RealClimate

Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Here’s something I’ve yet to see addressed: If the famous hidden “decline” is irrelevant, then how accurate can any of the historic tree ring data be?

    It seems to me that such a major “decline” would indicate that there is no link between tree ring data and historic climate.

    Isn’t Tree ring data somewhat important to AGW theory?

    Comment by Timmy — 2 Dec 2009 @ 9:41 AM

  2. Well, steps 1-4 are OK, but steps 5 and 6 is where all the action will be in the comments. The truth is that most people who have studied the issue at all understand that a doubling of CO2 will lead to a temperature increase of 1.2 C or so **all other things being equal**. What’s not at all clear is how the feedbacks should operate, with by far the biggest feedback effect that of water vapor/clouds. If the 3 C sensitivity number comes from Annan’s bayesian paper – it’s very, very skinny science. If it comes from model simulations – well, it’s apparent even from IPCC that the models don’t handle water vapor/cloud feedbacks very well. I think it’s a hard problem, and it needs more study, but to wave hands and say that the effect with feedbacks is triple that of the bare effect is not going to impress. I think it’s possible that natural variability has masked the drift over the past 10 yrs, but with too many more lost warming years, different ideas and models will be needed.

    [Response: Water vapour and clouds are very different things. The first is very well characterised, the second not so much, and you are correct - the climate sensitivity is a more interesting discussion than the earlier issues - but the top-down constraints on that are not 'hand waving'. - gavin]

    Comment by Mesa — 2 Dec 2009 @ 9:52 AM

  3. Timmy,

    You don’t need the tree-ring records as evidence of anthropogenic climate change if you don’t trust those records, for whatever reason. Last year, there was a reconstruction (by Mike Mann et al) of the global temperature record over the past 2,000 years, with and without tree-ring records.

    Without inclusion of the tree-ring measurements, the data still showed that recent
    warming is greater than at any point in at least the past 1,300 years. Instead of tree ring data this reconstruction used sources such as corals, cave deposits, sediments etc.

    See: Proc. Natl Acad. Sci USA 105, 13252–13257 (2008)

    Comment by Olive Heffernan — 2 Dec 2009 @ 9:59 AM

  4. OK – sorry to use the term hand waving – not productive. Here’s a topical question – how much of the derived sensitivity depends on the CRU/GISS instrument record? In other words, if total sensitivity with feedbacks is now thought to be 3+ C per doubling of CO2, if the instrumental temperature rise over the past 100 yrs was half of what it now appears to be, what would that do to the implied consensus sensitivity? Suppose there was no significant temperature rise except for in the Arctic over the past 100 yrs? Thanks.

    [Response: As we've discussed often, the problem with trying to constrain sensitivity over the 20th Century is the uncertainty in the aerosol contribution. If it is at the high end, then you get very large sensitivities indeed, while if it is at the low end, then sensitivities are lower (but not that low). Issues with ocean uptake are also relevant. Thus the constraints from the surface temperature record in the last century are not that useful. The LGM is much more useful. - gavin]

    Comment by Mesa — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:09 AM

  5. re#1:
    Tree ring data is critical in documenting former land surface temperatures, but AGW concepts rest on much more than just tree rings, or any collection of proxy data for that matter–in particular on the thermodynamics of atmospheric gases in relation to the magnitude of other radiative forcings.

    There has been much discussion here and elsewhere on the divergence problem. First, it does not present itself in all locations (see, e.g. the recent “Treeline story” article here). Second, when it does occur, there can be non-climatic explanations, particularly related to the mathematics of the method of standardization chosen. Third, even if it is in fact due to reduced sensitivity of the trees, this does not mean that the historic T estimates are necessarily in error, as a substantial, valid calibration period still exists in almost all cases. Although it does indeed raise the possibility that formerly warm periods could be under-estimated, and attention to this possibility needs to be paid, it is not as though this is unrecognized. If you have access to the literature, start with Esper and Frank, 2009, Divergence pitfalls in tree ring research, Climatic Change 94:261-66. Also a paper last year by D’Arrigo et al.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:11 AM


  6. You don’t need the tree-ring records as evidence of anthropogenic climate change if you don’t trust those records, for whatever reason. Last year, there was a reconstruction (by Mike Mann et al) of the global temperature record over the past 2,000 years, with and without tree-ring records.

    And the tree-ring data correlate well with these alternative proxies for pre-1960 time periods. It’s just *certain* tree-ring data diverge from the temperature record and the other proxies post-1960. As long as they are cross-checked with other proxies, even the divergent tree-ring data can provide useful information.

    And of course, people shouldn’t confuse “using tree-ring data” with “relying solely on tree-ring data” (as “skeptics” seem to do all too often).

    Comment by caerbannog — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:13 AM

  7. D’Arrigo et al., 2008, On the ‘Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes. Global and Planetary Change 60: 289–305.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:14 AM

  8. I really tried to find if this had been taken up before but I might have missed it:

    I got intrigued by one of the hacked CRU emails, from the Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth to Professor Wibjorn Karlen. In it, Professor Karlen asked some very pointed questions about the CRU and IPCC results. He got incomplete, incorrect and very misleading answers. Here’s the story, complete with pictures. I have labeled the text to make it clear who is speaking, including my comments.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/29/when-results-go-bad/

    Is this “a smoking gun” or just manipulations from a blogger? Thank you for taking your time Gavin.

    Comment by cc81 — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  9. “Isn’t Tree ring data somewhat important to AGW theory?”

    Not really, no. It can be useful in comparing current to past temperatures, but tells more of the régime we’re entering than how we got there.

    As for the post 1960s issue (divergence), I’m just a layman so this will be simplified but AIUI it basically comes down to two issues.

    1) Tree rings form in the centre of the tree and show a different width relative to the growth factors (such as temperature) than the older rings which are further out. There are techniques to account for this, but it does not cope well with the rings at either end of the scale (very inner and very outer rings). Thus the most recent set of rings are not going to be as useful as the earlier (but perhaps not the earliest) rings.

    2) Other human impacts. Some areas have had considerable human impact in more recent years (last century, say) such as pollution, CO2 percentage, land use changes, etc. These may have an effect on tree ring growth that hides what was once a clear temperature dependency.

    These issues are being investigated and techniques worked on. However, the earlier rings can be compared to earlier temperature measurements, ice cores, and other proxies and generally holds up pretty well.

    Comment by Adam — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:19 AM

  10. Regarding sensitivity:

    Bony, et al. (2006). How well do we understand and evaluate climate change feedback processes? Journal of Climate, 19, 3445 – 3482.

    http://www.met.sjsu.edu/~tesfai/RESULTS/Journals/how%20well%20do%20we%20understand%20and%20evaluate%20climate%20change%20feedback%20processes.pdf

    Knutti, R. & Hegerl, G. (2008). The equilibrium sensitivity of the earth’s temperature to radiation changes. Nature Geoscience, (1), 735 – 743.

    http://climatechange.pbworks.com/f/The+equilibrium+sensitivity+of+the+Earth's+temperature,+2008.pdf

    It does appear that the uncertainty is at the upper bound and not the 2C lower bound with 3C showing as the most likely. Of course, with the release of the Copenhagen report, 3C is starting to look like the lower bound. Not good.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  11. Mesa,

    If the real sensitivity were just the CO2-only value of 1.2 by any miraculous cancellation of feedbacks, you’d have a very hard time explaining how ice ages could possibly have occurred. Just to name one constraint.

    James Annan has a blog too, so you can take his “skinny science” up with him if you want/dare: http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-is-3c.html

    I have yet see a hole being poked in it, so I’m all ears to your argument.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:21 AM

  12. I’d be curious your thoughts on Phil Jones stepping down. Personally I see it as disappointing; I know the administration had said they wouldn’t accept his resignation if he tendered it. Seems like adding fuel to the fire.

    Meantime, I was debating a denialist re: the MBH98 numbers their assertion that corrections issued suggest some sort of obstructionist trench warfare tactics on the part of climatologists in general. Can you help me specifically counter that?

    Comment by Sebastian — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:24 AM

  13. Was it actually a hack? Or was it a leak from an insider. A leak would be a much more serious problem than a hack as it would tend to imply that someone on the inside nwas not happy with what they were seeing.

    Personally I think it was a leak.

    [Response: My information is that it was a hack into their backup mailserver. - gavin]

    Comment by David Harrington — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  14. I’m a beginner in this debate, trying to understand the basics. Going back to your six easy steps. Step 3 is a non-sequitur. You have not shown the duration of the changes you discuss or that they are anthropogenic. sorry but your argument needs shoring up.

    [Response: That's actually the easiest thing to demonstrate (we should have a link there though). How do we know recent CO2 increases are due to human activities. - gavin]

    Comment by VM — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:34 AM

  15. The problem with Annan’s paper is that it takes a lot of wildly uncertain estimates and uses bayesian methods to try to narrow the distribution – I just don’t buy it. I guess I would say that I think the error bars on the original estimates are (much) wider than he does. It’s also possible that the climate doesn’t have “one sensitivity” – ie looking at it as a single number is not useful, just as looking at “global temperature” may not be that useful. I think he’s a smart guy, and I understand part of the idea was to chop off the higher tails in the sensitivity estimates.

    Comment by Mesa — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:39 AM

  16. Didn’t Charney et al, NAS, have the sensitivity at right about 3C, 30 years ago?

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  17. Thank you Olive, Jim and Adam for trying to sort out the importance of Tree Ring data for me, but i still have a couple unanswered questions:

    Olive: Do you have a link to Mann’s reconstruction minus the tree ring data? (A graph would be preferable, since I’m a layman and work better with pictures.) Every reconstruction I’ve been able to locate includes tree ring data.

    [Response: Here (Blue line). See the supplemental data on Mann et al 2008. - gavin]

    Jim & Adam: I understand that there is far more to AGW theory than historic temperatures, however, the reason it is considered a crisis is because of the assumption that current warming is an unique event. If the modern tree data underestimates the current observed warming, it also could have underestimated it in the past. Which would indicate that the current warming is neither unique, nor a crisis.

    Comment by Timmy — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  18. I was under the impression that this is supposed to be a neutral website discussing climate. Are you honestly telling me that only global warming skeptics make mistakes in their papers? I find that a little difficult to stomach.

    [Response: Not at all. The distortion comes in how much press/spin accompanies the mistaken papers which seem to cast doubt on the mainstream science. Good peer review can catch mistakes on both sides though (albeit imperfectly). - gavin]

    Comment by VB — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:42 AM

  19. Sebastian has already asked this, but I’d also be interested to know your thoughts on Phil Jones’s decision to temporarily hand over the role of director to Peter Liss while the investigation is under way.

    Comment by Olive Heffernan — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:42 AM

  20. It’s also possible that the climate doesn’t have “one sensitivity” – ie looking at it as a single number is not useful, just as looking at “global temperature” may not be that useful.

    You have to start with a global number and try to get that right before you can start looking at regional sensitivities, it seems to me.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:48 AM

  21. Timmy, you should also note the tree-ring data was not used for _extrapolation_. Extrapolations based on noisy signals are very tricky and can lead to hilarious errors.

    An example; lets say on april 13 temperature outside is 14 degrees. On april 14 it’s 13 degrees, on the 15th its 11 degrees. This can happen, as weather is very noisy. But if we want to forcast the temperature on april 21th, we should not use said data to extrapolate: the conclusion would be some 5 or 6 degrees!

    Comment by walter — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  22. Timmy #comment-146368

    There certainly have been warmer periods in the past, the Cretaceous is one example. However whether there have been warmer periods during the Holocene is I guess the point you’re trying to make. Well tree rings aren’t the only proxies for starters, and as shown above, the reconstructions are not dependant on them.

    “the current warming is neither unique, nor a crisis.”

    What has uniqueness got to do with it? It’s not like we’ve got the evacuation of half of Bangladesh down to a fine art.

    Comment by Adam — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  23. Is everyone on this “we do science” site braindead? re: comment 9, no, champ, tree rings form on the outside of the tree as layers of growth are added to the wood already grown. Didn’t anybody here take 7th grade science?

    Comment by Tom Wiita — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  24. re # 17:
    If the modern tree data underestimates the current observed warming, it also could have underestimated it in the past..

    Yes, it could have at certain locations. See my response to that point above.

    Which would indicate that the current warming is neither unique, nor a crisis.

    No. The fact that the current warming may not be unique in some locations does NOT mean that the cause of the current global warming is not due to GHG forcing. And “crisis” is a matter of subjective description.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:59 AM


  25. I was under the impression that this is supposed to be a neutral website discussing climate. Are you honestly telling me that only global warming skeptics make mistakes in their papers? I find that a little difficult to stomach.

    No, but the “skeptics” make mistakes that would earn college students F’s on their exams. For example, taking the time-derivative of temperature and SOI data before correlating them and then drawing the wrong conclusion about how much of the observed warming is due to the SOI might be such a mistake (I see a good exam question for college students here).

    Comment by caerbannog — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:00 AM

  26. ReT_P_Hamilton on the previous thread ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack-context/comment-page-22/#comment-146333 ):

    “Why don’t the deniers just make their OWN homogenization process, and publish in the scientific literature? That would be far better. Perhaps they are incompetent.”

    You clearly miss the point about homogenization. Let’s say, in a very simple case, I collect temperature measurements directly from my carden and my friend in California does the same. We then both send our data to someone in, let’s say, Uzbekistan becuase he wants to do some research.

    Now, my measurements have been taken at a certain altitude (in metres), using an old mercury thermometer that shows celsius cos that’s all I can afford. My friend has taken his at a different altitude (in feet cos he’s American), in farenheit (again, cos he’s American) using a state-of-the-art thermocouple system (again cos he’s American and they like their gadgets).

    The person in Uzbekistan has to correct for the different altitudes and temperature scales and make allowance for the difference in accuracy of the two thermometers and the fact that my Californian friend has an aircon unit which might heat his garden enough to make a difference. That’s the homogenization process.

    Immediately there’s a problem that the only way he can account for the aircon unit is by making an estimate, informed by current knowledge, (an assumption) of the effect it has. That’s fine from an integrity POV as long as his estimate is realistic but it might be realistic and wrong, or someone might come up with new information that affects what would be “realistic”.

    He does all that, in good faith, but genuinely forgets to convert the American altitude from feet to metres. So he’s placed the American thermometer roughly 3x as high as it really is.

    That means that his (honest) conversion will make the American reading seem hotter than it should be because he will have allowed too much for altitude. There is no possible way to spot that error from the dataset he produces. To find such errors you MUST have access to the original data that my friend and I supplied. To confirm that any assumptions were reasonable (including honest mistakes and changes to the state of understanding) you must also have details about what assumptions were made.

    So, no, those sceptical of AGW can’t simply “make their own process” because that process is entirely dependent on what the raw data was and why it needed homogenizing in the first place.

    I have the utmost respect for people working in climate science – it’s a vast, multi-disciplinary, area where no one person can possibly “understand it all” so an awful lot has to be taken on trust, especially in terms of available data.

    The very fact that it’s such a complex and (possibly) vitally important field makes it all the more essential that all data and methods are open to scrutiny and that there is not even a hint of suppressing alternative theory. Otherwise there can be no scientific basis to trust anything published anywhere.

    Incidentally, I also believe that anyone honestly suggesting some global Big Brother conspiracy between Science and Government is a first class fruit-cake with a side-order of nuts (probably served in tinfoil).

    Comment by Joe — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  27. Gavin

    Thanks for RC’s continued coverage of this issue. I think I’m raising a new point here.

    The most thought-provoking piece I’ve read on the CRU saga is that by Willis Eschenbach at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/24/the-people-vs-the-cru-freedom-of-information-my-okole%E2%80%A6/

    As I understand it, he was the first person to make a FOI request. His account of his experiences makes me think that the way UEA dealt with the request left – shall we say – something to be desired.

    But perhaps more importantly, Eschenbach argues that the fact that the raw data was/is avaiable on other sites really wasn’t/isn’t the point. And he raises some – to my mind – interesting questions about the role of reproducibility in science.

    I wonder if you think an (extended) RC comment on his piece might be useful/worthwhile?

    Thanks

    Comment by RichieRich — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:05 AM

  28. Since we are on the subject of the conservative response to global warming, I just wanted to know … does the climate science community have any explanation for that great rainstorm which occurred approximately 6000 years ago and covered everything except for the highest mountain peaks, carved out the grand canyon and disrupted the water vapor canopy that allowed the antidiluvians to live for centuries and even longer.

    I mean, there’s this great mass of historic climatic data in the book of Genesis. The conservatives will gladly tell you all about it and you can even read their scientific writings here:

    http://www.icr.org/article/what-geologic-processes-were-operating-during-floo/

    Climate scientists would score big points with the conservatives simply by acknowledging their peer-reviewed (peer reviewed by God!) textbook, the Bible.

    [Response: Funny. But no further discussion on biblical inerrancy here though, thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by David Mathews — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:12 AM

  29. Was the Copenhagen diagnosis peer reviewed? Do the policymakers really understand the amount of work behind the production of some of those certainties? I am not a a denier that humans are impacting the climate, and I think the reality does lie within the error regions we see in the IPCC projections. But why do “good scientist include clearly exaggerated graphs like figure 9 in the Copenhagen report? Why depict the lowest ice year against the highest ice year? Why not get the y Axis label correct– 20 million sq kilometers in Greenland? This was not done by journalists, but by some of the best climate science has to offer.

    It is child’s play to use the same data to show that Greenland is cooling at an alarming pace.

    The following linear model represents the rapid decline in Greenleand temperatures measured from the CERES Greenland climate network. Thanks to Konrad Steffen for the data. The decline is .18 degrees per year. Given winter temperature of -40, we can predict that by the year 2100 Greenland will have cooled by 16 degrees. This is likely to lead to a massive expansion in the greenland ice sheet triggering a new ice age.

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) 349.046434 18.413814 18.96 <2e-16 ***
    Decline in Degrees C per year -0.183091 0.009193 -19.92 <2e-16 ***

    The data are real. The analysis is real. The outcome is highly unlikely even though the p-values are through the roof (Greenland was probably not 350 C in 50 bc). In fact, 2/3rd of the Greenland weather stations show significant temperature declines over their life span.

    If such a paper were sent to you for review, then the discussion of data error–those icy weather station have hard time getting the same temperature reading from identical sensors on the same day at the same time– and changes in satellite platforms would be brought up to reject the paper. If it showed that the ice sheet was declining and temperatures on the rise, your review would not be as rigorous or as negative.

    Comment by Neil Pelkey — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:21 AM

  30. #14 VM:

    Also see:

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/smoking_gun_humans_climate_change.html

    and

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/global_warming_misinformation_nature_emits_more_co2.html

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  31. Adam, although not critical to your post, the oldest tree rings are in the center if the tree, new rings are added by the vascular cambium to the outside of the stem/trunk every year. The cambium produces phloem to the outside (which is destroyed as part of the growth process) and the xylem to the inside. It is the xylem that forms the rings.

    Comment by Jeff Johansen — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  32. I would be interested in knowing if there is any published theory/data as to why 1998 was the hottest year on record (I know 2005 was pretty close or tied), but we have had a decade in which we have not broken that record. Although I do not think there has been a decline in temperature (only a decline in the surrogate measure of tree ring data), it seems it has at least been pretty flat. Are we in the downside of a solar radiation cycle? Are aerosols increasing and causing cooling. I am a scientist, but not a climate scientist, and am wondering if this has been discussed in the peer-reviewed literature.

    Comment by Jeff Johansen — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:37 AM

  33. I don’t see a good alternative to Phil’s standing aside. Remaining in the position, regardless of whether that would affect any enquiry, would invite claims of bias and cover-up. It might be equally misguided, but his stepping aside evokes some comfort that his actions have not, and will not be found to have, affected the science or the conclusions drawn from it. I still expect to hear grumblings about foxes guarding the chicken coop, but the people (in the U.S.) raising this didn’t seem concerned about that concept RE: oversight during/just before the Iraq war. Probably nothing will soothe them anyway.

    Comment by ghost — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  34. harry — 1 December 2009 @ 5:30 PM (from the previous thread):

    Your argument regarding the reason for the freedom of information requests is disingenuous. This is because the next logical step for those requesting data, after learning they were proprietary, was to ask for it directly from the separate agencies that own it, not the CRU. Further, it has been stated that the CRU doesn’t always keep the raw data after it has been processed for irregularities and to make the different sources compatible with the metrics of the whole data set. And, if the requests were for the purpose of uncovering hidden or improperly biased data, how could the CRU be trusted to supply accurate data?

    If the freedom of information requests were actually for the purpose of replicating CRU research they were misplaced. Instead requests for the original source data should have been put to the different agencies that own it. Within this context, the requests for proprietary data, or for the data agreements from the CRU, was clearly unproductive and harassment.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:39 AM

  35. “It seems to me that such a major “decline” would indicate that there is no link between tree ring data and historic climate.”

    Tree ring data has proved a good indicator of historical temperature- it’s used by archaeologists for example who compare the tree ring data with site occupancy in locations where life is only possible in a warm climate, and they find a good correlation.

    I remember reading a paper by Linah Ababneh on the subject which I found here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

    And I read elsewhere that tree ring proxies show a good correlation with instrumental records (which after all go back a couple of centuries or so) up to about 1960.

    Comment by Donald — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  36. It’s all about the argument that these e-mails were taken out of context. I don’t understand how they’re taken out of context if full strings of e-mails are provided in COMPLETE context?? This is like saying if you found an e-mail from your wife to another guy she met, say a guy she met a social gathering, that read “hey baby, I’m gonna get away from the house tonight and come over to your place and don’t worry about my husband, he’ll never find out about us, I’m great at hiding these things.” Would you say to yourself, “hmmm oh no, this can’t be, I’m just being silly…. I must have completely taken this out of context, God… I ALWAYS do this… when am I gonna learn to stop being such a worry worm?” It doesn’t wash fellas. The science isn’t settled, it’s not concrete, neither side is right and more research is required. By the way, it’d be great if the powers that be could leave the raw data alone and perhaps even keep it on file so that other climatologists can measure this data and weigh in fairly. Well… providing that you allow them to publish their findings :)

    Comment by Pat — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  37. “So, no, those sceptical of AGW can’t simply “make their own process” because that process is entirely dependent on what the raw data was and why it needed homogenizing in the first place.”

    So (a) download the raw data that’s freely available and (b) ask the respective met services where it isn’t, for the data that isn’t. As part of the reason why some of the data is NDA is down to tit-for-tat on the UKMO’s data restrictions (not CRU, note), then someone in a different country, say Canada, should have little trouble obtaining it – though it will still probably be under NDA.

    Also, as the data is gridded you can do checks on various subsets of the data to check for errors (though not exhaustive or likely to pick up all individual errors, would certainly turn up systematic problems).

    Comment by Adam — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  38. Re #31 & #23 – mea culpa, did I really write that? Apologies for the mistake – it was a writing error, not a comprehension error (though I expect only 50% of my critics to believe me). Shows I should re-read after editing.

    Comment by Adam — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  39. #32 Jeff Johansen, see:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/global-trends-and-enso/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/mind-the-gap/

    as starters.

    Comment by Adam — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:18 PM

  40. Isn’t Tree ring data somewhat important to AGW theory?

    I don’t think so. There are reconstructions based on boreholes, glaciers, and other proxies. Plus there are at least 150 years of instrumental data that can be analyzed.

    I do think the CRU reconstructions might be a bit on the warm side in the 17th century (considering other temperature reconstructions, and CO2 ones.) I wonder if tree-rings are not only not able to proxy high temperatures very well, but also low ones.

    Comment by Joseph — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:19 PM

  41. I do think the email have an impact on my view of the science. I never questioned the science before this news story and was lukewarm on the topic in general. Having now read a few of the emails, the 2007 IPCC report, the IPCC Summary for Policymakers, and your “Six Easy Steps,” I am surprised by the intellectual standards in this field. I am more skeptical now than I was before I started reading the IPCC and other material for myself. My background is in logic and I was only briefly exposed to graduate studies in the Philosophy of Science, so I am less fluent in the numbers than in the tactics in the arguments.

    Three things the emails have made me question are first, the use of mixed ice core and atmospheric standards of comparison in the IPCC Summary for Policy-makers diagrams. I read about the science of the controversy, so I’m not looking for an explanation of it. My point is: the diagram is intended for a non-scientist policy-maker to base a judgement on and the practice (or game) of mixing measuring sticks is deceptive. This point was also made in the rejected reviewer comments in one of the Mann emails.

    The second thing my attitude is changed on is to me it sounds like you are understating the uncertainties in climate science because your mind is made up. I believe you should “be aware of a tendency for a group to converge on an expressed view and become overconfident in it.” This is a principle I borrowed from the IPCC Guidance Notes for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report on Addressing Uncertainties. (http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-uncertaintyguidancenote.pdf). That’s not to say AGW is false, just to say IPCC recommendations on verbal and social hygiene is not being practiced in this field.

    Finally, again indirectly, the general attitude toward changing or “correcting” data to make diagrams look better prompted me to go back and see whatever came of the “missing heat” from the Argo ocean sensors I heard on NPR last year (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025). So I Googled “Josh Willis” and found what became of it. In the article “Correcting Ocean Cooling” (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/) they explain that they got rid of the heat in the measurements by factoring in some other data. That way they could make the ocean cooling “go away.”

