10.5 we see that the INT component should really have been 0.2±0.05 with the ANT component at 0.45±0.05. Therefore the PDF Bell curve you show for the attribution should instead be sitting at 150%.

    So it is more like 75-25

    Comment by Clive Best — 27 Aug 2014 @ 12:31 PM

  10. What would it take to convince you that this PDF needs to be shifted to the left? The models running hot would sure seem to qualify as one possible condition. Not clear how long / how large the discrepancy would need to be before this would be seriously considered. Are there any guidelines here?

    The description here suggests that natural variation was a net negative from 1950 to 2000 and has now entered a large net negative during the hiatus. Surely the natural forcing will switch to positive at some point? With all this built up suppressed AGW energy we should expect a big bounce back in temperature, correct? When would this be expected to happen?

    [Response: Attribution and sensitivity are different issues. In the present case where the (negative) aerosol forcing is one of the key uncertainties, they are basically orthogonal. To shift the pdf in any major way you would need to show that the patterns of change that were used were quite different and that the fingerprinting would be rebalanced. There is some uncertainty in the solar pattern when you start to include more interactive components, but given the small forcing, this is not going to move things far. People have tried putting in independent fingerprints for the internal variability e.g. ENSO, or AMOC variability (DelSole et al I think), but it doesn’t change much. I agree that if the natural components turn positive (as they surely will eventually) you will see an increased trend (obviously), but I can’t predict when that will occur. – gavin]

    Comment by Tom Scharf — 27 Aug 2014 @ 12:56 PM

  11. Too bad the IPCC reports are so detailed that it becomes easy for folks to cite lines out of context.

    Thanks to Dr Schmidt and all the others here for a decade of explaining the science and exposing the shell games.

    Comment by arch stanton — 27 Aug 2014 @ 1:29 PM

  12. People have tried putting in independent fingerprints for the internal variability e.g. ENSO, or AMOC variability (DelSole et al I think), but it doesn’t change much. I agree that if the natural components turn positive (as they surely will eventually) you will see an increased trend (obviously), but I can’t predict when that will occur. – gavin] –

    As far as the is AMO are concerned, it is the atmospheric pressure that leads the way, and currently it is on a down slope.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/AP-SST.htm

    The fingerprint’s mystery will most likely be unravelled by geologists
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/EAS.htm

    Comment by vukcevic — 27 Aug 2014 @ 3:49 PM

  13. Thanks for the post. It’s a nice illustration of why using short time periods to cherry pick your way to the answer you want isn’t such a good idea.

    An especial thanks for the references to your earlier posts at the top. I know squat about attribution studies, and I will definitely read them.

    Comment by Ralph Snyder — 27 Aug 2014 @ 3:51 PM

  14. Gavin, Thanks so much for finding the time to write this line-by-line commentary. This is really helpful.

    Comment by Rob Nicholls — 27 Aug 2014 @ 4:10 PM

  15. As Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway thoroughly documented in Merchants of Doubt, these are the same amoral tactics used in the tobacco/health, acid rain, second-hand smoke, ozone depletion (etc.) denial “debates” — of either deliberately or disingenuously cherry-picking data and using scientific methods and honest appraisal of probabilities to distort science. Thus do dishonest, anti-science brokers help ruin the public’s understanding about dire public health and environmental problems. Perhaps Curry falls into the minority “naive or ill-informed” category, but regardless, her confused arrogance is inexcusable.

    Comment by Terry O'Sullivan — 27 Aug 2014 @ 4:11 PM

  16. This comes from a realclimate post by Kyle Swanson on a 2009 paper – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/swanson-realclimate.png

    The paper updated a 2007 paper to include the 1998/2002 climate shift. Several climate shifts were identified in the 20th century – around 1910, 1944, 1976 and 1998. These are of course inflection points in the global surface temperature record.

    Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

    We may do as Swanson does and exclude ‘dragon-kings’ (Sornette 2009) at times of climate shifts. We may average over cool (1944-1976) and warm (1977-1998) regimes and assume that the increase in temperature is entirely anthropogenic. It gives a rate of warming of some 0.07 degrees C/decade and a total rise in surface temperature of some 0.4 degrees C since 1944.

    What we cant assume is that all of the recent warming (1977 to 1998) was anthropogenic. We may use models to disaggregate the trend.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16120/F3.large.jpg

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

    Sensitivity here is a dynamic sensitivity – greatest in the region of ‘climate shifts’. Nor can we assume that the next shift will follow the 20th century pattern and be to warmer conditions – indeed it seems safer to assume not as the Sun cools from the modern grand maxima. Climate is wild but there seem broadly recurrent multiple equilbria as climate falls into one attractor basin or other.

    It seems oddly tendentious to deny for instance the role of natural variability on the basis that some of the recent changes in these long standing climate patterns may be influenced by greenhouse gases. But that seems to be the post hoc rationalization de jour.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 27 Aug 2014 @ 4:29 PM

  17. Rob Ellison says:
    in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability.

    If you equate ‘chaotic’ with ‘by chance’, I’d rather go with
    “Nothing in nature is by chance……something appears to be chance only because of our lack of knowledge.” Spinoza
    be it the natural or the anthropogenic variability, except that in the contest of two, I wouldn’t bet my shirt on the anthropo’s supremacy.

    Comment by vukcevic — 27 Aug 2014 @ 4:53 PM

  18. Please write clearly. Two suggestions: Put your last paragraph first, using it as an organizing principle. At least your readers will know where you are going instead of trying to figure it out by plowing through all the jargon.
    Sugestion 2: If you are writing for the general public–which you are–, have an intelligent non-expert read it in front of you. Watch to see where they struggle. Maybe then you will see where the yawns begin.

    I write this not to be nasty, but out of frustration. I agree that Curry is anything but intelligent in her observations. But you just bury your arguments under piles of jargon and poor organization.

    Comment by Stormy — 27 Aug 2014 @ 4:53 PM

  19. JC lists her terciles highest to lowest. Doesn’t that mean your “respectively” values are in the wrong order? Ie your 99.5% goes with her >66%

    [Response: I just noticed that too. I was thinking of them going left-to-right from less to more. My 99.5% does go with the >66% category. – gavin]

    Comment by Jim Prescott — 27 Aug 2014 @ 5:08 PM

  20. ‘One important development since the TAR is the apparent unexpectedly large changes in tropical mean radiation flux reported by ERBS (Wielicki et al., 2002a,b). It appears to be related in part to changes in the nature of tropical clouds (Wielicki et al., 2002a), based on the smaller changes in the clear-sky component of the radiative fluxes (Wong et al., 2000; Allan and Slingo, 2002), and appears to be statistically distinct from the spatial signals associated with ENSO (Allan and Slingo, 2002; Chen et al., 2002). A recent reanalysis of the ERBS active-cavity broadband data corrects for a 20 km change in satellite altitude between 1985 and 1999 and changes in the SW filter dome (Wong et al., 2006). Based upon the revised (Edition 3_Rev1) ERBS record (Figure 3.23), outgoing LW radiation over the tropics appears to have increased by about 0.7 W/m2 while the reflected SW radiation decreased by roughly 2.1 W/m2 from the 1980s to 1990s (Table 3.5).’ AR4 WG1 3.4.4.1

    Simpler – we may assume that all warming since 1944 was anthropogenic – it works out at some 0.07 degrees /decade and 0.4 degrees C in total. It may not be so.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 27 Aug 2014 @ 5:08 PM

  21. Re: 18, Stormy… Gavin isn’t quite writing for the public, but for a rather select subset, largely with strong scientific credentials and well-versed in the topic. For this crowd, his level of synthesis and exposition is spot on, effeciently and effectively bringing us up to speed. Expanded exposition often occurs in the comment strings…

    Comment by robert — 27 Aug 2014 @ 5:54 PM

  22. Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

    It is all completely deterministic – but resists simple characterization. Deterministic chaos does imply randomness.

    The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.

    The theory of abrupt climate change is the most modern – and powerful – in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. A mechanical analogy might set the scene. The finger pushing the balance below can be likened to changes in greenhouse gases, solar intensity or orbital eccentricity. The climate response is internally generated – with changes in cloud, ice, dust and biology – and proceeds at a pace determined by the system itself. Thus the balance below is pushed past a point at which stage a new equilibrium spontaneously emerges. Unlike the simple system below – climate has many equilibria. The old theory of climate suggests that warming is inevitable. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/unstable-mechanical-analogy-fig-1-jpg1.jpg

    Many simple systems exhibit abrupt change. The balance above consists of a curved track on a fulcrum. The arms are curved so that there are two stable states where a ball may rest. ‘A ball is placed on the track and is free to roll until it reaches its point of rest. This system has three equilibria denoted a, b and c in the top row of the figure. The middle equilibrium b is unstable: if the ball is displaced ever so slightly to one side or another, the displacement will accelerate until the system is in a state far from its original position. In contrast, if the ball in state a or c is displaced, the balance will merely rock a bit back and forth, and the ball will roll slightly within its cup until friction restores it to its original equilibrium.’(NAS, 2002)

    In a1 the arms are displaced but not sufficiently to cause the ball to cross the balance to the other side. In a2 the balance is displaced with sufficient force to cause the ball to move to a new equilibrium state on the other arm. There is a third possibility in that the balance is hit with enough force to cause the ball to leave the track, roll off the table and under the sofa there to plot revolution with the dust balls and lost potato crisps.

    In the spectrum of risk – rolling under the sofa is a possibility. It is all completely deterministic – but resists simple characterization.
    In the words of Michael Ghil (2013) the ‘global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems – atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – each of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.’

    The theory suggests that the system is pushed by greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities -past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

    Dynamic climate sensitivity implies the potential for a small push to initiate a large shift. Climate in this theory of abrupt change is an emergent property of the shift in global energies as the system settles down into a new climate state. The traditional definition of climate sensitivity as a temperature response to changes in CO2 makes sense only in periods between climate shifts – as climate changes at shifts are internally generated. Climate evolution is discontinuous at the scale of decades and longer.

    In the way of true science – it suggests at least decadal predictability. The current cool Pacific Ocean state seems more likely than not to persist for 20 to 40 years from 2002. The flip side is that – beyond the next few decades – the evolution of the global mean surface temperature may hold surprises on both the warm and cold ends of the spectrum (Swanson and Tsonis, 2009).

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 27 Aug 2014 @ 5:55 PM

  23. typo … deterministic chaos does (not) imply randomness. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/comment-page-1/#comment-587033

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 27 Aug 2014 @ 6:01 PM

  24. Another thing that Judith Curry said recently in an interview in BIGOIL dot com, that has gone viral:

    Oilprice.com: ”You’ve also talked about the climate change debate creating a new literary genre. How is this ‘Cli-Fi’ phenomenon contributing to the intellectual level of the public debate and where do you see this going?”

    Judith Curry: ”I am very intrigued by Cli-Fi as a way to illuminate complex aspects of the climate debate. There are several sub-genres emerging in Cli-Fi – the dominant one seems to be dystopian (e.g. scorched earth). I am personally very interested in novels that involve climate scientists dealing with dilemmas, and also in how different cultures relate to nature and the climate. I think that Cli-Fi is a rich vein to be tapped for fictional writing.”

    http://oilprice.com/Interviews/The-Kardashians-and-Climate-Change-Interview-with-Judith-Curry.html

    Comment by dan bloom — 27 Aug 2014 @ 9:31 PM

  25. > to be tapped

    Been tapped: Fallen Angels

    a radical environmentalist movement, joined with a coalition of religious groups, has gained control of the US government and imposed draconian luddite laws which, in attempts to curb global warming, have ironically brought about the greatest environmental catastrophe in recorded history – an ice age which may eventually escalate into a Snowball Earth.

    The exact process is described: Clouds are water condensation. This cannot occur without particulate matter in the atmosphere. The emission laws have removed most of this, reducing cloud cover, meaning the ground loses heat faster. This in combination with the drop in greenhouse gases has resulted in the acceleration of the existing ice age; now self-perpetuating as glaciers have a much higher albedo.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Aug 2014 @ 11:09 PM

  26. Nicely organized and well-reasoned argument Gavin.

    FYI, Curry is planning an upcoming rebuttal for Climate Etc.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 28 Aug 2014 @ 12:07 AM

  27. I think we need Tamino to do a statistical analysis of how quickly Judith Curry has a new post on her blog, after Gavin and company do a take down of something she has just written on there, compared with how often she posts on her blog generally… Judging by the comments on both her blog and Real Climate, it appears she had a new post up only three hours after Gavin posted his take down of her! The new one of course having nothing to do with her 50/50 argument. You can just hear Judy thinking. “Hey my readers, look at my new post, and skip over the previous 50/50 one! This new one is nice and shiny!!” Tamino? Are you out there?

    Comment by Doug — 28 Aug 2014 @ 12:25 AM

  28. Thanks Gavin! I may have occasion to reference your article in a letter to the editor next week. Good timing. Obama has at least at last made a start. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ office asked me for the letter to the editor.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Aug 2014 @ 12:55 AM

  29. Dear Gavin Schmidt: I am glad that you responded at length. I think that side-by side printouts and comparisons of what Prof Curry wrote and what you have written highlight a lot of the differences amongst a large number of people whose overall judgments are closer to hers or to yours. I’ll comment on only 1 of your comments:

    This is also confused. “Detection” is (like attribution) a model-based exercise, starting from the idea that one can estimate the result of a counterfactual: what would the temperature have done in the absence of the drivers compared to what it would do if they were included? GCM results show clearly that the expected anthropogenic signal would start to be detectable (“come out of the noise”) sometime after 1980 (for reference, Hansen’s public statement to that effect was in 1988). There is no obvious discrepancy in spectra between the CMIP5 models and the observations, and so I am unclear why Judith finds the detection step lacking. It is interesting to note that given the variability in the models, the anthropogenic signal is now more than 5𝛔 over what would have been expected naturally – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/#more-17409

    I agree with you that detection and attribution are inextricably bound up with models (quantitative, semiquantitative, conceptual) of what would have happened in the absence of human interventions (anthropogenic CO2 and other human interventions need somehow to be distinguished, but they are correlated over the historical record, hence hard to disentangle.) I doubt that anyone can make a strong argument that we know from scientific research what would have happened in the absence of human interventions, and mathematical models are all over the place. Since the GCMs have clearly overpredicted the overall trend in global average mean temperature, and since there are other epochs where there fit to the overall trend is poor, I think that you confidence in an estimate of natural variability based on them is misplaced.

    I think that the debate makes stimulating reading, and I am glad, as I said, that you wrote out your critique at such length.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 28 Aug 2014 @ 1:49 AM

  30. There are a few things I can’t understand at all about Judith’s position:

    1) The assumption she makes at the start that because warming is judged extremely likely >50% anthropogenic, it is therefore asserted by IPCC to be between 50-100%. I’ve no idea where she gets this from, and she’s done it before and Bart V called her out on this.

    2) The significance of attribution in the 1910-1940 warming. Presumably if this is internal variability, then it makes it less likely, not more, that later warming was also internal variability, as reversion to the mean by cooling would be expected. If forced, then it’s irrelevant to the argument.

    3) The failure to work through to a logical conclusion. Judith states “i think the most likely split between natural and anthropogenic causes to recent global warming is about 50-50”. A PDF (unless lopsided) centered at 50% anthro makes it equally likely that anthropogenic forcing is 0% and 100%. Does Judith really believe that 0.65degC and zero degC rises are equally likely results of the changes in antho forcing over the period 1950-2010? This seems inconceivable!

    4) There are a number of places where Judith makes statements based on inability to attribute in shorter time periods than the IPCC choose to consider. Regardless as to whether she’s right in this, it’s an apples vs oranges comparison.

    Have I misunderstood any of this or is she really clearly wrong on all these? I’m very wary of assuming I know better than someone as well qualified as she is.

    Comment by verytallguy — 28 Aug 2014 @ 5:03 AM

  31. Detection in this context is detection of an anthropogenic signal. Detection of warming is not particularly model dependent but has to do with observational uncertainties, or in the case of the linear trend reported in AR4,”The 100-year linear trend (1906-2005) of 0.74 [0.56 to 0.92]°C,” the statistics of a linear fit to the observations.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 28 Aug 2014 @ 5:14 AM

  32. Predictable:

    There is a new post at RealClimate IPCC attribution statements redux: A response to Judith Curry, which responds to my post The 50-50 attribution argument. I am ‘honored’ to receive such attention.

    In the comments, Bart Verheggen refers to this as a ‘take down.’

    Here is how Gavin’s post is being billed on twitter:

    Chris Colose: @ClimateOfGavin on why @curryja‘s attribution statements for 5+ years now are demonstrably wrong/illogical/irrelevant

    Climate 4 Revolution: I predict more @curryja drama: more cherry-picking, frustrated teeth-gnashing, & desperate name calling of @ClimateOfGavin.

    Well, I’ve read Gavin’s piece twice (now thrice), I can’t find a single point that he has scored with respect to my main arguments. I understand what the IPCC etc. have done – I think their conclusion is wrong and that circular reasoning is involved (Gavin doesn’t get my issue with detection). Gavin closes with:

    If Judith is interested in why her arguments are not convincing to others, perhaps this can give her some clues.

    Gavin and I seem to live on different planets: I live on planet Earth observations, and Gavin lives on planet climate model. I would appreciate some discussion that points out anything significant in Gavin’s post that refutes my arguments. This tweet sums it up for me:

    Shub Niggurath: This article shows how you cannot ‘debunk’ someone if you have not understood their point.

    Comment by gavin — 28 Aug 2014 @ 7:20 AM

  33. This response is hard to stomach — as a rebuttal, Curry said that

    ” Without understanding multidecadal to to millennial variability, we can’t tell how much of what we have been seeing since 1980 is caused by humans (even the IPCC and Gavin Schmidt say that signal was not detected prior to 1980 above the noise of natural variability).”

    So Hansen called it right in 1980 without having any signal to work with?

    [Response: Hansen was in 1988, and there was sufficient signal then – though that was disputed strongly at the time. – gavin]

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 28 Aug 2014 @ 9:25 AM

  34. All of this is why Joe Romm refers to Curry as a “confusionist”.

    There’s a difference between being truly confused, and deliberately trying to create confusion.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Aug 2014 @ 10:24 AM

  35. Here’s the problem:

    > Gavin isn’t quite writing for the public, but for a rather select subset,
    > largely with strong scientific credentials and well-versed in the topic.

    Dr. Curry isn’t.

    Would someone do a quick surveys of climate scientists, asking what they think of these points?

    Then, a comparable survey average-voter types, asking what they think of “I can’t find a single point that he has scored” as a rebuttal — was that convincing, for them? Probably, if they know what they want to hear, eh?

    Who wins? The people who cast the votes.

    My point is: It doesn’t matter what the scientists think, until the bodies stack up.
    Cassandra’s generally proven right after it’s way too late to take corrective action.
    Nobody much bemoans the damage due to delays managing lead in gasoline, lead in paint, asbestos in everything, tobacco, antibiotics in agriculture, mercury going from coal to fish to fetus. Yeah, a few public health people look and say, how can we consistently be so stupid for so long about problems that are so clearly understood? Who profits from the delays, the most deadly form of denial?

    Those aren’t counted as profits, although the delays managing all those problems have been quite profitable for some. They’re accounted as sunk costs, buried bodies, dead past, and political history — how we’ve ignored those problems for many years.

    Dr. Curry is writing advocacy science, and succeeding at it.

    The point of advocacy science isn’t to do science — it’s to give policymakers a reference they can wave and assert as sufficient reason for doing what they want to do.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Aug 2014 @ 10:28 AM

  36. I have considerable interest in attribution, since it is what I do for a living. I must say, having read this post and all the ones linked to it including the IPCC chapters, that I do not recognize some of the claims as being part of attribution as applied by practitioners. Specifically, you claim that both attribution and detection are necessarily model based. The terms “attribution” and “detection” apply to phenomena that either occurred in the past or continue to occur, they do not refer to predictions about the future. Attribution and detection are evidence-based. The logic structures associated with evidence are fundamentally different than the logic structures associated with predictive modelling. In your first post from 2010 you further elaborate that:
    “The overriding requirement however is that the model must be predictive. It can’t just be a fit to the observations.”
    When performing an objective attribution study, the logic structure used to track progress towards resolution is fitted as precisely as possible to observations. That is how everyone else does it using long-established methods, anyway. Modelling is generally shunned in attribution in favor of observation, but I do agree that climate science must turn to modelling when necessary, and that the statements in the 2010 post about using a lab are quite accurate and insightful. But what I have read suggests to me that 1) for some reason climate scientists eschewed established methods for attribution in favor of a newly invented one, 2) overly relied upon expert judgement in favor of direct refutation of alternatives, and 3) ended up steering a tortuous but narrow path through what should have been a much broader logic tree resolution. Are there specific reasons why climate scientists chose not to use established methods for attribution? I cannot find the answer to that question in what I have read.

    [Response: The logic of attribution in climate sense was discussed in an earlier post. It isn’t so different to what you are talking about, other than the climate is a continuous system (i.e. not a function of discrete and exclusive causes). You do need a model though (which can be statistical, heuristic, or physics-based like a GCM) – observations on their own are not sufficient. – gavin]

    Comment by Matt Skaggs — 28 Aug 2014 @ 10:49 AM

  37. Well, I’ve read Gavin’s piece twice (now thrice), I can’t find a single point that he has scored with respect to my main arguments.

    If history is any guide, “main arguments” are even now shape-shifting so as to become invisible in any further discussion, following a rhetorical process that is virtually impossible to trace on sentence-by-sentence basis but which will inevitably arrive at “I’m not sure what Gavin is talking about.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Aug 2014 @ 11:27 AM

  38. 34, SecularAnimist: There’s a difference between being truly confused, and deliberately trying to create confusion.

    Yes. Is someone deliberately trying to create confusion, and could you show it with some exact quotes? My reading of Gavin Schmidt and Judith Curry is that neither is or has been trying to create confusion. I think that Prof Curry is correct that Dr. Schmidt gives more weight to the GCM output than she does; on this point, my view has come closer to Prof Curry’s. I do not see that either of them is deliberately trying to create confusion.

    The GCMs are admirable accomplishments, embodying a great range of knowledge in computable form. But all of the inputs are approximations (parameter estimates, equations, numerical methods), and the output to date shows that they have made bad predictions about “out of sample” data — the trend since they were published. It’s possible that in the long term the Earth mean surface temperature will evolve much more as predicted by the GCM mean (or some other well-supported summary of the GCMs, or even one that has best accuracy among all of them), but to date nothing like that has been demonstrated. Until then, any claim based on GCM output can’t reasonably be said to “debunk” any other claim that is not based on GCM output.

    I think what I wrote above is literally true: if you print out both long posts (or open them in side-by-side windows) you can see pretty clearly where the authors disagree.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 28 Aug 2014 @ 11:50 AM

  39. From a high level I guess what this PDF is telling me is:

    The human contribution to the recent warming is as likely to be 170% (with a -70% natural variation cooling component) as it is to be a 50/50 split between natural and AGW contribution?

    With the recent hiatus it would seem to me that the upper end (170%) possibility becomes less and less likely. There would have to be some pretty powerful negative forces at play to hold down an extra 70% warming over 50 years and now suppressing it even harder during the pause.

    Empirically I would say the longer and further the observations stay below the projections, the more the PDF should shift leftward.

    Otherwise these powerful negative forces need to identified and measured somehow? What could possibly be applying a -70% forcing over 60 years?

    Comment by Tom Scharf — 28 Aug 2014 @ 12:29 PM

  40. Oh dear, that cartoon at the end of Curry’s response says a lot about her.

    Comment by Lars Karlsson — 28 Aug 2014 @ 1:33 PM

  41. I can’t help it. Every time I think of JC, Cersei Lannister springs to mind. Do you think they could be related? Sample quote: ‘When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.’ or perhaps: “Someday, you’ll sit on the throne, and the truth will be what you make it.”