    To me it’s surprising that they would even want the measurements they take from a large initiative with 3,000 robots to “go away.” But, on page 4 I find the passage “Since the revision, says Willis, the bumps in the graph have largely disappeared, which means the observations and the models are in much better agreement. “That makes everyone happier,’ Willis says.” In the context of the emails it sounds like there is some pressure to find ways to make data conform to a desired conclusion formed by peers. Again, I’m not arguing whether the ocean is cool or hot, or whether the globe is warming. I’m saying this type of social thinking undermines my need to trust scientists to tell it like it is.

    Comment by Bobby — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:26 PM

  42. Now there’s a new term for you: “Standing aside”.

    Harry:
    The CRU did not comply with any FOI requests. They were all denied. The harassment value of FOI lies in the effort that would go into putting the information together. CRU counter-harassed by not complying with the requests anyway. They hit back – it is the leak that’s actually exposed the whole thing, not FOI. When a matter has reached the stage of FOI being applied, it is not for the requested party to claim harassment, atleast officially. It is one thing to grumble about it in private (like emails) but it is another thing to plot to deny the requests, based on the alleged motives of the requests.

    You are basically screwed if you have stuff that can be gotten out with an FOI request, and you dont want it out. That’s why the “dont anyone tell [them] that there is an FOIA in the UK” (albeit jokingly)from Jones. The grain of truth in that comment is the pinch.

    And who do you think will file FOI requests? Your buddies? It *is* your opponents who will, however low you might think of them notwithstanding. Jones did not have a strategy. Just a string of ad-hoc responses.

    Comment by Anand Rajan KD — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:26 PM

  43. Mr. Pelkey, methinks you should learn some more very basic knowledge about the Greenland ice sheet, because your analysis is laughable.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  44. “tree ring proxies show a good correlation with instrumental records (which after all go back a couple of centuries or so) up to about 1960″

    That’s almost half a century!

    It’s over a THIRD of all reliable observed temperature records. It seems pretty clear that Tree Ring data is virtually worthless

    Comment by Timmy — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  45. With regards the FOI requests

    “Eschenbach argues that the fact that the raw data was/is available on other sites really wasn’t/isn’t the point.”

    But that IS the point- under the FOIA there is no requirement to provide any data that is available elsewhere. Under Section II, Exempt Information, it reads:

    “Information accessible to applicant by other means

    (1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information.

    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)—

    (a) information may be reasonably accessible to the applicant even though it is accessible only on payment, and

    (b) information is to be taken to be reasonably accessible to the applicant if it is information which the public authority or any other person is obliged by or under any enactment to communicate (otherwise than by making the information available for inspection) to members of the public on request, whether free of charge or on payment.

    (3) For the purposes of subsection (1), information which is held by a public authority and does not fall within subsection (2)(b) is not to be regarded as reasonably accessible to the applicant merely because the information is available from the public authority itself on request, unless the information is made available in accordance with the authority’s publication scheme and any payment required is specified in, or determined in accordance with, the scheme. ”

    Other sections of the Act also apply and as far as I can determine the CRU were in no way obliged under the terms of the Act to provide the requested data.

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/Acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000036_en_1

    Comment by Andy Mayhew — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  46. Bobby wrote: “My background is in logic …”

    Anthropogenic global warming has nothing to do with “logic”. It is an empirically observed physical reality.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  47. Bobby, the ocean is the elephant on the planet. Theory says it should be warming, starting on the surface and moving downwards, but the water at the bottom is very cold, and there is a lot of it, and get this, it MOVES.

    The problem is one of access to the temperature data, and only more sophisticated deep roving robots will give us that data. Until then we can only sense the surface waters down to about 3000 meters or so in any great detail, and those details are somewhat sketchy due to the lack of these robots, the speed at which they needed to be fielded and their calibration.

    But there is no need to spread doubt about what simple theory says. It says that absent any significant ocean overturning, the heat that we know is accumulating at the surface will melt the ice, warm the ocean and acidify it. That process of ocean heating and ice melting will change salinity and alter the currents, and then the deeper ocean waters will rise up and temporarily cool the surface. That is how thermodynamics works – heating really is cooling, and vice versa. The end result will be a new equilibrium, but as long as carbon dioxide rises, that equilibrium is centuries if not a millennium away, and during that period we can expect alternate heating and cooling until it is reached. It ain’t gonna be pretty. Climate and planetary science is about predicting and tracking these changes to equilibrium, and we have a good idea where these currents are, but clearly we need to get out there and up there and cover this planet with sensors. Robotic sensors. As in a robotic space program run by NASA and NOAA. Complementary to that program is a human space flight program that will give us the skills to continue to thrive on this planet.

    Hopefully Mr. Obama will announce the results and decisions of his administration’s discussions required to grapple with these problems, but suffice it to say that his people are not the only people who have come to grips with this. Whenever you feel you’re ready, you need to address it as well. There is very little doubt about what is already happening to our oceans, ice sheets and planet, the questions are merely dynamical details.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:51 PM

  48. It’s over a THIRD of all reliable observed temperature records. It seems pretty clear that Tree Ring data is virtually worthless

    What “seems pretty clear” is that you prefer to hold to your personal biases instead of listening to what people tell you in response to your questions, or doing any actual investigation into the matter (such as for example, reading).

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  49. Another destabilization will be our retreat into modern feudalism, where any powerful group and each sovereign will demand fealty. Science has long been cloistered in a university system that affords protection from the warrior aristocracy.

    These squabbles should be familiar. This is a ruthless suppression of Science – the goal is to drive scientists back into quiet, controlled submission, completely removed from the political fray.

    As a class, scientists generally refuse to submit to any irrational political entity – but still forge alliances in the political world. And political rulers, who rule by passion and irrationality – will only acknowledge as much science as is required to rule.

    Weak political overlords feel challenged and will shoot the messenger. Smarter leaders will embrace the message.

    It is worth remarking on the famous story of the great Viking ruler King Kanut – who commanded the tides not to rise:

    “…he commanded that his chair should be set on the shore, when the tide began to rise. And then he spoke to the rising sea saying “You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord”. But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs. Then he moving away said: “All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy the name of king but He whose command the heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws”. Therefore King Cnut never afterwards placed the crown on his head…”

    We can hope leaders today can learn, however now our metahistory has a new factor: the looming deadline and compressed timescale for catastrophic change. And science challenges all with a message that this could overpower and trump everything.

    In this Anthropogenic Era, not only is the biosphere destabilizing – political structures are too. We can expect people to be cranky and angry.

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 2 Dec 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  50. #44 I’m not commenting on the worth, or otherwise, of tree ring proxies, but EVEN IF they were ‘worthless’ this in no way invalidates AGW, since AGW has been demonstrated by numerous other sources.

    Comment by Silk — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  51. “It seems pretty clear that Tree Ring data is virtually worthless”

    Okay, so throw it out.

    See post #3 above and Proc. Natl Acad. Sci USA 105, 13252–13257 (2008).

    Comment by Lamont — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  52. Gavin,

    1) There was no “security breach” at CRU that “stole” these files
    2) The files appear genuine and to have been prepared by CRU staff, not edited by malicious hackers
    3) The information was accidentally or deliberately released by CRU staff
    4) Selection criteria appears to be compliance with an or several FOIA request(s)

    Being that you have insider insight from conversations with the principals involved, why don’t you tell us how they were released, instead of letting commenters continue to flog the meme that they were “stolen” by “denialist hackers”?

    Or are you saving that story for the investigations :-)

    [Response: Speculations based on your wishful thinking but without any facts are not worth very much. The police investigation is ongoing and I'm sure will report in due time. - gavin]

    Comment by lgp — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  53. re: Number 8

    I’ve been trying to work out the proper context to take the comments made in WUWT’s Trenberth v Karlen interchange myself. It would be useful to get some notion of where that goes off the rails (if it actually did). The technical side of it is rather opaque. Eschenbach is doing the analysis (for Watt).

    My reading so far is that there is some snail mail is taken out of the purported “conversation” and not reported.

    Karlen has some specific complaints/questions about the reproduction of the Nordic data and compares the IPCC version to Nordklim, and then gets into a whole litany of “issues”. Eschenbach can’t find the graphic involved and reproduces it from data – this way:

    I cannot find the NORDKLIM graphic he refers to, so I have calculated it myself. I used the NORDKLIM dataset available at http://www.smhi.se/hfa_coord/nordklim/data/Nordklim_data_set_v1_0_2002.xls. I removed the one marine record from “Ship M”. To avoid infilling where there are missing records, I took the “first difference” of all of the available records for each year and averaged them. Then I used a running sum to calculate the average anomaly. I did not remove cities or adjust for the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Here is the result:

    Which leads to a graph that that may or may not represent Northern Europe properly.

    Reading further into the mail he is basically saying that the warming doesn’t actually exist.

    The Satellites show this as nonsense, but the details of how he is getting to nonsense are… difficult to tickle out of the interchange.

    So could I second the request for it to get some of your attention?

    respectfully
    BJ

    Comment by BJ_Chippindale — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:09 PM

  54. One logical gap in the 6 steps that I did not see discussed in the comments is how much of the radiation that CO2 could absorb is already being absorbed. For example, this graph shows the transmission at different wavelengths across the sprectrum.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/RemoteSensing/remote_04.php

    It should various dips and labels them with the molecule that causes each dip. What would be needed to complete the argument is to show the frequencies that CO2 absorbs where the absorbtion is not already complete. In other words, a for example 2% rise in CO2 would only cause a 1% increase in absorption if 50% of the frequencies absorbed by CO2 are already blocked at 100%.

    [Response: Actually it's pretty easy once you think about it. Water vapour is the main overlap, so let's assume for arguments sake that at specific humidities that are typical of surface air completely saturate a particular frequency. Note that water vapour decreases rapidly with height. Now the surface water vapour will radiate at this frequency as well - some will go up, some will go down. The stuff that goes up will encounter less water vapour at each stage. By the time you get to the upper troposphere the water vapour level is down by 3 orders of magnitude - and will not be anywhere close to saturating the band. Thus there will always be a height somewhere below that where the CO2 absorption starts to kick in. Thus you are never going to be fully saturated in the whole atmosphere. The forcing values you read about (~4W/m2 for a doubling of CO2) takes that all into account. - gavin]

    Comment by jonc — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:13 PM

  55. Re comment 37 Adam says:

    ““So, no, those sceptical of AGW can’t simply “make their own process” because that process is entirely dependent on what the raw data was and why it needed homogenizing in the first place.”

    So (a) download the raw data that’s freely available and (b) ask the respective met services where it isn’t, for the data that isn’t….”

    You’re also missing the point, Adam. The raw data is NOT available, nor is it gridded. What’s available are sets of data which have already been homogenized. The RAW data consists of measurements from a few tens of thousand separate recording stations all over the globe, going back over a couple of centuries.

    To give a (very) rough idea, say there are 20000 stations involved, each taking a maximum and minimum reading daily for the past 100 years. That’s around 1.5 BILLION individual readings to collect – do you want to volunteer to type them into a spreadsheet?

    Collecting the raw data is NOT simply a matter of “a few phonecalls and Bob’s yer uncle” – it would take a massive effort in terms of manpower and time. When the herculean efforts to collate this data started (I believe it was through the CRU?) it’s unlikely anyone really appreciated how important that raw data might become to policy – it was only science at the time, after all. On that basis, it’s may actually be understandable that it wasn’t retained but that doesn’t alter the fact that the resultant datasets are no longer verifiable.

    Perhaps it should be a global priority (probably too late for Copenhagen unfortunately) to recreate that raw data as a universal resource of known provenance and quality? A pure database of the direct readings, locations and major site changes would be invaluable for future research. With global co-operation it could probably be done in a year or so for a few hundred million (pretty small change in the circumstances).

    Comment by Joe — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:17 PM

  56. Joe wrote (26)

    “Incidentally, I also believe that anyone honestly suggesting some global Big Brother conspiracy between Science and Government is a first class fruit-cake with a side-order of nuts (probably served in tinfoil).”

    I would agree. There does not need to be a “global Big Brother conspiracy between Science and Government” (plus a lot of corporations and individuals that anticipate a potential profit from AGW).

    Just a collusion of interests, human nature and several hundreds of billions of dollars at work. That’s all.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:27 PM

  57. Gavin, thanks for putting up the data sources page. The following was from a commencement address given by Richard Feynman in 1974.

    “It’s a kind of scientific integrity,
    a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of
    utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if
    you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you
    think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about
    it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and
    things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other
    experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can
    tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be
    given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know
    anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you
    make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then
    you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well
    as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem.
    When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate
    theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that
    those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea
    for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else
    come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to
    help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the
    information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or
    another.”

    As a layman, it seems to me that some scientists on both sides of this issue have forgotten this.

    Comment by Brian — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:28 PM

  58. Gavin: First, thanks again for your hard work on this issue. Second, you have a very funny typo in a response to a comment in the prior thread, when you write that you’re waiting with “baited” breath for a response. What’s your bait, cheese, and you’re the cat to the commenter’s mouse? (The correct word is “bated”, a shortened form of “abated” meaning “held”).

    My actual question is with regard to annual variability in the global climate and Trenberth’s work. Is it the case that we do not have enough sensors deployed, and if we did we could find the “missing” heat that was recorded in one year (like 1998) but not in a later year at the existing set of sensors? What would a global sensor grid look like that would, in the aggregate, eliminate the variability/noise and give just the change in signal?

    Comment by Francis — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  59. Is everyone on this “we do science” site braindead? re: comment 9, no, champ, tree rings form on the outside of the tree as layers of growth are added to the wood already grown.

    The point being made was that growth rates vary as trees get bigger, and this needs to be accounted for along with other growth factors during the analysis.

    Didn’t anybody here take 7th grade science?

    They probably didn’t teach you that in 7th grade science …

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:37 PM

  60. “Timmy” — you are copypyasting old talking points already addressed repeatedly. Please re-read the first sentence in the opening post and try to post something new.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  61. Curious Timmy observed:
    “It seems pretty clear that Tree Ring data is virtually worthless”

    Ok, what you get if you remove the data coming from tree rings? Exactly similar result: we are living in the hottest area for at least two thousands year. This was told previously in this thread.

    What will you like remove next from the proxies? Glaciers? Arctic ice? Poleward migration of animals and plants? Bore holes? How come you are not realizing that all the proxies for past temperatures gives the same conclusion about current time?

    Or do you have some scienctific stuff in your sleeve to show other? Please show and tell.

    Comment by Petro — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:46 PM

  62. I would also like some further comment on the nature of Eschenbach’s report on the Trenberth vs Karlen exchange. I certainly don’t take this as any kind of reason to doubt climate change, and, indeed, take note of the fact that the entire blog seems to be nothing but a zealotry-filled hack-job of the present “debate” over climate (the term “Climategate” literally appears in the title of every second or third post).

    I’d find it more likely that the author simply lied or doctored data than anything else, and yet, not really knowing how to go about checking the data myself, I’d still like some comment on the matter from someone who might really know something here about the allegations of this particular blogger.

    Comment by Corey Simmonds — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  63. Gavin 1: “My information is that it was a hack into their backup mailserver.”

    Gavin 2: “Speculations based on your wishful thinking but without any facts are not worth very much. The police investigation is ongoing and I’m sure will report in due time.”

    Earth to Gavin 2: Please tell Gavin 1 that he is making you look two-faced. Gavin 1, speculations based on your wishful thinking OR YOUR PRIVATE UNNAMED SOURCES are not worth very much.

    [Response: Feel free to ignore anything I have to say on the subject then. - gavin]

    Comment by CF — 2 Dec 2009 @ 1:56 PM

  64. Cruel Clever Cat

    Sally, having swallowed cheese,
    Directs down holes the scented breeze,
    Enticing thus with baited breath
    Nice mice to an untimely death.

    –Geoffrey Taylor

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:09 PM

  65. RE#41 Bobby they had faulty sensors because the cooling didn’t jibe with the sea level measurements. In other words it was wrong and they knew it for a valid reason, found out where and fixed it. This is how science is self-correcting not some wild conspiracy. These casual comments taken into a sceptic political frame don’t work well as science.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:13 PM

  66. What’s all this about climatologists turning tricks for Russians? I used to uncritically accept that the only thing that affected Earth’s temperature was weather I drove a SUV or a Prius.

    Seriously though, I’d like to add my thanks for RC’s efforts to add context. Specifically, Gavin you have been excellent.

    Also, is there a way to see more of the inline responses than the most recent 5? These responses are often as informative as the main article, at least for my level of knowledge.

    Comment by blueshift — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:21 PM

  67. Can’t find anything I disagree with in the linked article by Peter Kelemen – I find it a little odd that you’ve endorsed it as he does seem to disagree with your opinion of the seriousness (or otherwise) of the issue. I remain convinced that these events demand an independent enquiry, and that they are having a seriously damaging effect.

    Comment by M Yoxon — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:30 PM

  68. Being a lay person and reading almost all the entries on RealClimate over the past year or so I would like to offer a bit of advice, please. This entire topic and many of the related issues to this have worn thin on value and content. I think enough has been said and discussed. The denialists may never be pursuaded no matter how much evidence or factual information is presented. My concern now is that anyone who has even aa a speck of concern about GW will be seen as a fearmonger or alarmist. I stongly suggest that RealClimate end all blogging and content creation for a period of time and let frenzied battles be fought elsewhere; all the while the experts on here can take a rest and get back to doing what they do best. Just a thought.

    Comment by RandyL — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:37 PM

  69. The problem with that, Randy, is that denialists give ammunition to people like James Inhofe, who have the power to stop action from being taken on this issue.

    They never sleep, and so, sadly, neither can people like the RC contributors. I really feel for all the climate scientists out there right now taking flak over the whole CRU email business, especially when most or all of it is nothing but unsubstantiated quotes taken completely out of context. It must really be tiring to continually have to combat something so completely inane, especially when it detracts from real conversation.

    I guess all I’m really trying to say is: we appreciate you guys are RC. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Corey S — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:46 PM

  70. On the 24th November the British Met office issued a joint press statement on Climate Science I can only think this is in response the the CRU hack incident.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20091124a.html
    Authors were those of the highest reputation:-
    Prof. Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist, Met Office
    Prof. Alan Thorpe, Chief Executive, Natural Environment Research Council
    Lord Rees, President, the Royal Society

    This statement included the following passage:-

    “Year-on-year the evidence is growing that damaging climate and weather events — potentially intensified by global warming — are already happening and beginning to affect society and ecosystems. This includes:
    In the UK, heavier daily rainfall leading to local flooding such as in the summer of 2007.”
    Anybody reading this passage is left with the strong impression that the floods of 2007 were caused by Climate Change.

    I was unlucky enough to be directly involved in the Avon/Severn flooding I did keep up to date with any science reporting of the likely cause.

    However the only authoritative scientific analysis produced on the 2007 floods was produced by CEH a part of Prof. Alan Thorpe’s National Environmental Research Council.
    http://www.ceh.ac.uk/news/news_archive/2008_news_item_05.html

    And I quote from this report:
    Lead author, Terry Marsh, comments: “The river floods of summer 2007 were a very singular episode, which does not form part of any clear historical trend or show consistency with currently favoured climate change scenarios.”

    Mr Marsh adds: “The exceptional river flooding last summer fuelled speculation that flood risk is increasing due to global warming. Due to the inherent variability of the UK climate, any extreme hydrological event cannot readily be linked directly to climate change.”

    So what do I make of all of that, why did these esteemed people feel they have to rush out statements that don’t bear up to even the simplest critical examination.

    They are not fools, so why do it? What is possessing them?

    Comment by John Cooknell — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:48 PM

  71. The <a href="http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition/&quot; link to the 2005 RC post on peer review is indeed very timely and it’s worth quoting in the current context:

    [A] deeply flawed paper can end up being published under a number of different potential circumstances: (i) the work is submitted to a journal outside the relevant field (e.g. a paper on paleoclimate submitted to a social science journal) where the reviewers are likely to be chosen from a pool of individuals lacking the expertise to properly review the paper, (ii) too few or too unqualified a set of reviewers are chosen by the editor, (iii) the reviewers or editor (or both) have agendas, and overlook flaws that invalidate the paper’s conclusions, and (iv) the journal may process and publish so many papers that individual manuscripts occasionally do not get the editorial attention they deserve. [Emphasis added]

    Today we understand better just how closely certain authors, editors and reviwers (the same folks wearing different hats) are willing to co-operate with think tanks and astroturf groups linked to fossil fuel interests and others opposed to regulation of greenhouse gases.

    So I hope no one will object to my reposting this case study involving Friends of Science, Talisman Energy and the de Freitas brothers (as it’s also buried deep in the previous CRU thread).

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/02/in-the-beginning-friends-of-science-talisman-energy-and-the-de-freitas-brothers/

    Comment by Deep Climate — 2 Dec 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  72. Gavin, I hope you win a prize for your excellent website. I don’t know of any other website where someone can learn in a more efficient and stimulating way about climate. The email exchanges are most informative and the personal attacks are few. Nice Job.

    Comment by RaymondT — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  73. The WSJ is about to come out with yet another lying editorial saying that climate scientists have a vested interest in “alarmist” research results because that’s how they get more funds (this after 8 years with an anti-AGW administration; yeah WSJ that really makes common sense…not!). Gee, where have we heard that completely unsubstantiated and blatantly anti-science crap before? It’s the old “If a lie is repeated over and over again it must be true!”, a foundation of the cowardly denialists.

    Comment by Dan — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:01 PM

  74. I agree with M. Yoxon (67) that the recent events can have a seriously damaging effect if there is an attempt to cover things up. What is needed now is an independent inquiry and total transparency.

    Comment by manacker — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  75. Okay, here’s my latest question. Derek Lowe at Pipeline, he’s a working scientist too, takes the CRU to task for deleting their version of the original data (even though its still stored elsewhere) because this means there’s no way to see what’s been done to the corrected data:

    What we have left, as far as I can see, is a large data set of partially unknown origin, which has been adjusted by various people over the years in undocumented ways. If this is not the case, I would very much like the CRU to explain why not, and in great detail. And I do not wish to hear from people who wish to pretend that everything’s just fine.

    As a layman, am I right in reading this and going “huh?” If the original data exists with other organizations, if the research papers talk about the adjustments to data that were made (as with the tree-ring proxy papers), then isn’t this a empty criticism? I don’t want to start a fight between two blogs; I just thought I’d come back to the climate scientists and ask if you want to know how another group of AGW scientists proxied their data, what’s the procedure?

    Comment by Jody — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  76. John Cooknell,

    You show evidence of foolishness in the British Met Office 11/24 statement. Then you make the conclusion: “they are not fools”. Perhaps this was a typo? Please explain.

    Comment by Arthur Krolman — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  77. #41 Bobby:

    Because science cannot *prove* anything, typically the language used in the IPCC and other scientific writings will sound as if scientists are not convinced or the uncertainties are larger than the reality. I have always maintained that it is this type of language that gets scientists into trouble. Skeptics have jumped on this language issue. ExxonMobil and its front groups (CEI, Heartland, GMI, etc.) are quite skilled at highlighting the very small uncertainties while hiding or minimizing the certainties. This has been a well-documented and highly successful strategy for them.

    Many claim that the IPCC and climate scientists are “alarmist” but, they are, in fact much too conservative. Data since the IPCC reports bears this out. See the Copenhagen reports.

    Conspiracies are more fun than reality but are rarely true.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  78. RandyL:
    “I stongly suggest that RealClimate end all blogging and content creation for a period of time and let frenzied battles be fought elsewhere; all the while the experts on here can take a rest and get back to doing what they do best.”

    That would be a mistake. The proper response to increasing noise is to strengthen the signal, not to stand down and hope it goes away.

    If the investigation shows that the CRU scientists are clean, it might be possible to sue some of the “climategate proves that AGW is fraud” people for libel.

    Comment by Molnar — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  79. cc81 (#8), BJ Chippindale (#53), Corey Simmons (#62),

    IMHO, what Eschenbach thinks he sees in an e-mail exchange between Karlén, Trenberth and Jones is not worth anybody’s time. The moderators here certainly have better things to do.

    If Karlen, a seasoned “skeptic”, has found something wrong with the IPCC data, no doubt he’ll tell the world (if he hasn’t already?). That might or might not be worth discussing here.

    If Karlén thinks there’s anything inappropriate in those mails, no doubt he will bring that too to people’s attention. Unlike Eschenbach, who has to rely on reading other gentlemen’s stolen mail and second-guessing them, Karlén has after all had those emails in his mailbox for over a year. But it doesn’t look from the blog post as if Eschenbach actually bothered to get his take on it.

    As a professor emeritus of physical geography, Karlén presumably does not need need a dilettante like Eschenbach either to tell him what his mail means or communicate his findings to the world.

    And if Eschenbach has a valid point of his own to make about climate stations, he should write it up in a way that would make it worth someone’s notice. (Hint: not between the lines of other people’s correspondence.)

    Comment by CM — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  80. Steve McIntyre, who you have mentioned on these threads, takes serious issue with your explanation of the “hide the decline” statement. The usefulness of tree-ring data and/or reality of AGW are not the issues here. McIntyre is leveling charges of impropriety and fraud, and quite frankly, his explanation makes a lot more sense than the one posted on this website.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/12/the_decline_they_hid_the_delet.html

    [Response: This is simply false. The 'decline' was discussed first in Briffa et al 1998 and the full dataset is available here including data up to 1994. Claims that this was hidden or unavailable are simply untrue. McIntyre is doing a bait and switch with another later update by the same author. - gavin]

    If there is some “engineering explanation” for hybridizing the dataset for that plot, then the rebuttal to the solar-correlation in the paper by Laut (2003) on the previous thread (Something is X in the state of Denmark) must also then be nonsense, since it is the basis of his criticism. Either the CRU AND those Danish researchers were deceitful, or neither. Which is it?