    Comment by Fergus Brown — 28 Aug 2014 @ 1:37 PM

  42. Just a segment of a comment I left at JC’s blog that is relevant to the comment above that Gavin wrote (quoting Judith’s response) and Matt Skaggs. Since I was responding to a comment, some context might be lost…

    …the fundamental point here is that there can be no “planet climate model” and “planet observations” when talking about attribution. The two have to be married in some way. This idea of simply looking at data sounds sciency to the uninitiated, but without a coherent theory to link aspects of observed OHC, stratospheric cooling, vertical T profiles, warming patterns, etc, then you’re left with no story to tell and just a bunch of numbers on a computer that are only mildly interesting. In fact, there are several studies that do try to think about attribution from an observations-only perspective; in general, what they gain from avoiding assumptions about the model’s veracity in simulating the shape and timing of the expected responses, they lose more from making more substantial assumptions, many of which are crucial to JC’s concerns, such as how to separate forced+internal components or the timescale of response. Relaxing some of these assumptions can be done, but then a ‘model’ is being constructed implicitly.

    The other point is that attribution studies evaluate the extent to which patterns of model response to external forcing (i.e., fingerprints) simulations explain climate change in *observations.* Indeed, possible errors in the amplitudes of the external forcing and a models response are accounted for by scaling the signal patterns to best match observations, and thus the robustness of the IPCC conclusion is not slaved to uncertainties in aerosol forcing or sensitivity being off. The possibility of observation-model mismatch due to internal variability must also be accounted for…so in fact, attribution studies sample the range of possible
    forcings/responses even more completely than a climate model does. Fundamentally, a number of physically plausible hypotheses about what else might be causing the 1950-present warming signal are being evaluated. Appeals to unknown unknowns to create the spatio-temporal patterns of GHGs, and to cancel out the radiative effects of what we know to be important, seems like much more of a stretch than the robustness of current methods.

    Of course, the models might be doing everything wrong- aerosols might not locally cool and have a distinct pattern in space/time, CO2 might not cool the stratosphere, and solar might have a completely different fingerprint on vertical temperature profiles. There are a number of reasons to doubt that the models are not useful in this respect, but since we’re making things up then there’s no point in defending what models seem to do well. Phlogiston might be the unifying theory we need. It is easy to make claims that the model internal variability is way off and can simultaneously lead to observed patterns (e.g., upper ocean heat content anomalies, tropospheric warming, etc) but this is not a serious criticism until there’s something more that has been demonstrated. It is also easy to hand-wave about “multi-decadal variability” (that is fully acknowledged to exist in the real world). Regardless, the question of why every scientist doesn’t think the way she does seems self-evident at this point.

    I leave with this gem:
    ################
    “From what I read on twitter, most serious scientists seem to think Gavin makes points that make you look foolish.”

    curryja | August 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm |

    “yeah, scientists like Michael Mann and Chris Colose. Almost as scientific as a Cook/Lewandowsky survey. ”

    ##########################

    I never did anything to be in the same conversation as what Mike has accomplished, but I’ll take what I can get :-) I’m at least honored to be disliked by the same person.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 28 Aug 2014 @ 2:10 PM

  43. Matthew R. Marler wrote: “Is someone deliberately trying to create confusion, and could you show it with some exact quotes?”

    Judith Curry’s entire response to Gavin Schmidt’s critique is an exercise in obfuscation, misdirection and evasion.

    Which is typical of Curry’s consistently “confused” ruminations on global warming and climate change. Somehow, even though numerous climate scientists have endeavored at length, with great patience, to help her clear up her various “misunderstandings” of the science, she has managed to remain steadfastly confused, and always in the direction of finding nothing worth worrying about — and certainly nothing worth DOING anything about. And in spite of having her errors repeatedly and clearly pointed out to her, she persists in purveying her “confusion” to an audience of admiring deniers.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Aug 2014 @ 2:12 PM

  44. Chris Colose wrote:

    I’m at least honored to be disliked by the same person.

    Indeed.

    Dr Curry receives good scientific criticism as a personal affront, while simultaneously supposing that her distribution of bad scientific criticism is her moral imperative.

    It’s so pathetic that it’s actually funny.

    If you irritate Dr Curry, you are not only in good company, but you must also be doing something right.

    Comment by The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse — 28 Aug 2014 @ 3:52 PM

  45. Although I find the evidence compelling that we can, with high certainty, attribute almost all post-1950 warming to anthropogenic GHG emissions, with internal variability playing a minor role, I’m not sure the above discussions substantiate this conclusion as convincingly as might be hoped. It’s not that Gavin’s argument is wrong, but rather that it omits separate, independent evidence that reinforces the same conclusion from a very different angle.

    The arguments made above, and disputed by Judith Curry, are based on GCM simulations. In my view, an even stronger argument is derived from a combination of observational data and a set of basic physics parameters involving the earth’s energy budget. At the risk of appearing to “shout”, I’d like to emphasize this point by stating it, bolded, on a separate line:

    The strong dominance of anthropogenic warming since 1950 can be demonstrated with high confidence without any dependence on complicated climate models.

    For those familiar with recent geophysics data, this conclusion will come as no surprise. In fact, among those most responsible for advancing this approach to the issue, Isaac Held has made the point repeatedly, most recently in an AGU meeting attended by Dr. Curry, and earlier in a blog post – Heat Uptake and Internal Variability. His description should be read for details, but the essence of the evidence lies in the observation that ocean heat uptake (OHC) has been increasing during the post-1950 warming. Since OHC uptake efficiency associated with surface warming is low compared with the rate of radiative restoring (increase in energy loss to space as specified by the climate feedback parameter), an important internal contribution must lead to a loss rather than a gain of ocean heat; thus the observation of OHC increase requires a dominant role for external forcing.

    In my view, there is no plausible mechanism for circumventing this conclusion, which is why a certainty level of 95 percent seems reasonable. That it is not 100 percent is a necessary caution against the possibility of an obscure undetected mechanism that allows internal variability to add OHC rather than subtract it in conjunction with a serious overestimation of the role of GHGs (but this creates inconsistencies of its own as Held has pointed out).

    To me, the principle that the IPCC attribution is GCM-independent is a game changer, and deserves more emphasis that it has received. This might also reduce the extent to which the discussion revolves around the virtues and deficiencies of GCMs.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 28 Aug 2014 @ 3:57 PM

  46. With the recent hiatus it would seem to me that the upper end (170%) possibility becomes less and less likely.

    Except – bizarrely – the certainty will actually increase. According to the PDF the AGW contribution is 110% of all warming since 1950. If the pause continues then the AGW contribution will increase as a proportion of total warming and the central value will shift rightwards.

    Comment by John Finn — 28 Aug 2014 @ 3:57 PM

  47. Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

    Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication.

    So the fundamental question is why 1950 and not the inflection point in global surface temperature at 1944. It makes a difference – and the difference is ENSO.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/update_diagnostics/global_n+s.gif

    HadCRUT4
    Year Anomaly
    1944 0.150
    1950 -0.174

    The difference is almost exactly 50% of the ‘observation’. 1944 would seem justifiable on theoretical grounds if we are truly trying to net out warmer and cooler multidecadal regimes.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 28 Aug 2014 @ 4:18 PM

  48. In looking at Judy’s writing on this subject, my initial reaction is that she can’t really be that dumb, can she? But then I am left with the inescapable conclusion that her audience is the gullible, and she’s deliberately trying to deceive them, and that isn’t a palatable conclusion either. Frankly, the most charitable conclusion I can come to is that she is deceiving herself, first and foremost.

    Frankly, I’ve never come away from anything Aunt Judy wrote with any new understanding. Her analysis is shallow and her logic flawed. You cannot draw scientific conclusions when you simply reject the best science available. Is it uncertain? Of course, but it is at least an edifice to build on. That is the thing about science: even if you start out with the wrong model, empirical evidence will eventually correct you, and you’ll know why you were wrong, as well. Judy’s biggest problem is that she’s afraid to be wrong, so she’s forever stuck in the limbo of “not even wrong”.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Aug 2014 @ 4:28 PM

  49. I was thinking about this paper in 1981:
    Hansen, James, D. Johnson, Andrew Lacis, Sergej Lebedeff, Po Lee, David Rind, and Gary Russell. “Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Science 213, no. 4511 (1981): 957-966.

    Look at Figure 6 and the limited information they had to work with concerning CO2 and a temperature signal.

    Even with the minimal data available, that early prediction looks very good in retrospect.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 28 Aug 2014 @ 4:55 PM

  50. 43, Secular Animist: Judith Curry’s entire response to Gavin Schmidt’s critique is an exercise in obfuscation, misdirection and evasion. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/?wpmp_tp=1#sthash.QthU7xKG.dpuf

    No it is not. I am open to quotes, though, if you have any, and can substantiate your claim that they are willfully misleading etc.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 28 Aug 2014 @ 5:23 PM

  51. 45, Fred Moolten: . His description should be read for details, but the essence of the evidence lies in the observation that ocean heat uptake (OHC) has been increasing during the post-1950 warming. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/comment-page-1/#comment-589446

    with respect, OHC is not that well characterized for the post-1950 period. Part of the surface warming of the period 1978-1998 was due to decreased cloud cover. Average cloud cover has increased since then. That makes it harder to attribute the warming to CO2 increase, unless there is a known mechanism by which the anthropogenic CO2 produced the changes in cloud cover.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 28 Aug 2014 @ 5:30 PM

  52. 51, Matthew R Marler says:
    28 Aug 2014 at 5:30 PM

    . . . with respect, OHC is not that well characterized for the post-1950 period. . . .
    Held’s argument really only requires OHC to not be net negative over the period. If it is net negative then explaining the observed rate of sea level rise is problematic.

    Comment by MarkB — 28 Aug 2014 @ 6:58 PM

  53. Fred-

    Keep in mind the attribution effort is also concerned with separating out different forced signals too.

    I agree the OHC data are incompatible with a predominately internal contribution (although I’m sure Judith would argue those data are too uncertain, though I don’t think anyone has argued OHC decreasing over the last half-century, at least not at the ocean basins/depths that communicate with the atmosphere on the relevant timescales).

    Even putting aside the OHC data and fingerprinting, there is absolutely no evidence in model simulations (or in prevailing reconstructions of the Holocene), that an unforced climate would exhibit half-century timescale global temperature swings of order ~1 C. I don’t see a good theoretical reason why this should be the case, but since Judith lives on “planet observations” it should be a pause for thought. Some work by Clara Deser et al. shows that for some diagnostics (e.g., regional sea level pressure 50-yr trends, wintertime western U.S temperature, etc) that the sensitivity of trends in their decadal statistics to initial conditions can compete with the sensitivity of those same statistics in responses to increases in GHGs.

    But right now no credible coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice mechanism exists that could allow you to stretch that argument to global temperatures, let alone be compatible with the myriad observables that we do have. I’m sure this is true for Arctic sea ice extent trends as well, even though Gavin said he was fine with Judith’s quoted paragraph pertaining to sea ice. What’s more, no big missing link exists in paleoclimate that demand we be searching for such a process.

    Finally, the amplitude of internal variability isn’t independent of climate sensitivity, so it seems that by positing a mysterious source of high-amplitude, low-frequency variability and a low climate sensitivity, Judith wants to have her cake and eat it at the same time.

    Essentially what we are dealing with is a proposed paradigm framed around uncertainty, that by its sloppy construction is immovable even with the addition of new data. It hasn’t been a very compelling (or necessary) prior. It also hasn’t been well-argued that there is a need to replace the underlying framework we have of how climate changes on decadal timescales. Some of the other issues like how we do a precise fractional attribution of Atlantic vs. Pacific vs. external. vs. observation error, etc during the recent ‘hiatus’ just don’t relate.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 28 Aug 2014 @ 7:07 PM

  54. @Matthew Marler (51) – OHC since 1950, while subject to some uncertainty, is sufficiently characterized to know it’s strongly positive, which excludes a more than minor role for internal contributions to the warming. The data come from a multitude of sources that include not only temperature measurements but also commensurate steric sea level rise. The exact magnitude of the OHC increase may not be certain, but its direction is certain. The estimates of OHC change since 1975 are even more certain, and it is the interval since then when the warming occurred.

    We don’t have OHC data before 1950, and so it’s possible internal variability played a more important warming role during that interval.

    Comment by Fred Moolten — 28 Aug 2014 @ 7:18 PM


  55. Part of the surface warming of the period 1978-1998 was due to decreased cloud cover.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 28 Aug 2014 @ 5:30 PM

    Note how M.Marler makes a pure assertion with absolutely nothing to back it up. He conveniently ignores that decreased cloud cover could be a result of the warming, executing a cause/effect bait-and-switch on us.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 28 Aug 2014 @ 7:48 PM

  56. ‘Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature.’

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/abstract

    There are many ways that can and have been used to calculate a maximum residual rate of warming in the order of 0.1 degree C/decade. If you divide the 1950-2010 increase of some 0.65 degrees by 6 decades – you get a little over 0.1 degree C/decade. Even more rationally you could divide the increase between 1994 and 1998 – and assume the cooler and warmer regimes net out – by the elapsed time and you get 0.07 degrees C/decade.

    Here’s one using models – http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16120/F3.expansion.html

    Here’s one from realclimate – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/

    Here’s one subtracting ENSO – ://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ensosubtractedfromtemperaturetrend.gif

    And of course there is Tung and Zhou.

    The question has and will be asked – especially if the ‘hiatus’ persists for another decade or 2 (as seems more likely than not) – is just how serious this is? The question is moot – climate is a kaleidoscope. Shake it up and a new and unpredictable – bearing an ineluctable risk of climate instability – pattern spontaneously emerges. Climate is wild as Wally has said.

    Which if you think about it means that the late 20th century cooler and warmer regimes are overwhelmingly unlikely to net out. Indeed a long term ENSO proxy based on Law Dome ice core salt content suggests a 1000 year peak in El Nino frequency and intensity in the 20th century.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/vance2012-antartica-law-dome-ice-core-salt-content.png

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1

    However – let’s put that in the imponderables basket for the time being.

    The answer to the moot question – btw – is 12 phenomenal ways to save the world – http://watertechbyrie.com/

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 28 Aug 2014 @ 7:56 PM

  57. 55 Web Hub Telescope: Note how M.Marler makes a pure assertion with absolutely nothing to back it up. He conveniently ignores that decreased cloud cover could be a result of the warming, executing a cause/effect bait-and-switch on us.

    I am happy to agree with WebHubTelescope that the changes in observed cloud cover may be a result of increases in CO2. They contribute to the difficulties in detecting/estimating the effects of CO2.

    My “bait and switch” was not intended to substitute my belief for another, but to introduce the confounding factor of cloud cover. Cloud cover and other water vapor effects for the future are completely unpredictable.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 28 Aug 2014 @ 9:07 PM

  58. ‘Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

    The data shows quite clearly that changes in cloud radiative forcing in the satellite era exceeded greenhouse gas forcing.

    e.g. – http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png

    It would be an odd sort of feedback that exceeded the forcing. There may be no equivalence a all. Zhu et al (2007) found that cloud formation for ENSO and for global warming have different characteristics and are the result of different physical mechanisms. The change in low cloud cover in the 1997-1998 El Niño came mainly as a decrease in optically thick stratocumulus and stratus cloud. The decrease is negatively correlated to local SST anomalies, especially in the eastern tropical Pacific, and is associated with a change in convective activity. ‘During the 1997–1998 El Niño, observations indicate that the SST increase in the eastern tropical Pacific enhances the atmospheric convection, which shifts the upward motion to further south and breaks down low stratiform clouds, leading to a decrease in low cloud amount in this region. Taking into account the obscuring effects of high cloud, it was found that thick low clouds decreased by more than 20% in the eastern tropical Pacific… In contrast, most increase in low cloud amount due to doubled CO2 simulated by the NCAR and GFDL models occurs in the subtropical subsidence regimes associated with a strong atmospheric stability.’

    At any rate it seems fairly clear that these changes are associated with changes in ocean and atmosphere circulation.

    e.g. http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/loeb2011-fig1.png

    Which you can find in the Loeb et al 2012 paper.

    And that OHC follows these changes in net TOA radiant flux quite closely.

    e.g. https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/wong2006figure7.gif

    Which can be found in http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

    But are the oceans warming currently? It depends on the Argo ‘climatology’.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/argograce_leuliette2012_zps9386d419.png

    A steric sea level rise of 0.2mm +/-0.8mm/year?

    Which can be found at – http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/24-2_leuliette.html

    Which has the merit of being consistent with CERES net.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_ebaf-toa_ed2-8_anom_toa_net_flux-all-sky_march-2000toapril-2014.png

    And are sea levels rising? Depends on whether you believe Argo or Jason.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/argosalinity_zpscb75296c-e1409295709715.jpg

    Is it all as simple as the narratives of the climate wars suggest?

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 29 Aug 2014 @ 2:10 AM

  59. Fred Moolten: @Matthew Marler (51) – OHC since 1950, while subject to some uncertainty, is sufficiently characterized to know it’s strongly positive, which excludes a more than minor role for internal contributions to the warming.

    I don’t think that is sufficient for a strong attribution concerning CO2, but you have persuaded me that I need to reread Isaac Held’s post that you referred to.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 29 Aug 2014 @ 5:46 AM

  60. #48 Ray Ladbury “even if you start out with the wrong model, empirical evidence will eventually correct you”.

    Unless you choose to ignore it. (It’s been nearly 20 years).

    Comment by simon abingdon — 29 Aug 2014 @ 6:40 AM

  61. M.Marler, You intentionally call the cloud cover a “confounding factor”.

    The cloud cover are likely not a forcing and thus a cause of warming but more likely a positive warming feedback.

    Dessler, Andrew E. “Cloud variations and the Earth’s energy budget.” Geophysical Research Letters 38.19 (2011).

    Then you say that the ” water vapor effects for the future are completely unpredictable”.

    Great that you learned from the Curry School of Uncertainty talking points.

    Positive water vapor feedback is known to contribute largely to the +33C warming that prevents the earth from a 255K average temperature. What makes you think this positive feedback will take a U-turn and turn into a negative feedback with further warming?

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 29 Aug 2014 @ 7:50 AM

  62. BTW, the “pea under the thimble” reference has been duly noted :)

    [Response: At least that is a constructive influence on something! – gavin]

    Comment by Salamano — 29 Aug 2014 @ 8:01 AM

  63. Congrats to verytallguy on getting a substantive response:

    curryja | August 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Reply

    VTG, thanks for your thoughtful questions. Some quick responses:

    1) The assumption she makes at the start that because warming is judged extremely likely >50% anthropogenic, it is therefore asserted by IPCC to be between 50-100%. I’ve no idea where she gets this from, and she’s done it before and Bart V called her out on this.

    This is a semantic quibble (not a scientific one). The common interpretation of ‘half’ and ‘more than half’ refers to half of a 100% whole. I find the >100% thing to be highly misleading in context of ‘more than half'; their main attribution statement should not have been phrased this way.

    2) The significance of attribution in the 1910-1940 warming. Presumably if this is internal variability, then it makes it less likely, not more, that later warming was also internal variability, as reversion to the mean by cooling would be expected. If forced, then it’s irrelevant to the argument.

    1910-1940 may be forced (e.g. solar, volcanoes); if so our understanding of forcing (particularly solar) is way inadequate. If it is internal variability, then internal variability could also cause 1980-2000 warming. Reversion to mean makes no sense to me, there are oscillations on many time scales, climate shifts, etc.

    3) The failure to work through to a logical conclusion. Judith states “i think the most likely split between natural and anthropogenic causes to recent global warming is about 50-50”. A PDF (unless lopsided) centered at 50% anthro makes it equally likely that anthropogenic forcing is 0% and 100%. Does Judith really believe that 0.65degC and zero degC rises are equally likely results of the changes in antho forcing over the period 1950-2010? This seems inconceivable!

    I make no assumptions about a normal distribution. I think both 0% and 100% are extremely unlikely.

    4) There are a number of places where Judith makes statements based on inability to attribute in shorter time periods than the IPCC choose to consider. Regardless as to whether she’s right in this, it’s an apples vs oranges comparison.

    As per the IPCC and Gavin’s post, the IPCC has detected anthro warming only since 1980. What is the rationale for considering the period back to 1950? The period since 1980 is only 34 years, and for the last 15 or so years, there has been no warming. Periods of 30-40 years MATTER in this debate, given that the time period that is attributable to human warming

    This is a better insight into Judith’s thinking and does reveal one thing I was confused about in her argument, but further confuses me on others. First, she appears to confound the point at which detection of a change becomes statistically clear (in this case around 1980) and when that change started (obviously well before that). It therefore makes no sense to only attribute changes from after the point of detection since you’ll miss the first 2 sigma of the change… Similarly, we can still calculate the forced component of a change even if it isn’t the only thing going on, and indeed, before it is statistically detectable in the global mean temperature anomaly.

    The points that are further confusing is the contradiction between her insistence (without any quantitative support) that there should be a 50-50 split for since 1950 while at the same time insisting that for 1910-1940 it has to be either wholly internal variability or natural forcing (again without any quantitative support). If she accepts that attribution is amenable to quantitative analysis using some kind of model (doesn’t have to be a GCM), I don’t get why she doesn’t accept that the numbers are going to be different for different time periods and have varying degrees of uncertainty depending on how good the forcing data is and what other factors can be brought in. The comment above discussing the OHC data in this context is exactly right.

    This whole conversation came about because I queried what the basis of Judith’s quantitative assessment was though. I am still waiting for that.

    Comment by gavin — 29 Aug 2014 @ 8:38 AM

  64. Judith seems to be saying to me that: looking at the 60 year period 1950-2010 is not enough to determine the magnitude of probability of AC (anthropogenic change). The fact that the longer record has variations not explained by the models puts into question the veracity of depending on the models and their assumptions.

    [Response: “Enough” for what? There will always be unexplained variation at some point in the record, does that mean you can never come to any conclusions where you do have data? – gavin]

    It is understandable given the rise in temperature over such a long period to say “something” is going on. There are models that can attribute that change to CO2 largely. However, in order for that probability assessment to make sense 2 things are required:

    1) proof the models really do represent reality enough to model that period
    I and others would posit this is far from known or provable since as you point out most of the data is unreliable in prior time periods and from what I’ve read the models do not coincide with great precision to the data we have anyway.

    [Response: ‘Proof’ is the wrong word. What you mean is evidence that the models have skill. And yes, there is such evidence – in the predicted response to volcanic forcing, the ozone hole, orbital variations, the sun, paleo-lake outbursts, the response to ENSO etc. that all show models matching the observations skillfully (which is not to say they match perfectly). – gavin]

    2) longer period analysis which shows that this period is extraordinary that may exclude prior factors that affected things in the past
    This is also hard because of data problems but also is not at all clear because we are pretty sure that over periods of thousands of years temperatures were higher than even now. A lack of quality in prior data make statements about the specific form of the heating shape impossible to correlate to see if this warming is faster, has a pattern that is detectably different than past temperature changes.

    [Response: Attribution has nothing to do with whether something is unprecedented. You don’t have to rob more banks than anyone ever to be found guilty of robbing the one bank you did actually rob. – gavin]

    This is not an unusual situation. It is unfortunate the data quality is too low in the past but it is what it is. Therefore the prudent thing is to say we don’t know. You have a theory that this latest heating is extraordinary. I believe that it probably is but I’m not 100% convinced. I am 100% certain of the physics of CO2 GHG and therefore like everybody I puzzle how exactly that extra energy manifests itself in the environment. It is certainly reasonable that it results in higher temperatures but because of the complexity of the system and magnitude of things like ocean flows and heat fluctuations over time, how clouds are affected it makes sense to take a very basic approach to this science rather than the extremely high level approach that is being taken currently.

    For the last 30 years or so the community of scientists has taken the position that overall temperatures must rise and estimating the amount.