    I studied those solar-correlation papers, Laut’s rebuttal and his letter carefully. In the area of thermal radiation, I have a decent knowledge base (doctorate in thermal/fluids), and see nothing to justify the hyerbolic and personal criticism in his letter. In fact, despite his best attempts, a correlation does seem to exist, and why wouldn’t there? But I digress, the point of this post is to help me determine which of the climate researchers is trying to pull wool over my eyes…

    Comment by AJ — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:34 PM

  81. Dear Thomas Lee Elifritz,
    Thank you for supporting my point by being condescending to results you do not like. A linear regression through a limited set of data points cherry picked to give the results I wanted, is not laughable, it is sad. But it is precisely what it presented in figure 9 of the Copenhagen report. You might read http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008AGUFM.C31A0485B before sounding off. I know it is not was rigorous as wikipedia, but it is a good read.

    Comment by Neil Pelkey — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  82. Gavin,
    Any comments on this paper in the physics literature claiming that conventional greenhouse gas theory violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0707/0707.1161v4.pdf

    [Response: Nonsense start to finish. - gavin]

    Comment by Mark Sawusch — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:56 PM

  83. Neil Pelkey complains of Fig. 9 of the Copenhagen Report:

    “Figure 9. The total melt area of the Greenland ice sheet increased by 30% between 1979 and 2008 based on passive microwave satellite data, with the most extreme melt in 2007. In general 33-55% of the total mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet is caused by surface melt and runoff. For 2007, the area experiencing melt was around 50% of the total ice sheet area. The low melt year in 1992 was caused by the volcanic aerosols from Mt. Pinatubo causing a short-lived global cooling (updated from Steffen et al. 2008).”

    The cite is to:

    Steffen, K. et al., (2008) Rapid changes in glaciers and ice sheets and their impacts on sea level. In Abrupt Climate Change: A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research 60-142 (U.S. Geological Survey).

    That publication cites quite a few papers by Steffen; it may be this one:

    Nghiem, S.V., K. Steffen, G. Neumann, and R. Huff, 2005: Mapping of ice layer extent and snow accumulation in the percolation zone of the Greenland ice sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, F02017, doi:10.1029/2004JF000234.

    (Or not; anyone know for sure?)

    Neil P, what’s your problem with that figure? You make a strong claim of something wrong there. Can you support your claim it’s cherry-picking? What data set are you aware of from which they could have picked cherries?

    You wouldn’t make a claim like that up, would you?
    Show us your source please.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:09 PM

  84. Gavin 1: You stated “My information is that it was a hack into their backup mailserver.” Can you reveal the source of your information? Have you been interviewed yet in the investigation? Have you revealed the source’s name to the police investigators or are you witholding evidence that would help solve this heinous crime that has the “alarmists” up in arms?

    [edit]

    [Response: The police are indeed involved, and that would imply they have prima facie suspicion of some criminal act. I'm not going to comment further on this. - gavin]

    Comment by lgp — 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:10 PM

  85. #70

    “Year-on-year the evidence is growing that damaging climate and weather events — potentially intensified by global warming — are already happening and beginning to affect society and ecosystems. This includes:
    In the UK, heavier daily rainfall leading to local flooding such as in the summer of 2007.”
    Anybody reading this passage is left with the strong impression that the floods of 2007 were caused by Climate Change.

    Obviously you can’t take any specific instance of extreme weather and link it directly to climate change but I think what the author was suggesting was that the flooding in 2007 is an example of the kind of events which are expected to be more common from now on due to climate change.

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:25 PM

  86. Steve wrote:
    “Your argument regarding the reason for the freedom of information requests is disingenuous. This is because the next logical step for those requesting data, after learning they were proprietary, was to ask for it directly from the separate agencies that own it, not the CRU”.

    I disagree. CRU’s stated reason for not releasing its data was that they were restricted by outstanding agreements with suppliers. The logical thing to do is to ask for evidence of these restrictions. CRU was unable to supply evidence for their FOI denial, which points once again to their flouting of the FOI.

    [Response: Not true, and not supported by the overseeing FOI officer, and not consistent with the many public declarations of the various met services that state quite clearly under what circumstances they grant access to restricted data. - gavin]

    Comment by harry — 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:44 PM

  87. Has anyone looked into the possible effects of nuclear testing on tree ring formation? The Yamal region is due east of a major Soviet testing site that was quite active in the early 60s.

    Comment by Rod — 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:51 PM

  88. Joe #55

    “You’re also missing the point, Adam. The raw data is NOT available, nor is it gridded. What’s available are sets of data which have already been homogenized. The RAW data consists of measurements from a few tens of thousand separate recording stations all over the globe, going back over a couple of centuries.”

    Most of the raw data is available from GHCN (there is adjusted data available from there, too). For a link see the data sources page on this site. That covers over 90% of the data as used n CRUTEM3.

    “To give a (very) rough idea, say there are 20000 stations involved…”

    Actually, for the CRUTEM3 dataset it’s 4138 (with about 200 more in an earlier version). The data go back to 1850, but not for all stations.

    Comment by Adam — 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:52 PM

  89. Neil, why post an abstract to a conference report when you can post an actual paper :

    Surface melt area variability of the Greenland Ice Sheet: 1979-2008.

    Now would you please explain from this paper how you infer : “This is likely to lead to a massive expansion in the greenland ice sheet triggering a new ice age”, from a paper that discusses regional and temporal variably of Greenland ice as possibly related to natural oceanic current variations?

    You are literally grasping at straws. I doubt you fool anyone here.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 2 Dec 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  90. re#85/#70……….Isolated extreme weather events like this have occurred somewhere in the country in most years .Its in the historical record. There is no evidence of increased frequency but only in increased media reporting.

    Comment by Bill — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:08 PM

  91. jonc says:
    2 December 2009 at 1:13 PM
    One logical gap in the 6 steps that I did not see discussed in the comments is how much of the radiation that CO2 could absorb is already being absorbed. For example, this graph shows the transmission at different wavelengths across the sprectrum.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/RemoteSensing/remote_04.php

    It should various dips and labels them with the molecule that causes each dip. What would be needed to complete the argument is to show the frequencies that CO2 absorbs where the absorbtion is not already complete. In other words, a for example 2% rise in CO2 would only cause a 1% increase in absorption if 50% of the frequencies absorbed by CO2 are already blocked at 100%.

    The spectrum you showed is at too low a resolution to be any use, the segment below is more useful. Note that the upper graph is for CO2 and the much more sparse spectrum below is for H2O ( both from the side of the main absorption band of CO2). Not much overlap:

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/CO2H2O.gif

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:11 PM

  92. Why should we trust anything we laypersons read on RealClimate now that we know that way that Mann has characterized your and his attempts to ‘actively shape’ opinion in the way you deal with comments, etc.? Are you changing the policies you have in place with regards to the way you use RC? Otherwise, it seems like it has become less of a science blog and more of a political advocacy blog. ‘Filtered science’ or something like that.

    [Response: RC is a moderated forum to try and increase the signal to noise ratio in the comments and allow space for scientists involved to interact directly with the public who have genuine questions. Without moderation you end up with a series of increasingly angry, repetitive shouting matches that do not allow any space for real discussion. If you want a free-for-all, there are plenty of places on the web for that. If you want somewhere where the scientists involved can be consulted and answers and context provided, then I think we do ok. We make no secret of the fact that we have a pretty mainstream view of the science and we don't have much patience for the crank stuff that gets brought up all the time elsewhere. That is 'filtering' of a sort, but it is not political filtering, and we don't advocate for specific policies here at all. We think we provide somewhere unique, but no one is forced to read us, so if you don't like our style, go elsewhere. -gavin]

    Comment by Larry Johnson — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:13 PM

  93. If you look at the GISTEMP data, the number and location of thermometers varies wildly throughout the past 100 yrs. The magnitude of the homogeneity corrections is similar to the magnitude of the warming. How are we to have any confidence in this process, especially if you restrict the data to thermometers that have been around for 100 yrs continuously **no warming is evident**? IE the warming is a byproduct of the thermometer sampling (replacement of colder thermometers by warmer) and correction process (unusual UHI corrections). This is highly unsettling, especially in the light of recent events. Any thoughts?

    Comment by Mesa — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:17 PM

  94. Climategate now outranks Global Warming by a factor of two on Google.

    Comment by NikFromNYC — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:18 PM

  95. So that’s it, is it? The Grand Conspiracy turns out to be email “boo yahs!” of the sort exchanged by ball players before a game? “We’ll smash ‘em flat!”, which if literally true would be bad form but in fact is overenthusiastic expression of the sort nearly all of us engage in on practically a daily basis.

    Meanwhile, other than the datasets and discussion involved in the Grand Conspiracy we have mountains of other data and findings, all pointed in the same general direction. Presumably the Grand Conspiracy is divided into Marxist-style cells, so that when one basement is raided by McIntyre and crew, the work of destroying the global economy and getting free rooms and rubber chicken at conferences can continue unabated, by folks sneaking around changing tide gauges while yet another group flies into space and subtly tweaks the GRACE instrumentation while yet another bunch is busily creating fake 2,000 year old trees while yet -another- group goes up and engages in hiding behind instrumentation shacks and doing calisthenics while flasks are being opened on Mauna Loa.

    All of the data and observations are under the control of the Grand Conspiracy, we just don’t know who is pulling the strings. Probably the rulers of Atlantis, is my guess.

    Something like that?

    I didn’t even bother reading about the East Anglia fiasco until a couple of days ago, because I was fairly certain it would turn out to be the usual suspects getting into a psychotic lather about something insignificant, as usual.

    Sure enough.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:23 PM

  96. Re 82 and Gavin’s response:

    Gavin, please be careful – to rubbish a published paper by providing that wiki page is heading onto thin ice (which has nothing to do with CO2 in this case ;) )

    The rebuttals on the wiki page consist of one reply which appears only available from a blog site (Jörg Zimmerman on rabett.blogspot.com ) and one (Arthur Smith) which is only available from Cornell University Library and has, itself, been rebutted by Kramm, Dlugi and Zelger ( http://arxiv.org/abs/0904.2767 ) in the same library.

    Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to retrieve the arxiv.org papers at the moment and I’m also 3/4 of the way through a fairly nice Chianti (sans liver or fava beans so I don’t want to comment on the papers themselves until I’ve (a) read them and (b) remembered how to type reliabubly.

    I’ve made no bones in my posts about being sceptical regarding climate change orthodoxy, although I’m loathe to call fraud / conspiracy / whatever and I object (almost strongly enough to protest) at being lumped with labels such as “denier”, “denialist” (wtf sort of americanizationalism word is that????) or even “sceptic” – unless the last is awarded as the badge of scientific honour that its lexiconic roots imply. I certainly respect how even-handed you’ve been by not simply refusing (hopefully) reasoned dissenting opinion.

    So I’d hate to see an interesting and commendably open discussion here potentially hijacked by cries of foul-play based on perceived dual standards.

    [Response: It is not a question of dual standards, but of standards. There is a difference bewteen a good paper and a bad one based on how careful the arguments are, how compelling the evidence and the appropriateness of the conclusions. G&T fail on all counts. Pretending that science is a democracy and that all opinions need to be weighted equally is just a recipe for letting the flat earrhers and the tinfoil hat brigade control the scientific agenda. G&T's paper is rubbish, and Arthur Smith's rebuttal tells you why. It isn't a matter of opinion. -gavin]

    Comment by Joe — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  97. Gavin,

    I believe the jury is still out on whether it was an outside hacker or and inside whistleblower who released the CRU emails (some recent blog releases seem to lean in the direction of an insider).

    The U.S. Whistleblower Protection Act is enforced by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. There are also a number of individual state laws.

    In the U.K. Whistleblowers are protected for public interest, to encourage people to speak out if they find malpractice in an organization or workplace. Malpractice could be improper, illegal or negligent behavior by anyone in the workplace.

    An outside hacker might have a harder time trying to get protection under these laws than an insider.

    It will be interesting to see what the inquiries reveal.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  98. So far only the email exchanges between Karlen, Trenberth and Jones have in any way shaken my opinions. cc81 in #8 asked for some comments on this exchange, and was supported by #53. Some kind of reply was attempted in #79, but not really on the issue of these exchanges.

    I recently heard Wibjörn Karlen state that little warming has occured after around 1940, which I then thought was just nonsense, but after seeing the evidence he puts forward in these emails I cannot help starting to wonder.

    This point requires some attention.

    Comment by Mats Almgren — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:36 PM

  99. Gavin, I have noticed a distributing pattern in the discussion of Mike’s nature trick in articles like the one in Nature. On the one hand you have people explaining the trick is fine and good thing to do like in the Nature article. However, they never explain why the trick was done. On the other hand you have Steven McIntyre explaining that the trick was done to hide a lack of correlation in the later part of a temperature reconstruction. His argument is clear and provides a lot of details. In light of the information from CA I am unable to see why the trick was a good thing. Could you go into this in more detail? Could you also explain why the Briffa reconstruction does not appear to employ the trick, even though Mike say’s he used the trick because of advice from Briffa?

    [Response: The reason why any of this was done is simply presentational. It doesn't have anything to do with the reconstructions themselves (annual estimates of the historical climate anomalies). But when you want to show the longer term changes, people smooth records to 'hide' the interannual variaibility which can obscure the long term trends. When you smooth you need to take information from a number of years on either side, but obviously there is a problem near the ends. This problem is worse if you have two time series that overlap, but are in some sense commensurate. This is the problem that various 'tricks' have been developed to deal with. However, there is no right answer - each solution; not doing anything, zero padding, minimum roughness, using the instrumental data etc - makes assumptions. My opinion is that any of these are fine as long the assumptions/methods are made clear and the impact of that assption in any particular context can be examined. -gavin]

    Comment by Jonathan Fischoff — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:38 PM

  100. I think it’s a good thing Phil Jones stepped down as director. (He’s still working there, right? So it’s not even like they fired him.) I don’t think Climategate is the final “nail in the coffin” or whatever breathless pundits called it, but it did reveal serious improprieties on the part of Jones et al. Climate Science is science only in a weird sense of the word – it’s really just a blend of statistics and modeling, closer to what economics people do than a scientist (who has to worry about testing/experimentation, reproducibility, controlling variables and so forth). If we had many copies of earth to experiment with, then climate science would be a real science.

    Therefore, it’s critically important that doing bad things like what Dr. Jones did do not happen in a field that is almost entirely government by the data – willfully and knowingly hide the data from people that might find problems with it.

    Gavin, one of Jones’ emails about hiding from FOIA requests was directed to you (http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=914&filename=1219239172.txt), but I didn’t see a response in the hacked emails archive. How did you respond to this email? Did you push for transparency, or did you go along with Jones’ desire for secrecy?

    [Response: This email was one that was part of the discussion on a paper that I co-authored with Jones (and it's a pretty good paper). The appendix in that paper discusses the source of the IPCC (1990) schematic on climate of the last 1000 years or so, and I had suggested putting in a point about how the reviewing and sourcing in the more recent IPCC reports was much better than it was in 1990. Other people didn't agree, so we didn't put it in (it's still true though). His updating me on the ongoing FOI stuff was incidental. I don't see that it called for any response, and I don't think I responded. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill K — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  101. Regarding the validity of the HadCRUT dataset following this CRU fiasco. Pielke Snr is now trying to claim that it is a myth that the GISS, CRU, NCDC and Japanese global SAT datasets are independent. This sounds like typical obfuscating from Pielke.

    Is my argument below (made on a CBC thread) close to being right?

    Of course most of the raw data are the same. Why on earth would they all use completely different station data, they do not have the luxury of cherry picking the stations they want (nor should they)? In fact, they all need to use as much data as possible to maximize coverage of the globe. There are only a finite number of weather stations around the globe. Where the methods are independent is how they process the data. How they account for the urban heat island effect, how they account for changes in station location, instrumentation and observations times? They all also have different QC criteria and procedures. So even if they had exactly the same data, they could arrive at very different very answers depending on how they processed the data and what assumption are made. The fact that they do not speaks to the robustness and validity of the global SAT record.

    Is someone in the know could speak to this I’d be very grateful. Thanks.

    The long term (~30 yr) trends in annual RATPAC, UAH, RSS and NCDC temperatures are all between 0.15 C and 0.17 per decade (up until 2008, sourced NCDC annual report for 2008). Those in denial about AGW really need to give their heads a shake.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:47 PM

  102. Steve McIntyre, who you have mentioned on these threads, takes serious issue with your explanation of the “hide the decline” statement.

    Imagine our surprise.

    The usefulness of tree-ring data and/or reality of AGW are not the issues here. McIntyre is leveling charges of impropriety and fraud

    Mmmm hmmm. That’s what Steve McIntyre does for a living: impersonating a scientist and casting aspersions.

    and quite frankly, his explanation makes a lot more sense than the one posted on this website.

    Sense is in the mind of the beholder. If you trust things that either McIntyre or the Discovery Inst. say, then you don’t know much about either one.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  103. It is really appalling to see the denialists just plain MAKING UP STUFF about what was in the stolen emails.

    Not only do they not care about the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming — they don’t care about any sort of reality about anything.

    All they seem to care about is that “their team wins” — and if they think that just plain making up outrageous, slanderous lies and posting them on every blog they can find will help the Ditto-Head team “win” then that’s what they will do.

    It is really very depressing.

    As far as I can tell, the major legitimate scientific question about anthropogenic global warming is whether or not it is already too late for even a rapid phaseout (far more rapid than anything actually contemplated by the major governmental and corporate powers of the world) of all GHG emissions to prevent a global catastrophe, given the effects that we are already seeing from the emissions that have already occurred (not to mention the continued additional warming that will result from those emissions).

    I tend to think that it already is too late, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, or that rapid action might not prevent a nightmarishly hideous outcome from being something far worse. But to have any hope of doing that, we need the best intelligence and ability and determination of which human beings and human societies are capable brought to bear on the problem.

    Instead, we have stupidity, ignorance, dishonesty — and above all, rapacious, conscienceless GREED — being brought to bear.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Dec 2009 @ 6:02 PM

  104. Rod, yes; easy to search, a first try example:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=nuclear+atomic+fallout+%22tree+ring%22&lr=lang_en&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=&as_vis=1

    Here’s one: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0265-931X(93)90025-3

    This one is also interesting:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2009.01.009

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Dec 2009 @ 6:05 PM

  105. Looking at Mann’s revised paper without the tree ring data previously linked to by Gavin, does this not imply that natural variation can now account for over 1C change in global temperatures? And we’re only really looking at a single historical cycle too so there is not really too much to suggest the natural swings cant be larger? Timeframes look similar at about the 1400AD mark.

    Comment by TimTheToolMan — 2 Dec 2009 @ 6:27 PM

  106. timmy: Isn’t Tree ring data somewhat important to AGW theory?

    BPL: No. What gave you that idea?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Dec 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  107. well, i think a major PR offensive is long overdue. the longer this “scandal” is allowed to be spun by the wingnuts on conservative talk radio and fox news, the harder it will be to repair the damage. you scientists should be on the new networks, stating your case and addressing some of the more “incriminating” emails that lead some to believe that you tried to cover up the evidence..COME ON! you’re losing the PR battle.

    Comment by patrick cobb — 2 Dec 2009 @ 6:38 PM

  108. Pat: The science isn’t settled, it’s not concrete, neither side is right and more research is required.

    BPL: And you know this how? “Neither side is right?” But you, I assume, know what is right? Please describe it for us.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Dec 2009 @ 6:40 PM

  109. Timmy:

    It’s over a THIRD of all reliable observed temperature records. It seems pretty clear that Tree Ring data is virtually worthless

    Did you miss the point that this was just one set of trees, not all the tree ring data, or even a substantial minority of it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Dec 2009 @ 6:43 PM

  110. “Response: That’s actually the easiest thing to demonstrate (we should have a link there though). How do we know recent CO2 increases are due to human activities. – gavin”

    Well. Not so easy. The changes in 13C/12C ratios indicate that the co2 is from biogenic sources. These include sources other than anthropogenic sources. There is no way to differentiate between natural biogenic and anthropgenic (from fossil fuels) co2 on the basis of stable carbon isotope ratios alone.

    14C is problematic as it’s concentration in co2 can change due to changes in cosmic radiation which is the source of all 14C from non-nuclear sources.

    [Response: But then you'd see equally large changes in other cosmogenic isotopes like 10Be or 36Cl and you don't. Yet mysteriously the mass balance, the decrease in oxygen, the increase in ocean carbon etc all match up with the anthropogenic cause. Note that continuing to argue about this point is the hallmark of someone who will never be convinced about anything, and therefore is not worth discussing with. Please do not go down that route. -gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 2 Dec 2009 @ 7:01 PM

  111. Again, thanks to Gavin for doing this. He’s made enough extra effort that what might have been just a loss of his valuable time will probably end up being referred back to again and again, saving other scientists and their defenders countless hours of repetition.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 2 Dec 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  112. Popular Mechanics did have an interesting take on this, but one quote raises some eyebrows:

    “I saw a statement from the moderators that “science doesn’t work because people are polite at all times. Gravity isn’t a useful theory because Newton was a nice person.” Such statements—while true—could lead readers to conclude that the apparent misconduct revealed in the stolen e-mails is normal, and within the bounds of ordinary scientific discussion. I believe that would be a mistake.”

    I’m not sure what ordinary scientific discussions consist of – where does an organic chemistry professor who tells his grad student to wait six months to graduate so that he can file for a patent on her research fit in?

    Scientific misconduct is a serious charge, usually involving outright fabrication of data. Tossing such phrases around lightly is unwise – but if you overhear a professor instructing a grad student to falsify data, and if the grad student almost suffers a nervous breakdown as a result, and also refuses to falsify the data as instructed – well, that would infuriate any normal bystander, I think.

    Climate science has largely avoided such problems because it is based on things like meteorological and oceanographic data, and there is a century-long effort to optimize that data collection in order to provide everyone from the military to sharecropper farmers with accurate forecasts.

    There has never been any real financial reward for biasing that data in any particular direction – until the fossil fuel interests realized that climate science might end up drastically reducing fossil fuel demand, and eventually put them out of business entirely – and that’s when the distortion of the science and the smear tactics appeared, much to the shock and dismay of “collegial team player” climate scientists anywhere.

    Since these attacks began, they have always been broadcast and supported by various media outlets – but the stories today all seem to focus on a few talking points – and alternative opinions are not sought. It’s almost like one story was written, and then passed around to a bunch of reporters who parroted it without doing any background investigation to speak of.

    Why? The most probable answer is that conflicts of interest are dominating the media coverage, largely due to diversified shareholder interests, such as owning a sizable chunk of both the New York Times and the fossil-fueled Calpine power corporation, i.e. Harbinger Capital, ahem. They want to build a massive new fossil fueled power plant in Hayward, California – and that project would be shut down by binding emissions limits, along with a lot of other fossil fuel projects.

    Regardless, the most honest (and humorously serious) take on this issue I’ve seen yet comes from the Director of Molecular Biophysics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

    http://clubmod.blogspot.com/2009/11/hacked-climate-change-e-mails.html

    Summation: “Only by fact-based reinforcement do ideas gradually receive a solid consensus.”

    Comment by Ike Solem — 2 Dec 2009 @ 7:13 PM

  113. Maybe I’m ideological, being from a different branch of science, but am I the only one that is stunned that “Freedom of Information” has been evoked and semantically debated in a scientific discussion? A law from a nation is or was being used to attempt to put science on display? Is this common in other disciplines? And that, what I’m lead to believe is, a critical data set, consists of supposedly “proprietary” data? I’m dumbfounded by this, does this original data have some sort of financial value that could be fixed with a one time payment or something? If there were historical agreements, could new ones be made?

    Comment by Spencer — 2 Dec 2009 @ 7:27 PM

  114. With the release of full scientific data to back up the pro-warming results, what else would need to be explained if the data were released with full study results and conclusions also. If data was lost and destroyed then no scientific conclusion can ever be made. There can be no scientific conclusion. If other labs CRU has worked with have privacy contracts, then if their info cannot be released to back up a scientific study, without study data, there can be no scientific results if it cannot be backed up how the conclusion was arrived at. That is learned in the first schools days of science class. No scientist can dispute this fact.

    Comment by george hanson — 2 Dec 2009 @ 7:39 PM

  115. Gavin wrote in response to the CRU FOI refusals:
    “Not true, and not supported by the overseeing FOI officer, and not consistent with the many public declarations of the various met services that state quite clearly under what circumstances they grant access to restricted data”

    According to wikipedia, “It was not free to share that data without the permission of its owners because of confidentiality agreements, including with institutions in Spain, Germany, Bahrain and Norway, that restricted the data to academic use. In some cases the agreements were made verbally, and some of the written agreements had been lost during a move.”