    [Response: No. The temperatures have been observed to rise, and we have over a hundred years of science quantifying the potential causes. -gavin]

    That is too hard a problem to solve reliably. It would be more constructive to concentrate on showing a causal link and proof of specific theories of climate science to establish some basic knowns. For instance, can we build a satellite which will give us precise provable evidence of the energy from CO2 is being delivered to the surface.

    [Response: You misunderstand what is going on – however, it would be great if we could have satellites that measured the top of atmosphere energy budget directly, but currently they are not accurate enough and so we have to rely on the ocean heat content changes instead. However, they do show clearly that the planet is gaining energy. – gavin]

    The current basis of this seems to be more indirect and not 100% convincing. Doing this would be immensely valuable to establish the kind of proof that I see in a classic newtonian physics class. Second proof is the largest feedback expected from the models. This is the water vapor feedback. We need proof that indeed water vapor is increasing and in line with what a simple (non-model driven) analysis will show.

    [Response: This has already been shown for short, medium and long term climate changes. Chapter 2 in AR5, pages 205-208. – gavin]

    Such experiments and measurement will be hard and require billions in money similar for instance to the ARGO float project. However, doing so will give resources to leverage as well as critical data to assess the real effects. It will also lead to irrefutable proofs that will be impossible to debate.

    [Response: That is a little optimistic. People can always be found to debate anything. – gavin]

    Then we have a “science” in the sense that someone can show theory, measurements, calculated results and then see the actual results. I realize the biggest problem is the scale and difficulty of doing these things but it seems to me that absent doing this we are in an infinite debate until enough data can confirm or refute the current theory. I posit that absent such data that debate can never end and that it is possible to argue either side for the next 50 years.

    [Response: It is *always* possible to argue if you don’t pay any attention to the actual data, observations or models. And that goes double for topics where people are heavily invested in the outcome. Scientists in general though learn to recognise what arguments are constructive and which ones are simply reactionary. – gavin]

    [edit – not here].

    Comment by John Mathon — 29 Aug 2014 @ 9:19 AM

  65. Gavin @63,

    glad to have been of help! I have asked a couple more questions there, we’ll see if Judith comes back.

    I also have a question to help my understanding of the IPCC attribution which maybe you can help with.

    My summary of the IPCC attribution process is:

    1)Models produce a good simulation of natural variability. AR5 section 9.5.3 concludes “ Nevertheless, the lines of evidence above suggest with high confidence that models reproduce global and NH temperature variability on a wide range of time scales.”

    2)Model spread of natural variability in the 1950-2010 timeframe is ca zero +/- 0.1 degC

    3)Therefore the rest must be anthro

    4)To allow for “structural uncertainties” (is this effectively unkown unknowns?) the spread of natural is increased by an arbitrary amount determined by the judgment of the panel; this actually makes the attribution conservative compared to the direct model output.

    Is that about right? If not I think I may be confused about why the error bars on ANT are much less than OA+GHG separately.

    [Response: Yes. So the assessed likelihood is not as tight as my first figure in the top post. The ANT vs. GHG+OA issue is slightly more subtle though. The issue there is that there is not as clean a distinction between the fingerprints for GHG and OA in the surface temperature fields as one might like. Therefore there is more flexibility in the exact proportions when you do the attribution with OA and GHG independently as when you lump them together in contrast to NAT factors. – gavin]

    So, a couple of questions:
    1)How good is the observational data which allows a comparison of observed vs model natural variability? Presumably we have very limited thermometer data on centennially variations, so it must be an assessment relying primarily on proxies? Should the uncertainties in proxy data add significantly to uncertainties in attribution via this analysis?

    [Response: No. This is all done with instrumental data – but it can include more than just the weather stations. – gavin]

    2)Even if models produce an overall spectrum equivalent to natural, how effective are they at reproducing a specific realisation (ie that from 1950). In other words, even if in general models produce a reasonable statistical representation of natural variability, could they be a long way out for the specific case of 1950-2010?

    [Response: That is always a possibility, but you can try and use the simulated distribution to infer how likely that is (not very). – gavin]

    Comment by verytallguy — 29 Aug 2014 @ 9:26 AM

  66. Regarding Curry’s response reprinted in comment 63:

    “I think both 0% and 100% are extremely unlikely.”

    The 100% part of that statement is equivalent to saying that it is extremely unlikely that the world could have cooled since 1950 if there hadn’t been any human contribution. Alternatively, that it is extremely likely that it would still have warmed.

    How can she be so sure?

    Comment by Lars Karlsson — 29 Aug 2014 @ 10:05 AM

  67. “And are sea levels rising? Depends on whether you believe Argo or Jason.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/argosalinity_zpscb75296c-e1409295709715.jpg

    – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/comment-page-2/#comment-589634

    Um, that is a salinity graph!

    [Response: Indeed. Argo doesn’t measure sea level anyway. Just as an aside, impact of 1mm/year SLR of freshwater on 0-1900m salinity is 0.00002 psu/year, or for 10 years, 0.0002 psu – which is not detectable in that record. – gavin]

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Aug 2014 @ 11:14 AM

  68. Further to my comment (above), Von Schuckman et al, 2014 (doi:10.5194/os-10-547-2014) says:

    The objective of our study was to quantify the consistency of near-global and regional integrals of ocean heat content and steric sea level (from in situ temperature and salinity data), total sea level (from satellite altimeter data) and ocean mass (from satellite gravimetry data) from an Argo perspective.

    We showed that the three observing systems are consistent at global scales. Indeed, globally averaged systematic observation biases, sampling array issues and steric changes below 1500m depth together are smaller than the error of SLRES.

    Sure doesn’t support that notion that JASON and ARGO are in any kind of disagreement–well (full disclosure), except for the TAA region. (See paper for discussion.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Aug 2014 @ 11:35 AM

  69. WebHubTelescope:M.Marler, You intentionally call the cloud cover a “confounding factor”.

    The cloud cover are likely not a forcing and thus a cause of warming but more likely a positive warming feedback.

    I have read more than one paper on the topic, and my assessment is that cloud cover and other water vapor effects are widely recognized as among the biggest unknowns going forward. Science magazine has published reviews and so have some other peer-reviewed journals.

    The cloud cover changes from the early 70s to the most recent measurements are “confounding factors” because the changes occurred concomitantly with other changes, which makes it hard for empirical model building techniques like the multiple regression you use for your csalt model to provide reasonably accurate, unbiased estimates of their effect sizes.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 29 Aug 2014 @ 11:46 AM

  70. gavin wrote:

    This whole conversation came about because I queried what the basis of Judith’s quantitative assessment was though.
    I am still waiting for that.

    Wait no more.
    As you and others have pointed out, Dr Curry’s claims are fundamentally at odds with themselves.

    Curry argues for high internal variability, but low sensitivity.
    Curry argues that attribution is highly uncertain, but claims that she thinks 100% ANT is “extremely unlikely”.

    It’s all very reminiscent of:
    http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2014/01/curry-vs-curry.html

    There are no quantitative assessments that support contradictions.

    Comment by The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse — 29 Aug 2014 @ 12:33 PM

  71. ” It is worth pointing out that there can be no assumption that natural contributions must be positive – indeed for any random time period of any length, one would expect natural contributions to be cooling half the time.”

    The above statement is simply not true, unless it is scientifically established that the global temperature is pre-set at a specific level and does not change — upwards or downwards — over time based on natural contributions. Since the climate has demonstrably changed in the past many times, all assumed to be natural, then our random selections of time periods would most likely encompass periods of natural warming or natural cooling. Periods of no change would be rare in nature.

    [Response: Read it again – that’s exactly what I said. – gavin]

    Comment by Kip Hansen — 29 Aug 2014 @ 2:00 PM

  72. Addition ==> This would be particularly true if we are talking of changes as small as 1 degree C or less.

    Comment by Kip Hansen — 29 Aug 2014 @ 2:02 PM

  73. 61. WebHubTelescope: Positive water vapor feedback is known to contribute largely to the +33C warming that prevents the earth from a 255K average temperature. What makes you think this positive feedback will take a U-turn and turn into a negative feedback with further warming?

    When we are formulating hypotheses and expectations about the future (“extrapolation”, forecasting, and such), which parts of the past record deserve the greatest weight? Global mean temperature since the last ice age has oscillated quasi-periodically between about +/- 1% of its mean; over that time, the mean has slightly declined, as have the maxima and minima of the excursions. That behavior is much more compatible with a negative feedback from the higher temperatures than with a positive feedback from the higher temperatures.

    It is known that water evaporates faster at higher temperature than lower temperature, and it has been demonstrated through data analyses that cloud cover is slightly greater at higher temperatures than at lower temperatures; some regional effects are dramatic, such as the greater cloud cover throughout upstate New York in the daytime than the night time in summer.

    So it is reasonable to entertain the hypothesis that, starting with the temperature distribution as it is now, future CO2 increases, if they produce temperature increases of any size, will produce increased cloud cover. Once you start to entertain the hypothesis seriously, you see that evidence against it is slim to none.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 29 Aug 2014 @ 2:53 PM

  74. Ray Ladbury: “Frankly, I’ve never come away from anything Aunt Judy wrote with any new understanding. Her analysis is shallow and her logic flawed. You cannot draw scientific conclusions when you simply reject the best science available. Is it uncertain? Of course, but it is at least an edifice to build on. That is the thing about science: even if you start out with the wrong model, empirical evidence will eventually correct you, and you’ll know why you were wrong, as well. Judy’s biggest problem is that she’s afraid to be wrong, so she’s forever stuck in the limbo of “not even wrong”.

    This is probably why there don’t seem to be many peer-reviewed papers making the same arguments to actually perform attribution, either by Curry or others. I believe she had The Uncertainty Monster published by BAMS back in 2011 but that’s hardly an actual assessment of the climate applying her ideas. Who has tried to put Curry’s philosophy about attribution to work? The answer doesn’t seem to be “Judith Curry.”

    Also, it’s instructive to look at her recent posts on this topic and then go back to the bad arguments she was making in 2012, as highlighted/addressed here. She’s had several years to try and absorb these mistakes after having them pointed out.

    Comment by wheelsoc — 29 Aug 2014 @ 3:18 PM

  75. Matthew says:
    So it is reasonable to entertain the hypothesis that, starting with the temperature distribution as it is now, future CO2 increases, if they produce temperature increases of any size, will produce increased cloud cover. Once you start to entertain the hypothesis seriously, you see that evidence against it is slim to none.

    The hypothesis that there will be more clouds when there is more water vapor in the air isn’t particularly troubling to me.

    Earlier, Matthew said:

    I have read more than one paper on the topic, and my assessment is that cloud cover and other water vapor effects are widely recognized as among the biggest unknowns going forward. Science magazine has published reviews and so have some other peer-reviewed journals.

    So what I think you’re trying to do here, Matthew, is to say that we’re going to have more clouds and that clouds are poorly quantified in the models, so we really don’t know that much.

    I agree that the exact effect of clouds is hard to model, and that current models do a poor job with them.

    I’ll add, however, that they’re fairly well constrained. Current literature has them somewhere between a very small negative feed back and a small positive feedback, with a most-likely value of a very small positive feedback.

    There’s no doubt we’ll want to make these as accurate as possible in the future. “Where it rains” is vital to agriculture, as is “where it no longer rains”. However, there’s no evidence that clouds are a strong negative feedback that will keep things under control.

    Comment by David Miller — 29 Aug 2014 @ 3:31 PM

  76. Let’s try to bring this back to basics. Let’s accept that observations and forcings are correct from 1950. The critical question is first of all whether captures a mutidecadal warm and a multidecadal cool regime such that the regimes cancel out.

    What seems obvious is that regimes involve changes in the Pacific Ocean state and changes in the trajectory of global surface temperatures. These changes – abrupt shifts between quasi equilibrium states occurred at the mid 1940’s, 1976/77 and 1998/2001. There is a cooler state from 1944 and a warmer state from 1976 to 1998. We may assume that the states cancel out over two full regimes – 1944 to 1998 – and that the residual is entirely anthropogenic. The difference between 1944 and 1950 is substantial – 0.324 degrees C – and ENSO influenced in the cool mode that was in full swing by 1950. The assumption – and it is just that – that natural regimes of warming and cooling cancel out from 1950 is not justified.

    The assumption that these climate shifts between quasi equilibrium states cancel out over less than centennial to millennial scales is astonishingly ill founded.

    There is nothing to suggest that the next shift – due perhaps in a decade to three – will follow the 20th century pattern to a warmer state.

    These are the very poorly understood points – admittedly not all that clearly enunciated in this post – from Judy Curry.

    [Response: All you are demonstrating is that over 6 years (1944 to 1950) internal variability can be a dominant factor. I doubt anyone disputes that. The difference between trends 1944 to 2010 versus 1950 to 2010 is much smaller (around 0.01-0.02ºC/decade depending on data set) and even more so relative to the overall trend of about 0.1ºC/decade. – gavin]

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 29 Aug 2014 @ 4:09 PM

  77. Rob Ellison (#58) claimed:

    The data shows quite clearly that changes in cloud radiative forcing in the satellite era exceeded greenhouse gas forcing.

    e.g. – http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png

    No, the figure linked does not even show changes in cloud radiative forcing. Nor does the Pallé and Laken paper it appears in. To the contrary, they are at pains to point out that “difficulties in measuring clouds means it is unclear how global cloud properties have changed over [the past 30 years]”, and suggest that “the [ISCCP] dataset contains considerable features of an artificial origin.” (The IPCC reaches similar conclusions, see AR5 WG1 ch. 2.5.6). You are adding to the confusion (cf. Kevin’s comments at #67–68).

    Comment by CM — 29 Aug 2014 @ 4:10 PM

  78. Kip (#72)–

    Whenever someone needs a sanity check on how internal variability fits into the overarching story of climate, it’s always good to turn back to this articulate comment by Andy Lacis.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 29 Aug 2014 @ 4:23 PM

  79. Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

    These large changes in TOA radiant flux are changes in cloud cover and utterly unrelated to CO2.

    Specifically – anticorrelated to SST – e.g. http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/clementetal2009.png

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 29 Aug 2014 @ 5:21 PM

  80. 75 David Miller: I’ll add, however, that they’re fairly well constrained. Current literature has them somewhere between a very small negative feed back and a small positive feedback, with a most-likely value of a very small positive feedback. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/comment-page-2/#comments

    I do not think that they are well constrained. A small increase in cloud cover during summer daytimes can have an effect at least as strong as the doubling of CO2, and in the opposite direction. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen, but all that is needed is a small feedback.

    The other thing about water vapor of course is that more energy is required to vaporize water than to raise its temperature somewhat. If there is an increase in the rate of the hydrological cycle, even if it is small, then the temperature increase due to doubling of CO2 has been overestimated. The calculations I have seen that might “constrain” the size of this effecct are based on equilibrium conditions, which I think are unlikely to be very accurate when applied to a system in which each surface region warms and cools every day, and which has rainstorms over large regions, and which never achieves equilibrium.

    I do not “believe” that overall feedback due to temperature increase and CO2 increase will be that strongly negative over the next decades, but I do think that the scientific case against it is full of liabilities and is inadequate.

    I agree with most of what you wrote in that post, but I do not have a firm belief or expectation about the future consequences of future CO2 increases.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 29 Aug 2014 @ 5:22 PM

  81. 77 CM, from Palle and Lakin: Performing a correlation analysis between SST and ISCCP/MODIS total cloud amount we find that overall there is a negative correspondence between cloud at middle latitudes and a positive correspondence at low latitudes.

    Other regions over the globe present localized significant positive and negative correlations [8], but this is the more extended region with consistent positive correlations

    So my memory was at least incomplete on this point, and probably wrong. The cloud cover effects remain too complex for a simple summary.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 29 Aug 2014 @ 7:51 PM

  82. All you are demonstrating is that over 6 years (1944 to 1950) internal variability can be a dominant factor. I doubt anyone disputes that. The difference between trends 1944 to 2010 versus 1950 to 2010 is much smaller (around 0.01-0.02ºC/decade depending on data set) and even more so relative to the overall trend of about 0.1ºC/decade. – gavin]

    There are 2 separate issues – between 1944 and 1998 there was a complete cooler regime and a complete warmer regime. Conveniently – this is when CO2 in the atmosphere started to take off. The total warming was some 0.4 degrees C. This is of course less than the 0.65 from 1950 in the diagram above. We assume that the warm and cool regimes in the late 20th century cancel out – and that the 20th century pattern will be repeated. Questionable assumptions at best.

    The less than 0.1 degree C/decade trend – is pretty much consistent with any of a number of results some of which I have mentioned. Including Tung and Zhou it seems.

    So if total warming – assumed to be anthropogenic – is 0.4 degree C thus far and the trend is 0.1 degrees C/decade it will take some time to reach 2 degree C increase. Especially so if the current cool mode persists for another decade to three – and the next natural ‘climate shift’ is to yet cooler conditions.

    [Response: It’s not linear. – gavin]

    The question has and will be asked – is just how serious this is? The question is moot – climate is a kaleidoscope. Shake it up and a new and unpredictable – bearing an ineluctable risk of climate instability – pattern spontaneously emerges. Climate is wild as Wally has said.

    As for the changes in the toa flux data someone else mentioned.

    ‘One important development since the TAR is the apparent unexpectedly large changes in tropical mean radiation flux reported by ERBS (Wielicki et al., 2002a,b). It appears to be related in part to changes in the nature of tropical clouds (Wielicki et al., 2002a), based on the smaller changes in the clear-sky component of the radiative fluxes (Wong et al., 2000; Allan and Slingo, 2002), and appears to be statistically distinct from the spatial signals associated with ENSO (Allan and Slingo, 2002; Chen et al., 2002). A recent reanalysis of the ERBS active-cavity broadband data corrects for a 20 km change in satellite altitude between 1985 and 1999 and changes in the SW filter dome (Wong et al., 2006). Based upon the revised (Edition 3_Rev1) ERBS record (Figure 3.23), outgoing LW radiation over the tropics appears to have increased by about 0.7 W/m2 while the reflected SW radiation decreased by roughly 2.1 W/m2 from the 1980s to 1990s (Table 3.5)…

    In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ AR4 WG1 3.4.4.1

    What the independent – ERBS and ISCCP-FD – data shows is strong cooling in IR and strong warming in SW – associated with ocean states and cloud cover – in the 80’s and 90’s. It is what it is.

    Finally – Argo seems to be showing (on the Scripps Institute data handling) that salinity in not trending.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/argosalinity_zpscb75296c-e1409295709715.jpg

    von Schuckman and Le Troan actually show freshwater content decreasing – if you look carefully – in the period they covered. Argo results change over time due to data handling but significantly because the system evolves with large natural variability.

    So we have no trend in salinity – and according to Louliette 2011 a steric sea level rise of 0.2mm +/- 0.8mm/yr. This is inconsistent with Jason sea level rise.

    [Response: A couple of points. If you are wanting an actual discussion, please provide links or doi’s to the papers you cite. Is it Louliette or Leuliette? 2011 or 2009? In either case I am unable to find the reference. Leuliette and Willis (2011) does however have the closure of the SLR in terms of steric and mass effects (fig3). – gavin]

    [Further response: Your graph from von Schuckmann and Le Traon is from the preprint and has a typo in the OFC trend, not the final paper. – gavin]

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 29 Aug 2014 @ 7:54 PM

  83. #73

    Marler, you don’t seriously believe that there is some new state of matter or new phase transition that allows water vapor to be a positive feedback from 255K to 288K but then do a U-turn and become a negative feedback when the temperature hits 289K ?

    That is plain preposterous, and an indicator that you belong to the Kloud Kult (not to be confused with the MN band Cloud Cult).

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 29 Aug 2014 @ 8:10 PM

  84. ‘A number of studies have suggested that long-term irradiance-based measurements of cloud cover from satellite may be unreliable due to the inclusion of artifacts, difficulties in observing low-cloud, biases connected to view angles, and calibration issues [1, 2, 3, 4]. Using monthly-averaged global satellite records from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP [5]) and the MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) in conjunction with Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) extended and reconstructed SST (ERSST) dataset [7] we have examined the reliability of long-term cloud measurements. The SSTs temperatures are used here, with success over certain regions of the globe, as a proxy and cross-check for cloud variability.’ http://www.benlaken.com/documents/AIP_PL_13.pdf

    A change in cloud cover implies a change in cloud radiative forcing. Net cooling for an increase in low cloud and vice versa. While the difficulties in measuring cloud were acknowledged – the cross validation enhances reliability.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 29 Aug 2014 @ 8:20 PM

  85. Indeed. Argo doesn’t measure sea level anyway. Just as an aside, impact of 1mm/year SLR of freshwater on 0-1900m salinity is 0.00002 psu/year, or for 10 years, 0.0002 psu – which is not detectable in that record.

    A more saline ocean has less mass. A more saline ocean is losing more water than it is gaining – so levels are not increasing. If we combine that with the Louliette 2011 steric sea level rise calculated by reference to the Scripps Argo ‘climatologies’ then sea level rise is nowhere near the Jason result of some 3mm/year.

    We are trying to measure change at the limits of detectability against a background of vigourous natural variability. Avoiding the issues is not of much use at all in understanding.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 29 Aug 2014 @ 8:32 PM

  86. Let me try to explain this some graphs.

    This is from Louliette 2011 – showing steric rise from Argo, sea level from Jason and mass from GRACE.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/argograce_leuliette-2012.png

    This is ocean heat content and ocean freshwater content from von Schuckmann and Le Troan 2011. It shows heat content increases and freshwater content decrease – i.e increased salinity.

    https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/vonschuckmannampltroan2011-fig5pg_zpsee63b772.jpg

    Over a longer period using the Scripps Argo climatology – Louliette is showing no heat content increase – i.e. 0.2mm +/- 0.8mm/yr.

    Jason and GRACE are showing sea level and mass increase. Argo is showing a mass decrease.

    Now you may believe whatever you like on a basis of entrenched memes – but I challenge any rational observer to come to any other conclusion than we are at limits of observational precision.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 29 Aug 2014 @ 9:06 PM

  87. John Mathon says:
    29 Aug 2014 at 9:19 AM

    [uncalibrated]

    See Weart’s “Discovery of Global Warming” to get caught up on this topic. As an additional bolster to credibility also check such details as the actual budget for the Argo system. Many nations contribute to Argo, so the exact figure is a little difficult to calculate but $1 billion would run the network for perhaps 75-100 years. “Billions in money” for Argo is duff rumor; wherever/whatever/whomever misinformed you would best be ignored in the future.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Aug 2014 @ 5:25 AM

  88. Rob Ellison @76.

    You round off your comment by telling us “These are the very poorly understood points … from Judy Curry.” Unfortunately I am not clear whose understanding is poor. Is it Curry? Is it you? Is it me? Is it us? Is it those people not in the know? Is it everybody?

    And may I also congratulate you in getting round to linking the content of your comment to the topic being discussed, abet at the eighth attempt and still not with enough clarity to be useful, but well done you!

    I do note you continue @79 & @83.

    @79 you link to Loeb et al (2012) but it is not clear why. What are you hoping this paper demonstrates? The size of the “large natural variability”? The link of such wobbles to “atmospheric and ocean dynamics”? How all this “complicates the picture”?