    It should be noted that the requests were initially made by a published academic, which tends to contradict the “only for academic use” restriction, and that the excerpts of agreements published by CRU were not supportive of any harsh restraints. I’d use the CRU website as a source, but it seems to have deleted all the associated pages …

    So unless Gavin can supply any significant substantiation of his claims, they don’t seem to bear up to the facts as presented by CRU itself. Of course if Gavin is privy to all the verbal agreements, or has found all the lost ones, then he has a tremendous opportunity to help out those hopelessly overworked researchers at CRU who seem to lose things a lot.

    By the way, a link to the “many public declarations of various met stations” regarding this data would be handy, I’m sure you have it at hand since you’ve claimed their existence so stridently.

    [By the way, it is normal practice to indicate when you edit a post - please make the effort]

    [Response: Apologies, doing this on an iPhone and it is not as easy as usual... There is a link to the uk met office policy further up the thread somewhere. -gavin]

    Comment by harry — 2 Dec 2009 @ 7:47 PM

  116. Gavin, et al:

    I just read the editorial at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7273/full/462545a.html
    Please do not fall victims to the harassment of those lunatic denialists.
    I wish there was a way to mark down irrelevant comments, so that the signal to noise ratio improves.

    Denialists appear to be centrally organised and directed, and can be seen at full work in the comments at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=seven-answers-to-climate-contrarian-nonsense

    Comment by Firkas — 2 Dec 2009 @ 8:06 PM

  117. #82 Mark Sawusch asks,

    “Any comments on this paper in the physics literature claiming that conventional greenhouse gas theory violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics?”

    Please read Arthur Smith’s (Ph.D. – Physics) “smackdown” on this false notion.

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0802/0802.4324v1.pdf

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 2 Dec 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  118. This is the one that disturbs me. It seems an intentional deception in the program code. Can anyone explain why they did this?

    ;
    ; PLOTS ‘ALL’ REGION MXD timeseries from age banded and from hugershoff
    ; standardised datasets.
    ; Reads Harry’s regional timeseries and outputs the 1600-1992 portion
    ; with missing values set appropriately. Uses mxd, and just the
    ; “all band” timeseries
    ;****** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********

    [edit for space]

    [Response: This was discussed earlier. It was an artificial correction to check some calibration statistics to see whether they would vary if the divergence was an artifact of some extra anthropogenic impact. It has never been used in a published paper (though something similar was explained in detail in this draft paper by Osborn). It has nothing to do with any reconstruction used in the IPCC reports. - gavin]

    Comment by Norman — 2 Dec 2009 @ 8:41 PM

  119. Once the denialists are done with character assassination, there is still one additional matter they have to deal with. Now what was it. Oh yeah… the evidence. There’s still mountains of it, and still no one has shown even the slightest indication that any of it is tainted.

    This issue will not go away, no matter how many accusations you make, no matter how much mud you throw and no matter how many better men than you you trash. Science is about evidence. It doesn’t go away just because you want it to.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Dec 2009 @ 8:48 PM

  120. I have to LOL about all this hubbub and who is getting rich off global warm and who isn’t. It won’t matter much in a few million years one-way or the other. The earth and the universe will ensure one way or the other that the human species is extinct by then. Also the earth has been covered with ice and tropically warm from pole to pole before humans even existed. So the last 14000 years have been good for the human special but maybe it’s time to stand aside and let the next one come up as we fade away. Remember no one get out alive from life anyways.

    Comment by Steve — 2 Dec 2009 @ 9:05 PM

  121. Oh dear. I just started to pay attention to all this tree ring stuff. And I’m no expert. But I’ve been saying for some time the trees have gone into irreversible decline thanks to atmospheric pollution from fossil and biofuel emissions.

    Check out the pictures on my blog here and elsewhere: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2009/11/shifting-baselines-redux.html. The trees on the East Coast dropped leaves over a month early this autumn. The conifers are rapidly losing needles and becoming bare.

    Just like a starving person gets thinner, the biomass of tree trunks shrink because they can’t photosynthesize and produce chlorophyll. Their stomata are damaged by invisible toxins in the air, like ozone, and nitrous oxide. The cumulative foliar damage is lethal to vegetation.

    Before you know it – and vast numbers of states are declaring agricultural states of emergency with the FDA because of widespread crop failure – these poisonous gases in the atmosphere are going to kill us – people – too!

    Comment by Gail — 2 Dec 2009 @ 9:12 PM

  122. John Cooknell — 2 December 2009 @ 2:48 PM, quoting Terry Marsh
    “The river floods of summer 2007 were a very singular episode,….. ”

    “Floods 2008
    In August and September 2008 there were major floods in parts of the UK when exceptionally large amounts of rain fell in very short periods. We have looked back at what happened, meteorologically, and also at our own forecasts and warnings during both periods.”
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/verification/case_studies_08.html

    “Floods, snow and gales batter Britain
    • One month’s rainfall in 24 hours
    • Storm prompts 100 flood warnings”
    “The storm, which comes a week after the heaviest snowfall for 18 years wreaked havoc on the UK’s transport network, also brought strong winds, with gusts of up to 60mph in coastal areas.”
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 10 February 2009 11.48 GMT

    “Northern England and Wales mop up after flash floods
    A sudden torrential downpour of rain and hail hit the city in the afternoon, bringing back unwelcome memories of the great flood of two years ago, when two people died and the clean-up bill cost millions of pounds.”
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 June 2009 14.28 BST

    “Hundreds rescued from U.K. flooding
    Raging floods engulfed northern England’s picturesque Lake District on Friday following the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in Britain, forcing hundreds to evacuate.”
    Last Updated: Friday, November 20, 2009 | 10:12 PM ET
    CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/11/20/uk-flood-cumbria.html

    If I may be permitted to paraphrase the late Everett Dirksen – a singular even here, and a singular event there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real trends.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 2 Dec 2009 @ 9:14 PM

  123. Oh dear. I just started to pay attention to all this tree ring stuff. And I’m no expert. But I’ve been saying for some time the trees have gone into irreversible decline thanks to atmospheric pollution from fossil and biofuel emissions.

    check out the pictures here http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2009/11/shifting-baselines-redux.html . The trees on the East Coast dropped leaves over a month early this autumn. The conifers are rapidly losing needles and becoming bare.

    Just like a starving person gets thinner, the biomass of tree trunks shrink because they can’t photosynthesize and produce chlorophyll. Their stomata are damaged by invisible toxins in the air, like ozone, and nitrous oxide. The cumulative foliar damage is lethal to vegetation.

    Before you know it – and vast numbers of states are declaring agricultural states of emergency with the FDA because of widespread crop failure – these poisonous gases in the atmosphere are going to kill us – people – too!

    Comment by Gail — 2 Dec 2009 @ 9:24 PM

  124. Adam says, on 2 Dec 2009 at 4:52 PM:

    “Most of the raw data is available from GHCN (there is adjusted data available from there, too).

    Quite correct. And since this is STILL not being understood by so many people, I think the “data sources” page needs to be updated to include a pointer to this raw data. At present, only the monthly data is linked from that page.

    May I suggest that Global Historical Climatology Network – Daily (at NCDC) also be listed, or else the ftp site for daily data. Caution. The files here are very large.

    Comment by Duae Quartunciea — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:10 PM

  125. What angers me is how the scientific community does not understand how very serious these attacks are, despite how completely unfounded they are. There are millions of dollars being spent by conservative organizations and conservative media outlets. You guys are getting steamrolled by an enormous force that is just getting geared up. They are going to continue publishing more and more garbage in the months ahead. A few timid blog posts aren’t going to stop the onslaught. You need to fight back hard with everything you’ve got, or say goodbye to funding of this research. Don’t underestimate how far people like Rupert Murdoch will go to shut you down.

    Comment by Rob Z — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:12 PM

  126. The IR spectra taken from space (http://origins.jpl.nasa.gov/library/exnps/f4-3.gif) referenced in the “6 Easy Steps” is not available now.

    Comment by jimvj — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:13 PM

  127. Dear Hank Roberts,

    The changes in the senor reading from F11 to F13 are well documented.

    http://nsidc.org/pubs/special/5/index.html

    There has been appreciable increase in the melt since 1995

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL039798.shtml

    Professor Steffan’s weather stations overheat on a regular basis and the data are interpolated from other points. You could read the metadata if you like.

    As to cherry picking, Why present the lowest melt against the highest melt. Why not first year vs last year.

    As to the y axis reads 10^6 Km^2 melt area. This would mean that 30 million square kilometers melted in 2007. is should be kilometer melt days or something similar not 10E6 km2–see steffen 2008. I know it is a typo, and this is nitpicking. Peer review would likely have caught that.

    Finally the linear projection is silly. 1987-2006 gives a negative slope. So does 79 to 96. Was the ice sheet increasing rapidly over that time? Clearly not.

    None of this implies that I think or do not think the greenland ice sheet is shrinking or growing. My issue is presenting really messy data as clean, clear and incontrovertible, when it is messy spatially interpolated, temporally smoothed and colored for maximum impact. (Please don get me wrong, I like color and thing Tufte is a graphical Luddite.)

    Also do not think I have issue with the steffen research–they are clear about what they do and share their data.

    Comment by Neil Pelkey — 2 Dec 2009 @ 10:35 PM

  128. VITAL POLICY MAKER INFORMATION
    Copenhagen Temperature 1881-2007

    http://i46.tinypic.com/25zt4di.jpg

    Comment by NikFromNYC — 2 Dec 2009 @ 11:28 PM

  129. Gavin, thank you for your response to my comment #54. You said “Thus there will always be a height somewhere below that where the CO2 absorption starts to kick in.”

    I don’t follow the argument, because it is my understanding that the composition of the atmosphere is uniform because of turbulence up to 80km. So while the amount of H2O drops, the CO2 drops by the same amount. Above that layer is mostly H2, with presumably more H20 than CO2, although it is so thin it probably doesn’t matter. So I don’t follow your reasoning why CO2 masking would always be present.

    [Response: No. CO2 is well-mixed. Concentrations are ~380 ppmv near the surface and in the upper troposphere. H2O is not (since the saturation concentration is a strong function of temperature). So surface water vapour concentrations are up to 16,000 ppmv going down to 10 ppmv in the upper troposphere (and down to ~3ppmv in the lower stratosphere). So at the upper levels there is actually more CO2 than water! - gavin]

    It sounds like you are talking about an optical depth of the atmosphere at the frequencies in question. I did a quick google of that, and it leads to an article with the conclusion that because of convection the atmosphere is effectively transparent at the frequencies in question, in other words no greenhouse effect. That would explain all the dispute in the comments that I didn’t have time to follow about convection. So that would appear to be another gap in the 6 steps that needs to be clarified, which is the relative roles of radiation and convection.

    Comment by jonc — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 AM

  130. Could someone please link me to a comprehensive argument or review for “runaway” climate change? I concede global warming and man’s contribution to it, but am skeptical about the runaway variety, its probability, etc.

    Comment by Chris — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  131. “[Response: My information is that it was a hack into their backup mailserver. – gavin”

    funny, that “hacker knew just where to go, what files he needed with great specificity, all nice and organized too. It is clear this was no hacker, although that “narrative” benefits the CRU crowd in deflecting the issues raised in their emails.

    Comment by Sandy Kay — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:23 AM

  132. First, I like the links list to the various data sources. It’s very useful and the effort that went into it is appreciated.

    Second, the e-mail controversy: the thing in the e-mails that jumped out at me was one by Mike MacCracken. He seems to be saying that massive SO2/Sulfate pollution from India and China may be offsetting what would ordinarily be increased temperatures due to CO2. (Quote follows) First, do you think he’s right about that? Second, if that’s the case (that SO2 can have a major cooling affect), what impact did the death of the Soviet Union and the shutting down of the vast majority of it’s highly polluting heavy industry have in the late 80s and early 90s? Was it produce large amounts of SO2? Did that production decline in a major way? If yes, how do you go about distinguishing the impact of that change from the impact of the rise in CO2?

    [Response: It's a very good question. We don't have great estimates of Asian SO2 emissions - though we do have satellite measures of associated pollutants that don't match up with 'official' numbers. Increases in SO2 lead to sulphate formation which does offset warming from the CO2, but there are distinct fingerprints - regionally, altitudinally and spectrally, that allow you to distinguish the components. SO2 emissions in the US, Europe and Russia are all down over the last twenty years (due to the collapse of communism and to the Clean Air Acts), and the global numbers seem to indicate a slight decline globally - but the regional aspects of SO2 changes is probably having an effect. More work definitely needed on that. - gavin]

    In any case, if the sulfate hypothesis is right, then your prediction of warming might end up being wrong. I
    think we have been too readily explaining the slow changes over
    past decade as a result of variability–that explanation is wearing thin.
    I would just suggest, as a backup to your prediction, that you also do some checking on the sulfate issue, just so you might have a quantified explanation in case the prediction is wrong.
    Otherwise, the Skeptics will be all over us–the world is really cooling, the models are no good, etc.

    [Response: Not sure about this. I have thought about the difference that revised SO2 emissions would make, but the impact on very short timescales (ie. 10 years or so) is slight and probably not detectable - precisely because natural variability is relatively large. It remains to be seen what the actual effect is (we should have a better idea in a few months). - gavin]

    Comment by Ben F — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:50 AM

  133. Re: AJ #80

    It is oddly appropriate that an editorial on an Intelligent Design website (www.evolutionnews.org is run by the Discovery Institute, in case you missed it), in combination with Steve McIntyre’s vitriol, is more convincing to you than Gavin’s calm reasoning. Better luck next time.

    Comment by BH — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:54 AM

  134. From the Washington Post:

    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes.

    “I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Jones replies.

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:34 AM

  135. re: the Trenberth comment about not being able to account for the lack of warming at the moment: I’m seeing this everywhere – blogs & mainstream, with varying slants; none positive.

    I’ve read the assorted comments attempting to explain that Trenberth comment; unfortunately, speaking to deficiencies in measuring the energy budget/heat flux or zero/first order explanations, doesn’t particularly translate well for the questioning layperson. Any other dumb’d down explanations?

    Comment by Jeffrey — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:03 AM

  136. Hi Gavin,

    I’m a scientist (not a climate scientist) and I have been engaging with AGW skeptics on the Spectator blog in the UK – yes, you’re right I am a masochist!. The levels of ignorance, assertion and deflection are extraordinary and I think I may be wasting my time. However, the blog is run by a well known journalist who apparently broadly acccepts AGW but contends there is a lot of room for doubt. My argument with him is that AGW is almost certainly true and that his level of doubt (skepticisim) should reflect the consensus. Inevitably i’ve been dragged into a whirlpool of ‘skeptical’ bloggers who have a distict abiltiy not to listen to the science. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve presented them with your 6 easy steps to CO2. One response, found below, should amuse you but I would appreciate a rebuttal from a scientist in the field as there are technical aspects I cannot address. I suspect it won’t make a difference but one never knows and she is convinced ‘you all cheat’. Keep up the great science!

    [Response: Thanks. Your correspondent's points are all beside the point. Details below. - gavin]

    ================================
    Well, I put that all in. The CO2 = AGW is not so much in dispute per se, just the scale. I think CO2 is a bit player, far smaller than the natural variation. To support that, I go to the historical record. The data are in dispute, but the glaciers in greenland DO uncover trees, the viking graves are in permafrost, so there is definitely a case. For the little ice age, there are the frost fairs. They happened, they deserve to be accounted for. Scale and causes of natural variation: unknown. Number of natural influences: unknown. Claimed CO2 effect of those variations: nil, as far as I know. Sum of natural variation (from what norm?) currently: unknown. Therefore, CO2 contribution, currently : unknown.

    [Response: This is a logical fallacy. The existence of natural variation does not imply that human forcings are negligible. Furthermore, even if the attribution of 20th C change to CO2 and other human drivers was zero (which it isn't), the potential change of climate based on the much larger forcings projected for the future would still be a concern. - gavin]

    Reliability of computer models: Zilch. That’s an opinion, based on some knowledge of the field.

    [Response: Argument from personal incredulity, and not correct in any case. These models do have skill in many different measures - including in predictions ahead of time. - gavin]

    Signs that the CO2 = AGW effect is working, in actual observation: Well, not much. Predicted troposphere temp changes, not seen.

    [Response: See above, but this point is based on a confusion about what the fingerprint of GHG forcing is, and ignorance of what has actually emerged from the analysis. (See here). - gavin]

    Proof of CO2 sensitivity, nope.

    [Response: 'proof' only exists in mathematics. But evidence that climate sensitivity is non-negligible is plentiful. - gavin]

    Observations of radiation budget, currently not showing CO2 effect, but early days.

    [Response: Not true. See Harries et al (2001). - gavin]

    So, you can prove it by the sensitivity and the radiation budget, and by quantifying the natural variation. That’s what I want to see. Is it asking too much?

    [Response: No, but that exists - see IPCC AR4 Chapter 6 and 9. - gavin]

    For proof by fiddling the temperature record and comnputer models is not enough.

    [Response: This is just a smear. - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Ryan — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:43 AM

  137. I think the piece by Peter Keleman gives far too much ground away. Certainly science (or any other field of inquiry) thrives best when there is a high degree of open-mindedness and a critical attitude to new data. But to continually stress the role of uncertainties is to ignore how very firmly founded – and how interconnected – our knowledge is in many domains. We sek new information largely to clarify issues at the frontier – we are rightly sceptical where people put forward an interpretation that contradicts really central understandings (as one scientist remarked “if your thesis can be shown to conflict with the second law of thermodynamics, you have no hope – it is doomed”).

    That AGW is right is not a surprise. It is an unwelcome consequence of well-established understandings of how the universe works (noting that that still leaves open lots of critical issues about precise degrees and effects).

    We are entitled to be increasingly sceptical about other explanations unless they not only posit a plausible alternative mechanism for warming, but also posit simultaneously a mechanism for suppressing the effects of CO2, or (less likely) propose some verifiable dampening effect for CO2-induced warming or (really unlikely) offer some alternative entire scheme of physics.

    Comment by Peter T — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:44 AM

  138. This question is only for people who agree with the following statement:

    “The DOMINANT cause of climate change is carbon emissions from human activity”.

    My question is:

    What OBSERVABLE climatic events would have to be OBSERVABLE (as opposed to modeled) for you to become convinced that the statement above in NOT true?

    [Response: You need to be more precise. The dominant cause of climate change at the moment is CO2 (but the impacts of the other greenhouse gases, aerosols and land use etc. are important as well), and the risk of further large climate changes is related to the continuing increase in CO2 more than any other factor. So the question you need to ask yourself is, given the continuing human-caused rise of CO2, it's very well characterised radiative effect and the evidence that climate sensitivity to radiative changes is non-negligible, what would convince you that continuing increases in emissions is not a substantial risk? (For me, you would have to provide substantial evidence that the three points above were wrong because there is already substantial evidence that they are not). - gavin]

    Comment by Julian Tol — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:59 AM

  139. Re #119:

    The Cumbrian floods of November 2009 were caused by a specific synoptic setup – a warm conveyor. In short, these occur when a quasi-stationary front trails from the UK well to the SW, bringing along warm moist air from way down in the subtropics. The moisture drops out as the air moves up over the mountains of the Western UK/Ireland. Given that warmer seas lose more moisture via evaporation and warmer air can carry more moisture, it is likely that such conveyors are bringing more intense rainfall, and will bring even more in future. This is likely to be one of the key effects of a warmer world in terms of the UK. Another key conveyor brought 261mm in 48 hours to North Wales in February 2004 – see
    http://www.geologywales.co.uk/storms/winter0304c.htm

    – although this was nowhere near the total involved in the recent event.

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:39 AM

  140. Jeffrey 3 December 2009 @ 4:03 AM

    I think Trenberth is referring to a sort of sub-level of uncertainty that lies underlies a broader certainty of understanding.

    There are (at least) two major examples of this in climate science:

    (i) sea levels. There’s rather good evidence that sea levels are rising a bit over 3 mm per year at the moment (highish certainty [*]). This must be the result of some combination of heat accumulation (thermal expansion) and mass increase (polar ice sheet and mountain glacier melt), and the summation should match the observed sea level rise if the “budget” is properly “closed”). Each of the latter can be estimated independently; however each of the latter measurements has greater uncertainty than the more easily measured total sea level rise. So there is a sub-level of uncertainty in the precise partitioning of sea level rise within its (less easily measured) components. The greater uncertainty in the latter doesn’t negate the lesser uncertainty in the former.

    (ii) Radiative forcing and it’s precise partitioning.

    This is similar to (i) but more complex. We have rather good evidence that the net forcing from raised CO2 is equivalent to an equilibrium warming near 3 oC (plus/minus around 1 oC) per CO2 doubling. The forcing is the result of a radiative imbalance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing longwave IR emitted from the earth’s surface. Partitioning this to the components (solar radiation reflected to space; solar radiation reflected by surface; solar radiation absorbed by clouds; surface emitted LWIR; surface LWIR reflected from the atmosphere…and so on)…is very complex (see Figure 1 here [**]). The nett top of the atmosphere radiative imbalance that we can estimate reasonably well from theoretical analysis combined with paleoproxy analysis (that allows us to estimate the expected equilibrium temperature response to doubling CO2), is a small number that results from the summation of many large numbers.

    So the uncertainty in this summation of many large numbers to give a net TOA forcing has a lot of uncertainty since tiny errors in the large numbers (solar radiation emitted from the earth surface; LWIR absorbed by the atmosphere etc; see Figure 1 [**]) result in large errors in the summed TOA radiative forcing (i.e. “closing the energy budget”). However that doesn’t mean that we don’t have quite a good handle on the estimate of the total radiative forcing from independent analysis.

    Trenberth’s problem (if I am interpreting his email correctly), is that we need to understand the component forcings and their responses if we want to assess whether geoenginering approaches will have any chance of being successful. That makes sense since geoengineering approaches (blast sulphurous aerosols into the atmosphere) affect sub-components of the total radiative forcing (.e. we assume they mostly reduce solar radiaiton reaching the surface), but we need to know by how much, and if that’s all they affect, before we start pumping the stuff into the atmosphere.

    [*]e.g. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Are-sea-levels-rising.html

    and:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/A-broader-view-of-sea-level-rise.html

    [**] Trenberth, K. E., J. Fasullo, and J.T. Kiehl, 2000: Earth’s Global Energy Budget. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc. 90, 3, 311-323.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/10.1175_2008BAMS2634.1.pdf

    Comment by chris — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:50 AM

  141. I’ve read through all three volumes of comments, and it will be the HARRY_README file that brings down CRU. Your explainations:

    “HARRY_read_me.txt. This is a 4 year-long work log of Ian (Harry) Harris who was working to upgrade the documentation, metadata and databases associated with the legacy CRU TS 2.1 product, which is not the same as the HadCRUT data (see Mitchell and Jones, 2003 for details). The CSU TS 3.0 is available now (via ClimateExplorer for instance), and so presumably the database problems got fixed. Anyone who has ever worked on constructing a database from dozens of individual, sometimes contradictory and inconsistently formatted datasets will share his evident frustration with how tedious that can be”

    are laughable. Harry was trying to write programs to interpret existing CRU databases to reproduce previously published results, with no success!

    And that is supposed to make us more confident that the rest of CRU’s work output is more sound than Harry’s impossible task? Hardly.

    [Response: On the contrary, he did do this with success - witness the release of the CRU TS 3.0 and discussions in the emails over final tweaks and validations to the product. It's certainly been my experience that I am more inclined to note down problems and frustrations than the fixes, because as soon as you have dealt with one bug, you need to go on to the next. Much the same level of complaint exists in the development of climate models, but weird behaviour, overloads and mysterious crashes all get dealt with eventually. You are getting a peak behind the curtain here, and it might not seem to be the same as the narrative presented in scientific papers (but see Medawar's comment on that which remains as true today as it was in 1964), but the process of science is about finding problems and fixing them - however mundane that might seem. - gavin]

    Comment by John S — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:13 AM

  142. Since climate scientists who accept the theory of AGW are increasingly suspected/smeared as being in collusion with big money, it may be worth noting, in the light of the doubts raised by Prof. Karlen, that Karlen himself has links to finance from the energy industry. That does not validate or invalidate his comments. He is a genuine (albeit now retired) scientist who merits answers as such. But fair’s fair: let’s share some scientifically irrelevant and possibly baseless skepticism around evenly on all sides.
    http://www.desmogblog.com/wibjorn-karlen

    Comment by iain — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:13 AM

  143. SecularAnimist -

    Yes, it is unbelievable. The difference between what is in the emails and what the denialists say is in the emails is vast.

    And the latest meme is that the data was leaked by some ‘heroic insider’. As far as I know there is zero evidence whatsoever for this, it is purely a conscience salve for those who normally rail about the inequities of file-sharing.

    Comment by Andrew Dodds — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:31 AM

  144. “Beat the crap out of …. etc”?

    This expression of honest anger is better – at least for me – than many of the careful rebuttals posted here by Gavin. :-)

    Well,I like Gavin’s rebuttals, too, but this email shows the anger and frustration of the climate science community.

    I know one person who’s science feeds in (marginally) to climate science. Now a retired professor who I work with on a charity. Normally he is the quietest and most self-effacing man, but the way his and his colleagues have had their work, which merely pushed the descriptive knowledge in his field fractionally forward, picked over by others with no appropriate qualifications for political reasons, absolutely determined to find fault, will turn this calm man into an angry man.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:51 AM

  145. Nowhere in this thread do I see a discussion about what it means that Jones has resigned [temporarily, but is there a way back?] and that Mann is under investigation by his university ["reviewing concerns"]. That could be that I have not explored the thousands of recent entries closely enough, though.

    I see an ironic insistence on the terms “denier” and “denialists” being heaped on the skeptic camp as never before, and an underlying anger. Anger is invariably motivated by fear, and it would be interesting to hear what the AGW proponents here are afraid of, since there appears still to be an insistence that AGW theory is settled science. I have been impressed by the sea change in the way dissent has been handled at RC, to be sure, but I’m curious about why Jones in particular has not been tossed out of this club for his transgressions. “There’s nothing to see here”, and “let’s move on” in the face of resignation and investigation, has never been a compelling argument.

    [Response: If you want to see uncontrolled anger, then you should see the email we are getting - it's pretty appalling stuff. As said further up the thread, investigations are useful for people to sort through the barrage of nonsense and false claims in an atmosphere that is more conducive to rational discussion. I am confident that both investigations will exonerate both Mann and Jones of any scientific impropriety. And give that 'settled science' stuff a rest. We have never made any such claim. - gavin]

    Comment by Walter Manny — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:08 AM

  146. This is my only comment on a blog, because this seems like a thoughtful place. I especially like comment #57. It seems to me that all this discussion about the minutiae of the data revealed in the leaked info from CRU, while generally intelligent and well meaning misses the point at the moment; as does the argument that it it illegally gotten, therefor we should ignore it. Governments have fallen on a lot less. I had not heard any of the the names involved before this and I generally agree with the prevailing climate theory, but this story is about trust.

    1. Phil Jones is finished, next year he will be lucky to have a job at a junior college in Siberia or a back office at an extreme liberal think tank in Colorado (a nicer place). You cannot show this degree of arrogance, disregard for ethical behavior, number of don’t tell anybody emails, and possibly illegal (FOI, delete emails, erase data) actions and survive. He breached his trust with the scientific community. He should take responsibility for his actions, apologize and disappear quickly.

    2. The CRU data is finished. It is truly a shame, I am sure many people worked long and hard for over 30 years to make it the best they could, but, overnight Phil Jones actions destroyed it. Politically, it cannot now survive. I noticed the moderators harsh comments about the low quality of some of the dissenting climate papers. If someone submitted a paper for peer review, and, asked about the supporting data said; “We threw away the raw data years ago, many of the disparate data series merges, interpolation and normalization are undocumented over the years, and my own subroutines are none of your business”, what would you say? Right or wrong, this is how the public now sees it. Don’t waste time trying to defend it, you will only discredit yourselves. It is about trust.

    3. I noticed that several of the sponsors of this web site received emails from Phil Jones. I am dismayed to not see a response to the effect of “Dear Phil, I am a professional scientist, working hard to find honest answers to difficult and important questions. I do not erase data, delete emails, stone wall FOI requests or participate in cabals. Have a nice day.” I hope that these emails exist.

    I do not write to attack anyone, my only agenda is the science of science. I am a retired, old computer scientist, who happened to see this story, and then, having nothing better to do, followed many of the links. I hope you can survive this, you are our store of serious knowledge on this subject. But, if you think that just because you are innocent, that this will blow by you, wake up! However they got it, your perceived enemies now have the raw meat that they need. If you think that you will receive the support of the climate change community; I tell you this, if your institution thinks that their funding is in jeopardy or a supporting politician feels their base is eroding, you are history.

    Forget about the minutiae for now, make sure that your own ethics are squeaky clean and your own data clean and well documented. Publish everything, along with the code for the models and algorithms that go along with it. This is the era of open source; some of us old Fortran geezers might even help with that code. Surprise everybody and take responsibility for any transgressions that might have occurred. It is about trust.

    Learn from Dr. Jones mistake, don’t circle the wagons, and think about the following:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/morning-manager/keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer/article1258944/

    Good Luck

    Comment by j gordon — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  147. @Manny @143 I have not seen a sea change in the way dissent has been handled at RC.

    Nor is there any need for one.

    Comment by Adrian Midgley — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:23 AM

  148. “The science is settled”.

    That “the science is settled” is constantly used by sceptics as a quote to say that the science is _not_ settled.

    Did _anyone_ actually ever say “the science is settled”? If so, who, where, why and when?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  149. cc 119 brian dodge
    thanks Brian but what trend?

    The Climate Statement from the esteemed scientists Prof. Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist, Met Office
    Prof. Alan Thorpe, Chief Executive, Natural Environment Research Council
    Lord Rees, President, the Royal Society

    Includes these 2 phrases as indicators of climate change.

    In the UK, heavier daily rainfall leading to local flooding such as in the summer of 2007;

    Increased risk of summer heatwaves such as the summer of 2003 across the UK and Europe;

    So is Climate Change indicated by an extremely wet summer causing summer flooding, or summer drought like 2003 caused by increasing numbers of heatwaves.

    [edit]

    [Response: Just repeating your point over is not moving a discussion forward. There is strong evidence that heavier rainfall is becoming more intense and that is a predicted impact. As are increases in heatwaves. Individual examples of that are just examples, not proof. If a newspaper wants to report on increasing crime rates and they illustrate their story with a single example of someone who was mugged this is not assumed to imply that this case is because of the trend, merely that it exemplifies it. This case is no different. - gavin]

    Comment by John Cooknell — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  150. Walter Manny,

    It’s not surprising that Professor Jones has considered it appropriate to step aside while a review of the situation takes place, and an acting director (Professer Peter Liss) stands in.

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/homepagenews/CRUupdate

    You live in an odd world Walter. A world in which “anger is invariably motivated by fear”! There seems to be an undercurrent of wishful thinking in your message. If only life were so simple, eh?….that it would conform to wishful non-sequiturs and false logic.

    Comment by chris — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:36 AM

  151. Here are 2 stories that indicate the emails revealed climate science is bogus and climatologist at NAS and elsewhere are doing illegal things…Even if both these points were true (which I’m sure they are NOT0, it doesn’t, of course, change reality that global warming is happening….from my perspective the scientist have been a bit reticent on the avoiding the false positive side.

    Michael Schrage and David Buckner on FoxNews (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NLH9Gg6Bw8&feature=youtube_gdata )

    AND

    NYT “Climatologist Leaves Post in Inquiry Over E-Mail Leaks”
    By JOHN M. BRODER, December 2, 2009,
    at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/02/science/earth/02scientist.html?_r=7&partner=rss&emc=rss

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:42 AM

  152. The chair of the CRU inquiry has been announced:
    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/dec/homepagenews/CRUreview
    Note that in the supporting information to editors they state the following:
    2. A police investigation is currently underway into the source of the theft.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:04 AM

  153. Re Walter Manny (143)

    Since when is anger “invariably motivated by fear”?? I’m far more moved by “righteous anger”, and the AGW community have good grounds for that given the vitriolic attacks received. The fact that their anger is controlled is to the great credit of people such as Gavin!

    Comment by Bruce — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  154. my only agenda is the science of science.

    I’m sure you’ll be very happy in the History of Science department at your local community college, meanwhile, world class scientists will continue to produce work that make you look like the intellectual midget that you are, and publish them in real time for you to no read on the LANL Arxiv.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  155. Anyone who has ever worked on constructing a database from dozens of individual, sometimes contradictory and inconsistently formatted datasets will share his evident frustration with how tedious that can be

    Tedious, slow, exasperating….and crucial and thankless. And then on top of that–if you’re lucky–you get to have conspiracy theorists, know-nothings and similar characters misinterpret all that tedious and thankless work–work that they would never have known of or cared a rat’s ass about if someone hadn’t stolen private emails–in order to conform to their ideological agenda, which is founded on scientist bashing!!!

    Now doesn’t that just make all you kids out there want to be scientists someday?

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:30 AM

  156. Gavin, the real issue as I see it is this.

    The climate scientists involved are presenting “evidence” intended to drive human civilization into sweeping changes that impact every facet of our civilization to a degree not seen since the industrial revolution, if even then.

    [Response: Not true. Climate scientists are trying to work out what and why is going on and what likely scenarios are for the future. Many people including all world governments (not just scientists) have concluded that the prudent course of action based on that science is to work to reduce emissions. - gavin]

    To not retain and show all source data, processes, methods and code and to not freely present same to public scrutiny is ridiculous considering the magnitude of the impact they desire it to have on human civilization.

    [Response: The science is replicated and the data is much more open than it ever has been before. Every conclusion can be validated with public domain data. Again, you attribute to climate scientists attitudes I don't know any of them to hold. Nobody wants AGW to be true. - gavin]

    To even talk of deletion of data or correspondence, to collude to prevent release of data, code, methods etc. to the point of breaking FOI act laws is downright criminal.

    [Response: Lots of things get lost over time, but no data has been deleted or destroyed in any real sense. All of the raw data is curated by the relevant Met. Services. - gavin]

    How annoying or demeaning it is to scientists egos is irrelevant in this case. They want to change the world, they and their work should be held to a very high standard indeed, above and beyond normal standards and all the “annoyances” of skeptics is to be expected.

    That they may be annoyed by skeptics and misrepresentation does not diminish the responsibility to be fully transparent at every level in their justification for the changes they are asking humanity to make at a global level.

    They have done science and humanity a great disservice in their attitude and actions IMO and it was not neccesary.

    Comment by John MacQueen — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:30 AM

  157. re:110

    re: proof of human origin.

    Because when we burn coal and gasoline the CO2 that’s produced just goes “away.”

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  158. BPL wrote:

    “Did you miss the point that this was just one set of trees, not all the tree ring data, or even a substantial minority of it?”

    Yeah I did. Where was that point made? It is my understanding that “the decline” was based on the summation of all tree ring data.

    Comment by Timmy — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  159. j gordon, I can’t agree with your numbered points. The “skeptic” echo chamber may believe as you indicate, but I don’t see much to indicate that the general public does. To them, as best as I can tell at this point, this is basically just another round of “he said, she said”–albeit a more intense one than the typical example. And aren’t you rather anticipating the result of the investigations?

    I particularly can’t see how CRU is “done.” There’s nothing to indicate that the emails are directly relevant to CRU data, and CRU itself is highly consistent with independent data. (Actually, it is the “coolest” of the three major sets.)

    To me it’s just bizarre to imagine that some indiscreet/inappropriate comments (about which considerable ambiguity remains) in private emails could possibly be thought to negate a whole dataset the basis for which is well set forth in the published literature–particularly when it is consistent with the other evidence.

    Moreover, the increased transparency you desire (and which, I agree, is a Good Thing) seems to be coming about as CRU finds ways to bring online more of the previously inaccessible data. (As pointed out repeatedly in this and other threads, by far the biggest subset is the GHCN data, which has been freely available for some time.)

    As to Dr. Jones, he has “stepped aside” as director, but not from employment at the institution, as I understand it–and I’m betting that won’t change, FWIW.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:44 AM

  160. Actually, I’m misstating things a bit: CRU is distinct from HADCRU, as noted many times above. But if anything, that reinforces my main point.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:45 AM

  161. RE: #146

    J. Gordon,

    While I disagree with almost everything that you said, your link is both intriguing and wise, and I wish all AGW supporters not only would read it, but more than that had read it, and followed its advice, for the past twenty years.

    A lot of the problem with the entire AGW issue is not the debate itself, but the tone of the debate. It has reached the point of hysteria, partly because creating hysteria is a tactic of the “skeptics.” [And for those skeptics out there, while the solutions to the problem are both technically and economically daunting, the only hysteria I've actually seen about it by AGW proponents are comical claims of such hysteria by skeptics. Until now, the tone of the AGW proponents has been one of calm but firm warning, not one of hysteria.]

    As to the quality and future of the CRU data, I would suggest that you thoroughly research the entire issue, and then come back with a new appraisal of the value of that data. The argument that it is now tainted is an absolute travesty that the world and the scientific community cannot afford. If you actually understand the nature of the data, how it was gathered and compiled, and what homogenization actually means, you would understand that there is nothing wrong with using what they have accumulated.

    You are right in one more thing, though, it is all about trust. A very well funded, well orchestrated and relentless decades long media campaign has succeeded in beguiling the general public into distrusting professional scientists and science on the single most important issue of our lifetimes. This isn’t unheard of, or unexpected. It’s happened many times before, with almost every important science based issue: lung cancer and smoking, DDT, CFCs, vaccines, and many more.

    Its time for someone on the science side to get smart and realize that its not all about science. It is also about trust, and that means public opinion. And, unfortunately, simply having the facts and the science on your side, or even the weight of professional opinion, isn’t enough, because its all too complicated, and the general public is very sadly far too uneducated (and overwhelmed by daily life) to ever understand the science, or even the scientific method.

    Someone needs to change the paradigm. The science is solid, and yet the deniers, while not exactly “winning,” have gained an outlandish amount of traction in the issues. Something new needs to be done.

    Comment by Bob — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:46 AM

  162. Re: 125.What angers me is how the scientific community does not understand how very serious these attacks are, despite how completely unfounded they are. There are millions of dollars being spent by conservative organizations and conservative media outlets. You guys are getting steamrolled by an enormous force that is just getting geared up. They are going to continue publishing more and more garbage in the months ahead. A few timid blog posts aren’t going to stop the onslaught. You need to fight back hard with everything you’ve got, or say goodbye to funding of this research. Don’t underestimate how far people like Rupert Murdoch will go to shut you down.

    Comment by Rob Z
    …and J. Gordon’s thoughtful post…I’d like to add my own reinforcement to their thoughts. Although the first post was furious, and the second measured, the issue is identical, and probably fundamentally crucial to the ameliorization of AGW. Professor Jones and co. have lived in the proverbial ivory tower, and many other scientists, unfortunately, live there as well. Even the retorts to the denialist claptrap in this blog seem tepid, an irritating sideshow for the researchers before they sling some more titillating number crunches back and forth. Forgive me if I sound tired and cynical at this point, but, my friends, the posts above ARE correct: you have missed the point of what is really happening. Locally, in Arizona, we have legislators clamoring for investigations etc on the ‘conspiracy’, and the paper is publishing this rubbish, and the average joe is clueless and eating this up. There is literally no time left to try to turn the enormous aircraft carrier around before it runs aground. I know I am merely a layman, but I live in the real world, have my e-mails under scrutiny at work, and know how absolutely vital it is that the scientific community gets politically savvy fast, faster than fast. Glib rejoinders and silence may serve your grouchiness, but it won’t serve my children or their children, and to be blunt, they are who count, not the egos of the Professor Jones or his ilk. AGW is real. We know it…the world will do what it will despite all handwaving or denying, and there will be desperate times ahead no matter what. How desperate is the question. You must begin addressing this in this light, not just as a sidebar to some technical debates.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:49 AM

  163. Re: 96 and Gavin’s response.

    Sorry, Gavin, I may not have been as clear as I intended without the liver & beans to soak up the Chianti :)

    I wasn’t intending to imply dual standards, only that describing a published paper as “complete rubbish” when the only rebuttals seem to be a blog and another paper that has, itself, been rebutted is potential easy fodder for anyone who would like to make such a claim.

    Also, the original paper appears to be rooted firmly in the field of physics, and authored by two professors of physics. The rebuttals are both by people “not in that field” which, when non-climate scientists publish work critical of AGW is almost invariably taken as a sign of their work being defective – at least as reported by a highly politicised media.

    I’m on a very fast, and unexpected, learning curve at the moment because I’m genuinely interested in scientific validity and a quick brush-up on my theoretical physics may be the next stage in that. Until then I’m certainly not qualified to judge the quality or otherwise of that paper, nor that of the rebuttal. The learning curve is made a lot harder when it also involves picking through petty political points scoring by either side of the debate so I honestly don’t like to see potential ammunition for point scoring being handed out by anyone ;)

    As someone rather cynically observed on a forum I frequent, Mother Nature undoubtedly will balance out any effect mankind might have on this planet – if neccessary by killing off enough of us to make our impact negligible.

    Which raises a small linguistic point – isn’t it time that otherwise intelligent people remembered that “cynic” may be a bad word but “sceptic” never has been!

    [Response: I think it is tragedy that the word sceptic has been debased in the way that it has. Profesional scepticism is the hallmark of scientific enquiry and what it means in practice was eloquently described by Russell a century ago. However, the debasement that has happened is because of the contrarians who are dogmatic in their opposition to policies to reduce emissions have adopted the term to describe their 'arguments' when really they have as much in common with true scepticism as they do a cheese sandwich. Take G&T, don't you think some would have noticed that the greenhouse effect violated the 2nd law when Fourier first proposed this over 100years ago? If it was convincing don't you think someone would have agreed with them? - gavin]

    Comment by Joe — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  164. Question:

    One reason CO2 is thought to be responsible for warming since 1970 since the models can’t come up with another natural cause – ie it wins by default. However, there was a similar magnitude of warming (according to the thermometer record), from say 1900-1940. It would seem that there are natural effects that could produce the magnitude of variation we have seen since the 1970′s, say .25C/decade. Further bolstering that case is the *lack* of warming over the past 10 yrs – ie that has to net out the drift assumed by CO2 warming. So at this point you have to concede that the natural variation in temperature must be around .25C/decade. Given that, the historical record is not statistically different from a 1 SD deviation from a random path over the past 100 yrs or so. (sqrt 10 * .25 C = .8 C). None of this is meant to construe that CO2 is not a warming gas ceteris paribus. Any thoughts?

    [Response: Our a priori estimates of the impacts of CO2 and the other forcings on the temperature explain well what we've seen in recent decades. Without them, we have no explanation, none. Earlier periods are affected both by uncertainties in the forcings and in the data, and so attributions are more uncertain, but the earlier period was associated with a slight increase in solar and a period without much volcanism along with changes in CO2. There is clearly a role for internal variability in both periods, but this is not unlimited in scope. - gavin]

    Comment by Mesa — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:13 AM

  165. Thanks Gavin for the response, my point is the authors are not journalists illustrating a point, they are lead scientists making a statement about how we should take regard of scientific evidence produced by Climate Science. The authors clearly state “These emerging signals are consistent with what we expect from our projections” however I have given direct evidence (from their own NERC scientific studies) that this is not the case.

    Lead author, Terry Marsh, comments: “The river floods of summer 2007 were a very singular episode, which does not form part of any clear historical trend or show consistency with currently favoured climate change scenarios.”

    Mr Marsh adds: “The exceptional river flooding last summer fuelled speculation that flood risk is increasing due to global warming. Due to the inherent variability of the UK climate, any extreme hydrological event cannot readily be linked directly to climate change.”

    So summer floods of 2007 do NOT fit with their projections, which I understand for UK are a trend in increasing summer drought.

    So this diminishes the credibility of the whole statement, so I do not know why they felt they had to say that.

    Have you any idea?.

    [Response: You made this point already. And the answer is the same as before. - gavin]

    Comment by John Cooknell — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  166. W. Manny says:
    Anger is invariably motivated by fear

    Then you don’t know anything about justice my man.

    and it would be interesting to hear what the AGW proponents here are afraid of

    What we’re afraid of is clowns, criminals and jackasses having an entirely illegitimate influence on scientific discourse and public policy related to stabilizing the climate, to the detriment of the world at large.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  167. Gavin, The editorial by nature (Vol 462, No. 7273, 3 Dec 2009) which you posted in your website is typical of the argument used by alarmists to show AGW. Basically it starts by describing extreme weather events and then argues that “Denialists often maintain that these changes are just a symptom of natural variability. But when climate modellers test this assertion by running their simulations with greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide held fixed, the results bear little resemblance to the observed warming” (end of quote).
    The error in this reasoning is that the climate models have not been tested yet in their capability of predicting temperature over multi-decadal time scales and therefore cannot be used to TEST the assertion that the extreme climatic events observed in the late 20th century are due to AGW.

    Comment by RaymondT — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:33 AM

  168. Joe,
    G&T is an example of what Wolfgang Pauli would have called a paper that is so bad it’s not even wrong! When I read it, I had to wonder whether it might be an attempt to punk the denialist community ala Sokal. Given its pompous tone, turgid prose and elementary errors, it may well be the worst paper I have ever read.

    It is so bad that debunking it has been assigned to undergrad climae classes. It is so bad it is not worth even taking up a page of journal space to rebut it. This is a wonderful example of how in the Denialist Orwellian Doublespeak dialect “skeptic” has merely come to mean gullibility.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:39 AM

  169. Gavin, that Medawar piece was interesting, although I’m not quite sure what I make of it. Discussion section at the beginning?–maybe not.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  170. I’ve had a read of the Willis Eschenbach story and I’m glad that I did. It changed my mind on just how free FOI should be. Vicarious use of the privilege of FOI strikes me as unethical in the extreme. Now both WUWT and CA are clearly directed at finding fault in work of the mainstream climate scientists, but with the following qualification – their work must in some way support the theory of anthropogenic climate change (AGW in particular), or be a scientific rebuttal of someone else’s scientific work that is a criticism of AGW or some evidence supporting it. I simply haven’t seen an “audit” of work that is highly critical of AGW, however unsound or baseless that work may be. Has anyone seen a critical analysis of sunspot/temperature correlation articles, to test whether they’ve written their code correctly, QA’ed it, released all of it and all of the raw data, etc? Or a critical analysis of cosmic ray/climate link articles? Or CO2 is saturated articles? Or G&T’s “There is no greenhouse effect” blatant crap (that’s a scientific opinion)? Or Svenmark’s cloud chamber articles? Or Plimer’s book?

    Not as far as I am aware.

    Scientific scepticism is nothing at all like what is practiced at CA and WUWT. Their own websites betray the directed nature of their “interest” in climate science – to nullify research supporting AGW.

    Comment by Donald Oats — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  171. Also, the original paper appears to be rooted firmly in the field of physics, and authored by two professors of physics. The rebuttals are both by people “not in that field”

    Arthur Smith, one of the rebutters, has a PhD in physics …

    which, when non-climate scientists publish work critical of AGW is almost invariably taken as a sign of their work being defective

    Which breaks down the analogy …

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:58 AM

  172. Gavin et al,
    The link to the recent Trenberth article from a few posts ago is broken. Comments are closed so Im commenting here.

    [Response: Fixed -thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by Sean Davis — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 PM

  173. Jim Ryun wrote:
    The data are in dispute, but the glaciers in greenland DO uncover trees, the viking graves are in permafrost, so there is definitely a case. For the little ice age, there are the frost fairs. They happened, they deserve to be accounted for.”
    —————-
    Maybe you can answer my question; is melting ice in Greenland still uncovering land that was open during the MWP? I think that your statements assert that things are still being uncovered, but I want clarification. Can you, or anyone else give me some documentation one way or the other?
    Dwight

    [Response: Depending on where you are retreating glaciers are uncovering land that was last ice free, 1000, 2000, 4000, 10,000 years ago. - gavin]

    Comment by Dwight — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 PM

  174. Regarding heavy rainfall events and AGW, are folks familiar with the hypothesis from Weather Channel Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro? It involves changes to the 1000 mb altitude that he says connects closely with AGW processes.

    He discusses the deluge that suburban Atlanta suffered in September. While the rainfall amount was not unprecedented, it was unprecedented to get that kind of rainfall without a tropical system. I also seem to remember that he lamented that with the emphasis on separating weather and climate, research on AGW impact of day-to-day weather is inadequate.

    His hypotehsis is blogged at http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_20427.html

    Comment by Dean — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  175. I think we need to take care not to confuse skepticism about the findings of a science, and skepticism about the _process_ by which those findings were arrived at.

    Comment by PeterK — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  176. Is it true that that some of the original temperature data was knowingly deleted? I.E. Someone made the conscious decision to destroy the data knowing it was original data?

    [Response: No. If that was done it would be heinous, but it wasn't. The original data rests with the met services that provided it. - gavin]

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:39 PM

  177. In Step 2 of your six steps, the link to the “IR spectra taken from space” is broken.

    Thanks for all of your hard work with this. Please tell those of us who support your position can do to help.

    [Response: I replaced it with something analogous. Thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by steve n — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  178. Patrick Michaels compared to Galileo:

    http://www.wigderson.com/index.php/2009/12/03/who-is-patrick-michaels/

    Comment by Dept. of Wild Hyperbole — 3 Dec 2009 @ 12:52 PM

  179. Gavin writes:

    “I am confident that both investigations will exonerate both Mann and Jones of any scientific impropriety.”

    Any ballpark figure on how long such investigations might take? 1 month? 1 year? It seems that as long as they haven’t reached a conclusion, political types will continue to assume guilty until proven innocent. Of course, if no wrongdoing is found, they will just say the investigators are part of the conspiracy.

    Also, while I see no evidence of scientific wrongdoing, the request by Dr. Jones to delete emails (while understandable given how they are being misused) seems to be a potential legal problem. I hope the investigators distinguish between these sorts of ill-advised moves and scientific ones.

    Comment by MarkB — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  180. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6718183/Climategate-Phil-Jones-accused-of-making-error-of-judgment-by-colleague.html
    Any comments ?

    [Response: Both Mike and I have described the email asking people to delete correspondence associated with an FOI request as ill-advised. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:08 PM

  181. Re #154. I think this is the attitude people are troubled by in this field. Not what I would call the attitude of an intellectual giant.