    Perhaps the nub of my problem here is that none of these uses of Loeb at al. lead to an obvious line of reasoning that makes any sense to me.
    You kick off you comment @79 by saying any climate forcing results in TOA energy flux changes. And having read Lobe et al (nobody is stupid enough to present a reference that they haven’t read through, are they?), you will be aware that their findings, as well as demonstrating the wobbly spatial/temporal net TOA fluxes, also show that their satellite data needs yet more accuracy to “constrain cloud feedback.” It is therefore possible to say that their findings are ‘not simplifying’ our asessment. But that is surely not the same as ‘complicating’ it.
    They also point out that the crutial “Net incoming TOA flux was positive during the 2007–2009 La Nina conditions,” so the warming continues globally even in through the deepest La Nina event. Of course, we know TOA fluxes must continue to warm globally on a decadal basis because we have OHC data. (And I mean here ‘measured’ OHC, not a value inferred by subtracting one big imprecise number from another big imprecise number.) Global surface temperature rise may have been a bit sluggish since 2007 but OHC which comprises the vast bulk of AGW (no 50:50 debate possible here), OHC continues apace.
    And in light of this evidence, I have to say I do find it difficult to see how the NH’s synchronised coupling of Swanson & Tsonis (this apparently the favourite multi-decadal wobble mechanism espoused by Rob Ellison although not Judy Curry) holds water. How can it be reconciled with continued robust levels of rising OHC?
    And thus baffled, the relevance of the size of those TOA flux wobbles, their immediate causes (by the way, which may well be quite strongly linked to AGW) or any resulting complexity of analysis eludes me entirely.
    But then perhaps it is me who very poorly understands the points’ made @76.
    Or perhaps not.

    Finally @83 you develop a good thesis except for the last line. Where you say “I challenge any rational observer to come to any other conclusion than we are at limits of observational precision,” I think it would be farer to say that it is you who “are at the limits of observational precision.”

    Comment by MARodger — 30 Aug 2014 @ 7:22 AM

  89. #83–No. “Steric” sea level refers to changes induced by alterations in temperature and salinity. (Which makes sense, since Argo doesn’t measure mass, but temperature and salinity.)

    AR4 says:

    Ocean salinity changes, while unimportant for sea level at the global scale, can have an effect on regional sea level (e.g., Antonov et al., 2002; Ishii et al., 2006; Section 5.5.3).

    Thus, on a global scale the bulk of steric effects are thermosteric–which don’t involve mass changes. (And note also Gavin’s inline comment about freshwater fluxes and the salinity record, above.)

    So I don’t find the disparity in trends particularly surprising, and I sure don’t think that the graph trumps the conclusions of von Schuckmann et al which I quoted. The authors did, after all, perform a quantitative analysis thorough enough to get published in Ocean Science.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 Aug 2014 @ 8:27 AM

  90. Fred Moolten says:
    The strong dominance of anthropogenic warming since 1950 can be demonstrated with high confidence without any dependence on complicated climate models.

    The negligible effect of the anthropogenic warming before and since 1950 can be demonstrated with high confidence by simply looking at the 350 years long CET instrumental record available from the MetOffice http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/ssn_HadCET_mean.txt

    Ocean heat transfer of a major consequence is permanently active in the far North Atlantic, to the south west of Iceland and to the Iceland’s north.
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/slides/04.18.htm

    Fact:
    Cold Arctic wind removes the surface heat at rates of several hundred watts per square meter (W/m2)

    Assumed:
    There is a twofold effect of this phenomenon:

    1 – rising plum of warm air affects meandering of the polar jet stream, causing short term temperature (weather) variation across the N. Hemisphere’s temperate region.
    2 – previously warm saline surface water, now wind cooled (cold) saline surface water sinks to depths up to 2000m. This deep water convection is the engine (pump) of the oceanic thermohaline conveyor circulation. Changes here have a long term effect, affecting the strength of the north-ward horizontal flow of the Atlantic’s upper warm layer, thereby altering the oceanic poleward heat transport and the distribution of sea surface temperature (SST – AMO), the presumed source of the (climate) natural variability.

    a – Intensity of the summers’ variability is of lesser effect, mostly due to the near constant insolation (TSI) across the decades or even centuries, overwhelming any major variability in the external forcing.
    b – Extent of the winters’ variability is far greater due to the absence of the solar suppressing factor, with the external forcing having the full effect. (on the external forcing at another occasion)
    This summer / winter dichotomy in the N. Hemisphere’s temperature variability is clearly shown in the CET’s 350 year long instrumental record.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-s-w.gif
    But I doubt that anyone with a fixed agenda would take any notice of what is in the actual observational data.
    No room left for the anthropogenic warming, unless you assume that it has started in 1659 and it is only effective in the winter months.

    Comment by vukcevic — 30 Aug 2014 @ 9:11 AM

  91. A quick hypothetical question for Gavin or anyone else who wishes to respond.

    Let’s say there was a cooling over the next decade such that the total warming since 1950 dropped by 0.1 degrees. How much MORE certain would you be that ALL of the warming since 1950 was anthropogenic.

    Comment by John Finn — 30 Aug 2014 @ 9:23 AM

  92. Gavin, posting a few words inline, has pointed out some of Rob Ellison’s errors.
    It’s work to locate the original misstatements in the plentiful verbiage.
    I urge people to look back at them.

    Note for new readers: Inline responses may get posted days after the original posts, and may note errors in more than one original post.

    Look in the right sidebar under “…With Inline Responses” to make sure you see them as they appear, they get listed there.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Aug 2014 @ 9:41 AM

  93. Small typo: in “statement about where it’s mean is”, should be “its”.

    I took a look at her response. Further down the page, she quotes Carl Wunsch (her emphases, I presume, since it’s not in the original text I found):

    The system is noisy. Even if there were no anthropogenic forcing, one expects to see fluctuations including upward and downward trends, plateaus, spikes, etc. If the science is done right, the calculated uncertainty takes account of this background variation. But none of these papers, Tung, or Trenberth, does that. Overlain on top of this natural behavior is the small, and often shaky, observing systems, both atmosphere and ocean where the shifting places and times and technologies must also produce a change even if none actually occurred.

    The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up.

    This makes it look as if if Wunsh has made a major unanswered point. Go to the article she quotes (without citation – I had to search for it). You wil find his point answered.

    As a scientist, I would expect her to consider all the evidence, not just that which fits her model. :)

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 30 Aug 2014 @ 9:42 AM

  94. Further to my #89–From von Schuckmann & Le Traon (thanks for the link, Gavin):

    Global total sea level derived from satellite altimetry can be partitioned into its steric and mass-related components (e.g. Cazenave et al, 2009; Leuliette and Miller, 2009). Steric sea level is driven by volume changes through ocean salinity (halosteric) and ocean temperature (thermosteric) effects, from which the latter is known to play a dominant role in observed contemporary rise of GSSL.

    Consistent with how I was reading things, pleasantly–barring some cautious hedging I’d made, based on the possibility that salinity could reflect mass changes, either when fresh water was added to the ocean via glacial melt or impoundment decreases (ocean mass increase) or via increased evaporation rates (ocean mass decrease). It makes sense that these effects should be far more important regionally than globally, though.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 Aug 2014 @ 10:32 AM

  95. > Rob Ellison says: 29 Aug 2014 at 9:06 PM
    > Let me try to explain this some graphs.

    You’ll be correcting that at your website, with a pointer to the final paper rather than a picture of the draft with the typo in it for Fig. 5, right? Let us know?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Aug 2014 @ 11:10 AM

  96. One other point on cloud feedbacks from a paleoclimate perspective–if a strong negative cloud feedback begins at modern earth temperatures, it would be unlikely for past temperatures to have exceeded modern ones. 3 million years ago the temperatures were 3 deg C warmer than modern with essentially the same continental configuration, so it doesn’t appear that a large negative feedback occurs at least for the next 3 degrees of global warming.

    Comment by mitch — 30 Aug 2014 @ 12:35 PM

  97. @75:

    [T]here’s no evidence that clouds are a strong negative feedback that will keep things under control.

    I’d tend to agree. Do orbital variations in insolation drive ice-age cycles if you have a strong negative cloud feedback?

    Comment by Meow — 30 Aug 2014 @ 4:12 PM

  98. ‘Salinity data allow an estimate of global ocean freshwater content (GOFC). Subsurface temperature and salinity measurements are the only possibility to describe the internal distribution of density. This, in turn, provides the capability to understand important contributions to global sea level change (Cazenave and Llovel, 2010; Church and White, 2011), i.e. global steric sea level (GSSL).’

    The typo in the graph I linked to is unfortunate. Thank you for pointing that out. The correct number is −80±90 km3/yr rather then -180. It represents the difference between freshwater gains and losses.
    To spell it out – there is some minor loss of freshwater from the oceans ranging to a very minor gain. There is no substantive trend – whereas both GRACE and Jason are showing positive trends in mass and sea level respectively.

    The figure I linked to was from Louliette (2012) -http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/24-2_leuliette.pdf

    [Response: note spelling “Leuliette” – it really does help. – gavin]

    ‘Regionally, the ocean becomes fresher or saltier where the balance between evaporation minus rainfall tips in one direction or the other over time. As an integrating measurement made with high accuracy, freshwater content (salinity anomaly over a layer) is the most sensitive yardstick available for observing the global fingerprint of a changing hydrological cycle. A second application of salinity is to diagnose the global volume of ice. Melting of either floating ice or glaciers and ice sheets lowers ocean salinity.’
    http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/global_change_analysis.html#steric

    Mass change occurs with addition and subtraction of freshwater. Is there some other way it changes?

    However, the vagaries of the observing system is not the major point. We still have less than 0.1 degree C/decade rise. A total rise of 0.4 degrees C over two multidecadal regimes from 1944 to 1998. The ‘speculation’ of non-warming at least for decades yet. The unlikely assumption that the 21st century pattern of climate shifts will follow the 20th century pattern of warmer to cooler to warmer. Centennial to millennial variability is a reality.

    Climate shifts are known with relative precision – they occur with changes in frequency and intensity of ENSO events and with changes in the trajectory of surface temperature. The inflection points are 1944, 1976 and 1998. Cooling from 1944 to 1950 was all ENSO. Picking 1950 as a start point is arbitrary and ignores the natural cooling that was in play.

    But you agree on 0.1 degrees C/decade as a maximum rate of increase. That’s a start – something solid we can hang onto in the götterdämmerung of climate narratives.

    [Response: Sorry but I said nothing of the sort. That is simply the OLS trend since 1950. Trends from 1975 are higher as are expectations from the next few decades. There is no ‘maximum rate’ – gavin]

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 30 Aug 2014 @ 4:15 PM

  99. @80:

    The other thing about water vapor of course is that more energy is required to vaporize water than to raise its temperature somewhat. If there is an increase in the rate of the hydrological cycle, even if it is small, then the temperature increase due to doubling of CO2 has been overestimated.

    Huh? First, it’s a cycle, so all that speeding it up does is to raise the gross amount of heat absorbed to cause evaporation, which is exactly balanced by the gross heat released during condensation. The only net heat absorbed is that which raises absolute humidity. Second, the amount of heat needed to raise absolute humidity substantially is, in the scheme of things, relatively small. To double current absolute humidity (from 1.27*10^16 kg) would require ~2.86*10^22 J, or about 1.7 W/m^2 for only one year.

    Comment by Meow — 30 Aug 2014 @ 4:39 PM

  100. Gavin, I’m glad you’re willing to give your time to address this. Having said that, it’s a pitty that such good brains have to busy themselves responding to such utter nonsense.

    Comment by Alexandre — 30 Aug 2014 @ 5:43 PM

  101. 99, meow: Huh? First, it’s a cycle, so all that speeding it up does is to raise the gross amount of heat absorbed to cause evaporation, which is exactly balanced by the gross heat released during condensation.

    The cycle is not closed. Some of the latent heat carried from the surface to the upper troposphere is radiated to space. Hence, the energy returned to the surface is less than the energy expended to vaporize the surface water.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 30 Aug 2014 @ 5:58 PM

  102. 83 WebHubTelescope: Marler, you don’t seriously believe that there is some new state of matter or new phase transition that allows water vapor to be a positive feedback from 255K to 288K but then do a U-turn and become a negative feedback when the temperature hits 289K ?

    What I “believe” is of no interest to anyone.

    What I wrote was that the historical record does not rule out the possibility that at current temperatures and cloud covers, a future increase in CO2 or surface temperature may increase cloud cover. The oscillations in global mean temp over the last 11,000 years are not compatible with a strong positive feedback to temperature increase at the higher temperatures, and are compatible with a small negative feedback at high temperature (if not all related to changes in external forcings.) Increased cloud cover is a possible mechanism for such a negative feedback at the high temperatures.

    A lot is known about mean temperature fluctuations over the past eons. We all know the problems with biased sampling, proxies and such, but there is a lot of evidence. About humidity, rainfall, and cloud cover much less is known. So future humidity, rainfall, and cloud cover are not predictable from historical data.

    You made up that bit about new states of matter.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 30 Aug 2014 @ 6:19 PM

  103. @99: Now I’m really worried, considering that the current radiative imbalance is ~0.85W/m^2. What prevents most of that from evaporating water instead of heating the deeps of the oceans?

    Comment by Meow — 30 Aug 2014 @ 7:58 PM

  104. All you are demonstrating is that over 6 years (1944 to 1950) internal variability can be a dominant factor. I doubt anyone disputes that. The difference between trends 1944 to 2010 versus 1950 to 2010 is much smaller (around 0.01-0.02ºC/decade depending on data set) and even more so relative to the overall trend of about 0.1ºC/decade. – gavin]

    And from NASA.

    Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

    Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

    This latter from a NASA page gives the essence of the problem. There are multidecadal regimes – 20 to 40 years in the proxy records – that in the 20th century shifted from warmer to cooler to warmer again.

    We are presuming that the internal variability of the mid century cooling was cancelled by the late century warming. Thus the residual over a long enough period is the anthropogenic component – and the rate of residual warming is some 0.07 degrees C/decade from 1944. I refer you again to the Swanson graph – which demonstrates a different method. He excludes climate shifts in 1976-78 and 1998-2001 – and gets a rate of late century warming that he presumes is the anthropogenic component.

    Either way – the total of late century warming is not the relevant point as there is evidently a component of natural warming preceded by decades of natural cooling. Forgive me if this is not the ‘consensus’ understanding.

    There are 2 problems with the 100% attribution from 1950. The cooling regime started in 1944 and cooled some 0.324 degrees C by 2050. So we are starting at a low point that seems all ENSO. The other problem involves centennial to millennial variability. For instance – the 20th century saw a 1000 year peak in El Nino activity.

    I linked to Vance et al (2012) earlier – and linked to the graph showing a salt content proxy over 100 years in a Law Dome ice core. More salt = La Nina.

    Especially if warming doesn’t resume anytime soon – as indeed suggested in a realclimate post some years ago -http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/

    Swanson et al (2009) suggest that non-warming for decades could present some empirical difficulties for CO2 mitigation. So it seems. The answer is seeing the gains that can come from sustainable development and in energy innovation. The answer is certainly not bristling at complexity, denying uncertainty and righteously smiting any deemed blogospheric deniers.

    I am not referring to you – your reputation precedes you – and I have certainly not felt unwelcome or poorly treated. The run of the mill blogospheric climate warriors are a different story. Noise and fury – the fog of war writ small.

    Wally Broecker has been warning us that climate is wild for a long time. A proper understanding of this suggests that surprises are inevitable – and this seems likely to include non-warming at least for decades – and that climate is inherently unstable. I am just trying to get with the program.

    Cheers

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 30 Aug 2014 @ 10:41 PM

  105. M. Marler said:


    The oscillations in global mean temp over the last 11,000 years are not compatible with a strong positive feedback to temperature increase at the higher temperatures

    I take it that you have little experience with materials science? The Arrhenius rate laws do not show runaway positive feedback with increases in temperature. This has to do with the Maxwell-Boltzmann factor having the temperature term in the denominator of the exponent — exp(-E/kT).

    It is also laughable that you think these are “higher temperatures” — this is the Kelvin scale remember, which you may not know because of your apparent limited experience with thermal physics.

    The positive feedback is what it is, a moderate positive feedback that won’t suddenly do a U-turn (in contrast to what you think it will do, yet as you say yourself, it doesn’t matter what you think).

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 31 Aug 2014 @ 12:03 AM

  106. 103, meow: Now I’m really worried, considering that the current radiative imbalance is ~0.85W/m^2.

    radiative imbalance measured where?

    Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl (2009) estimate the transport of latent heat from surface to upper troposphere at 80 W/m^2. (They put the transport by dry thermals at 17W/m^2.) All I have proposed is the possibility that a small (1C or less) increase in global mean temp or a doubling of CO2 concentration will raise the rate of latent heat transport and possibly increase the cloud cover, especially during the hottest time of the year in each region. Increased evaporation due to increased radiation and/or temperature increase is not exactly a revolutionary idea. What is not calculable at present is a quantitative estimate of the amount of increase in the dynamic climate system with its daily and annually changing temperatures and insolation.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 31 Aug 2014 @ 1:24 AM

  107. Matthew R Marler.
    Levitus OHC data (Graph here. Usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) 0-2000m for the last 5 years gives a linear rise requiring 0.82 Wm^-2 of warming. That suggests that a global figure of rather ~0.85 Wm^-2 understates the current value.

    Comment by MARodger — 31 Aug 2014 @ 6:50 AM

  108. Matthew R Marler responds to Meow’s estimate of ~0.85 W/m^2 with :


    radiative imbalance measured where?

    Perhaps you are behind the curve in the current research? Heat that ends up in the ocean essentially contributes to the imbalance because thermal physics says it can not radiate from depth.

    Now anyone can see from the data that the ocean heat capacity (OHC) has been accumulating energy at a rate on the order of 0.5 to 1 W/m^2.

    See Balmaseda, et al
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/grl.50382/

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 31 Aug 2014 @ 9:37 AM

  109. > Marler … I have proposed
    Lindzen’s “Iris”? or something different how?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Aug 2014 @ 9:48 AM

  110. @101 & 106

    The [hydrological] cycle is not closed. Some of the latent heat carried from the surface to the upper troposphere is radiated to space. Hence, the energy returned to the surface is less than the energy expended to vaporize the surface water.

    But the extra water vapor created by an accelerated hydro cycle is also a strong GHG, so it traps more upwelling IR. Which effect wins out? Why?

    Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl (2009) estimate the transport of latent heat from surface to upper troposphere at 80 W/m^2.

    The transport is from the surface to the atmosphere as a whole, not just the upper troposphere. How much goes to the upper troposphere is a different question, as is how much radiates to space. Gotta put numbers on these quantities to understand the importance of a faster hydro cycle. Got numbers?

    103, meow: Now I’m really worried, considering that the current radiative imbalance is ~0.85W/m^2.

    radiative imbalance measured where?

    TOA, per Hansen 2005 and endorsed by the same Trenberth et al paper you cite above.

    All I have proposed is the possibility that a small (1C or less) increase in global mean temp or a doubling of CO2 concentration will raise the rate of latent heat transport…

    …by some unknown amount with unknown consequences for radiation to space vs. stronger greenhouse effect due to more water vapor in the atmosphere.

    and possibly increase the cloud cover, especially during the hottest time of the year in each region.

    Because? Why should clouds respond in that way? Why not, for example, more clouds at night and in winter? Further, if clouds were to respond as you say (i.e. some kind of Iris Effect), can orbital forcing still cause ice-age cycles? If not, what causes them, and how does it overcome such a strong negative feedback?

    Increased evaporation due to increased radiation and/or temperature increase is not exactly a revolutionary idea.

    Agreed. Evaporation rates do indeed seem to be rising (Yu & Weller 2007), and so is tropospheric water vapor (Trenberth et al 2009 at 317). But this is the basis for the positive water vapor feedback, too.

    What is not calculable at present is a quantitative estimate of the amount of increase in the dynamic climate system with its daily and annually changing temperatures and insolation.

    “Amount of increase” of _what_ in the “dynamic climate system”? And so, the climate system is complex. That doesn’t mean we can’t understand a great deal about it. Nor does our incomplete understanding mean that ACC is nothing to be concerned about.

    The “uncertainty monster” has _two_ mouths: though P > 0 that some negative feedback will save our bacon, also P > 0 that the climate system is more sensitive than consensus and/or that warming’s effects will be worse than we think.

    .

    Comment by Meow — 31 Aug 2014 @ 1:12 PM

  111. 110 meow: But the extra water vapor created by an accelerated hydro cycle is also a strong GHG, so it traps more upwelling IR. Which effect wins out? Why?

    Good questions, aren’t they?

    Because? Why should clouds respond in that way? Why not, for example, more clouds at night and in winter?

    Good questions. To start with, water vapor pressure is greater at higher temps than lower (supralinearly), with a 2C increase producing a greater increase at 20C than 10C. So I would expect stronger water vapor effects in summer than winter, and stronger in daytime than at night, though clearly not by much. The giant thunderclouds that you see in the temperate and equatorial zones are more frequent and larger in summer than in winter. Palle and Lakin, linked above: In particular, a strong positive correlation between SST and total cloud is identified over the Equatorial Pacific region (6ºN–6ºS) of r = 0.74 and 0.60 for ISCCP and MODIS, respectively, which is found to be highly statistically significant (p =4.5×10-6 and 0.03).

    Stronger than the negative correlation exhibited in the lower temp overall mid-latitudes; clearly that is not definitive, but it supports the possibility.

    “Amount of increase” of _what_ in the “dynamic climate system”? And so, the climate system is complex. That doesn’t mean we can’t understand a great deal about it. Nor does our incomplete understanding mean that ACC is nothing to be concerned about.

    Sorry, I meant the amount of increase in the rate of non-radiative heat transport from the surface to the upper atmosphere. I agree that much is understood, which is why I expressed respect for the GCMs; but the GCMs and other over-predictions of warming show there is no basis for confidence in the predictions (or “model output” if you reject the notion that they were “predictions”), and show that there is much yet to be learned. My concern is the reason that I undertook to study more of this than I had before. As far as I can tell, there is no support for “alarm” or immediate major action to reduce fossil fuel use.

    The “uncertainty monster” has _two_ mouths: though P > 0 that some negative feedback will save our bacon, also P > 0 that the climate system is more sensitive than consensus and/or that warming’s effects will be worse than we think.

    To date, I think that the sensitivity has been overestimated by the equilibrium calculations and the GCMs, and the benefits of increased CO2 over at least the next few decades have been underestimated. If it takes 100 plus years to double the concentration of CO2, and if the equilibrium response is a 2C increase (Pierrehumbert, “Principles of Planetary Climate”, p 623), and if the increased CO2 produces increased vegetation and crop growth, then the present rate of development of non-fossil fuel power and fuel generation is more appropriate than an Apollo type project or attempt to get rid of all fossil fuel use by 2050 starting now as fast as can be done. So yes I am concerned, but I think that the kind of promotional literature I regularly receive from AAAS is inappropriately alarmist.

    I want to say “thank you” to the moderators for letting my posts appear. Some years ago I was disappointed that some were suppressed. Thank you.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 31 Aug 2014 @ 2:51 PM

  112. Matthew, I’m surprise by the number of ‘ifs’ in your conclusion here. We can all string out a few ‘ifs’ such that, if they all come through, things may not be so bad. But you seem over-confident that your ifs are winners. My (utterly unoriginal) view is, uncertainty is not our friend. I spend a fair bit on home insurance and life insurance, despite knowing the odds of disaster are very long indeed. Given the number of ways that things can go wrong with continued CO2 emissions (from ocean acidfication and sea level rise to simple warming, shifting precipitation patterns, release of buried carbon in perma-frost, and the possibility of higher climate sensitivities– which seem to be needed to account for glacial/inter-glacial transitions), crossing our fingers and carrying on with BAU seems nothing short of crazy to me. The Apollo program wasn’t even aimed at a real public issue or danger. As I see it, a similar program aimed at a real, long term irreversible threat to the public interest everywhere on earth is very well justified.

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 31 Aug 2014 @ 3:57 PM

  113. From the Willis and Leuliette paper:

    It is important to note that results
    of recent studies of the observational
    sea level budget are not truly global,
    but are limited to the region where all
    three observing systems are valid. The
    analyses to date have been limited to the
    Jason ground track coverage between
    66°S and 66°N, regions where Argo has
    profiled 900 m or deeper, and areas away
    from coasts in order to limit potential
    leakage of land hydrology into the
    GRACE gravity signals …

    In particular, the regional seas
    surrounding Indonesia exhibit a large
    rise during 2005–2010 that significantly
    changes the trend when this area is
    excluded from the budget analyses
    (Han et al., 2010).

    Comment by JCH — 31 Aug 2014 @ 4:12 PM

  114. Marler said:

    ” Palle and Lakin (sic) “

    Can’t you cite a decent reference that doesn’t have the following caveat?

    “This suggests that spurious changes exist within the ISCCP data that may have contributed to long -term changes,as suggested by numerous authors. A calibration artifact origin of these changes appears to be highly likely, as can be seen in Figure 3 where geographically -resolved long -term ISCCP trends are shown . “

    That said, we can also point out other facts.

    According to thermodynamics and a largely fixed lapse rate, the average cloud height will simply shift up and down in altitude with change in temperature, which you can see in their Figure 2. That looks like a strong indication of global warming, eh?

    It also figures that you would use Rob Ellison’s favorite Palle and Laken reference, which he wheels out on a daily basis at Climate Etc. This paper has ZERO citations according to Google Scholar.

    One can see how propaganda repeated ad nauseum has an effect on guys such as Marler.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 31 Aug 2014 @ 4:46 PM

  115. Matthew Marler,

    SST-cloud correlations in a given climate don’t tell you much about climate sensitivity or cloud feedback, for a number of reasons. Another point is that total cloud variation is a rather useless constraint on the TOA energy perturbation, since clouds act on both sides of the planetary energy budget.

    The tropical free atmosphere is constrained dynamically to have rather small horizontal temperature gradients. Since convection sets in when the low level air is buoyant with respect to air aloft, it follows that the pattern of tropical cloud cover will be slaved largely to the spatial pattern of tropical SST. This doesn’t relate to the discussion of sensitivity because the free tropospheric temperatures will rise in a warming climate, thus raising the initiation temperature for free convection. There has been some (misguided) history of using the observed histogram of tropical SSTs (apped at 30 Cish) and the fact that clouds form in such regimes as an indication of stabilizing feedbacks in the tropics.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 31 Aug 2014 @ 6:38 PM

  116. Why should clouds respond in that way [Iris effect]? Why not, for example, more clouds at night and in winter?

    Good questions. To start with, water vapor pressure is greater at higher temps than lower (supralinearly), with a 2C increase producing a greater increase at 20C than 10C.

    True.

    So I would expect stronger water vapor effects in summer than winter, and stronger in daytime than at night, though clearly not by much.

    But again, why should that result in an increase in SW reflectance by clouds? Why not instead an exacerbated water-vapor feedback? Also, you are still not accounting for paleoclimate. If the Iris Effect is nontrivial, how do Milankovitch cycles (or whatever other forcing you might want to hypothesize) drive glaciation/deglaciation? You have an answer for that, right?

    The giant thunderclouds that you see in the temperate and equatorial zones are more frequent and larger in summer than in winter. Palle and Lakin, linked above: In particular, a strong positive correlation between SST and total cloud is identified over the Equatorial Pacific region (6ºN–6ºS) of r = 0.74 and 0.60 for ISCCP and MODIS, respectively, which is found to be highly statistically significant (p =4.5×10-6 and 0.03). Stronger than the negative correlation exhibited in the lower temp overall mid-latitudes; clearly that is not definitive, but it supports the possibility.

    This is from the unreviewed paper “What do we really know about cloud changes over the past decades?”, right? So, do SST changes lead or lag cloud cover? What kind of cloud cover do you get: high/mid/low/deep convective? Day or night? Summer or winter? What’s the effect on the radiative budget?

    Also, speaking of that paper, I notice that Fig. 1 shows a global reduction in cloudiness of ~3% between 1985 and 2001, a ~1% increase from 2001-03, and only a slight increase between 2003 and 2012. GAT (GISTEMP) shows strong warming for the first 2 periods, and almost no change for the last. One explanation for that correlation would be a moderately positive global cloud feedback. I’d also note Dessler’s 2010 work “A Determination of the Cloud Feedback from Climate Variations over the Past Decade”, which concludes cloud feedback is likely moderately positive, 0.54 +- 0.74 W/m^2/K. Other papers conclude a slightly negative cloud feedback, such as Zhou et al “An Analysis of the Short-Term Cloud Feedback Using MODIS Data” (-0.16 +- 0.83 W/m^2/K), but with the proviso that “The SW feedback is consistent with previous work; the MODIS LW feedback is lower than previous calculations and there are reasons to suspect it may be biased low.”

    What I’m not seeing is a strongly negative feedback supported in the literature, and once again, if you adopt that idea, you’ve got to explain paleoclimate.

    “Amount of increase” of _what_ in the “dynamic climate system”? And so, the climate system is complex. That doesn’t mean we can’t understand a great deal about it. Nor does our incomplete understanding mean that ACC is nothing to be concerned about.

    Sorry, I meant the amount of increase in the rate of non-radiative heat transport from the surface to the upper atmosphere. I agree that much is understood, which is why I expressed respect for the GCMs; but the GCMs and other over-predictions of warming show there is no basis for confidence in the predictions…

    Um, the heat’s still accumulating, just not on the surface — for the moment.

    …and show that there is much yet to be learned.

    Agreed.

    As far as I can tell, there is no support for “alarm” or immediate major action to reduce fossil fuel use.

    As far as I can tell, there is no support for that position.

    …To date, I think that the sensitivity has been overestimated by the equilibrium calculations and the GCMs,

    I disagree. If the heat that’s accumulated in the oceans between, say, 2003 and 2012 (~9*10^22 J) were instead entirely to heat the atmosphere, GAT would have risen ~17 K in that time, ex any feedbacks. We cannot count on the heat from the continuing radiative imbalance continuing to go into the deeps (once again, uncertainty cuts both ways), nor even that all of the heat sequestered there will stay there.

    and the benefits of increased CO2 over at least the next few decades…if the increased CO2 produces increased vegetation and crop growth….

    You forgot that higher CO2 concentrations make it easier to make carbonated soda, too.

    Comment by Meow — 31 Aug 2014 @ 8:38 PM

  117. Despite apparent artificial issues in long-term measurements of cloud from ISCCP, and the lack of reliability in low-cloud data from irradiance-based satellite cloud estimates, we find the ISCCP and MODIS datasets to be in close agreement over the past decade globally. In turn, we find these datasets to correspond well to independent observations of SST, suggesting that some particular regions of the globe are not as affected as others by calibration artifacts. This opens the door to the possibility of using SST temperatures as proxy for past cloud variations.’ http://www.benlaken.com/documents/AIP_PL_13.pdf

    In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-4-1.html

    The interesting bit about the Palle and Laken article is that it cross validates ISCCP-FD and MODIS with SST.

    It provides another way of looking at decadal variations in radiant flux shown in ERBS and ISCCP-FD. Recognizing that there are problems with view angle and cloud penetration using passive irradiance-based cloud estimations – this remains the most critical issue in climate science. The radiant flux data (ERBS and ISCCP)is consistent and avoids the cloud problems. We may – like the IPCC – draw the conclusion that the radiant flux changes are dominated by cloud radiative forcing changes without information on clouds.

    What do we know about cloud? It changes decadally with multi-decadal shifts in the Pacific Ocean state. There are a number of references to be found here – http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/09/decadal-variability-of-clouds/

    What the data shows as well is multi-decadal shifts in climate – e.g. http://www.geomar.de/en/news/article/klimavorhersagen-ueber-mehrere-jahre-moeglich/

    Even if ultimately there is real confidence in ocean heat content data – i.e. the trends exceed the differences in data handling – without understanding changes in reflected SW and emitted IR it remains impossible to understand the global energy dynamic. It is all guesses and bias. We know in CERES – and in accordance with the Loeb et al 2012 study I quoted earlier – and which I quote much more often than Enric Palle and Ben Laken (2013) – that there are large fluctuations in TOA radiant flux in response to changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation.

    So was there a climate shift after the turn of the century involving changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation involving cloud changes? Unfortunately CERES missed it – but there are intriguing correspondences between Project Earthshine and ISCCP-FD.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/earthshine.jpg

    ‘Earthshine changes in albedo shown in blue, ISCCP-FD shown in black and CERES in red. A climatologically significant change before CERES followed by a long period of insignificant change.’

    Clouds are in fact getting lower – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL050506/abstract;jsessionid=87A84B1A4DF2296B122261211CC7FED5.f02t02 – but I wouldn’t try to diagnose that from ISSCP_FD data as the webbly obviously can. And from a diagram that is intended to show problems with the data. Remarkable – albeit superficial and incredible.

    You will find a dozen or two references to reputable sources just in the past couple of days – nor did I make much of Palle and Laken. Although it is an interesting study.

    What I said was – the data shows quite clearly that changes in cloud radiative forcing in the satellite era exceeded greenhouse gas forcing. In both ERBS and ISCCP-FD. The decrease in reflected SW was 2.1 and 2.4 W/m2 between the 80’s and 90’s respectively. The increase in emitted IR was 0.7 and 0.5 W/m2. It is what it is.

    But what is the significant point?

    If as suggested here, a dynamically driven climate shift has occurred, the duration of similar shifts during the 20th century suggests the new global mean temperature trend may persist for several decades. Of course, it is purely speculative to presume that the global mean temperature will remain near current levels for such an extended period of time. Moreover, we caution that the shifts described here are presumably superimposed upon a long term warming trend due to anthropogenic forcing. However, the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/abstract

    It remains astonishing to me that it still isn’t.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 31 Aug 2014 @ 10:03 PM

  118. 114 Chris Colose: SST-cloud correlations in a given climate don’t tell you much about climate sensitivity or cloud feedback, for a number of reasons. Another point is that total cloud variation is a rather useless constraint on the TOA energy perturbation, since clouds act on both sides of the planetary energy budget.

    I agree: the effects of clouds are not known.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 31 Aug 2014 @ 10:54 PM

  119. 115 Meow: But again, why should that result in an increase in SW reflectance by clouds? Why not instead an exacerbated water-vapor feedback? Also, you are still not accounting for paleoclimate.

    I agree. The net effect of the increased vaporization (with the increased transport of heat from surface to upper troposphere, where the vapor condenses and freezes) is not known. As far as I can tell from readings to date, the increased energy transferred to vaporization hasn’t been accounted for; and the net changes in total cloud cover and its distribution are not known.

    As far as I can tell, no one can account for paleoclimate and recent climate to the level of accuracy required to resolve the questions that you have posed in response to my post.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 31 Aug 2014 @ 11:02 PM

  120. We might not be in agreement with the thinking of Matthew R Marler but he could be on to something here.
    If the mathematics of simple climate models fail to provide us with robust solutions and if the arithmatic of complex climate models produce similar outcomes (roughly the same results but still non-robust), why not solve the climate issue with philosophy. Does not existentialism show “I think therefore I am right”? So as those CO2-fertilized weeds grow strong amidst the wreckage of our smashed and crumbling civilisation, what better environment to trial the use of poetry to solve the myraid of engineering problems, feng shui for all our niggling medical crises or zoology to rebuild some semblance of a global monetary system?

    And to keep this on-topic, I see Judy is ahead of the game and already applying philosophy to climate attribution (and perhaps also crimial psychology as she tells her chum David Rose at the Rail on Sunday that she “suspects” a solution).

    Prof Curry said: “I suspect that the portion of the decline in the sea ice attributable to natural variability could be even larger than half.
    “I think the natural variability component of Arctic sea ice extent is in the process of bottoming out, with a reversal to start within the next decade. And when it does, the reversal period could last for several decades.”

    Given its title, it is possible this use of philosophy within climate attribution being employed by Curry is explained in her great work on the subject Reasoning About Climate Uncertainty. So it might be worth a read. Or rhetorically, it might not.

    Comment by MARodger — 1 Sep 2014 @ 4:22 AM

  121. The comments seemed very strange, and then I remembered that I had the Cloud2Butt app installed on this browser. So now “butt feedback is moderately positive” makes some sense.
    I installed the app due to being inundated with corpo IT hype about “The Cloud,” but it makes climate blogs extra surreal, too.

    Comment by Jeff Rubinoff — 1 Sep 2014 @ 5:30 AM

  122. Rob Ellison #98 – ‘The figure I linked to was from Louliette (2012) -http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/24-2_leuliette.pdf’

    No, it isn’t. It’s from this apparently unpublished document residing on an NOAA server. You can tell it’s a work-in-progress by the inconsistency between numbers given in the write-up compared to the table from which you took the 0.2 +/-0.8 figure.

    In terms of actual published estimates, the Antonov et al. 2005 method (depicted at http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/) produces a 2005-2011 trend of 0.59mm/yr for depth to 2000m. Chen et al. 2013 looked at three gridded Argo datasets produced by independent groups and found total steric trends of 0.48, 0.78 and 0.54mm/yr. All trend amounts are significant, at least in relation to OLS statistics.

    Why did Leuliette find such a low figure compared to other constructions? There are a couple of clues in the paper:

    1) The observed JASON1+JASON2 sea level rise given in the table is 1.6mm/yr, which is only 66% of the actual JASON1+JASON2 trend of 2.4mm/yr over the same period. The reason for this discrepancy is geographical coverage in his analysis, due to data availability and methodological choices (see Figure 3 in the document). This means the steric estimate is almost certainly biased low compared to the true global amount. However, looking at the spatial steric trends in Chen et al. 2013 SI, it’s clear those other estimates also suffer from this bias to some extent. See von Schuckmann et al. 2014.

    2) Also in the write-up it’s stated that the estimate only includes depths to 900m. Measurements at further depths indicate substantial warming below 900m, so again there’s a likely low bias here.

    Furthermore we now have another couple of years data. According to the Antonov et al. method from 2005 right up to the present (April-Jun 2014) the trend comes to 0.97mm/yr for 0-2000m.

    Comment by Paul S — 1 Sep 2014 @ 5:37 AM

  123. ‘GSSL, GOHC and GOFC derived from in situ observations are a useful benchmark for ocean and climate models and an important diagnostic for changes in the Earth’s climate system (Hansen et al., 2005; Levitus et al., 2005). Differences among various analyses and inconsistencies with other observations (e.g. altimetry, GRACE, Earth’s energy budget) require particular attention (Hansen et al., 2005; Willis et al., 2008; Domingues et al., 2008; Cazenave and Llovel, 2010; Trenberth, 2010; Lyman et al., 2010).’ http://www.ocean-sci.net/7/783/2011/os-7-783-2011.pdf

    What is looked for is small changes against a background of large interannual variation to decadal variation. The changes include changes in the TOA energy dynamic related to changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation – changes in cloud.

    e.g. http://www.ocean-sci.net/7/783/2011/os-7-783-2011.pdf

    From the Loeb et al study cited earlier.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 1 Sep 2014 @ 9:48 AM

  124. Thank you Paul S. I hope Rob Ellison corrects the statements on his blog and credits your work.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Sep 2014 @ 9:49 AM

  125. With regard to comments from Mathew Marler above, it’s very strange, from a risk management perspective, to see someone string together a series of ‘ifs’ all tending towards minimization of a risk, without also considering a parallel series of ‘ifs’ on the other side of the balance. I suppose that if all uncertainties are resolved in the direction of lower risk, we just might get away with BAU for the next few decades without a complete disaster (though continued sea level rise, ocean acidification and 2 degrees Celsius actually sound pretty risky to me, and the risk that there are other factors in play seems to be reinforced by paleo data on glacial-interglacial transitions). But basing our policy on the assumption that this is the way things will go is crazy, IMHO.

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 1 Sep 2014 @ 10:02 AM

  126. Thanks Paul S.

    I couldn’t find the Leuliette figure that Rob Ellison linked to either, but I figured I may have overlooked something. It takes a lot of work to fact-check persistent skeptics such as Ellison. And even pointing out their errors is usually not enough, as they will generally ignore your suggestions and then simply repost again and again on blogs such as Climate Etc. Not much one can do in that case — which is why RC has moderation, thankfully.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 1 Sep 2014 @ 10:37 AM

  127. Implement the Precautionary principal and replace fossil fuel Power Plants achieving the minimum 40% global emissions reduction requested by the IPCC .

    If we are incorrect then the down side will be reduced Health Care cost associated with airborne carbon pollution, asidification of the Oceans and end contamination of Fresh water supplies with sewage!

    The redistribution of wealth will also be a good thing for many more people than will affect negatively.

    Comment by Dennis Baker — 1 Sep 2014 @ 10:48 AM

  128. @119: That’s all but to say, “We don’t know everything, therefore we don’t know anything, therefore there’s no problem with partying on.” Your uncertainty monster, as Curry’s, has one mouth, but the real one has two mouths.

    Finally, you’ve once more failed to explain paleoclimate given your claimed (but unsupported) strong negative feedback. Hint: average annual TSI has varied by ~ +-0.08% (~ +- 0.28 W/m^2) over the entire history of Milankovitch cycles [1], yet GAT varied by ~6K. How does such a tiny variation in TSI cause such a large change in GAT? What feedback regimes are compatible with that phenomenon? Explain at length. Then contrast with the >= 0.85 W/m^2 forcing currently being exerted by anthropogenic CO2 & feedbacks.

    [1] Laskar et al, “A long-term numerical solution for the insolation quantities of the Earth” (2004), DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041335 . BTW, they have a very handy web-based insolation calculator at http://www.imcce.fr/Equipes/ASD/insola/earth/earth.html , using which I got the total annual insolation figures for the last 1M years (several cycles) in 1000y steps.

    Comment by Meow — 1 Sep 2014 @ 11:37 AM

  129. Bryson Brown wrote: “it’s very strange, from a risk management perspective, to see someone string together a series of ‘ifs’ all tending towards minimization of a risk, without also considering a parallel series of ‘ifs’ on the other side of the balance. I suppose that if all uncertainties are resolved in the direction of lower risk, we just might get away with BAU for the next few decades without a complete disaster … But basing our policy on the assumption that this is the way things will go is crazy”

    It is indeed crazy — IF your goal is to reduce the risk of “a complete disaster”.

    But it is not crazy if your goal is to “get away with BAU for the next few decades”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Sep 2014 @ 11:42 AM

  130. 128 meow: @119: That’s all but to say, “We don’t know everything, therefore we don’t know anything, therefore there’s no problem with partying on.” Your uncertainty monster, as Curry’s, has one mouth, but the real one has two mouths.

    That isn’t what I wrote. The effects of increasing temperature on likely increasing the rate of vaporization of surface water and likely increasing the rate of non-radiative transport of latent heat from surface to upper troposphere have been ignored in the calculations of the sensitivity of the mean climate to a doubling of CO2 concentration. This biases the estimate of the climate sensitivity in the upward direction. Consideration of the energy flows necessary to increase temperature of the surface and troposphere and to vaporize the additional water provides no reason to think that the bias is negligible.

    Other ways that the standard or “consensus” calculations bias the climate sensitivity upward also exist and are also not negligible (or at least there is no scientific case that they are negligible), but for now it is sufficient to think about, and try to estimate, the magnitude of the increase in H2O and latent heat flow from surface to upper troposphere.

    A really good book on climate, “Principles of Planetary Climate” by Raymond T Pierrehumbert, who sometimes writes here, focuses on equilibrium calculations, that they entail approximation error, and that this approximation error is not very important when comparing Earth, Mars, Venus etc. He does not, however, address the size and bias of the approximation errors with respect to a small change (1% or less of mean temp in Kelvin) resulting on Earth from a small change in forcing (doubling of CO2 concentration), over a long but finite time (140 years or so for the concentration of CO2 to double from what it is now.)

    If someone has good references addressing the related changes in these two rates of flow (H2O and latent heat) in our dynamic atmosphere (round Earth rotating on a tilted axis while revolving around the sun — and having a surface that is 70% H2O, with other areas land but “not dry”) I would like to see them.

    It’s not of great importance where I get my information, but for the record I have Pierrehumbert’s book and some other recent monograpsh and textbooks, I have ordered “Thermodynamics, Kinetics, and Microphysics of Clouds” by Khvorostyanov and Curry (it’s due to arrive in a few days), and I download a few dozen articles per year on the relevant topics. When I say I have not found something, it is not for lack of effort, and I would like to have the specific gaps in my knowledge filled in with detailed, published scientific articles and books.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 1 Sep 2014 @ 3:19 PM

  131. Hank Roberts @ 124 – if you would read Climate Etc, you would already know that. Paul S. told him the same thing a few months ago.

    Not that anybody over there noticed.

    Comment by JCH — 1 Sep 2014 @ 3:36 PM

  132. Arun @3,4 on greater than 100% attribution.
    My understanding is that, in addition to the slight cooling trend leading up to ~1850, the meaning is that the human forcings are both warming and cooling. Some things, like our sulfate emissions and some other particulates, have cooling effects. The warming we have seen is a result of the warming we have caused, minus the cooling we have caused. So, our warming effects are more than observed warming.

    Comment by Chris G — 1 Sep 2014 @ 4:28 PM

  133. Marler said:

    ” small change (1% or less of mean temp in Kelvin) resulting on Earth from a small change in forcing (doubling of CO2 concentration), over a long but finite time (140 years or so for the concentration of CO2 to double from what it is now.) ”

    There are so many rhetorical tricks buried in this passage that it boggles the mind. First it is a subjective opinion and what sounds like a value judgement that you call it a “small change in forcing”. If you were just above freezing, a 1% change in Kelvin would have a significant effect. And why do you start the counting now on doubling and not start from 1860, the start of the oil age?

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 1 Sep 2014 @ 4:50 PM

  134. “The effects of increasing temperature on likely increasing the rate of vaporization of surface water and likely increasing the rate of non-radiative transport of latent heat from surface to upper troposphere have been ignored in the calculations of the sensitivity of the mean climate to a doubling of CO2 concentration.”

    – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/comment-page-3/#comment-590130

    Now, perhaps I’m crazy, but that statement seems inconceivably bizarre to me. Constraining climate sensitivity isn’t a matter of a few ‘calculations,’ but of considering known or modeled climate forcings and responses.

    In the case of paleoclimate, obviously ‘vaporization’ rates and convective heat fluxes changed, too. And in the case of model studies using the large, modern, fully-coupled models, the relevant physics would be in the model. (And, for good measure, from everything I’ve read, CS is not explicitly calculated, but ‘emergent.’)

    Comment by kevin mckinney — 1 Sep 2014 @ 7:33 PM

  135. @130:

    128 meow: @119: That’s all but to say, “We don’t know everything, therefore we don’t know anything, therefore there’s no problem with partying on.” Your uncertainty monster, as Curry’s, has one mouth, but the real one has two mouths.

    That isn’t what I wrote.

    So you retract that stuff about “benefits of increased CO2 over at least the next few decades have been underestimated”?

    The effects of increasing temperature on likely increasing the rate of vaporization of surface water and likely increasing the rate of non-radiative transport of latent heat from surface to upper troposphere have been ignored in the calculations of the sensitivity of the mean climate to a doubling of CO2 concentration.

    Really? That would be news to Trenberth et al who work full-time on energy balance. Why not see what they have to say about evapotranspiration [1] ? Also, “likely increasing the rate of…transport…of…heat…to upper troposphere” is your speculation. Got anything to back it up?

    This biases the estimate of the climate sensitivity in the upward direction.

    It does? Why? Further, “this” isn’t even occurring because no one is ignoring evapotranspiration.

    These assertions are beginning to remind me of the oft-used (but false) accusation that climate scientists ignore convection.

    [Pierrehumbert, in “Principles of Planetary Climate”]…does not, however, address the size and bias of the approximation errors

    Which errors you persistently take as falling in the direction of lower sensitivity. PDFs have _two_ tails, and uncertainty monsters two mouths.

    with respect to a small change (1% or less of mean temp in Kelvin) resulting on Earth from a small change in forcing (doubling of CO2 concentration),

    Given that the Milankovitch TSI forcing is less than +- 0.1%, while nonetheless driving ice-age cycles, the current anthro forcing of > 0.85 W/m^2 (> +0.2%) can hardly be called “a small change in forcing”. Also the “1% or less of mean temp in Kelvin” political rhetoric is best saved for presentations at the Heartland Institute, where people will be impressed by it.