    Comment by Bobby — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:08 PM

  182. I thank comment #154 for eloquently reinforcing my point. Attacking people personally of whom you have no knowledge and who, ironically, basically agree with your science does nothing to further your cause. It merely demonstrates fear and insecurity. I do not question his credentials, credibility or intentions or those of anybody on this post. Reactively lashing out without reflection makes a person seem small and vindictive. That is not in anybodies best interest.
    The fact is that, even if the data was hacked by nefarious interests, if Dr. Jones had not said what he did then this would all be a nonevent. Discussions of particular data anomalies would have brought out the usual cabal, but the mainstream story would have held interest for about 12 hours before even Fox News got bored.
    The scientists involved have a choice, they can lament, circle the wagons and thereby be controlled by outside forces (that didn’t work very well), or they can pro-actively take a chance and change. I agree with Mr. Elifritz when he says in post #562, “It’s not just about climate science.” This is about meta-science now. The pressure you have felt in the past is nothing compared to what is starting now. All of your correspondence, data, methods, etc. are now fair game. You can cite various laws and privileges, and even if you win, you will lose in the court of public opinion. What are they trying to hide?
    Many scientists ask, “Why don’t people get it?” The reason they can’t understand the answer is because it is the wrong question. It is about trust. The man on the street does not understand the science, so he looks around and asks himself, “Whom do I trust the most?”
    There is absolutely nothing that can be done about nefarious interests, but you can control your own actions. Amaze everybody and open the flood gates, let everything you have out. Maybe it is not all perfect, so what? It is about trust.

    Thank you for allowing me to post. This will be the last. My best to you.

    Comment by j gordon — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:09 PM

  183. Joe says:
    3 December 2009 at 11:11 AM
    Re: 96 and Gavin’s response.

    Sorry, Gavin, I may not have been as clear as I intended without the liver & beans to soak up the Chianti :)

    I wasn’t intending to imply dual standards, only that describing a published paper as “complete rubbish” when the only rebuttals seem to be a blog and another paper that has, itself, been rebutted is potential easy fodder for anyone who would like to make such a claim.

    The point is with G&T that to anyone familiar with the physics it’s quite clearly a load of crap, it’s just not worth wasting time on it. They take 35 pages explaining why a glass greenhouse works which has never been in dispute, who the hell wants to wade through that rubbish!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  184. Gavin wrote: “I think it is tragedy that the word sceptic has been debased in the way that it has.”

    Worse than “debased” — it has been turned on its head in classic 1984 doublespeak “war is peace” fashion.

    Far from being “skeptical”, the self-proclaimed “climate change skeptics” reveal themselves to be the most shockingly gullible people on the planet. They will literally believe anything, any inane rubbish at all, that the industry-funded deny-and-obstruct propaganda machine cranks out.

    This can be seen again and again in the comments that they post here and on every other blog in the universe where climate change is discussed. Their gullibility is truly extreme. And not only with regard to pseudo-science that might understandably bamboozle ill-informed laymen, but with regard to laughable conspiracy theories about the world community of climate scientists perpetrating a massive fraud in order to destroy capitalism and liberty (and Mom and apple pie).

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  185. I am glad that there is going to be an investigation (though I hope that Mr Russell is up to the task and that he employs people who understand the science). Sometimes things get stale and can use a breath of fresh air. Put it all out there. However in addition to looking at CRU the investigations into “climategate” very much needs to seriously focus a very bright beam of light on the email hack itself and especially where it came from, who was behind it. That, to my mind, is the real scandal here. Answers please. Don’t let the trail grow cold, get to the bottom of it. If it turns out to be a stooge for the usual suspects broadcast it from the rooftops.

    Also make clear that the environment these scientists have had to work under with all the harrassment they’ve had to endure from people like M&M, the Republicans and the constant Big Oil/Coal company attacks are way,way over and above what any scientist should have to put up with. Let the world know what the bastards are trying to doing.

    Oh and let’s not re-victimize the victims.

    Comment by Ron R. — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:13 PM

  186. “However, the debasement that has happened is because of the contrarians who are dogmatic in their opposition to policies to reduce emissions have adopted the term to describe their ‘arguments’ when really they have as much in common with true scepticism as they do a cheese sandwich.”

    Do you really believe this is new and scientists didn’t have to deal with such contrarian dogmatic skepticism in the past? It does not describe all skeptics.

    It also does not in any way excuse what the hacked e-mails showed in attitude as well as action. Especially in light of what the authors demand as far as changes of human civilization in terms of scale and cost using their data and methods as evidence.

    It is inevitable that we move from carbon based energy, but lets call a spade a spade here. This type of dogmatic tribal response and action shown by these e-mails has no legitimate place in this process.

    Comment by John MacQueen — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:13 PM

  187. Walter Manny,

    Yoda says “fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…”

    but he didn’t say that fear is the only catalyst for anger. If so, global warming contrarians would be incredibly fearful, given the mass hysteria generated over this incident. They seem to get “outraged” when any minor error is discovered in climate science, when any discussions of error correction is conducted (“alarmists fabricating data!”), or when a climate scientist blinks. Perhaps it’s all motivated by fear of governments seeking to gradually reduce emissions.

    Comment by MarkB — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  188. chris,

    It’s not going to run away. It’s just going to wreak havoc on our agriculture and our economy.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:23 PM

  189. Walter Manny wrote: “… there appears still to be an insistence that AGW theory is settled science.”

    Gavin replied: “… give that ‘settled science’ stuff a rest. We have never made any such claim.”

    With all due respect, Gavin, of course “AGW theory” is “settled science”.

    CO2, methane et al are greenhouse gases. That is settled science.

    Human activities have for over a century released large amounts of previously sequestered CO2 and other GHGs into the atmosphere, and continue to do so, at an increasing rate. That is settled science.

    The anthropogenic excess of CO2 and other GHGs is causing the Earth system to heat up. That is settled science.

    The anthropogenic heating of the Earth system resulting from anthropogenic GHG emissions is already causing rapid and extreme changes to the Earth’s climate, atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere. That is settled science.

    And that is “AGW theory”, in a nutshell. It is settled science.

    Gavin, it is important to understand that when the denialists proclaim that the “science is not settled”, they are not merely saying that every last nuance and detail of the current and future impacts of anthropogenic GHG emissions have not yet been worked out.

    They are saying that the “science is not settled” with regard to whether there is a “greenhouse effect”.

    They are saying that the “science is not settled” with regard to whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    They are saying that the “science is not settled” with regard to whether humans have increased the atmospheric concentration of CO2.

    They are saying that the “science is not settled” with regard to whether the anthropogenic increase in CO2 has any effect at all.

    They are saying that the “science is not settled” with regard to whether any warming is actually occurring.

    And when you reply that “we have not claimed the science is settled”, what the denialists hear is that CO2 may or may not be a greenhouse gas, and human activities may or may be increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere, and even if they are the increase may not have any effect at all because the “greenhouse effect” itself may not even exist, and that the whole fundamental basis of our understanding of climate change may be completely bogus, and that neither you nor any other climate scientist nor all of the world’s climate scientists can say or know anything at all about it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:28 PM

  190. > Did _anyone_ actually ever say “the science is
    > settled”? If so, who, where, why and when?

    http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=902

    He also said, among much else worth reading:

    “… the downside of those bozos getting the government
    they deserve is that I end up getting the government
    they deserve too.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:30 PM

  191. j. gordon:

    Phil Jones is finished, next year he will be lucky to have a job at a junior college in Siberia or a back office at an extreme liberal think tank in Colorado (a nicer place).

    And your qualifications to say this are what? Sorry, but there’s no reason at all to think Jones won’t be completely exonerated. I HAVE read through the emails and I didn’t see anything either unethical or illegal. Short-tempered, yes, but it’s hard not to get angry at ignoramuses accusing you of crimes and harassing you when you’re trying to get serious work done.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  192. Gavin, thanks for your reply and thanks as well for the new open dialogue that has ensued since the emails went public. I am even allowed to object to the use of “denier” now! I am curious to know where your confidence is coming from, though, that Jones and Mann will both be exonerated. Certainly in the case of the former, while you can parse “trick” and “hide” all you like, at a minimum he would like those emails back, especially in a day and age when any grown-up knows his emails should be written with the assumption that they could appear in the NYTimes the next day. And Mann’s insistence that no emails were ever erased hardly exonerates Jones’ request that they be so.

    As to the ‘settled science’, I am happy to give it a rest, and I will assume for the sake of argument that by your objection you mean that RC has moved past any scientific assumption that man-made emissions are the primary cause of significant, damaging, alarming and potentially catastrophic changes to the climate. That’s the “settled science” I am talking about, the unchallenged assumption (though it may be true) that I live with in my little corner of the teaching world. I expect you are talking about a different unsettled science.

    As to the angry emails you are getting, I think I can guess where that anger, born of a selfish fear of change, comes from. I am skeptical of the AGW science, to be sure, but I am not skeptical of our need to change our voracious lifestyles.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:34 PM

  193. Joe:

    the original paper appears to be rooted firmly in the field of physics, and authored by two professors of physics.

    BPL: And I have a degree in physics and I say their paper is crap of the purest ray serene. They should have had the competence not to make the mistakes they did, and the peer reviewers who let that paper be published ought to be fired.

    Their paper reduces to the proposition, “the second law of thermodynamics says you cannot transfer heat from a cold body to a warm one. Therefore, back-radiation from the cooler atmosphere cannot heat the warmer ground.”

    Well, they’re wrong. The second law says you can’t have NET heat transfer from a cooler body to a warmer one. And even that is only true if the heat isn’t pumped there by appropriately adding energy to the system. If G&T were right refrigerators wouldn’t work; the heat from the cooler interior couldn’t possibly warm up the radiator in back.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:46 PM

  194. harry — 2 December 2009 @ 7:47 PM
    This is the UKMO “strict” Conditions of Use (their description) -
    http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/data/surface/met-nerc_agreement.html
    You are not allowed to share restricted data with third parties “under any circumstances,” if you do they’ll take legal action.
    Also the German (even stricter by the look of it) -
    http://www.dwd.de/bvbw/appmanager/bvbw/dwdwwwDesktop?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=_dwdwww_menu2_leistungen_a-z_daten&T20411156401155013120927gsbDocumentPath=Navigation%2FOeffentlichkeit%2FDatenservice%2FAllgemein%2FForschung%2Fnutzungsbedingungen__ful__node.html__nnn%3Dtrue
    It took a fair bit of digging to find these, also many sites are not in English, or not the bits you suspect might be relevant, many are small – Bahrain for instance.
    This has to do with intellectual property rights (a huge issue in the age of the internet and often a minefield of conflicting interests), the need of met offices to fund their activities and pressure from governments to use as little taxpayer money as possible to do so. The Norwegian MO actually gives this as a reason for not translating everything!
    The World Meteorological Organization site is worth exploring to get a sense of how data sharing is a work in progress. It’s clear sharing a minimum of “essential” data has been the priority. Whether they make access to data “free and unrestricted” beyond this minimum amount is up to the the individual NMSs.
    http://www.wmo.int/
    For a list of minimum “essential” data -
    Annex I to Resolution 40 (Cg-XII)
    Data and products to be exchanged without charge and with no conditions on use -
    http://www.wmo.int/pages/about/AnnexItoRes40_en.html
    Also this pdf “Guidelines on Climate Data Management”-
    http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/gcos/documents/gruanmanuals/WCP_WCDMP/WCDMPNo60.pdf

    Comment by Moira Kemp — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  195. Hopefully there is a book in the offing:

    Canadian Green party leader Elizabeth May has done, here what most journalists have not: she read ALL the leaked emails and comments on the basis of primary sources.

    Her conclusion? We’ve been had.

    Elizabeth May: An Informed Look at the East Anglia Emails
    Richard Littlemore
    3 December 09
    http://www.desmogblog.com/elizabeth-may-informed-look-east-anglia-emails

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  196. Why should we trust anything we laypersons read on RealClimate now that we know that way that Mann has characterized your and his attempts to ‘actively shape’ opinion in the way you deal with comments, etc.?

    Comment by Larry Johnson — 2 December 2009 @ 5:13 PM

    Do you frequent any of the anti-AGW sites? (Rhetorical?) Do you know that WUWT, supposedly the most popular science blog, not only deletes comments, but bans people? (Rhetorical.) Let us know when your invective is as actively sprayed there.

    It is dishonest to come here whining about a moderation policy that is inline with moderation at any site wishing to maintain a certain direction, whether AGW-related or not, and use that moderation policy as a critique of the scientists themselves.

    This is particularly true when there is no evidence of any kind that any of the science has been anything but objectively done work.

    This sort of argumentation by assertion shows you are not someone to be taken seriously. The hypocrisy of it is mind-blowing. Unless, of course, you can point us to a post you made prior to this one at WUWT, et al.?

    Comment by ccpo — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  197. I think sceptic colloquially has a broader meaning that may be something closer to ‘agnostic’. That is someone who prefers that people provide adequate evidence to ‘convince’ them rather be asked simply to ‘believe’ another person because of a higher level of knowledge. In general you could fit me into that camp.

    There is a huge range of views on the other side of the argument ranging from genuinely sceptical scientists (Lindzen, Spencer) who don’t dispute facts, just outcomes, through arrogent bloggers and journalists who just like stirring things up and ending up with the raving loonies on the religious and/or conservative Right who you could legitimately call ‘deniers’.

    On the AGW point, I am pretty much convinced on the science that CO2 is causing global warming, but but have yet to be convinced about the extent of that warming or the projections of doom. Certainly none of the graphs of global temperatures, sea level rise or ice melt yet show any catastrophic change. In fact despite recent press coverage, the sea level rise appears to be moderating rather than accelerating.

    I am not alone in that confusion. I am with an earlier commentator here who likened the job of a Climate Scientist as closer to an economist than, say, an industrial chemist. Unfortunately I suspect the climate scientists’ models may be plagued with the same uncertainty in outcomes as the average economic model – but with an even longer period of time before we know whether they are right or wrong.

    Comment by Matthew L — 3 Dec 2009 @ 1:59 PM

  198. Thanks for all the considered replies Gavin!

    What I consider is an important step – There is already talk of legal charges being started by the “sceptics”. So many scientists have been called criminals and frauds. Why is no action being taken? Remember that the UK is the defamation capital of the world (guilty until you can prove innocence!). Reputations are already damaged so there should be a suitable cause for complaint.

    The release of these emails could just be a softener. A few awkward emails that have been verified as real has set the sceptics buzzing and started a fire in the media. I would have thought that the sceptics would have retained a number of emails etc. for release this weekend. Because of all the stuff of the last few weeks these do not even have to be real emails. Just cut the headers paste into your own juicy text and release. Denying the veracity of these would be to no avail because of prior valid mails.

    Is there anything that can be done to prevent this? Or do we all just sit back and let the heating continue!?

    Mike

    Comment by thefordprefect — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:02 PM

  199. 23 Is everyone on this “we do science” site braindead? re: comment 9, no, champ, tree rings form on the outside of the tree as layers of growth are added to the wood already grown. Didn’t anybody here take 7th grade science?

    Comment by Tom Wiita
    I noticed that too, Tom, but it is just reads badly, clumsily put. He knows his cambuim from his phloem really.

    Comment by Richard Lawson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  200. I think the remit of the inquiry looks about right, and as far as I can tell the chair seems fair.

    It’s kinda scary though. I think this will become the world’s judgment on climate science (well, to be more accurate, if the report is critical in any substantial way of the scientific case for AGW, it will be game over for Joe Public… however the reverse will not be true). It’s a real bind – you have to have a non-climate scientists heading the review, but this runs the risk that they don’t understand the issues. Famously, the case in the UK last year against An Inconvenient Truth had a judge ruling incorrectly on a number of scientific points he clearly didn’t understand. The implications of that happening again on this stage would be far more serious.

    On the other hand, if there IS any genuine systemic flaw in climate science (and I think the only unlikely-but-possible candidate is peer review), I want to know about it. There’s a helluva lot resting on Sir Muir Russell’s shoulders…

    Comment by Guy — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:28 PM

  201. Somewhat off subject, but I’m curious about the rational of climate change deniers in the form of climate change is natural occurence, and no matter how much arguing about the truth about tree rings is happening, and who’s right and who’s wrong about percentage figures………..

    Would efforts and energy be better spent directed towards the admission there’s a problem and it’s a biggie, something needs to be done, and it must be both viable and do-able as a matter of urgency.

    As I mentioned previously, does the biblical prophecy and the meek shall inherit the Earth actually refer to Jellyfish, because it certainly looks like it’s going that way, irrelevant of who’s to blame…………

    and I strongly suspect Climate Change is no longer an issue of who’s loafers are going to get wet, hockey stick or no hockey stick…………………

    Comment by Schmert — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:33 PM

  202. Ya know, it’s probably not so much climatologists as programmers whose language is the problem here.

    I mean, how many people here _haven’t_ ever been elegantly flamed by a programmer or sysop for something?

    Deservedly, mind you.

    It’s a vernacular in which those good at it take great pride, and to which they’re mutually immunized.

    I was taught this back in the VAX/300 baud acoustic coupler days:

    “… people who get their feelings hurt when their newbie question gets them flamed don’t understand what an honor it is to be considered worth the effort of flaming. Getting even that much attention means someone thinks you may have some slight chance of being improved by the treatment. Your job is to recognize how, and improve.”

    Imagine some of Usenet appearing in the newspaper articles.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:37 PM

  203. @Timothy Chase (#195)

    Um, are you saying the world at large or climate scientists? She makes it pretty clear (assuming I hit the right link there) that she thinks the climate scientists involved did nothing wrong.

    Comment by Jesse — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  204. Walter Manny wrote: “.. any scientific assumption that man-made emissions are the primary cause of significant, damaging, alarming and potentially catastrophic changes to the climate. That’s the ‘settled science’ I am talking about …”

    Good of you to clarify what you are talking about.

    All of those so-called “assumptions” are, in fact, actual empirical observations, and are, in fact, “settled science”.

    Anthropogenic GHG emissions are, in fact, the cause of rapid and extreme warming of the planet which is in turn causing rapid and extreme changes to the climate, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere and the biosphere. None of that is an “assumption”. None of that is a speculation or a mere hypothesis. It is actual, empirically observed fact.

    If you refuse to accept that, it’s not because there is any problem with the science. It’s because there is a problem with you. And the name of that problem is “denial” — a refusal to accept facts that you don’t like.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:39 PM

  205. Matthew L (197) — I encourage reading Mark Lynas’s “six Degrees”. Here is a review:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

    For a more thorough expostion of the end Permian extinction warming, read Peter D. Ward’s “Under a Green Sky”.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  206. Gavin, You have repeated on many occasions, that no data has been deleted or altered in any way. How can you be so sure bearing in mind the hugely decentralised data collection process. How is this sort of certainty derived from the ‘field’stations and into the data processing system.

    [Response: Because I know people who work at met services. Their whole business is to curate and deliver data and they are going to tremendous efforts to digitise older data, deal with inhomogeneities etc. Phil Jones has a 30 year commitment to providing the data to the community and it is completely out of the question that he deleted data that didn't exist somewhere else. I absolutely trust his integrity and statements on this. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:44 PM

  207. [All of the raw data is curated by the relevant Met. Services. - gavin]

    How can you know this is true without having access to a thorough audit trail of the data. (You can certainly hope it is true, but hope is not the same thing as direct knowledge.)

    Consider a specific number from CRU for June 30, 1956 — or pick another example, I don’t know CRU data. That number is 22. This number has been, via some mechanism that we are unsure of, derived from the raw data that, say, the Norwegian Met Office collected. Fine. But how do you know that the Norwegian Met Office still has an archive of that raw data. Files get lost. Tapes get erased. And so on.

    Now, needless to say, it is not CRU’s fault if the Norwegian Met Office has lost/deleted some data. But, unless you know for a fact that every piece of raw data that went into the calculation of the CRU derived data is still curated at the national met offices, you should not claim that it is.

    Is there anyone for us to know, specifically, what raw data from which stations went into an particular number at CRU?

    PS. Kudos to Gavin for taking so much time to answer these questions!

    Comment by David Kane — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:46 PM

  208. “On the AGW point, I am pretty much convinced on the science that CO2 is causing global warming,…”

    Truth is the daughter of time.

    Comment by Anand Rajan KD — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  209. Re: Comment by j gordon — 3 December 2009 @ 9:22 AM

    This is my only comment on a blog

    Thank god, because, really, does the world need another apologist for distortions and lies? I see nothing but a Trojan Horse Denialist in your post. To wit:

    1. Phil Jones is finished

    For wanting to keep bad science from being mixed with good? For wanting to keep people who are paid for their opinions out of a scientific inquiry by people who are paid for their science?

    And you come to this conclusion without knowing the full context. Emotion and intention is difficult to show in text. Was the context and tone one of hyperbole? Was it just a bad day at the office that quickly faded after a nice tea and forgotten altogether? Doesn’t the fact that both papers made it into the IPCC indicate to you that nothing rotten ever came of the rant? And further, are individual scientists not allowed opinions on how papers and authors should be treated?

    I, though not a scientist, would be completely comfortable with excluding Singer, for example, from any discussion of these issues because the data is irrefutable about his lack of scientific rigor (he doesn’t do any) and his biases (paid to dispute lung cancer/smoking connection, now paid to dispute anthropogenic GHG emissions and climate changes) show that he clearly does not belong at the table. Others mentioned in the e-mails are, in my opinion, on nearly as shaky ground.

    A hallmark of true scientific inquiry, particularly for a sceptic, should be that they do research and let the data speak for themselves. That a number of supposed sceptics do only anti-AGW “science” speaks volumes. If they were looking to simply understand the climate should there not be work in their histories that end up showing a mix of results, at worst? I mean, c’mon! With all the changes you can SEE AROUND YOU, how is it possible some of these people can on;y find evidence that says our eyes are lying to us? Why is it we should doubt the people who DO NOT have a conflict of interest and whose work is consistent with the observational record (our supposedly lying eyes)?

    2. The CRU data is finished…

    Why? Are we to allow illogic, infantile emotion-based reasoning and political gotcha!=ism to cause us to reject facts, truth and data? That you accept such a wrong-headed conclusion tells me that you are not much of a supporter of science or right vs. wrong. One should fight for what is right, not roll over and let good data be called a lie.

    “We threw away the raw data years ago…”

    Why repeat this lie? The raw data is still available, as responses here have clearly shown.

    …are none of your business”

    Who said this? The FOI request was rejected on the grounds that some of the data was proprietary. That said, if my e-mails were hacked and an old e-mail to an old girlfriend were then taken out of context and sent to my wife with the claim I was currently having an affair, how should I react? Should I then be asked a year later to make my e-mails available to the same person I know to have lied before about my e-mails?

    This is what you are advocating. McIntyre, Watts, et al, are not climate scientists, they do not do climate science, are not qualified, and have shown as singular willingness to be fast and loose with the issue of AGW science.

    It is insanity to trust these people with anything, let alone the fate of the world.

    3. I noticed that several of the sponsors of this web site received emails from Phil Jones. I am dismayed to not see a response

    Do you not read? I have seen more than one response in the several threads on this topic that make things unequivocably clear.

    I do not write to attack anyone

    And yet, you do.

    this story is about trust

    Indeed. As I said, Trojan Horse, imo.

    Comment by ccpo — 3 Dec 2009 @ 2:53 PM

  210. Gavin:

    I guess it is better to state the problem more specifically.
    Is it true that that some of the original data they started with was knowingly deleted? I.E. Someone made the conscious decision to destroy the original data knowing it was original data and once destroyed could not be verified that it was correct and unmodified?

    [Response: No. This is an insane suggestion. - gavin]

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:01 PM

  211. Re 206 & 207. David makes my point very well. Looking from the outside , its become clear that the data collection process and audit trail leaves much to be desired , and its not possible from your ‘central’ position, to provide assurances on the data without specific compliance information.

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  212. As to the ’settled science’, I am happy to give it a rest, and I will assume for the sake of argument that by your objection you mean that RC has moved past any scientific assumption that man-made emissions are the primary cause of significant, damaging, alarming and potentially catastrophic changes to the climate. That’s the “settled science” I am talking about, the unchallenged assumption (though it may be true) that I live with in my little corner of the teaching world. I expect you are talking about a different unsettled science.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 3 December 2009 @ 1:34 PM

    Unethical, immoral response.

    Comment by ccpo — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:12 PM

  213. “My argument with him is that AGW is almost certainly true and that his level of doubt (skepticisim) should reflect the consensus.”

    This thinking is illogical. The level of doubt should reflect the level of evidence and has nothing to do with ‘consensus’. Skeptics are not going to be less skeptical due to either vitriol or appeals to authority and see some of the peer-reviewed evidence as tainted. These CRU emails have tarnished the credibility of the IPCC-related climate scientists who have been found trying to suppress dissenting papers and views, so any ‘consensus’ based on it is equally suspect.

    Further, the least important question about AGW is whether it is “true”. Quantification of impacts is the real question. If doubling CO2 will increase temperatures by 0.8C, that makes AGW ‘true’, correct? Congrats, you and Prof Lindzen of MIT, a known ‘skeptic’, now agree about AGW being ‘true’. The point of disagreements are the myriad details underneath.

    #146 nails it – “Governments have fallen on a lot less.” Trust is hard to gain back.
    Now is the time for increased skepticism and scrutiny on all sides – gut-check all assumptions and derivations and data, and let the chips fall where they may.

    Comment by Patrick M — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:16 PM

  214. Gavin@54
    Your below answer fails to reach the inner parts of my brain. Could you please illustrate, in small chunks, by means of images, tables, graphs or whatever how this really works? Since I’m a “denialist”, I’m a bit hard to convince but once you convince me of this fabulous theory I will convert into an “alarmist”, worth a try isn’t it??