    …over a long but finite time (140 years or so for the concentration of CO2 to double from what it is now.)

    Huh? First, doubling is usually computed over preindustrial levels (~280 ppm). Second, RCP 8.5 reaches a doubling on those terms in ~2050 (36y) and RCP 6.0 in ~2075 (61y). [2] I’m pretty sure we’re on course for RCP 8.5 (no significant constraint on emissions).

    The rhetoric, it works here not.

    [1] E.g., “Earth’s Global Temperature Budget” (2009), DOI:10.1175/2008BAMS2634.1 ; “Tracking Earth’s Energy” (2010), DOI: 10.1126/science.1187272 ; and especially
    “Atmospheric Moisture Transports from Ocean to Land and Global Energy Flows in Reanalyses” (2011), doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4171.1

    [2] AR5 WG1 Fig. 12.42(a).

    Comment by Meow — 1 Sep 2014 @ 7:47 PM

  136. [no need to repeat previous posts every time]

    To imagine that there no inconsistencies is a product of marshaling evidence to a meme. In figure 3 of von Schuckmann and Le Troan (2011)are the results of three different Argo ‘climatologies’. To imagine that there are no issues with data handling is statistically naïve. To think that a trend can be discerned in Argo against a background of large variability is magic thinking.

    Ocean heat follows toa radiant flux changes – as it must.

    e.g – https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/wong2006figure71.gif

    From – http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

    So what did happen with toa flux?

    Shortwave – http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_ebaf-toa_ed2-8_anom_toa_shortwave_flux-all-sky_january-2004todecember-2013.png

    Longwave – http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_ebaf-toa_ed2-8_anom_toa_longwave_flux-all-sky_march-2000toapril-2014.png

    These are CERES anomalies that are accurate to 0.3W/m2. Most of the decadal variability is in SW. The trend in net flux (-SW -LW | positive warming) is negligible over the period.

    The change in global energy content is given as precisely as you like by the first order differential energy equation. A global energy equation that – as far as I know – I personally formulated.

    d(W&H)/dt (J/s) = energy in (J/s) – energy out (J/s)

    W&H is work and heat – mostly oceans – and I have to add the units or the webbly insists that dimensional analysis is lacking.

    Energy in changes very little – and the cycle has gone from peak to peak this century. Energy out changes considerably. So the change in ocean heat over the period should pretty much match the trend in net outgoing energy flux. Either as an increase or decrease in forcing. There are studies that claim this is so with CERES and Argo data.

    [edit] It is not so simply because I claim that climate data is far from definitive at this stage – that science is suggesting that dynamical complexity is the mechanism for regime change at multi-decadal scales in the climate system [edit]

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 1 Sep 2014 @ 9:06 PM

  137. Emergent properties of models? While I am here let’s throw one at the modeler.

    ‘AOS models are therefore to be judged by their degree of plausibility, not whether they are correct or best. This perspective extends to the component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth: There are better or worse choices (some seemingly satisfactory for their purpose or others needing repair) but not correct or best ones. The bases for judging are a priori formulation, representing the relevant natural processes and choosing the discrete algorithms, and a posteriori solution behavior.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

    This is how models evolve from slightly different – within the bounds of feasible inputs – initial and boundary conditions.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751/F2.large.jpg

    There are no unique solutions.

    ‘Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

    The comparison of model solutions to observations seems to miss a fundamental point. The solutions in opportunistic ensembles are one of many possible model solutions and is chosen on the basis of expectations about plausible outcomes. As models are failing to model the pause – it would seem to be the expectations that are incorrect rather than the models as such.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 1 Sep 2014 @ 10:15 PM

  138. …small change (1% or less of mean temp in Kelvin) resulting on Earth from a small change in forcing (doubling of CO2 concentration)…

    If you’re going to frame a temperature response as a percentage change in response to given size of forcing change, then at a bare minimum you need to use the temperature change due to that forcing as the denominator. Given that the greenhouse effect warms the planet by approximately 33K or so, then your denominator should be approximately 33 rather than approximately 287.

    That increases the size of the temperature change per “small change” of doubling of CO2 by almost one order of magnitude, and many people would dispute that an approximately 10% GHG-driven temperature increase for a “small change” in greenhouse forcing is a “small temperature change”.

    And that’s quite apart from your bizarre framing. In what world are variations for measured temperatures considered of approximately 3K considered “small” or buried within measurement error? (And ditto for variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations of multiple hundreds of ppm?)

    Comment by Lotharsson — 2 Sep 2014 @ 3:54 AM

  139. kevin mckinney @134.
    That statement @130 is all the more bizarre because sixteen hours before its writer (Matthew R Marler) was telling us @119 that such ideas were no more than his own understanding based on what he had read up to that point in time. Obviously Matthew R Marler has been very busy in the interim because @130 his ideas have transformed to become unequivocal and true.
    And the whole thing does become as you say @134 ‘inconceivable’ when you note the said Matthew R Marler explains @130 his rate of research is “a few dozen articles a year.” Perhaps a year’s such work is all wrapped up at the one sitting within a single day. However he does it, he should perhaps desist from spending time on his latest aquisition (apparently that is “Everything Anyone Would Ever Want To Know About Cloud Microphysics” by Khvorostyanov & Curry which isn’t exactly a light read) and instead do us lesser mortals the courtesy of explaining himself. At the very least he needs to provide a pointer to “the calculations of the sensitivity of the mean climate to a doubling of CO2 concentration” that he has found are ignoring changes in non-radiative atmospheric heat transport. [Edit]

    Comment by MARodger — 2 Sep 2014 @ 5:22 AM


  140. The change in global energy content is given as precisely as you like by the first order differential energy equation. A global energy equation that – as far as I know – I personally formulated.

    d(W&H)/dt (J/s) = energy in (J/s) – energy out (J/s)

    That’s not really a compelling example of a differential equation. That’s more of a definition of power, where you describe the net energy flow.

    Extra stars for having “personally formulated” it. Newton would be proud.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 2 Sep 2014 @ 8:47 AM

  141. #137–[http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/comment-page-3/#comment-590166]

    Which is changing the subject, rather than responding.

    As to your change of subject:

    “Climate model projections have shown periods of cooling of about this length, embedded within longer-term warming, since before this pause happened. But our communication of this expectation has not been good: it has been a surprise to public and journalists alike.”

    http://blogs.plos.org/models/pause-for-thought/

    So, the models do model ‘pauses’ very similar to the recent one. As to whether they should precisely model the recent one, I would humbly submit that your paragraph on basic chaos theory provides a pretty good clue.

    Comment by kevin mckinney — 2 Sep 2014 @ 8:48 AM

  142. So, wait — are we seeing the rodeo clown/picador thing here?
    Rebunking stuff to fill in the topic, covering the lack of substantive responses to the points made?
    Gavin corrected a couple of his own points in responses, as he understood them better.
    That’s a good example. And people buried that in repulverizing dead horseburger.

    I was hoping for more climate scientists’ comments on the points in the original post.
    They don’t tend to reply in topics where the blogscientists’ stuff is being rebunked.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Sep 2014 @ 10:51 AM

  143. 139 MA Rodger: @130 his ideas have transformed to become unequivocal and true

    I don’t see how you got that from my wording. A few things are unequivocal, perhaps (doubling from the present concentration of CO2 will take 140 years [give or take]; the idea that the changes in climate since 1880 have been in the aggregate beneficial; it takes more energy to vaporize a kg of water than to raise its temperature by 1K; ignoring the energy cost of water and latent heat transport [in the hydrologic cycle] leads to equilibrium calculations overestimating the climate sensitivity ), but most are propositions that I think need more research, but can’t be refuted on present evidence.

    135 meow: [1] E.g., “Earth’s Global Temperature Budget” (2009), DOI:10.1175/2008BAMS2634.1 ; “Tracking Earth’s Energy” (2010), DOI: 10.1126/science.1187272 ; and especially
    “Atmospheric Moisture Transports from Ocean to Land and Global Energy Flows in Reanalyses” (2011), doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4171.1

    [2] AR5 WG1 Fig. 12.42(a).

    AR5 WG1 fig 12.42(a) does not actually address the problem that I raised. I thank you for the other references.

    So you retract that stuff about “benefits of increased CO2 over at least the next few decades have been underestimated”?

    You misquoted me.

    We ought to meet here again next year, and see what we have learned in the meantime.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 2 Sep 2014 @ 1:57 PM

  144. d(W&H)/dt (J/s) = energy in (J/s) – energy out (J/s)

    It is a simple statement of energy conservation. In form similar to the hydrological equation of storage – which relies on conservation of mass. The differential form puts the focus on changes in state over a period.

    The argument relies on data in understanding how the toa flux varies in relation to OHC. An absolute radiant imbalance is not feasible at the precision required. But as I said CERES anomalies are accurate to 0.25 to 0.3W/m2.

    [Response: Nothing like the actuality – more like 5 W/m2 absolute level uncertainties. – gavin]

    It is the other side of ocean heat – OHC follows net toa flux as the 1st differential equation of global energy storage insists – as is required by the first law of thermodynamics.

    How does this vary?

    https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/loeb2012-fig1.png

    From – http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

    And perhaps albedo from NASA’s ISCCP-FD site.

    http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zFD/an9090_ALB_toa.gif

    A 1% change in albedo is a change of 3.4W/m2 in TOA radiant flux.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png

    But here’s one from CERES/MODIS from Loeb (2012).

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_modis-1.gif

    So let’s look at CERES directly.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_ebaf-toa_ed2-8_anom_toa_shortwave_flux-all-sky_january-2004todecember-2013.png

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_ebaf-toa_ed2-8_anom_toa_longwave_flux-all-sky_march-2000toapril-2014.png

    We are looking for trends – a positive trend in LW and SW anomalies is an increase in emitted and reflected energy.

    Despite the difficulties of calibration that makes an absolute radiative imbalance measurement impossible – the anomalies data contains essential information on climate variability that can be used to understand and close out the global energy budget – changes in which are largely OHC.

    Without understanding TOA changes – we are in the dark in understanding OHC changes.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 2 Sep 2014 @ 3:34 PM

  145. @143:

    So you retract that stuff about “benefits of increased CO2 over at least the next few decades have been underestimated”?

    You misquoted me.

    Facts is facts; it’s right there at #111. Copy the text, activate your browser’s find function, paste the text in, and enjoy. Or do you disclaim having written that post?

    Comment by Meow — 2 Sep 2014 @ 5:49 PM

  146. “A few things are unequivocal, perhaps (doubling from the present concentration of CO2 will take 140 years [give or take]; the idea that the changes in climate since 1880 have been in the aggregate beneficial; it takes more energy to vaporize a kg of water than to raise its temperature by 1K; ignoring the energy cost of water and latent heat transport [in the hydrologic cycle] leads to equilibrium calculations overestimating the climate sensitivity )”

    What an odd world you live in,

    Of course, if you’re right, you have quite the future career as a very famous climate scientist.

    I, for one, look forward to your scientific papers that skewer the present state of the science and show that burning fossil fuels is most likely beneficial.

    Do you have a target publication and date in mind, or are things too early for that at this point?

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Sep 2014 @ 11:11 PM

  147. [Response: Nothing like the actuality – more like 5 W/m2 absolute level uncertainties. – gavin]

    ‘This paper highlights how the emerging record of satellite observations from the Earth Observation System (EOS) and A-Train constellation are advancing our ability to more completely document and understand the underlying processes associated with variations in the Earth’s top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiation budget. Large-scale TOA radiation changes during the past decade are observed to be within 0.5 Wm-2 per decade based upon comparisons between Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard Terra and Aqua and other instruments…

    With the availability of multiple years of data from new and improved passive instruments launched as part of the Earth Observing System (EOS) and active instruments belonging to the A-Train constellation (L’Ecuyer and Jiang 2010), a more complete observational record of ERB variations and the underlying processes is now possible. For the first time, simultaneous global observations of the ERB and a multitude of cloud, aerosol, and surface properties and atmospheric state data are available with a high degree of precision.’

    The absolute radiative imbalance is impossible with anywhere near the precision required – as I believe I mentioned. But there is interesting, useful and relatively precise information in anomalies – which are just changes in flux over a period.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 3 Sep 2014 @ 1:08 AM

  148. Given the last line @143 (and also his last line @1526 in the borehole “I’ll leave you know. Probably catch you later?”), it appears commenter Matthew R Marler could be leaving us for a while. I hope during that interval he learns a bit about words and how they mean something on there own, and that when you use words you should select them so as to match the meaning you are wishing to convey. If he were to achieve that learning he may be less surprised at the world and not continually having to accuse honest folk of misquoting him.
    Matthew R Marler – It’s what you say or write that matters. The genius understanding inside your skull is so much vapourous twaddle until it is converted into a communicatable form and made available to the rest of the world. And it’s a cruel world indeed. I still remember the shock of learning that proper academic work had to be free of all spelling mistakes. Luckily somebody hear my screams and invented spell-checking in the nick of time.

    Comment by MARodger — 3 Sep 2014 @ 4:06 AM

  149. #143

    Again, tres bizarre:

    A few things are unequivocal, perhaps (doubling from the present concentration of CO2 will take 140 years [give or take];

    True only if both emissions and rates of sinking remain unchanged–not likely to be the case.

    the idea that the changes in climate since 1880 have been in the aggregate beneficial;

    Source, please? It’s certainly not self-evident to me; climate change has probably cost hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of premature deaths. That’s not, however, attributed nor quantified with precision–and the benefits (I grant there may have been some) still less so.

    Worse (from the POV of deciding whether the assertion is ‘unequivocal’), quantifying benefit or harm involves assumptions based upon values, which can never be entirely objective.

    How ironic that an advocate of uncertainty chooses this particular area to embrace its reverse.

    it takes more energy to vaporize a kg of water than to raise its temperature by 1K;

    Mostly true, but what about water just below 100 C? Hate to pick like that, but the assertion was rather–bathetic. Poorly formulated, actually, in that the two cases aren’t actually independent for all conditions.

    ignoring the energy cost of water and latent heat transport [in the hydrologic cycle] leads to equilibrium calculations overestimating the climate sensitivity )…

    Perhaps it does, but when challenged to point out how anybody did that, the response was to change the subject. So that would seem, at this point, to be a strawman argument.

    Somehow Hank’s phrase, “recreational typing”, is coming to mind here.

    Comment by kevin mckinney — 3 Sep 2014 @ 8:42 AM

  150. I am sungularly unimpressed by dear Judy’s response to this post of Gavin’s. She says “I appreciate all the effort Gavin put into this, but he misses my main points” (For some reason this line did not appear @32.) and also says that there was not “a single point that he has scored with respect to my main arguments” Curry’s comment was not however accompanied by any word identifying what her “main points” or “main arguments” actually are.
    So what are these main points/arguments? Reading her orignal post complete with relevant links it goes no further than to say “Look inflections in the temperature record. And hers’ a pause. And I really don’t like GCMs.”
    So is that it?
    I know Curry is unequivocal about her views on the causes of global temperature variation over the last century; her view that there is a Big Natural Oscillation. Even when she is discussing uncertainty, Judy will suddenly slip into a different voice whenever mentioning this subject; suddenly she is presenting us with an ontological fact amongst all the ifs and the buts.
    She goes so far as to say (in her post responding to Gavin’s post, but responding to something else) “I do regard the emerging realization of the importance of natural variability to be an existential threat to the mainstream theory of climate variations on decadal to century time scales.” But yet again there is little more to explanation her reasoning. (“On decadal to century timescales, climate dynamics – the complex interplay of multiple external forcings (rapid and slow), the spectrum of atmospheric and ocean circulation oscillations, interactions with biosphere – determines variations in climate.”)

    But this still doesn’t answer the question “Why?” What is the basis for Big Natural Oscillation?
    We have some wobbles that sort-of fit although some only if you squint through your eyelashes. We have a pause. And we have Curry’s own circular argument, climate models are not fit for purpose because Big Natual Oscillation is not addressed by the climate models.
    So is that it? Is that the sum total of evidence that is meant to convince us that climatology is barking up the wrong tree? (Note in Curry’s 2011 ‘Reasoning About Climate Uncertainty’ Curry does countenance the possibility of two opposing arguments each backed with a ‘high confidence level’, so there are potentially two trees, and one of which Curry insists is the wrong one.)

    Have I missed something in this? Does anybody here know of any other reason for Curry’s belief in Big Natural Oscillation?

    It is perhaps curious that as much as Curry harps on about an Uncertainty Monster, she fails to address the pack of Uncertainty Elves running riot round her own theorising. Yet despite this Elfish Defence that Curry seems to cultivate, I’m of the opinion that even with all the Uncertainty Elves, Curry’s Big Natural Oscillation can be shown to be as ill-founded as cosmic rays, cloud irises etc, etc.
    But in the meantime, if anyone can drop a few elves for me, that would be useful.

    Comment by MARodger — 3 Sep 2014 @ 9:06 AM

  151. [Response: Nothing like the actuality – more like 5 W/m2 absolute level uncertainties. – gavin]

    While this is clearly so – it is clearly not relevant to changes in toa flux. I did explicitly discuss the difference between absolutes and anomalies.

    ‘This paper highlights how the emerging record of satellite observations from the Earth Observation System (EOS) and A-Train constellation are advancing our ability to more completely document and understand the underlying processes associated with variations in the Earth’s top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiation budget. Large-scale TOA radiation changes during the past decade are observed to be within 0.5 Wm-2 per decade based upon comparisons between Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard Terra and Aqua and other instruments…

    [Response: This statement is simply not true as you are interpreting it. The CERES fluxes do not have that level of absolute precision. The EBAF product has been tuned to have a ~0.8 W/m2 imbalance to match estimates of the heat imbalance from ocean heat content estimates and modeling. From the Allan poster you cite below: “CERES cannot measure the absolute net radiation to sufficient accuracy for quantifying the magnitude of the net radiation imbalance.” – gavin]

    With the availability of multiple years of data from new and improved passive instruments launched as part of the Earth Observing System (EOS) and active instruments belonging to the A-Train constellation (L’Ecuyer and Jiang 2010), a more complete observational record of ERB variations and the underlying processes is now possible. For the first time, simultaneous global observations of the ERB and a multitude of cloud, aerosol, and surface properties and atmospheric state data are available with a high degree of precision.’

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

    When we are looking at changes in the system – anomalies provide information as to the source of change.

    [Response: Only if you know the baseline. – gavin]

    ‘Satellite measurements from CERES have provided a stable record of changes in the radiation balance since 2000(e.g. see Fig. 4).

    CERES cannot measure the absolute net radiation to sufficient accuracy for quantifying the magnitude of the net radiation imbalance…

    From this summary of recent work – http://www.nceo.ac.uk/posters/2011_1climate_Richard_ALLAN_reading.pdf

    A net radiative flux anomalies uncertainty of ±0.31 Wm-2 was estimated.

    [Response: This is derived from the OHC changes. – gavin]

    This is fair comment – and I am sure I made a similar comment yesterday – although the routine and disconcerting disappearance of comments into some spam box or other – only to reappear – makes it difficult to be absolutely sure.

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 3 Sep 2014 @ 2:58 PM

  152. The Allan et al poster – http://www.nceo.ac.uk/posters/2011_1climate_Richard_ALLAN_reading.pdf – and the paper it is based on – shows consistency between ocean heat and SORCE and CERES – even without an absolute value for radiative imbalance.

    [Response: You have no idea what you are talking about. CERES products *use* SORCE data as the incoming solar flux. – gavin]

    It is not that difficult – if the net flux anomalies trend is positive the planet is warming by definition. Last decade the decrease in flux out exceeded the decline in flux in from the Sun – giving some warming.

    [Response: The CERES net flux data are not absolutely calibrated, therefore can average basically any number between -5 and 5 W/m2. ]

    The cause of that warming was a decrease in reflected shortwave.

    https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres-bams-2008-with-trend-lines1.gif.

    As of 2014 the net trend is effectively zero.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_ebaf-toa_ed2-8_anom_toa_net_flux-all-sky_march-2000toapril-2014.png

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 3 Sep 2014 @ 6:55 PM

  153. 148 MARodger: I hope during that interval he learns a bit about words and how they mean something on there own, and that when you use words you should select them so as to match the meaning you are wishing to convey.

    One of the topics on my perpetually growing reading list will be the changing energetics of the changing hydrological cycle. I hope that by next year there is more quantitative information. Next on my reading list will be the book referenced above on thermodynamics of clouds.

    Comment by Matthew R Marler — 4 Sep 2014 @ 1:54 AM

  154. Rob Ellison – ‘It is not that difficult – if the net flux anomalies trend is positive the planet is warming by definition.’

    If the absolute net flux remained negative throughout but with an upward trend the planet would be cooling, just at a gradually slower rate. A positive net flux in absolute numbers is what’s needed for the planet to be warming. Trend would just tend to indicate a change in the rate of warming/cooling.

    Looking at models, the one member per model CMIP5 mean at Climate Explorer gives a negative TOA flux (rsdt-(rsut+rlut)) trend for the 2000-2009 period and a probably insignificant positive trend for 2000-2014.

    Comment by Paul S — 4 Sep 2014 @ 8:00 AM

  155. Response: This statement is simply not true as you are interpreting it. The CERES fluxes do not have that level of absolute precision. The EBAF product has been tuned to have a ~0.8 W/m2 imbalance to match estimates of the heat imbalance from ocean heat content estimates and modeling. From the Allan poster you cite below: “CERES cannot measure the absolute net radiation to sufficient accuracy for quantifying the magnitude of the net radiation imbalance.” – gavin]

    I did quote the statement from Allen et al – and mentioned the problem several times. Put this aside – one product reports in absolute – if uncertain – terms and one as anomalies. There is no direct comparison – and it is the calibration problem that is insurmountable – as I believe I said.

    CERES and SORCE are different products of course – so I don’t understand your other point that I don’t understand what I am talking about because CERES uses SORCE?

    d(W&H)/dt = energy in – energy out : all in Joules/s

    W&H is work and heat.

    An increase in ocean heat would suggest that the radiative imbalance is positive (i.e. d(W&H)/dt>0).

    e.g. http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/vonschuckmannampltroan2011-fig5pg_zpsee63b772.jpg

    What contributes to that is the change in incoming energy measured by SORCE – relatively minor at the surface but negative last decade at least in the Argo period.

    http://lasp.colorado.edu/data/sorce/total_solar_irradiance_plots/images/tim_level3_tsi_24hour_640x480.png

    So that leaves changes in outgoing energy to explain the warming – simples. Absolute radiative imbalance is not required – and it is the precision of radiative changes that is significant.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres-bams-2008-with-trend-lines1.gif

    How is this not obvious?

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 4 Sep 2014 @ 4:25 PM

  156. @4 Sep 2014 at 4:25 PM:

    d(W&H)/dt = energy in – energy out : all in Joules/s

    You mean d(W&H)/dt = power in – power out, right? Or do you mean Δ(W&H) = energy in – energy out?

    Comment by Meow — 4 Sep 2014 @ 6:05 PM

  157. Rob Ellison,

    I have to say I have no idea at this point what it is you believe is obvious. As an attempt to draw out what you’re actually saying, I’ll refer back to a quote from one of your first comments:

    ‘A steric sea level rise of 0.2mm +/-0.8mm/year?

    Which can be found at – http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/24-2_leuliette.html

    Which has the merit of being consistent with CERES net.

    http://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_ebaf-toa_ed2-8_anom_toa_net_flux-all-sky_march-2000toapril-2014.png
    ————————

    If you understand the point about error in the absolute flux from CERES why do you believe it shows consistency with a steric SLR of 0.2mm/yr? Steric SLR will (mostly, aside from the halosteric component) reflect the absolute TOA imbalance, not the trend in the TOA imbalance. Technically it could be considered consistent, but so a could a steric trend of 2mm/yr. The uncertainty in the absolute flux makes such a statement meaningless.

    Comment by Paul S — 5 Sep 2014 @ 6:29 AM

  158. Marler said:


    Next on my reading list will be the book referenced above on thermodynamics of clouds.

    Is that the Curry book on clouds? I took a look at that text and commented on Curry’s site in the link below, in particular concerning the author’s boneheaded misapplication of Bose-Einstein statistics to condensation and nucleation of water:
    http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/04/thermodynamics-kinetics-and-microphysics-of-clouds/#comment-624613

    The nitpicking ankle-biting defenders such as Marler came out in droves but they were not eventually not able to defend her claims. Amazingly she had no relevant citations for her Bose-Einstein assertion!

    Anyone notice the huge contradiction between an author (Curry) that declares that all of climate science is bound by uncertainty, yet in Curry’s own research, the physics is stated by assertion, with zero uncertainty implied? How convenient….

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 5 Sep 2014 @ 9:04 AM

  159. ‘d(W&H)/dt = energy in – energy out : all in Joules/s

    You mean d(W&H)/dt = power in – power out, right? Or do you mean Δ(W&H) = energy in – energy out?’

    A Joule/s is obviously a Watt. A Watt.s is obviously a Joule. The units are W.s/s = J/s. It seems more satisfactory to talk energy but there is no essential difference.

    Paul S confuses the lack of absolutes with trend – which are changes in radiant flux in a period.

    ‘The overall slight rise (relative heating) of global total net flux at TOA between the 1980’s and 1990’s is confirmed in the tropics by the ERBS measurements and exceeds the estimated climate forcing changes (greenhouse gases and aerosols) for this period. The most obvious explanation is the associated changes in cloudiness during this period.’ http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/projects/browse_fc.html

    An increasing trend in net flux is a relative warming by definition. If ocean heat is increasing there is presumably an absolute increase in warming and we can look at SW and IR – as well as TSI – to see how the system is changing.

    As far as the webbly is concerned – no one is suggesting that bosons or fermions play any role in real world droplet nucleation rates in a supersaturated atmosphere. The suggestion from the text is that nucleation rates obey Boltzmann statistics generally but in certain conditions of high surfactant loads and low tempertures the governing rates have Bose-Einstein statistics.

    Without knowing more about the derivation and the assumptions – it is impossible to say anything sensible. Nor is this a significant point in the microphysics of clouds. It is merely on webbly’s part tedious, repetitive and misguided nitpicking for no obvious sensible or rational purpose.

    [Response: Pot, meet kettle. -gavin]

    Comment by Rob Ellison — 5 Sep 2014 @ 4:21 PM

  160. > Bose-Einstein condensation

    I wondered if that was just a misnomer, bad translation of a Russina original, but I gather the book uses the wrong math in the text? So it appears from your comment: “These particles don’t have integer spin, despite what you say in the book.”

    Is that the Russian author’s work? Was that in any of the “jointly published 23 journal articles” mentioned in the intro, where a reviewer or subsequent citing author could have picked it up? Or does the “new research that has previously not been published” describe the Bose-Einstein condensation idea? Has anyone subsequently shown any consequence of that assumption in citing papers?

    The intro makes it sound like that book overthrows 20th Century cloud physics.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Sep 2014 @ 5:38 PM


  161. The suggestion from the text is that nucleation rates obey Boltzmann statistics generally but in certain conditions of high surfactant loads and low tempertures the governing rates have Bose-Einstein statistics.

    To uncover Bose-Einstein statistics in particles with mass outside of a laboratory environment (e.g. supercooled Helium) is certainly novel. At least I have never run into it.

    Curry and co-author include no citation to previous work, nor is there any experimental evidence to back their claim up.

    Their claim is extraordinary and if true they should think about submitting their theory to a prestigious physics journal such as Physical Review Letters.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 5 Sep 2014 @ 6:09 PM

  162. Hank,
    Water particles do have integer spin, I got that part wrong. But what did not pass the sanity check for me was that it is very rare for mass particle systems to exhibit properties where the full Bose-Einstein statistics come into play. Usually exp(E/kT) is much larger than 1 which means one just sticks to applying Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics, but then they assert the other extreme can occur as well. That is hard to believe that cloud droplet nucleation covers that range in activation energy, E — from much greater than kT to much lower than kT.
    And no citations to back any of this up.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 6 Sep 2014 @ 1:12 AM

  163. Following on from my whittering @150, a quick(ish) trudge through the crowd of Curry’s Uncertainty Elves before pointing out the way to work round them.

    Perhaps it is best to kick off with Curry’s March 2014 APS presentation. The slides prepared for her presentation (The actual slides used and presentation transcript is here.) conclude with very strong unambiguous accusations against the APS 2007 AGW statement. (No sign of Uncertainty Elves here!!) “Such statements don’t meet the norms of responsible advocacy.” Also “Institutionalizing consensus can slow down scientfic progress and pervert the self-­correctng mechanisms of science” Within the slides, the basis for such accusations is apparently Curry’s “View emphasizing natural variation” which is apparently contrary to the finding of IPCC AR5 (and that is also her “existential threat to the mainstream theory”).

    Central within this emphasis of natural variation (although not exclusively so and perhaps not even principally so within the presentation transcript) is the role of multi-decadal modes of natural internal variation which include AMO & PDO which Curry for some reason asserts “are superimposed on the anthropogenic warming trend, and should be included in atribution studies and future projections.” There is also Synchronised Coupled Climate Shifts that are “hypothesised” and Wyatt’s Staduim Wave Hypothesis with its quasi-periodic 50-80 year tempo. WSWH is described as providing a “plausible explanation for the hiatus in warming” and perhaps the others are seen in the same vein. Their role in the 20th century temperature wobble (which peaked in 1940) is not evident from Curry’s presentation but talk elsewhere (eg her 50:50 blog) strongly implies a global climate role for Big Natural Oscillation that is as important as AGW’s role through the second half of the 20th century.

    However, beyond curve-fitting and the argument that AMO PDO SCCS WSWH could in some way explain (apparently) the ‘hiatus’ and that they therefore also predict a continuing ‘hiatus’ (which does continue still), there is no explanation to drive away the crowd of Uncertainty Elves that continues to gather. Why and how are AMO PDO SCCS and WSWH the favoured plausable set of ‘hiatus’ explanations?

    Indeed this queer quartet are not the only such explanations provided by Curry. A separate explanation (given a whole slide of its own in the prepared set) is ENSO as argued by Kosaka & Xie (2013), a thesis which concurs with the MLR work of Foster & Rahmsdorf (2011). These works considers the well-established impact of ENSO on global temperature but it is apparently dismissed by Curry as a candidate explanation for the “hiatus”. And this ignorance is perhaps the start-point for debunking her Big Natural Oscillation (BNO) hypothesis.

    Curry apparently considers that singly or in some combination, AMO PDO SCCS and WSWH contributed big time to the 20th century temperature wobble (WSWH apparently taking pride of place), thus taking the role of BNO.
    Yet ENSO also waggles global temperature and if you plot out a multi-year average of ENSO (MYA-ENSO) you get a wobble identical in timing to PDO (see graph here). Now, PDO is a major element in the WSWH thesis, while prior to WSWH it was Curry’s favourite for BNO. Yet the sole argument for PDO as BNO (its phase shifts) also supports MYA-ENSO as BNO. MYA-ENSO shifts at exactly the same time so is just as convincingly as PDO and additionally MYA-ENSO actually has a physical basis. Indeed, Curry’s presentation says “ENSO doesn’t just produce interannual variability, but also variability on decadal-plus timescales,” that is as MYA-ENSO.
    The problem Curry has with MYA-ENSO is that, unlike AMO PDO SCCS or WSWH, ENSO’s impact can be quantified and it can be shown to be far too weak to act as Curry’s BNO, to power those past “multidecadal swings of the global temperature.” So why is PDO any different to ENSO. Or why AMO, SCCS or WSWH?

    But to shake off that throng of Uncertainty Elves, it is worth asking a slightly different question – If ENSO is not strong enough to be Curry’s BNO, how big does BNO actually need to be?
    To be continued…

    Comment by MARodger — 7 Sep 2014 @ 7:05 AM

  164. MA Rodger
    Excellent analysis. Look forward to your next installment, if it hasn’t been posted as I write this.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 8 Sep 2014 @ 5:28 PM

  165. well, the warming from 1910 to 1940 Looks exactly the same, as from 1970 to 2000.

    The first one must be mostly natural.

    The second warming Period could be some where anthropogenic.

    If you show the IPCC Temperature Line from 1900 to 2010 without some greenhouse forcing, this shows almost a flat line with a width of +/-0,1K.
    A stable climate for more than 100y and in this Funny Glamour some one here believe.

    LOL

    Comment by Donald Mc Ronald — 9 Sep 2014 @ 1:52 AM

  166. Continuing from my blather @163
    If ENSO is far too weedy to act as Curry’s Big Natural Oscillatio (BNO) (as demonstrated in Zhou & Tung 2013 Fig1a), how big does BNO actually need to be? (Note that Zhou & Tung fail to ask this or any other question before embarking on their little curve-fitting expedition.)

    .
    A fair description of something representing Curry’s BNO would presumably have an amplitude half the size of the 1950-to-date global temperature rise. The average ΔT between the first and last half-decades of this period using an average of HadCRUT(C&W), GISS & NCDC yield a rise of 0.62°C so BNO will be 0.31°C peak-to-peak (ie +/- 0.155°C). As a reality check, this is almost the full size of the average detrended wobble from these three temperature records (0.33°C). A sinusoidal profile and a period of 60 years can be also be fairly assumed with peaks occuring in, say, AD1940 and AD2000 (de-trended it’s more exactly 1941 & 2004).

    It is also fair to adopt ECS=1.5°C as Curry appears to strongly advocate the notion that worldwide AGW mitigation is not an urgent requirement. (An ECS=2.0°C puts us six decades away from generating forcings capable dangerous warming (+2.0°C) from just CO2 forcing alone assuming present CO2 emissions were to remain constant (when the rate has actually been continually increasing). Yet significant reductions of CO2 emissions is a multi-decade task. Thus to fail to support urgent AGW mitigation, such support that Curry derides by saying they “don’t meet the norms of responsible advocacy,” can only mean ECS is effectively considered to be significantly lower than 2.0°C.)

    .
    BNO can be visualised as operating in a number of different theoretical modes. One such mode is that heat from the climate is stored in some form away from (and thus not interacting with) the general climate system. Energy would accumulate in storage during the cooling/cool periods of BNO and then this store would be expended both to realise and also to maintain the warm periods. Let us style this ‘storeage’ version of BNO as BNO(S).

    To achieve such a cycle, BNO(S) must at a minimum warm the surface and atmosphere of the planet by a total of 0.31°C during 1970-99 which would require more than perhaps 20 ZJ during the warming phase, equally divided between the first half and the last half of this 1970-99 period. (This 20 ZJ is a guestimate and assumed a low estimate – two decades-worth of recent warming (~0.155°C/decade) forced by say 0.6Wm^-2 with 10% warming the atmosphere and immediate surface. Higher estimates would alter the timing of the overall storage requirement, not the size of the storage requirement.)

    And having achieved these +/-0.155°C changes in temperature, BNO(S) will require further energy fluxes. When above the equilibrium level BNO(S) will require additional surface energy to maintain the global temperature and will require to store energy away when temperature is below the equilibrium level. The average temperature above equilibrium during the 30 year warm phase will be +2/π x 0.155°C which with ECS=1.5°C results in BNO(S) requiring 120ZJ from storage to maintain the 1985-2014 warm phase and the accumulating storage of an identical amount during the cool phases 1925-84 and 2015-44.

    Thus overall BNO(S) will require 1970-84 additional storage of +50 ZJ, then 1985-1999 removal of -70 ZJ from storage and 2000-14 removal of -50 ZJ from storage. Storage would accumulate +70ZJ 2015-2029, completing the cycle.

    Are such levels of storage feasable given our knowledge of planet Earth?

    One place where such energy could be stored is within the oceans. In her APS presentation Curry presents Figure 1 of Balmaseda et al (2013) (Paper PDF and Fig 1 web-graph) as her favourite record of OHC. This graphic suggests the following changes in OHC 0-2000m over the various time periods of the proposed BNO(S) cycle, with the final 5 years-to-2014 values taken from Levitus 0-2000m.
    ΔOHC ignoring volcanic cooling episodes.
    1958-69 -30(+/-25) ZJ
    1970-84 +40(+/-10) ZJ
    1985-99 +50 ZJ
    2000-14 +200 ZJ
    ΔOHC subtracting volcanic cooling epsiodes.
    1958-69 0(+/-25) ZJ
    1970-84 + 70(+/-10) ZJ
    1985-99 +100 ZJ
    2000-14 +200 ZJ
    Energy flows into storage required by BNO(S)
    1955-69 ?+70 ZJ
    1970-84 +50 ZJ
    1985-99 -70 ZJ
    2000-14 -50 ZJ
    It can be plainly seen that the ΔOHC 0-2000m record cannot sensibly be attributed to any BNO(S) storage. For BNO(S) alone in its last quarter cycle 2000-14 (for which we have the best data OHC) the ΔOHC 0-2000m record is 4x larger and of opposite sign (contradicting the assumption of BNO=AGW by suggesting AGW is 5x bigger in magnitude than BNO(S) for this period if BNO(S) did exist using 0-2000m ocean storage).
    Any storage changes of the required size below 2000m would surely provide a detectable reduction in SLR measurements (contributing -15mm 1970-99, +7.5mm 2000-2014, +0.05mmyr^-2 1985-2014). Further, studies addressing global OHC below 2000m (reviewed in IPCC AR5 Section 3.2.4) find not a sign of net cooling of the size required by BNO(S).
    Thus, assuming there has been no decimal point slippage or sum such within the above proof, it can be concluded that BNO(S) cannot operate by way of thermal storage within the oceans.

    Of course, there are other means by which BNO(S) could store 120 ZJ. These will be considered next….

    Comment by MARodger — 9 Sep 2014 @ 6:23 AM

  167. You miss Judith’s comment on the climate model’s inability to track early 1900s warming and 1945 onwards cooling.

    If the models, with ALL the information can not track, then how can you conceive they could track future temps?

    The simple answer is they can not. You should admit this, and from that point you can begin to be honest in your assessment.

    I think you know this already. I read a trite kind of viewpoint from you, which said the models are trying to go from the very small, to the very large effects, and that’s hard to do. So you know it, but you have to use your tricks and games because you think you are right, with your huge ego.

    But planet earth is talking, and it says “YOU ARE WRONG.”

    Comment by Ed Barbar — 9 Sep 2014 @ 11:39 PM

  168. Maybe you can help me with something I’ve never understood. Why on Earth would you think that the failure of the models would benefit your side of the argument?

    Independent of all the models, we know with 100% certainty that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    Independent of all the models, we know that adding CO2 to the atmosphere warms the planet.

    Independent of all the models, we know that the planet is about 33 degrees warmer solely as a result of the greenhouse effect.

    You contend that the models lack skill for hindcasting the warming due in the early portion of the last century and the lack of warming during the 1945-1975 period. Perhaps you are unaware of the progress that has been made in attribution during these periods to a combination of lower volcanism, increased insolation and increased greenhouse warming in the former period and to increased aerosols from fossil fuel burning in the latter. (That would be expected if you get your climate news from Aunt Judy.)

    However, even if you were correct, the failures in the models argue for HIGHER climate sensitivity rather than lower. How on Earth do you come to the conclusion that this bolsters the argument of you and other smug, complacent ignoramuses favoring inaction.

    Here’s a clue, Ed. Science doesn’t work like that. If you want to show we are wrong, then come up with a better model–one that explains current and past trends and allows all of us to give a big sigh of relief. Feel free to tell this to Aunt Judy, as she appears to have forgotten how science works, as well.

    The planet and all of science is talking, and it says “You are an imbecile.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Sep 2014 @ 7:42 AM

  169. “But planet earth is talking, and it says “YOU ARE WRONG.””

    – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/comment-page-4/#comment-592888

    Er, no, it’s not.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Sep 2014 @ 9:34 AM

  170. “Why on Earth would you think that the failure of the models would benefit your side of the argument?”

    You don’t know what I think. Here it is. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. That was an AHA moment in the understanding of earth’s climate system. Add more heat, as to a pot, and it gets hot. But in my view earth’s climate system is extraordinarily complicated, with non-linear interactions.

    As a child, when scientists were puzzling out ice age beginnings, the idea was that extra heat could cause it. The idea was that the arctic did not freeze over, leading to more water uptake, and massive snows that decreased albedo. It’s all possible.

    Regarding the inflammatory parts of my post, I’m frankly tired of activists turning off air-conditioners to trick people. I’m tired of “Hide the decline.” I’m tired of every weather event being tied to global warming. Too much snow? Global warming. Too little snow? Global warming.

    The only difference between you and me is I Don’t know. but neither do you.

    Comment by ed barbar — 10 Sep 2014 @ 8:12 PM

  171. So after all that with OHC @166, where to look for the energy store to power Judith Curry’s BNO(S)?

    The Earth’s core is quite an energetic place that could easily hide 120ZJ but the problem is that it is rather well insulated which dampens fluctuations out from its cooling process. That cooling process is also rather small.
    Now measuring the heat content of the Earth’s core to spot the 120ZJ storage would be a bit of an ask. The radiogenic and primordial heat pool totals approximately 12,600,000,000ZJ. So it’s better to compare the peak +/-6ZJ pa energy flow required by BNO(S) with the actual measured flow through the crust from the core which according to Davies & Davies (2010) (PDF) totals only 1.47ZJ pa with zero waggles. Indeed, it is such a steady flow of heat coming out that some have used borehole temperature gradients to try to produce a surface temperature record over past centuries (eg Huang et al 2000 or Beltrami et al 2011). There simply cannot then be a BNO(S) powered from this route.

    Latent heat allows energy storage without temperature change. But freezing ice to release 120ZJ to power the last 30 years of BNO(S) would lower sea level by a rather noticable one metre if it were land ice being frozen. Of course, sea ice wouldn’t have that difficulty but there is only 5,000 cu km of summer sea ice left, it having been melting away for a few decades now when BNO(S) requires not melting but the freezing of 360,000 cu km.
    And the other sort of latent heat, a decrease in atmospheric water vapour is also the stuff of fantasy requiring a change of 50,000 cu km when the atmosphere only contains (and only can contain) ~13,000 cu km without crazy temperature increases.
    Estimates of kinetic energy and available potential energy within the oceans yield values far too small for our needs with variablilty even smaller. So where else to look?

    Chemical energy might work well to provide a multi-decadal storage cycle with biology the converting mechanism except again there is no evident cycling of such a storage capacity to fit the bill. That such cycling should be plain to see is suggested by human deforestation which leaves a pretty noticable scar across the globe but yields just 0.08ZJ pa (along with a whole a lot of emitted CO2) and no sign of it being a full multi-decadal cycle either.

    Variations in the speed of the earth’s spin in the form of length of day may fire the imaginations of curve-fitters with graphs like this from Dickey et al (2011) matching Length of Day against global temperature shorn of AGW. But the actual changes in spin, while having the sort of ups and downs being sought for BNO(S) only provide energy storage for 3% of BNO(S) energy requirements and most of that is forced by non-climatic effects.

    So I’m running out if ideas here. I don’t know. Speculating, perhaps Huang (2005) could have missed some of those exhotic phase shifts that deep high-pressure water experiences. Perhaps the electrical or magnetic effects Curry mentioned and was quizzed about in her APS presentation (p158 before Christy & Lindzen dived in and changed the subject to cosmic rays and clouds) are what hold the key to the missing heat storage. And it should be an encouragement that the 120ZJ store is so ellusive. When it is found, if it is ever found, fat chance, with its 60 year cycling, its very rarety will make it more credible.

    In the meantime the BNO(S) hypothesis has gained the attributes of what in Probability Theory is technically called a dead duck. (Thus it may also be possible to class it a Black Anatidae.) It would be useful to examine which assumptions need to be changed to breath a little life into BNO(S) but then by doing so we would transform it from the BNO(S) of Judith Curry into something different.
    So it is more appropriate to first consider other theoretical modes of BNO to see if one of them maybe can hold just a little shred credibility….

    Comment by MARodger — 11 Sep 2014 @ 6:10 AM

  172. ed barbar wrote: “I’m tired of every weather event being tied to global warming.”

    You’d better move to another planet, then.

    Because THIS planet is globally warmed. Which means that ALL the weather on this planet, all the time, is affected by global warming in some way.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:24 PM

  173. > Curry … APS presentation
    also discussed at http://rabett.blogspot.com/2014/02/like-lambs-to-slaughter.html

    From the transcript, starting at 159:

    DR. BEASLEY: … you mentioned a bunch of others that kind of surprised me, quite frankly. And so, for example, the magnetic field, I can’t resist picking that one. Do you have a physics notion of what —

    DR. CURRY: Okay , this is known/unknown. Some people with publishing papers speculating.

    DR. ROSNER: This is based on they are certain that there is an effect or they have a physical process in mind that actually would do something?

    DR. CHRISTY: There is the cosmic —

    DR. CURRY: Well, that is one example. I can’t recite all the arguments off the top of my head. But people are publishing papers that present some intriguing possibilities. These are obviously not in the mainstream. But we have only really started looking at these kind of topics. If you are interested, I can send you a list of papers I have been recently. But this is known/unknown category.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Sep 2014 @ 7:58 PM

  174. Ed Barbar:

    I’m frankly tired of activists turning off air-conditioners to trick people. I’m tired of “Hide the decline.” I’m tired of every weather event being tied to global warming. Too much snow? Global warming. Too little snow? Global warming.

    Ed, where do you get the idea that anyone is turning off air-conditioners to trick people? What makes you think “hide the decline” is anything but an AGW-denier dog whistle? You may call yourself a skeptic, but it appears you’ve un-skeptically taken to heart what you’ve read on denier blogs.

    The only difference between you and me is I Don’t know. but neither do you.

    You may not know, but that doesn’t mean nobody does. A genuine skeptic recognizes that on complex topics like climate, there may actual experts who know more than he does, and that some experts are more credible than others. If you’re sincerely interested in the scientific case for AGW, you can’t really do better than to start with this free 36-page booklet published jointly by the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the UK: Climate Change: Evidence and Causes.

    It’s written for educated laypersons, and represents the combined expertise of two of the world’s most respected scientific societies. That’s not to say the NAS and the RS can’t be mistaken, but for anyone who isn’t himself an expert in climate science, they’re a better bet than some guy on a blog. If you don’t trust them, you have no reason to trust anyone else either.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 12 Sep 2014 @ 8:20 AM

  175. Ed Barbar: “You don’t know what I think.”

    Well, whose fault is that, Ed? Anyway, thanks for telling us what you are tired of. Want to know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of scientific illiterates pretending to understand complicated physical systems and throwing around words like “complexity” and “nonlinear” as if they were talismans to put the fear of dragons into us.

    So, basically, you (and Aunt Judy) are saying, “Oh, woe is me. It’s all too complicated.” Well, I’m sorry it’s too complicated for you to understand, but if it’s all the same to you, the real scientists would like to get on with the process of understanding climate. You see, they aren’t scared by complexity or nonlinearity. They know how to deal with it. Now, maybe they’ll be wrong, but they aren’t afraid of that either, because they know their colleagues will correct them.

    There are worse things than being wrong, Ed. Bullshitting is one of them. Bullshit is uncorrectable. It lives forever in its same worse than useless form. It remains “not even wrong” forever.