    Jokes aside, the fact is that this theory needs to be explain in layman terms since the common understanding is that CO2 is already doing 90% of the job it is capable of doing, adding magnitudes of more it would reach maybe 95%…you get the picture.

    [Response: Actually it's pretty easy once you think about it. Water vapour is the main overlap, so let's assume for arguments sake that at specific humidities that are typical of surface air completely saturate a particular frequency. Note that water vapour decreases rapidly with height. Now the surface water vapour will radiate at this frequency as well - some will go up, some will go down. The stuff that goes up will encounter less water vapour at each stage. By the time you get to the upper troposphere the water vapour level is down by 3 orders of magnitude - and will not be anywhere close to saturating the band. Thus there will always be a height somewhere below that where the CO2 absorption starts to kick in. Thus you are never going to be fully saturated in the whole atmosphere. The forcing values you read about (~4W/m2 for a doubling of CO2) takes that all into account. - gavin]

    [Response: Where did you get the idea that CO2 is doing 90% of what it can? CO2 forcing is logarithmic but that doesn't converge - the more CO2 there is the more of an effect it will have. Look at Venus if you don't believe me. The explanation I gave you is the reason why the water vapour overlap is a red herring. There is more discussion here. - gavin]

    Comment by Rob — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  215. I had written in 195:

    Hopefully there is a book in the offing:

    Then I quoted Richard Littlemore on DesmogBlog:

    Canadian Green party leader Elizabeth May has done, here what most journalists have not: she read ALL the leaked emails and comments on the basis of primary sources.

    Her conclusion? We’ve been had.

    Elizabeth May: An Informed Look at the East Anglia Emails
    Richard Littlemore
    3 December 09
    http://www.desmogblog.com/elizabeth-may-informed-look-east-anglia-emails

    Jesse responded in 203:

    @Timothy Chase (#195)

    Um, are you saying the world at large or climate scientists? She makes it pretty clear (assuming I hit the right link there) that she thinks the climate scientists involved did nothing wrong.

    Actually I was quoting Richard Littlemore at that point, and I believe that when he said, “Her conclusion? We’ve been had,” by “we” he is refering to all the reporters who did not read every one of those 3000 emails but had done little more than report on the break-in and parrot the propaganda of a well-oiled machine, and by extension, the media and the world.

    In any case, thank you for giving me the chance to clarify: I suspect that what she has to say may be of some importance.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:24 PM

  216. Re #206 & 207. David is quite correct.To ensure the statements you make are correct, you will need to have field station compliance reports to ensure that all the data in the analysis, is complete and correct. In the real world, this is often not perfect,but the actual error rate is known and can be used to judge the value of conclusions drawn. Gavin, the more times we see the absolute statements of ‘trust’, the more difficulty we have with credibility.

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:26 PM

  217. PS

    The well-oiled machine to which I refer above may or may not have been responsible for the specific break-in (and they may very well have been responsible for encouraging the other break-in attempts), but in either case it found this break-in to be a great opportunity. Words that it could twist in order to practice character assassination of key individuals, and by extension of an entire profession and branch of science.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:26 PM

  218. Gavin:

    Apparently I am not stating this correctly.
    Is it true that the University started with a set of data that they had in their possession?
    Is THAT data available?
    I could care less about some fragmented data somewhere else!

    [Response: Huh? If I can call the bus station and get the schedule whenever I want, then what difference does it make if I lost the handout I picked up last time I was there? You have got it completely backwards - keeping multiple copies of duplicate data is a recipe for dataset drift and confusion - look at the variations in the GHCN data for stations that had been digitised at different times. It is not the CRU's job to curate the raw datasets - that is the role of the National Met. Services. The fact that the data exists somewhere else is precisely the point. - gavin]

    I want to know about the data they actually working with when they started.
    “Transcription” errors are not unknown in science.

    [Response: Of course. That's why it's important that the long term trends are replicated by the other groups making different choices about how the stations are merged. If you want to verify that every station, at every month in the CRU (or GHCN) datasets is exactly the same as what was in the original data reports (usually hand written) and probably stored in basements across the world, you have your work cut out for you, but there is no reason why that wouldn't be possible in theory. - gavin]

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:38 PM

  219. In times of doubt, I usually ask a ninja. His conclusions and solutions seem a lot more plausible than most of yours.

    http://askaninja.com/node/4009

    Comment by Pat — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  220. additional comment to #206/7 & 17, these comments refer equally to CRU and NOAA/GISS datasets,of course.

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:45 PM

  221. I do feel bad for Gavin, I have no doubt he strongly feels he is right and that this is a tempest in a teapot. He has shown great fortitude for toughing out the comments here at RC. That being said, I posted here quite a long time ago warning that, true or not, allegations of data being hidden were a real threat to his postition. I was clear that I was a skeptic, but I had an open mind to things. That was enough for many hear to simply tell me I was an idiot because as a layman I should have just believed them and if I didn’t I was a fool. The very fact I was skeptical was proof I was a fool. (Not an exact quote, but that was the clear slant of the replies I got). I tried to tell people that if this AGW is true then they had the responsibility to nip these allegations in the bud by taking great efforts to be open and transparent, but I was pretty much told that it was a silly idea and not worth the effort.
    Unfortunately we now have a situation where, true or not, something has happened that could have been prevented. Yeah, some could have picked minor flaws in the the data/models/etc (if minor they were) and found fault, real or imagined, but now the press and the public is starting to have its doubts. A debate about methods and data confined to blogs is not what we now have. The court of public opinion is in session and you need new lawyers. If you are right about AGW, your belief that you could ignore the skeptics may have just killed us all. I am just a nobody, but I am one of many millions and millions of nobodies that vote. My attitude toward you know is even more skeptical and I tell people that fact. You might be right and all parties may be exonerated, but there is no denying that your position and clout has been reduced. If things are as critical as you say, you have harmed yourself as surely as if you had released these emails yourself.
    I would suggest letting your blog sit for a day or two, go have some wine and watch the sunset and think about things a bit. You may deny it to yourself, but you would be a fool to think this will just go away, or that if the investigations prove innocence then the issue is dead. It wont. If you really believe you are right about AGW, and that it all is as bad as you say, then if you do not do whatever it takes, distasteful as you find it, then you are no better then those you critisize. You cannot make your critics fly straight, but you know you are under a microscope, you must put every duck, macro duck, micro duck and even the nano ducks in a row and you need to do it fast. On the off hand chance there has been shady actions, come clean now. If they come out later, it will be even more damning and public opinion will start to swing against you (its probably fairly neutral at this point). If it truly swings against you, its all over no matter what the truth really is.
    If the books were cooked though, it is my deepest wish to see all the parties involved burn for it. Sorry, but if you have lied (and I don’t really believe you have), you deserve the very worst.

    Comment by Chris MCV — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  222. Where can I find a good argument for “runaway” climate change? Trying to educate myself. Thanks

    [Response: Our take was here. - gavin]

    Comment by Chris — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:53 PM

  223. Sure, the emails do little or nothing to undermine AGW as science but they do support McIntyre’s ongoing assertions that there is an unscientific type of obstruction going on.

    RealClimate folks don’t see it that way because you think you are “fighting the good fight” against his unreasonable attacks, but many of us in the peanut gallery would like to see his generally reasonable critiques of methods (e.g. the “upside down” Varve record) addressed in less oblique fashion. What’s the harm in that?

    [Response: Because the actual explanation is never accepted and still more insinuations and accusations follow. Stoat dealt with the Tjilander issue well and just repeating the same accusation over again when the answer isn't going to change is foolish. Dialog is a two way street. - gavin]

    Comment by Joe Hunkins — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:53 PM

  224. Sorry, I wasn’t sure it went through!

    [Response: Apologies, but multiple posts with the same content and odd links are a sign of spammers. - gavin]

    Comment by Woody — 3 Dec 2009 @ 3:59 PM

  225. A short interview about the CRU hack with science historian Spencer Weart at http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200912/20091203.html , Part Three at the bottom, about one quarter in.

    Comment by peter martin — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  226. Dont feel too bad for Gavin, he has taken a position freely without any pressure. As neither an AGW proponent nor a’denialst’, I am looking for some solid data on which to base some conclusions. I now understand that both major land temperature data-sets are derived from the same filed station data ( whether they both use all the stations is neither here nor there), and I have also understodd that the major satellite data-sets are ‘calibrated’ against these land stations data. Hence my repeated search for the compliance assurance of the field data raw numbers( missing data, errors, etc ).

    [Response: Satellite data are not calibrated against surface temperatures. They are indeed independent, as are the ocean temperatures, the snow cover records, the Arctic sea ice melt etc. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:07 PM

  227. but how do they turn satellite readings of some description into temperature data?

    [Response: Using the same radiative transfer theory that tells us that CO2 is part of the greenhouse effect. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:15 PM

  228. this is a wonderfully well written continuation of
    Hulme’s piece, yesterday.

    this is Daniel Henninger in today’s WSJ.
    [edit]

    [Response: No it isn't, this is the same self-congratulatory anti-science delusion that typifies the WSJ op-ed page. - gavin]

    Comment by Esmeralda Dangerfield — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:15 PM

  229. SecularAnimist (189) weighs in on a statement by Walter Manny:

    “… there appears still to be an insistence that AGW theory is settled science.”

    Yes, SA: As you point out, the greenhouse theory itself is “settled science” as is the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that it has warmed around 0.6°C over the 20th century (assuming the temperature records are correct), that humans have emitted CO2 and that atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased since measurements started at Mauna Loa around 1957.

    What is also “settled science” is that it has not warmed since the end of the 20th century despite continued all-time record increase in CO2, but has cooled instead by around 0.1°C (same caveat on the temperature record as above).

    What is NOT “settled science”, however, are the projections of major warming (2° to 6°C) by year 2100 due to AGW principally from human CO2 emissions, resulting in a major threat to our society and environment, as IPCC claims.

    It is always best to keep these things well defined and separated to avoid confusion, as I am sure Gavin will agree.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  230. Bill, care to tell us where you got your misinformation?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  231. That being said, I posted here quite a long time ago warning that, true or not, allegations of data being hidden were a real threat to his postition.

    I think the operative phrase here is “true or not”. This is precisely why the CA and WUWT have been screaming “fraud” for years. Because people like you will come along and say “true or not” …

    As the old saying goes … when did you stop beating your wife? True or not … I’m skeptical that you’re a decent human being. That’s all it takes, isn’t it?

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:20 PM

  232. Gavin ” If you want to see uncontrolled anger, then you should see the email we are getting – it’s pretty appalling stuff. ”

    I believe it! Pity that you are too ethical to openly share those damning emails. That said, those in denial have now defined the rules of ‘debate’, so it is extremely difficult not to exchange the threatening emails that you have likely been sent. I for one would fully understand if you did. Then again, maybe the police already are in possession of said threatening emails.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  233. Specifically for satellite data, how does instrument data from a satellite get converted into temperature without a calibration step somewhere? Your throwaway on radiative transfer theory doesn’t help me.

    [Response: Try the original papers on the subject (Spencer and Christy, 1990 for instance), or look at the RSS site. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  234. Gavin:

    Each unanswered question just points to another problem.
    Is it true that the University started with a set of data that they had in their possession? Yes or No?

    [Response: Playing at socrates is a lot of fun, but just repeating questions that have already been answered and discussed is silly. You are determined to find some smoking gun that will allow you to get all hot and bothered, and I'm telling you that you are wasting your time. You clearly don't trust me on that, so there is very little point in continuing this discussion. Go and read the CRU statements on the issue because I clearly can't help you any further. - gavin]

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:27 PM

  235. Thanks to Moira Kemp for taking the time to look for National Met Office data restrictions. Would you be able to comment on how these restrictions managed to be bypassed when Phil Jones supplied raw data to Georgia Tech’s Peter Webster? And why a subsequent FOI for exactly the same data supplied to Peter Webster was refused based on restrictions from NMOs?

    Comment by harry — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:28 PM

  236. Gavin:

    Could you point me to the CRU statements?

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:34 PM

  237. Microwave sounding measurements need calibration against some measure of temperature, I believe !

    Comment by Bill — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:36 PM

  238. Chris MCV (221) is correct in warning [IPCC and the climate scientists supporting the AGW premise of IPCC] that if there is an attempted cover-up now but “shady actions” “come out later, it will be even more damning and public opinion will start to swing against you”.

    This appears already to be happening based on a very recent US poll.
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/americans_skeptical_of_science_behind_global_warming

    “Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s Very Likely. Just 26% say it’s not very or not at all likely that some scientists falsified data.”

    As has been said, “perception is reality”. The only way to reverse this tide (if it can be done at all) is to be 100% open and transparent now, as Chris MCV writes.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:40 PM

  239. The more I think about this episode, and dealing with AGW deniers in general, the more I think about Hank’s reference to the tar baby in a post a while back:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_baby

    Like a dysfunctional relationship based on control and manipulation, there’s no dealing with these people.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 3 Dec 2009 @ 4:55 PM

  240. Couple of thoughts about the “deletion” (or not) of the raw data:

    1) Surely collation itself has some value. Obviously the expense of collecting all the data in one place is significant. They may not have deleted the raw data, but they certainly destroyed significant effort, and something that an outside observer would have thought was absolutely critical to their current and future work.

    2) So they’ve now been collecting new raw data for ~30 years and adding it on to their transformed data pre-1980? This seems fraught with issues. How can you be confident the transformations applied to 1990 data match the transformations applied to 1960 data if you don’t have the original 1960 raw data? How can you confidently mix data transformed in different ways into a coherent single series?

    Comment by AC — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:08 PM

  241. Rob@214 – I came across a nice chart on page 69 of this that shows the concentration of H20 by altitude.

    The crossover point for CO2 and H2O seems to be about 9km. Above that the CO2 level concentration is about 100 times that of H2O.

    The post “a-saturated-gassy-argument” that Gavin cited in his reply to you is a too hand-waving and dismissive to be convincing, but the citations at the end of it may be more valuable. The basic point seems to be that while CO2 is very near the saturation point, the residual amount level is significant enough to cause a small increase in temperature, enough that would be harmful. In fact, if the CO2 filtering were not already nearly saturated, humans would have become extinct a few decades ago by the rise in CO2 over the industrial era.

    Comment by jonc — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:14 PM

  242. Re: 183 Phil and 193 Barton:

    Thanks for the elaboration, both of you. As I said, my physics was a long time ago (although I was pretty OK at it) and needs brushing up if I want to pass comment on papers in the field. I’m well aware of my own limitations in that way :)

    My point was simply the risk of offering up ammunition to people who may not be aware of their own limits, nor be interested in expanding those limits. There seem to be plenty of such people on both sides at the moment and, as far as I’m concerned, the less random noise out there the better ;)

    Comment by Joe — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:20 PM

  243. #156
    John MacQueen says:
    3 December 2009 at 10:30 AM
    Gavin, the real issue as I see it is this.

    The climate scientists involved are presenting “evidence” intended to drive human civilization into sweeping changes that impact every facet of our civilization to a degree not seen since the industrial revolution, if even then.

    And you have it completely backwards: The climate scientists involved are presenting “evidence” showing that we are conducting an experiment with the world’s climate that will drive human civilization into sweeping changes that impact every facet of our civilization to a degree not seen since the industrial revolution, if even then. They are further suggesting that we should stop doing so!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:21 PM

  244. Oh, thanks Ray @ 168 as well – on the basis of that review, I may have to give it more than the cursory skim I have so far. If it really is that bad then I might even break my own rules and pass an opinion on something that I’m not fully conversant with!

    Comment by Joe — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:24 PM

  245. @ John Cooknell — 3 December 2009 @ 9:35 AM
    “Brian but what trend?”
    http://pjy.hubert.free.fr/ABER/Image14.gif
    “So is Climate Change indicated by an extremely wet summer causing summer flooding, or summer drought like 2003 caused by increasing numbers of heatwaves.”
    You are mistaken if you think that extreme rainfall events cannot occur during periods of drought. Here in central NC where I live we had the driest year on record(but barely getting into the technical definition of “Drought” because of the rain we had last fall), but the current news(on TV as I type this) is of flooding caused by an extreme rainfall event. We’re still behind our normal annual rainfall. Models predict this sort of anomalous (and expensive; flooding, crop damage by early drought and late excess rainfall) behavior. Observations confirm the models are correct.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:26 PM

  246. Gavin:

    Not sure if your one person or many, but I have searched the CRU site and cannot find any statement about the data they started their AGW research with, or if they presently have it.

    And this is not about playing, and I take affront to your attitude and arrogance. Especially about playing Socrates. He was a great man and should not be belittled by your inability to answer a proper question. I don’t know is a perfectly valid and understandable answer.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:28 PM

  247. How critical is the original data that the research was done with. Put it this way. Nobody goes back and repeats the Michelson Morley Experiment to show that there is no ether each and every time they do basic research in astronomy. C is constant no matter which direction you face.

    Science works because one person finds one thing, then others build on that. If the first thing is wrong, then the next conclusion is also tainted, and the next, and the next. Each research conclusion depends on the previous being proper. If the original is wrong, the error is often not caught until many have a vested interest. I.E. Global Cooling in the 70′s.

    But then you and the CRU know this – don’t you.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  248. Bruce (Re. #233): NASA’s remote sensing tutorial has a primer on how satellites measure temperature in the atmosphere, which might be easier to understand than the primary literature:

    http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect14/Sect14_3.html

    Scroll down to “The 3-D Atmsophere: Atmospheric Sounders”:

    “Atmospheric sounders generally make passive measurements of the distribution of IR or microwave radiation emitted by the atmosphere, from which vertical profiles of temperature and humidity through the atmosphere may be obtained. Oxygen or carbon dioxide is usually used as a “tracer” for the estimation of temperature profiles since they are relatively uniformly distributed throughout the atmosphere, and hence atmospheric temperature sounders often measure radiation at wavelengths emitted by these gases.

    Comment by R Simmon — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  249. Bill #237 – why do you think that the satellites need calibration?

    Comment by guthrie — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:42 PM

  250. “100% open and transparent now”

    But where does 100% open and transparent end? Perhaps every climate scientist should have a keytracker on their computers and a tap on their phones, continually transmitting data to the internet. And all scientific meetings should be held in one of those “Reality TV” houses so that no shady conversations in side-corridors will go unrecorded…

    Comment by Marcus — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  251. I think the operative phrase here is “true or not”. This is precisely why the CA and WUWT have been screaming “fraud” for years. Because people like you will come along and say “true or not” …

    As the old saying goes … when did you stop beating your wife? True or not … I’m skeptical that you’re a decent human being. That’s all it takes, isn’t it?

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 December 2009 @ 4:20 PM

    OK, so I am walking down the street and some guy screams at me to get out of the way of the bus that is going to hit me. Problem is, I don’t see any bus. Maybe he knows something about a bus that is due, but it does not change the fact that I don’t see the bus, and nobody around me sees the bus. Some guy comes up and says, “I don’t believe you, show me why you say that”
    Bus warning guy shows a bus schedule but all the times are lined out and new times are written in, all the while yelling at other people about the bus coming to hit us all. Now this bus schedule, its handwritten on a paper grocery bag and nobody seems to have a real one. The other guys says a bus might be coming, but its on schedule and not out to kill us. A huge debate ensues between bus guy and question guy with some folks believing one or the other. I don’t know bus schedules, I only know there are buses that come down the road. So I don’t know which guy is correct. Bus guy has lots of folks yelling about mad buses coming to kill everyone, but I still don’t see a bus. Yeah, there may be a bus, but I see them all the time and they never killed anyone before. Who do I believe? When the killer bus people start calling me an idiot for wondering who the heck is right, my reaction is not going to be favorable to them. Sorry, its human nature. Is there a killer bus, I am no closer to knowing and killer bus guy was just shown talking about his trick to show the times on bus schedule ‘adjusted’ certain way. It might be innocent, but lemme tell you, it just makes me wonder if all these killer bus people have lost their minds. And no, the average person is probably not going to go digging through the history of bus traffic on this road. They are going to say ‘aint never seen no killer buses yet’ and move on.

    I’m sorry the world is not perfect and people are trying to discredit your work, but, well, tough. You are making what appear to many to be extreme claims. Yeah, you don’t see it that way, but it isn’t about your perception or you knowledge of the facts, its about theirs. Life sucks, and if your right, it appears you are going to have to go to extremes to overcome the perception in many that your just ‘crazy killer bus people’.
    If I was just a ‘denialist’ I would be celebrating this fiasco, fact is though its a dangerous thing indeed. The field of science has suffered a tremendous black eye, deserved or not. Yup, there it is, that true or not thing. I am sorry I dare to question or doubt the words of people who appear to have been playing fast with the numbers, but millions are not even willing to give you the benefit of the doubt I am willing to give. You can say it isn’t true all you want, but it’s going to take a lot more then that to really get people to really trust you about these things.

    Its your challenge, good luck with it. I am glad it is not me in that position. On one hand, I hope that if your right you manage to get the truth out there, but I also hope your wrong about AGW because the consequences are dire.

    Comment by Chris MCV — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  252. Max says ,”What is also ‘settled science’ is that it has not warmed since the end of the 20th century despite continued all-time record increase in CO2, but has cooled instead by around 0.1°C.” Utter bull. As has been documented here, competent statistical analysis of temperature trends over the last decade show continued warming. Now, you may offer a different statistical analysis, and make some claim for competence, but you will at best be in a minority of those with such analyses on offer. So it’s purely bunk for you to claim that your (minority, variant) analysis of the statistics constitutes a “settled science” consensus. Since you’re obviously not an idiot, charitably what should we call you when you make that claim?

    Comment by Whit Blauvelt — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  253. Chris MCV:

    “If the books were cooked though, it is my deepest wish to see all the parties involved burn for it.”

    Are you willing to express the same sentiment about the anti-climate scientists, bloggers, and such?

    Comment by Marcus — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  254. #197

    “Certainly none of the graphs of global temperatures, sea level rise or ice melt yet show any catastrophic change.”

    Nor does the science suggest we would see ‘catastrophic’ sea level rise this century.

    So what’s it to be? Act based on the science, or deny the science and wait for 50 years and then say “Ooops, those pesky scientists were right after all!”

    Let’s be clear. The inertia in the system means that if we don’t get emissions declining before 2030, CO2 is going to pass 550ppm. That commits you to 3 degrees, and there is nothing (save extremely dubious and potentially catastrophic interference with the atmosphere via geoengineering) you can do about it.

    You approach is akin to saying “I refuse to believe this is a minefield, despite the mine clearance expert telling me it is. But I /will/ believe it’s a minefield when I step on a mine. So I don’t need his advice.”

    Comment by Silk — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:51 PM

  255. Re #239 and the tar baby.

    Like it or not, you are already entangled. It does not matter if you stumbled on your own ethics or tripped over a skeptics trap, people only see the break in stride. I want as many minds on this trying to figure it out as possible, so I am glad people are looking closely at this. I want the data checked and double checked until there is no doubt one way or another. I don’t want to hear that allowing people to check your data is a waste of time and not worth your time when my taxes are paying for your work and it is my future and my childrens futures that are at stake. That is just not good enough. At least I am fair enough to tell you exactly how I feel and why I feel that way, many are just going to tell you to take a hike.

    Comment by Chris MCV — 3 Dec 2009 @ 5:55 PM

  256. What I get from the stolen-emails controversy so far is:

    - Some opponents of climate protection not only lie and cheat but also steal.
    - A well-funded and -planned campaign of climate disinformation continues both to distort and deny climate science and to try to discredit the scientific process.
    - Many reporters and editors remain ill-informed about climate-science fundamentals and about how science works.
    - Robust discussions are a vital tool for sorting truth from error.
    - Peer review is not an infallible error-detector, but beats none.
    - Some people, including some scientists, can be untactful and indiscreet, especially in communications they think are private. These human traits are unrelated to the merits of their views.
    - Ambiguities can easily be taken out of context and out of proportion to reverse their intended meaning. A skilled effort devoted to this deception now threatens scientific and policy leaders with political harm for frank expression. They may learn greater care and discretion in their choice of words, but their public duty demands not less but even more clarity, candor, and transparency. Efforts to intimidate through falsehood, like the current media circus over the stolen e-mails, continue to merit merit exposure and contempt.

    None of this is new. In time it will pass, and climate science may well be the stronger for it. As we learn more about who stole and published the emails at this sensitive time, how, and why, climate protection too may benefit from greater insight into the manufactured-doubt industry.

    What seems to be missing from this conversation, though, is an appreciation of why this flap doesn’t matter: not only because climate science rests on such numerous, diverse, and independent lines of evidence and inference that its findings remain highly robust, but also because *whether you believe climate change is real and threatening or not, we should do the same things anyway just to save money (because saving fuel is cheaper than buying fuel, and productive forests are worth more than dead logs) and to improve our security.*

    In other words, what you do about energy shouldn’t depend on your opinion about climate science, nor about whether you most care about prosperity, security, or environment. If the public debate about climate focuses on outcomes, not motives, it can reach broad consensus. And if in Copenhagen we start to correct a pernicious sign error—assuming from economic theory that climate protection is costly, rather than learning from business experience that it’s profitable (see http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library/C05-05_MoreProfitLessCarbon)—then we can shift the conversation from cost, burden, and sacrifice to profits, jobs, and competitive advantage. This sweetens the politics enough to melt any remaining resistance faster than the glaciers.