    So, you are tired of the theatre. Fine. Read the damned science. It’s unequivocal

    [edit]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Sep 2014 @ 8:30 AM

  176. Mal, Ed’s blown up the one rather famous occasion when “turning off the air conditioners” happened. The story has grown in the rebunking. You can look it up:

    Transcript | Hot Politics | FRONTLINE | PBS
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/etc/script.html

    Apr 24, 2007 … Timothy Wirth was one of the few politicians already concerned about global warming, and he was not above using a little stagecraft for Hansen’s testimony….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Sep 2014 @ 10:33 AM

  177. And to correct that, rather than “turning off” the Senator simply overloaded the air conditioning; this is the exact quote:

    TIMOTHY WIRTH: We called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6th or June 9th or whatever it was. So we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo, it was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it.

    DEBORAH AMOS: [on camera] Did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day?

    TIMOTHY WIRTH: What we did is that we went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right, so that the air conditioning wasn’t working inside the room. And so when the- when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and double figures, but it was really hot.

    You know how this tool works:

    He had a trained mule who could do all kinds of wonderful tricks. One day somebody asked him: “How do you do it? How do you train the mule to do all these amazing things?” “Well,” he answered, “I’ll show you.”He took a 2-by-4 and whopped him upside the head.The mule was reeling and fell to his knees, and the trainer said: “You just have to get his attention.”

    Judge Penfield Jackson, U.S. v Microsoft, United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia, June 28, 2001

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Sep 2014 @ 10:40 AM

  178. MARogers, methinks you’re looking too hard.

    The first question to ask when looking for a BNO is:

    “Why have these only started oscillating in the last century or so? Where is the recording of BNO’s for the last thousand years”

    Because like the hockey stick or not, it’s a fact that temperature variations today far exceed those of recent history. If one truly wants to posit BNO’s for today’s oscillations one really has to show where they were the last few millenia.

    Comment by David Miller — 12 Sep 2014 @ 2:35 PM

  179. MA Rodger and Hank Roberts mention the APS transcript:


    DR. CURRY: But we have only really started looking at these kind of topics. If you are interested, I can send you a list of papers I have been recently. But this is known/unknown category.

    DR. LINDZEN: They all relate to particle processes influencing cloud condensation.

    Curry really wants to be the first should her crazy theory of Bose-Einstein statistics on cloud nucleation pans out. This is what her co-author said on her blog.


    Thus, if in the future, B-E statistics will appear to be valid for nucleation at low T, the first reference will be this book.

    That’s not science, its more like buying lottery tickets.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 12 Sep 2014 @ 7:43 PM

  180. Thanks Hank, it’s hard to keep up with proliferating AGW-denier memes (“No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” -Lily Tomlin). Many of them may have some kernel of reality at their center, with layer upon layer of distortion accreted around them.

    Unfortunately, one suspects that a 2×4 upside the head would only provoke response in kind from determined deniers.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 12 Sep 2014 @ 7:48 PM

  181. David Miller @178.

    While the hockey stick is very strong evidence as you describe (and as I also described on a different thread recently), I would consider it a step too far to argue that it is compelling evidence for AGW on its own. It is compelling, but that’s because there is a whole lot of inter-supporting evidence of which the hockey stick is but a small yet important part.
    As for my whitterings here, seeking extra evidence, for or against, is always useful.
    So you can look forward to my next installment which considers if there are signs of what I term BNO(R), a radiative-powered BNO. (I note the text editor is having fun with interpreting (R.).)

    I am hoping my thought experiments here are of greater merit that the “expert presentation” of Dr Curry at the APS which certainly operates at a level of technical intricacy that is beyond my abilities to grasp.
    The following extract (p134) is an exemplar of that.

    DR. CURRY: So, why would the heat sequestration have turned on at the turn of this century? Well, if this is a robust thing, presumably it has something to do with natural internal variability.
    And so, what could make it turn off? Natural internal variability. And if this is related to the stadium wave idea, whatever, we could see this dynamic changing sometime in the 2030s.

    And on the subject of the hockey stick and what it demonstrates, be advised that the ever-incisive analysis of Dr Curry when applied to Mann et al 1998 led her to be “misled” by all that ‘hide-the-decline’ nonsense.
    Also no sign of any change in her 2011 view of the scientific implications. That was that once the ‘decline’ and sampling issues are factored in, Dr Curry and her Uncertainty Elves on Climateetcia believe we should question whether global millenia temperature reconstructions in fact “make any sense at all.” Myself, I’d reckon it would cost the lives of a lot of her Uncertainty Elves defending such a position and assume Dr Curry is of the opinion she won’t have to.

    Comment by MARodger — 13 Sep 2014 @ 6:39 AM

  182. Does this complicated argument boil down to “the anthropogenic increase in CO2 would increase temperatures more than measured so other forcings and natural variation must be negative”? Is that it?

    [Response: No. If that was the case, the scaling on the model ANT pattern would be substantially less then one. The other forcings would have unphysical scalings if the sign was wrong in the forcing datasets. – gavin]

    Comment by Nicolas Nierenberg — 14 Sep 2014 @ 8:09 PM

  183. Having dismissed the possibility of Judith Curry’s BNO existing as BNO(S) above @171, another theoretical method for BNO is now considered.
    BNO could result from radiative forcing created somehow by internal variation within the climate system. Would such radiative forcing be evident given what we know about planet Earth? Can a radiative version of BNO exist?
    Let us term this hypothesis BNO(R). (Note that a BNO(R)-like waggle may be the result of external forcing, but if some necessary evidence is absent for BNO(R) it cannot evist whatever the cause.)

    .
    The Earth’s climate is a large system and it takes time to react to forcings. Thus a short-sharp 0.31°C wobble in global temperature requires a lot more force than a slower 0.31°C wobble. One consequence of this reaction time provides BNO(R) with a potential signature. If the length of BNO(R) cycle shortens while the amplitude of the forcing remains constant, it will result in a smaller amplitude of the temperature response, and if the cycle lengthens it will increase in amplitude of the temperature wobble.
    (The following back-of-the-envelope calculations make the assumption that 50% of equilibrium is completed within 10 years and 75% of equilibrium completed within 30 years.)

    For a 60-year cycle, if the forcing appeared very quickly, effectively as a step change, this sudden appearance would give the climate all of the 30-year half-cycle of BNO(R) to react, 30-years to create the 0.31°C change in temperature. At this point the forcing is quickly removed to restore the original temperature over the following 30 years to thus complete the oscillation. If equilibrium temperature were actually achieved, the forcing would require to be 0.76 Wm^-2 for ECS=1.5°C but for BNO(R) at 75% equilibrium over 30 years, the forcing will need to be larger, perhaps ~50% larger due to the 60-year period being too short to achieve equilibrium. Thus BNO(R) could then be created by a square wave forcing of perhaps ~1.15Wm^-2 peak-to-peak.

    If the forcing is applied more gently (and withdrawn more gently) in the manner of a sine wave, the time available for the climate to react shrinks further and the forcing when fully applied will require to be larger. Resorting to a spreadsheet, a BNO(R) driven by a a 60-year oscillating forcing would appear to require an oscillating forcing of perhaps 1.8Wm^-2 peak-to-peak.
    Because of its slow change from warming to cooling (and visa versa) and because equilibrium is not achieved, there will be a lag between the cycle of forcing and the cycle of warming. This results from the cooling forcing having to cancel out the remaining un-equilibrated warming before it can begin its cooling effect. Such a lag for a sine wave would be perhaps a be as long as 8 years.
    When AGW is added to the BNO(R) cycle, the length of lag to peak temperatures increases significantly to more than a decade and potentially doubling, while the length of lag of minimum temperatures behind minimum forcing decreases significantly, potentially halving.

    It would be possible to model the climate when forced in such a manner. (Strangely I have no memory of seeing such modelling. Given all the ink spilt over various BNO hypotheses, an absence of such models would be surely bizarre. So where are they?) At its most simple, the results from my spreadsheet (graphed here) appear to suggest BNO(R)’s impact on late 20th century global temperature would be significantly smaller than the 50% espoused by Judith Curry.
    However, a search for some reconsiliation between the global temperature record and possible BNO(R) forcings by altering its strength and/or timing (be it in the form of square wave or sine wave or any other wave) may show nothing other than the existence of many competing and controversial alternatives. Rather, it may be more productive to examine other evidence for the existence of a BNO(R)…..

    Comment by MARodger — 15 Sep 2014 @ 5:20 AM

  184. > gavin

    Um, more help please? fruitless: https://www.google.com/search?q=+the+model+ANT+pattern

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Sep 2014 @ 3:54 PM

  185. Gavin, I’ve re-read your post and in particular your description of 10.5. I think my brief summary is exactly correct. Model estimates of GHGs are considerably larger than the measured temperature increase. ANT is somewhat larger than the measured temperature increase. So the conclusion is that natural forcings (or whatever you want to call the non ANT forcings) have been negative during the time period.

    I’m afraid I didn’t understand your comment about ANT scaling. In what way is it scaled? In 10.5 it seems to simply be an estimate of the temperature change caused by all human activities. That is an absolute number not a scaled number.

    [Response: There is plenty of explanation in the IPCC chapter, and in the papers referenced therein. I suggest you read what was actually done instead of relying on my paraphrasing. – gavin]

    Comment by Nicolas Nierenberg — 15 Sep 2014 @ 11:04 PM

  186. Hank – I think you’ll find these abbreviations together in many papers

    ANT = anthropogenic forcing
    NAT = natural forcing
    ALL = natural plus anthropogenic
    CTL = preindustrial control run
    SUL = sulfate aerosol forcings

    Comment by Kevin ONeill — 15 Sep 2014 @ 11:44 PM

  187. Thanks Kevin and Gavin, and for the link to the final text IPCC chapter — with illustrations.

    Funny how the bigger the wreck, the harder it is to realize it’s happening.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Sep 2014 @ 10:04 AM

  188. Data obtained from observations of the planet Climateetcia suggests that Judy Curry has yet to give her definitive response to this post. The cause of what appears a change of mind is a web-review of Daniel C. Dennett’s book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking which led Judy Curry to write:-

    “It transforms your opponent into a more receptive audience for your criticism or dissent, which in turn helps advance the discussion.”

    This statement has made me rethink my decision to respond to Gavin Schmidt’s response to my 50-50 Argument essay. My remarks in the Atlantic vs Pacific vs AGW thread were reactions, not a response or a critique. My challenge is that I have been particularly short of time as of late, with preparing for a number of public lectures. Responding to Gavin’s response would provide a good opportunity to try out Dennett’s approach. But don’t hold your breath for a quick response, I am traveling/lecturing extensively through late October. I will be at a workshop in late Oct that Gavin is also attending; I will certainly try to post my response before then.

    Comment by MARodger — 18 Sep 2014 @ 5:48 AM

  189. And my own whittering goes on. @183 it was shown that the global temperature record does not immediately demonstrate a convincing BNO(R) (that is a ‘radiatively forced’ version of Judith Curry’s Big Natural Oscillation) but it was also asserted that applying some judicious curve-fitting would render any such a demonstration inconclusive. Thus to be conclusive we should look elsewhere. Indeed, anybody properly arguing for or against BNO(R) should be looking elsewhere, shouldn’t they? So let’s do them all a favour and look for them.

    .
    The energy requirements for BNO(R) are shown to be quite large – an oscillating radative forcing of 1.15Wm^-2 peak-to-peak if of square-wave form, 1.8Wm^-2 if of sine-wave form. When compared with natural wobbles surmised by the IPCC (shown in AR5 WG1 Figure 10.1f), the square-wave version of BNO(R) would be as big as any natural wobble but far more long-lasting, and the sine-wave version would dwarf them all with its peak-to-peak height not far short of the total AGW forcing since 1850 (helpfully plotted in Fig 10.1g). And because of their on/off nature, the radiative imbalance engendrered by such wobbling should be more noticeable.

    Data from measurements of the Earth Radiation Budget at the top of the atmosphere is available from CERES since 2000. So the 14 years of CERES data, with or without error-bars – Do they show signs of BNO(R)? Or perhaps they show signs of the absence of BNO(R)?
    Plotting out the CERES data & the imbalances modelled on my simplistic speadsheet (two clicks down here) give mixed results. (I’m not greatly familiar with CERES ERB data. Hey, I hope I haven’t plotted it upside-down.)
    Simplistically, a square-wave type BNO(R) could be sweetly fitted to the data with a fully-allowable shift vertically. Of course. the drop in TOA ERB at the start of the CERES data may be nothing to do with any BNO(R) drop, and could be simply the last half of an oscillation as we see occuring 2008-2014. For instance, Lobe et al (2012) attributes much of this 2000-1 drop (the LW component of it) to ENSO. Yet even if signs of the step-change were entirely absent from the data, the timing of the step could easily have been a little earlier than the CERES data and would then not reoccur for 30 years. Thus no evidence either for or against the square-type of BNO(R) is available from CERES, so far.
    The sin-wave type BNO(R) is less easy to reconcil with the CERES data although probably not conclusively so. The BNO(R) sine-type required-imbalance exceeds the level of potential drift of instrument calibration suggested by Loeb et al (0.5Wm^-2/decade) yet there is no sign of a trend in imbalance as required by the sine-type BNO(R).
    A watching brief would be strongly recommended with this data, except it is not the only measure of TOA ERB.

    The TOA ERB can be surmised with some accuracy from OHC as the overwhelming proportion of the imbalance ends up warming the oceans. Assuming this proportion to be a constant-yet-conservative 85%, how does this compare with measurements of OHC?
    If BNO(R) existed there should be significant ΔOHC to account for it and also for AGW. Additionally there should be some slowdown in ΔOHC evident over the last decade, the decade we have the best data for.
    Here we find a gross mismatch with the OHC data. The output from my spreasheet (two clicks down here) shows ΔOHC (1955-2014) is far too small to accomodate BNO(R) alongside AGW and the recent ΔOHC slowdown does not appear to exist.
    This points only in one direction. A hypothesised BNO(R) defies the evidence provided by OHC measurements.

    So if BNO cannot exist powered by a store of energy BNO(S), or powered by a radiative imbalance BNO(R), how can it exist? Interestingly, there is potential for a BNO without significant ‘powering’, a ‘powerless’ version I shall term BNO(P)…

    Comment by MARodger — 18 Sep 2014 @ 6:10 AM

  190. From WG1AR5 Chapter 10 I understand that figure 10.5 is about “Assessed likely ranges (whiskers) and their mid-points (bars) for attributable warming trends over the 1951–2010″. ANT being combined anthropogenic forcings must be GHG + OA. To read forcings and bars in words see page 869.

    Observed global temperature increase over this period was ~0.6 C.
    Staying within these error bars for all individual forcings the temperature could have decreased by 0.1 C !

    Comment by AntonyIndia — 20 Sep 2014 @ 11:28 AM

  191. #188 regarding Daniel Dennett’s Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking.

    In a section on Rapoport’s Rules, Dennett lists some guidelines on how to compose a successful critical commentary:

    “1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

    2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

    3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

    4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.”

    Comment by Kevin O'Neill — 20 Sep 2014 @ 11:39 AM

  192. Ooops.within my whitterings @189 I note that, not only did mis-reference IPCC AR5 Figure 10.1e & f, I also provided an erroneous link. The ΔOHC link should have been to down here.

    Comment by MARodger — 23 Sep 2014 @ 10:59 AM

  193. Further to comment @189, a ‘powerless’ Big Natural Oscillation BNO(P) effectively has to be able to wobble global surface temperatures without noticably wobbling OHC. So how can that happen?
    Now there are innumerable potential mechanisms that could be proposed to allow a BNO(P) but which rely solely on fanciful and unverifiable conicidence. But if some evidential support is stipulated, not an unreasonable requirement for what is supposed to be an oscillation, potential mechanisms become far less numerous.
    And looky here.
    The leading candidate BNO(P) mechanism would go a long way to explaining the Stadium Wave which of course is the BNO mechanism advocated by Judith Curry. The authors of this proposed climatic phenomenon insist it waggles NH temperatures. Curry goes further that this, making explicit the suggestion that the Stadium Wave is a potential BNO responsible for the global wobbles of the last 100 years (which are predomanently a NH phenomenon). While the transmission of the hypothesised Stadium Wave has been described, how it does the waggling of NH temperature remains obscure. A helpful list of papers appears to do no better than a bit of handwaving toward the likes of Outten & Esau (2011) and Petoukhov & Semenov (2012). Thus to date, the definitve description of the way the Stadium Wave waggles NHT is probably that given by the website hosting the list. Apparently the Stadium Wave “scripts the multi-decadal component of the Northern Hemisphere surface average temperature.” Myself, I am not familiar with any climatic process called a “script”.

    The leading candidate for potential BNO(P) is surely to stipulate that it would predomenantly waggle land temperatures (by some means). Therefore no significant ΔOHC is required.
    There is some supporting evidence for such an assertion. Wu et al (2011) show in their Figure 9 their that half the area of the Northern continents have wobbles greater than 0.2°C amplitude (I assume that must be amplitude not peak-to-peak) while only a tiny part of the oceans wobble exceeds 0.15°C amplitude. (Web image which includes the ocean wobble bit of Wu et al. Fig 9 here. The ocean wobble can be seen to be predominantly the AMO.) If BNO(P) is identified as largely land-based, the wobble will be hard-pushed to translate into significant ΔOHC. (Note that I am not entirely happy that Wu et al. are not curve-fitting inappropriately.) So this idea is good for the AMO-driven Stadium Wave. (I here brush over the actual sequence of the Stadium Wave hypothesis which is ALPI→NHT→AMO with the ALPI→NHT link sort-of via particular Arctic Sea Ice configurations.)
    And if you plot the differential between NH ocean & land temperature, the warming since 1970 has been indeed higher on land than at sea, conforming with what should be there with this candidate BNO(P). And before 1970 the cooling was also higher on land than at sea fitting the previous half-cycle of the BNO(P). So this sounds quite interesting.
    Unfortunately, the full instrument record back to 1850, when fully plotted out (here – two clicks) fails to behave properly prior to 1940. There is actually no sign whatever of a BNO(P) with the required 60-year cycle. Indeed, within the 164 years of data it is questionable if any cycle can be convincingly demonstrated between the NH Ocean & Land temperatures. (Mind, there is a nice little 30-year-ish wobble between Ocean & Land in the SH.)

    Still, early days. What of other likely candidates?
    (I am increasingly conscious of the liberty I take whittering on at such length down this comment thread. The complexity of the detail in this BNO business has proved greater than I anticipated. So I will attempt to draw a line under it at the next serving.)

    Comment by MARodger — 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:50 AM

  194. I don’t understand why the arguments from AR5 11.25 were brushed aside so quickly.

    11.25b shows an IPCC “likely” range in the bottom half of ALL models, including RCP 2.6 (and even below). And the text in Chapter 11 clearly states that over-estimates of sensitivity and under-estimates in natural variation in some models are being accounted for in that (covered in 11.25c and text).

    And coupled with that there seems to be now a large divergence in means between observational and model derived ECS values. Approximately “2” versus “3.4”. Seems to me the decision to go with observations versus models is becoming long overdue. It looks difficult to reconcile them.

    If the models are too sensitive to CO2 or over or under-estimating aerosol effects, and failing to include natural variations like the ENSO and PDO and AMO wouldn’t this fit “reality” more closely? It would provide a partial explanation for not only the “pause” but 1910-1940 warming (mostly natural), the 1940-1980 (cooling/static period offset by increasing (but lower) CO2 effects), and the 1980-1998 warm period (natural and ever increasing anthropogenic effects). Correlation does not equal causation, but can this be ruled out? Curry’s “middle tercile” seems more likely to me than 100% AGW.

    Comment by iwatts — 27 Sep 2014 @ 2:01 AM

  195. So, to put an end on this whitter of mine @150, @163 @166 & 171, @183 & 189/92 and @193.
    Firstly (i) There is the issue of whether a ‘powerless’ BNO(P) can be found to exist or perhaps can be found not to exist. (ii) There is the possibility of some other type of BNO existing. (iii) And there is the issue of what BNO could exist if the constraints (imposed through this being an investigation into a Judy Curry BNO) were relaxed.

    (i) A BNO(P) has to prevent power being expended in ocean heating/cooling. In some manner the ocean has therefore to be insulated from the global surface temperatures. A whole suit of candidates present themselves but without any evidential support they remain fanciful. (For instance, changes in wind or salinity or seaweed, surface warming in regions (in)sensitive to OHC, perhaps the southern oceans or perhaps NH/SH with their different proportions of land, or variations in the frequency/amplitude of a known oceanic wobble.)
    Yet it can also be seen that if BNO(P) exists there will be a disconnect between OHC and surface temperature. And taking a lead from Lewis & Curry (2014)(PDF), what happens when we infer OHC from reconstructed thermosteric SLR and compare it with the temperature record? The Gregory et al (2013) Fig 1 data used by L&C2014 presents an intriguing result (graphed two clicks down here.) In this simplistic comparison, the inferred ΔOHC provides an embarrasingly good fit with ΔTemperature prior to 1920 and post 1960. Inbetween, Curry’s argument that the temperatures 1920-1960 are currently not explained by known climate forcing is thus well illustrated by the ‘disconnect’ between 1920 & 1960. But importantly, also well illustrated is the complete lack of evidence for a BNO(P) outside 1920-60.
    Of course, the Church et al (2013) thermosteric SLR reconstruction may allow a different conclusion but any theorising using Church et al. will first have to reconcile itself with actual OHC data (eg Levitus).
    Concerning BNO(P), the take-away from this ΔT-ΔOHC comparison is the different support it provides for two alternate interpretations of 20th century temperature wobbles. There is either the Curry view – a BNO(P) is acting with apparently an oddly complex profile and/or with some very helpfully-coinsidental volcanic activity plus some oddly unforceful climate forcings. Or there is the IPCC interpretation – known forcings can be seen to govern global temperature although there remains an ongoing mystery to be solved with mid-20th century data. (There are different regions responsible for the different parts of this warming-cooling-warming ‘disconnect’ through 1920-60 which should help shed light on the processes involved.)
    I would suggest the Curry version is not at all convincing.

    (ii) It is perhaps worth suggesting that a mechanism for a BNO could be provided additional to the three potential processes already explained and dismissed (Storeage, Radiative, Powerless) but such ‘other’ BNO(O)s would require explanation. Anything beyond hypothetical speculation, arguing for the existence of a BNO without a physical process to work it and with nothing but curve-fitting to support it; that is the stuff of Wattsupia. It is not of grown-up science.

    (iii) Two assumptions were made concerning BNO so as to match this comparison to the assertions of Curry.
    Firstly the assumption that this BNO was responsible for 50% of recent warming. This was to test Curry’s assertion that the last 50-year’s temperature rise could be 50% natural/50% man-made. As the effects of known natural forcing agents are small and probably negative, the 50% can be attached entirely to internal variability. Others suggest a BNO with different contributions. 40% (Tung & Zhou 2013), less than 33% (Wu et al 2011). A less controversial finding is that of Huber and Knutti (2011) (Abstract|).who concluded internal variability is likely near zero but came up with a ‘very likely’ range of +/-26%. I would suggest the absence of any evidence of BNO(S,R&P) should allow the +26% to be greatly reduced.
    The second assuption was the value of ECS which was set low at 1.5°C to conform with Curry’s advocacy of delaying emissions mitigation policies. If ECS=3.0°C, the halved energy requirements allows some greater latitude for BNO(S&R) but I doubt enough to make their contribution exceed the limits of Hubber & Knutti (2011)

    So after all this blather from me, I conclude rather hurredly – I believe I have demonstrated that any proposed BNO, any big natural oscillation with a 60-odd year period, has no evidential basis as a significant contributor to recent global warming and that BNO remains nought but hypothetical conjecture.

    Comment by MARodger — 30 Sep 2014 @ 12:09 PM

  196. New Curry (guest) post on attribution: http://judithcurry.com/2014/10/23/root-cause-analysis-of-the-modern-warming/

    Comment by Jack Foster — 23 Oct 2014 @ 6:26 PM

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