    I hope more climatologists will add this concept to their normal remarks about climate science. The science was and remains clear, but for other compelling reasons, we should do the same things even if it weren’t.

    Comment by Amory B. Lovins — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  257. Maybe researches should copy right their e-mails.

    Comment by Mike — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:04 PM

  258. Re 189 SecularAnimist:

    SA, not sure if you’re aware but Gavin is a fairly experienced climate scientist who is probably fully aware of the science and issues surrounding AGW.

    What I understand by his comments about the “settled science” stuff is in relation to the political / media line that “we know exactly how it all works, there is no question remaining to be answered and no more knowledge is needed”. While that may be good as a way of getting it across to the general public, it’s not something that any decent scientist would entertain – regardless of their informed position regarding AGW.

    Firstly, assuming that AGW is a fact, there are still huge questions about how bad it might become, how much and in what ways “nature” might respond to negate or exacerbate it and what the scientifically (as opposed to politically) best ways to deal with it are. That means that there is more science to do.

    Secondly, I imagine that he would even accept that there is always a (small but real) possibility that the trends which indicate AGW just might be caused by a currently unknown natural forcing. Just because they can’t explain current warming without a human effect doesn’t, in some Sherlock Holmes type way, actually prove that there is no other possible explanation. Until a few years ago, medical science was quite clear that ulcers were a result of stress, then two guys proved that at least some were caused by bacteria and saved an awful lot of people suffering.

    That’s how science works, and why considered scepticism (as opposed to unthinking denial) is important even when there is a strong existing consensus – I’d certainly rather develop an ulcer now than 20 years ago!

    Unfortunately, headline statements that “the science is settled” seem to have been popular over the past few years. I honestly can’t remember ever seeing an actual scientist quoted as saying it but there have been plenty of headlines to the effect that “scientists say it’s settled”.

    Comment by Joe — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  259. “Yes, SA: As you point out, the greenhouse theory itself is “settled science” as is the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that it has warmed around 0.6°C over the 20th century (assuming the temperature records are correct), that humans have emitted CO2 and that atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased since measurements started at Mauna Loa around 1957.

    What is also “settled science” is that it has not warmed since the end of the 20th century despite continued all-time record increase in CO2, but has cooled instead by around 0.1°C (same caveat on the temperature record as above).”

    And now it seems the assumption that the temp records put forward are accurate is basically impossible to test for with the original data set not being available, and adjustments not able to be examined.

    I would think someone could easily pick up some funding in the current political climate to start a large scale project to reconstruct the temperature records and all involved both deniers and believers could support such an effort done openly and transparently with a 100% solid audit trail.

    Who would object?

    Comment by John MacQueen — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:13 PM

  260. Jim Bouldin (239)

    The “Tar Baby” analogy is not that far off. Wiki recommends avoiding contact or separation.

    Problem is, it is too late “not to touch” the “tar baby”, Jim. It has been “touched” and is “sticking”. It will not “separate” by ignoring it or by simply saying that it does not matter.

    And “tricking” Br’er Fox to toss Jones, Mann et al. into the briar patch won’t work, either.

    Believe me, the only thing that will work is full disclosure, honesty and transparency.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:14 PM

  261. I have been slowly reading through the hacked emails. In general, they seem pretty mundane, but one in particular raised alarm bells with me, namely http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=424&filename=1092418712.txt I’m not sure if I am reading the emails correctly (or in the correct order), and they could of course be fake. That said, one possible interpretation is that a paper under review has been shared outside the usual review process. In fact, I’m struggling to find an interpretation other than that, but I’m entirely willing to put that down to a lack of familarity with the field. Any clarifications gratefully accepted!

    Comment by Hugh Hickey — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:15 PM

  262. Unfortunately, those politicians and media entities that speak out on global warming will be taken by the average person to be speaking for the position. The scientists have indeed stated the possible errors and such, but others do say it is all settled. Its not fair to them, but it is how it is perceived.

    Comment by Chris MCV — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:16 PM

  263. #244

    The science is sufficiently ‘settled’ for us to act. (Not that I’m accusing you of denying that)

    The threat is there. We ‘know’ it’s real. We certainly know a lot less about the impacts but what we do know suggests that they are very bad. We know it costs less to avoid the problem now than try to fix it later (Stern Review).

    We also know (see latest IEA reports) that our current use of energy is unsustainable in a shorter period of time than the climate problem (peak oil in two decades or less?! Yikes!!)

    And we know we have the technologies to start to make a difference, and the skills and resources to improve those technologies to make a massive difference.

    so while I agree there’s more science to be done, it is now time for action. (It was in 1992). I’m off to Copenhagen tomorrow. That’s rather exciting. I hope we get something good done, or our children are going to be really pissed off with us in 30 years.

    Comment by Silk — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:20 PM

  264. Gavin, here are also links to some good, fact-based reporting on the hack which you may want to add to the updates:

    Interview with Jim Hanson: http://www.newsweek.com/id/224178

    Two excellent articles by Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground:
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1392

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389

    It’s a relief to finally some cogent, logical reporting come out on this, although the first Wunder Blog was within a day or two of the hack.

    Comment by Shirley — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:22 PM

  265. “Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s Very Likely. Just 26% say it’s not very or not at all likely that some scientists falsified data.”
    manacker — 3 December 2009 @ 4:40 PM quoting Rasmussen Reports

    Do you think they will get the fate they expect, or the fate they deserve? How about their chilluns ‘n’ gran’chilluns?
    I don’t have and won’t have children, so this question is of academic interest only to me. One of my curmudgeonly friends is fond of saying “evolution in action” in response to reports of stupidity leading to adverse consequences.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:31 PM

  266. In response to #233 :
    Gavin, are you referring to the same Spencer and Christy who RealClimate (21 May 2008) charged with committing “serial errors in the data analysis”?
    link :

    Comment by Vodkman — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  267. Amory Lovins, who is one of my personal heroes in this world, wrote: “None of this is new. In time it will pass, and climate science may well be the stronger for it.”

    That may be true. The question is, what good will it do us to have “stronger climate science” in a world where greed-driven dishonesty, denial and obstruction have succeeded in delaying action until anthropogenic global warming has made the collapse of the Earth’s biosphere irrevocable?

    Will there be some satisfaction in having science that is “strong” enough to permit us to observe, document and fully understand in great detail the process of extinction of most life on Earth, including the human species, while it is unfolding before our eyes?

    As commenter Silk alludes to above, the time for action is not “now”. The time for action was 1992, if not earlier. By that time the science was already sufficiently “settled” that we knew that urgent action was needed to quickly reduce GHG emissions. Instead we allowed emissions to not only increase but to accelerate for another generation.

    Climate scientists now understand that the situation is much worse than they thought it was even a few years ago.

    And I will confidently predict that within a very few more years, they will come to understand that the situation is far worse than they can even conceive of now.

    The fact is, the deniers, delayers and obstructors have succeeded. Their triumph will be trillions of dollars in profits for the fossil fuel corporations, and the extinction of the human species.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:43 PM

  268. Dr. Jeff Masters’ latest piece is one of the best I’ve seen yet. I highly recommend it. He promises another entitled “don’t shoot the messenger” over the weekend.

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:45 PM

  269. Just for comparison, here’s a comment about a “war” in the Economics field — that sounds _very_ familiar. Apparently they don’t consider one another’s methods reliable:

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2009/12/the-civil-war-in-development-economics.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:56 PM

  270. “Response: Where did you get the idea that CO2 is doing 90% of what it can? CO2 forcing is logarithmic but that doesn’t converge – the more CO2 there is the more of an effect it will have. Look at Venus if you don’t believe me. The explanation I gave you is the reason why the water vapour overlap is a red herring. There is more discussion here. – gavin”

    The invocation of Venus is a red herring. Venus has an atmosphere that is 98% CO2. The conentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is 0.038%. Also the geology and planetary dynamics is completely different from Earths.

    Being logarithmic, the ability of co2 to absorb more radiation declines with increasing concentration. That is why you need your preponderance of positive feedbacks to amplify the co2 influence on climate forcing.

    [Response: The real world is what it is and doesn't care if someone 'needs' it to be any particular way. And the logarithmic nature of the CO2 forcing is something that has been known and used for decades - at least back to Plass and maybe Arrenhius, and is why we have always talked about the response to doubled CO2 and not the warming per ppmv. Pretending that this is some new discovery that has only just been discovered might work elsewhere, but here it just makes you look silly. -gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 3 Dec 2009 @ 6:56 PM

  271. Joe (245) wrote:

    “I honestly can’t remember ever seeing an actual scientist quoted as saying it but there have been plenty of headlines to the effect that “scientists say it’s settled”.

    At a December 1997 Kyoto press conference, climate scientist and IPCC Chair from 1997-2002, Robert Watson, was asked about the growing number of climate scientists who challenge the conclusions of the UN on AGW. He responded, “The science is settled, [and] we’re not going to reopen it here.”
    http://sovereignty.net/p/clim/kyotorpt.htm

    This is apparently the first time a climate scientist made this statement.

    US President Bill Clinton said at a June 1997 hearing, “The science is clear and compelling”. At the same hearing US VP Al Gore agreed that the “debate is over”.

    But these two are not scientists, so I guess it was Robert Watson who first said this.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:00 PM

  272. “It is not the CRU’s job to curate the raw datasets – that is the role of the National Met. Services. The fact that the data exists somewhere else is precisely the point. – gavin”

    No. It is not the point. There is no audit trail for CRU data products precisely because they discarded the raw data provided to them. Your argument is toally spurious. CRU should have maintained the original data for no other reason than to provide a linkage to it’s “value added” products.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:03 PM

  273. Joe (245) became Joe (258).

    Comment by manacker — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:03 PM

  274. “….an effort done openly and transparently with a 100% solid audit trail.
    Who would object?”
    John MacQueen — 3 December 2009 @ 6:13 PM

    Oh, I could think of 40 billion reasons why Exxon/Mobil might object. Or Peabody Coal. Or CEI. Or the Heartland institute. They want to be able to control the debate; which is why they vilify the IPCC, and will attack any new group that threatens their constituencies, regardless of how open, transparent, and well audited it is.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:04 PM

  275. I too am frustrated with Pat Michaels. However, if it were not for that frustration I may not have come to the conclusions I reached when first as an interested person began reading on climate change several years ago.
    I read some of Mr. Michaels’s cutsey stories and found examples of how he misrepresented facts. For example let’s discuss Pat Michaels from the Exxon-funded Cato Institute featured on a video I saw back then.
    Several years back, Michaels wrote that the average summer daytime temperature at Kalispell, MT, which he claimed was the station nearest Grinnell Glacier, had not changed. He was criticizing Al Gore and Max Baucus for going to Grinnell Glacier to point out that global warming was causing glaciers to melt. I looked into the claim—even called the Park’s glaciologist, Dan Fagre, who seems to shun politics.
    I can’t show the slide here of temperatures in the area because it is not copying into the comment section. However, it you call me I’ll email it. 406-696-2842.

    Michaels’ data and his methodology were faulty. Drawing data from one point only, like Kalispell, is akin to asking one person what he thinks and then reporting the results as a survey. Actually, even using one point like Kalispell, the data shows a temperature rise. That data was available on the web at the time Michaels wrote his article. He ignored it. As depicted on this slide, the data also indicate a rise for the region. That data includes the station at Babb, MT, which (contrary to what Michaels claimed) is closer to Grinnell than Kalispell. And the average includes data from the other stations in the box. Therefore it is more statistically significant than Michael’s approach. Would you call Michael’s approach “a triumph of science over superstition?” That wording was used in praise of Michael’s book by a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, which having received at least $960,000 in funding from Exxon-Mobil has found a way to put a tiger in its think-tank. Michaels should resign his research position at the University of Virginia.
    The unassailable fact is that three-quarters of the earth’s fresh water is tied up in the world’s 160,000 glaciers, most of which are melting—one cause of sea level rise.
    In Montana, we do not have to take the IPCC’s word for it. Many of us have watched Grinnell Glacier dwindle. We’ve hiked to it as kids and adults. Gary Braasch’s photos are convincing views of how 90 years of melting since 1911 has taken its toll.
    We know that when Glacier National Park was created in 1910 it held approximately 150 glaciers. Now, according to Dan Fagre, the Park’s glaciologist, fewer than 27, greatly shrunken glaciers remain—down from 50 glaciers in 1968. I have not spoken with Fagre since the 2005 melt was measured, so the number might be less than 27. Fagre was recently quoted as saying that some glacieral fed streams in the Park have gone dry or underground in late summer—including one that runs by the Lodge on Lake McDonald. We can call it “Used-To-Be Glacier Park” by 2022 when the ice is all gone. How will that affect Montana’s number two industry, tourism? Maybe folks will travel to Montana to view photos of how the Park used to look.

    Comment by Russ Doty — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:06 PM

  276. 247:
    From what I understand CRU had some original data which they recalibrated (i.e. changed in some way) but then deleted the original data. In terms of traceability this is a major problem especially if people are going to question the validity of their results.

    If they had the original data they could run the data processing and re-create the existing data set, as long as they had not ‘lost’ the computer-code as well.

    As a supposed world class centre they should have kept full traceability between original data and their processed results together with historical versions of the data processing source code etc.

    If CRU cannot repeat the process of turning the original data into the current datasets, then their current datasets should be treated as suspect – there is no accurate way to determine the amount of change introduced by data processing i.e. how are the original values reflected in the current numbers .

    No matter how anyone spins it: no traceability = no reliability.

    CRU appear to have completely ignored basic practices and if so they deserve all the flack they are going to get.

    Comment by phil cunningham — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  277. Jim and Hank, #239- Tar Baby is a really good way to put it. I’ve been engaged in futile arguments with deniers for years, especially since 2007 on Dot Earth.

    I fully understand why Jones and others reacted the way they did. It makes you a little nuts after about the fourteenth paid blogger says “it’s cooling”, “CO2 is a minor issue”, etc. After a while you realize that they have not been discussing this in good faith- they may even know the realities, but their goals are obfuscation and distraction. That’s why we feel full of tar- by participating in nonsensical arguments, you feel soiled and even ridiculous yourself.

    Nice to hear from Amory. I agree that the context of energy development that is both clean and cost effective has been neglected in the climate discussion. The problem is this: even apparently reputable power cost analyses (ethree, Lazard) include difficult assumptions. Utilities and CST companies consider feasibility and even negotiated prices proprietary. Scaling up sometimes means more unit cost.

    A lot of unknowns, in other words. But if CST or geothermal can really go head to head with coal- wind is pretty close already- large upcoming deployments will answer that question.

    Comment by mike roddy — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:12 PM

  278. re 264 Shirley:

    My only reservation on the hacker theory is the continued assertion that it was to “a backup mail server” – suggesting a dedicated server.

    It seems unlikely that the code and data files would have been on such a server and, if a hack to a dedicated mail server gave access to other areas, then someone in the University’s IT department should probably be reading the job pages about now.

    Comment by Joe — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:14 PM

  279. “If the books were cooked though, it is my deepest wish to see all the parties involved burn for it.”

    Are you willing to express the same sentiment about the anti-climate scientists, bloggers, and such?

    Bloggers, no, they are not paid (unless you can prove otherwise). If ‘anti’ scientists cooked the books, then yes, absolutely they deserve the same. The big difference, these guys are not private researchers, they are working in public institution and are paid by tax dollars. They have to answer to me as a tax payer. A scientist working for exxon does not. No its not fair, but until I am a big shareholder, they do not work for me.

    Comment by Chris MCV — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:18 PM

  280. There’s a pretty pointed reference to the UAH satellite glitch in the Santer email. Borne of a bit of exasperation?

    It amuses me when sceptics decide the UAH record is most reliable – not because they know anything about how it works, or its history of corrections, but because they like its data better.

    Comment by tharanga — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  281. manacker (229) — This decade is the warmest on record; use any of the four major global surface temperature products.

    The fact that you are wrong about this small, easily checked, matter should suggest to readers here that other of your assertions may well also be flawed.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:20 PM

  282. @Joe @55 If you have looked at the data – fort he raw data – then you should know how many stations are involved. But you don’t seem to know, and offer suggested figures as examples.

    Comment by Adrian Midgley — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:21 PM

  283. Has anyone ascertained as yet whether or not the CRU emails were stolen by an outside hacker or released by an inside whistleblower?

    I have seen blog opinions on this (which point to an inside whistleblower) but nothing definitive.

    Comment by manacker — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:22 PM

  284. RE #261

    You seem shocked at the very act of sharing the reviewed manuscript with other people apart from those specified by the editor. Do you really think that kind of misdemeanour is special to climatology? It may be against the rules by it probably does not normally do much harm. Each example is a special case and I am not going to comment any more on that one.

    Michael Schlesinger is in favour of taking the sharing one step further and having open on line reviewing:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/more-on-the-climate-files-and-climate-trends/

    but that would solve some problems while introducing a very serious new one i.e. that junior reviewers without tenure might be scared to highlight faults in the work of a senior colleague who might be his or her future prospective boss.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:24 PM

  285. [Response: Huh? If I can call the bus station and get the schedule whenever I want, then what difference does it make if I lost the handout I picked up last time I was there? You have got it completely backwards - keeping multiple copies of duplicate data is a recipe for dataset drift and confusion - look at the variations in the GHCN data for stations that had been digitised at different times. It is not the CRU's job to curate the raw datasets - that is the role of the National Met. Services. The fact that the data exists somewhere else is precisely the point. - gavin]

    Huh!?! The correct analogy would be that you would need to call a different phone number for every line in the schedule to put together a complete schedule yourself. Then you would truly realize what difference it makes if you lost the handout. While it’s not the CRU’s job to curate the raw data, they would have been doing the community a great service by not deleting or losing that data, or better yet, passing it to someone who would be willing to curate it. I think that speaks volumes about the CRU’s commitment to the science.

    Comment by B.D. — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:30 PM

  286. Please have a read.

    Comment by Erica Rex — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:38 PM

  287. To the skeptics’ argument that the “climate does not show warming for the last 10 years” I offer this logical exercise:

    1) IF you think the climate has “stagnated” during the last 10 years
    2) AND IF you think climate is within its natural variability and is unpredictable
    3) AND IF you think 10 years is a significant period to conclude about climate’s trend

    THEN why during this 10 years of stagnation there hasn’t been any _significant_ cooling trend? IF you believe 2) and 3) are true, the climate should have followed the random walk and declined the temperature closer to the alledged thousands of years mean temperature already.

    The only reasonable response from the critics should be exactly what is not often heard from them: 10 years is too short period to tell anything about the climate development. This is contrary to their original claim (see the beginning).

    Comment by anonymous Finn — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:40 PM

  288. Gavin, thanks for posting all of this stuff over the past few days. You’re one of the few people who’s taken an honest approach to this issue and provided good information about what is actually going on. I appreciate it.

    On the other hand, some of our best op-ed sections make me want to do this.

    5rtf4ujih8kookiuyh7jrf

    (that’s what happens when you hit your head against the keyboard)

    Comment by John Elias — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:46 PM

  289. Dr. Gavin Schmidt,

    You are a busy man and intelligent. I do think that carbon dioxide does produce some warming of the Earth via IR absorption. But from the NASA web site Mission statement on the IR telescope WISE here is what they claim.

    “Can we see IR from the ground, or do we have to be in space?
    Some parts of the near infrared spectrum make it through the atmosphere. And a few windows of longer wavelengths make it to the ground as well. But most infrared is absorbed by the atmospheric greenhouse gases, especially water vapor.

    How high do you have to get up in the atmosphere to see clearly in the infrared?
    You need to get above most of the water vapor in the atmosphere. There have been planes and balloons fitted with telescopes that go up into the stratosphere to observe infrared. Space is the best place to detect or “see” infrared, however.”

    The reason they have to launch this telescope in space is because most of the Infrared is already absorbed. That is why the “Tipping Point” scenerio is hard for me to believe as a potential reality. If so much IR is already absorbed that they have to launch the telescope into space, I don’t know that it would make much difference if more water evaporated or methane was released from the permafrost. If most the energy is already absorbed as NASA claims, then no matter what GHG you put into the atmosphere could only add the little bit extra heat. I am probably wrong in my conclusion and I am sure you are bright enough to answer my question.
    Thanks!

    Comment by Norman — 3 Dec 2009 @ 7:49 PM

  290. Walter Manny, re: “..it has not warmed since the end of the 20th century..”

    FYI, UAH lower troposphere statellite temperature anomalies:

    Five year average 1996-2000: +0.132
    Latest five years to November: +0.237

    Comment by Garry S-J — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:02 PM

  291. SecularAnimist — 3 December 2009 @ 2:39 PM:

    In your list regarding the effects of Green House Gas emission warming on — Climate , atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere– you completely forgot warming of the blogosphere. What you have to understand is that GHG forcings also have profound differential affects on those who confuse science and politics, physics and phynance, or phacts and pheelings.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:05 PM

  292. I don’t pretend to know the science, preferring to focus on the politics of science, which is far sexier.
    What we’ve “learned” from this episode is that scientists frequently debate the accuracy and significance of data. Jeepers! And all this time I thought scientists were lonely geniuses working alone in labs, holding test tubes up to the light and crying “Eureka!”
    Anyway, there ‘s a parallel between this case and the way creationists have exploited debates within the scientific community over biological evolution. What the biologists have been debating, of course, isn’t the fact of evolution but the mechanics of it. And the Adam-And-Eve-On-A-Triceratops crowd has been using the absence of 100-percent unanimity among scientists as “evidence” against evolution.
    Seems to be that the denialists are trying to use the hacked emails in the same way. Going further, it seems that their opponents are making a mistake and inflating their importance by taking them seriously.

    Comment by Sufferin' Succotash — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:06 PM

  293. 268, Garry S-J, you are quoting “Max”, not me.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:08 PM

  294. Can someone with knowledge of such things answer this of-topic please.

    My understanding:
    GHGs do not “reflect” IR down from atmosphere
    GHG Molecules are excited by certain wavelengths of IR:
    http://www.iitap.iastate.edu/gccourse/forcing/images/image7.gif
    The molecules then re-radiate this energy in all directions.
    However, if CO2 absorbs IR at 4 microns for example, then at what wavelength does it get re-radiated?

    Will each transfer (radiation in to radiation out) heat the CO2 molecule? radiation in will be from a single direction radiation out will be in all directions. Does this mean that the IR will progressively get shifted to longer less energetic wavelengths? A pointer to any papers/or knowledgeable reply would be much appreciated!

    Thanks
    Mike

    Comment by thefordprefect — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:16 PM

  295. A new dimension is about to hit the mainstream media fan. BBC Newsnight has an interview with a programmer who has looked at the CRU codes, the “HARRY_READ_ME.txt” and found them wanting. He details the struggles of the CRU programmer, and decides that the poor guy was trying to organise data with a programme that was not fit for purpose.

    The denialists are going to have a field day. It is going to muddy the waters at Copenhagen big time – unless we can show visually to the people that the warming trends are still present even if the CRU had not existed.
    It seems to me, an amateur, that the most expeditious way to unmuddy the waters would be to pull all the CRU work out of the equation and present a new composite 1000y temperature graph.
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison_png

    Not because the CRU work is necessarily wrong, but because they are now seen to be wrong, under public suspicion, bringing climate science generally under a cloud of doubt.

    I am confident that the Spaghetti Graph, relieved of one or two strands, or however many emanate from CRU, will still show significant warming.

    Is that technically possible, or is the CRU data present in all temperature data?

    The CRU work may or may not stand up to review. That will have to wait. The vital action now is to get a revised, CRU-free Spaghetti Graph onto the retinae of the citizens of the world.

    Gavin, and all the others, we all owe you a huge debt of thanks for your work.

    Comment by Richard Lawson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  296. Here is an idea.
    If you think it matters, get some students to get a wiki site together and start them gathering data from the sources and start posting the copies of raw data available. Index it all clearly.
    Then post the modified data and the algorithms, if not the code that is used to adjust it (and explain why).
    Considering the trillions that the legislation that is being posted is going to potentially cost us, I don’t think it is asking too much.

    Let the skeptics chew on it and put people to task defending it.

    A tough row to hoe, but if its sound, it will hold up. If the critics make silly errors reading it, just point out why they are wrong.

    I don’t see where much else will convince people. If you really believe it is so serious we need to radically alter the very nature of our energy driven economy (which I believe needs to happen anyway) then this is the perfect opportunity to throw the data in the critics faces. If they are wrong, the proof will all be there.

    Comment by Chris MCV — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:36 PM

  297. Norman (289) — I suggest you read Ray Pierrehumbert’s
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html
    as a starter.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:40 PM

  298. Sorry Walter!

    Comment by Garry S-J — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:43 PM

  299. “Pretending that this is some new discovery that has only just been discovered might work elsewhere, but here it just makes you look silly. -gavin”

    Who said that this is a new discovery? I certainly did not. The fact remains that without feedbacks there is no way that a doubling of CO2 will produce a 3 or 4 degree C warming. Just can’t happen. Estimates are that for a doubling of co2 alone and without feedbacks the temperature rise would be of the order of 1.4 to 1.75 degrees.

    I agree that the world is what it is. It is certainly not what you choose to make it.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:45 PM

  300. Bill — 3 December 2009 @ 2:44 PM:

    Another answer to your question regarding the 2% of proprietary data used by the CRU, in a way different from Gavin’s inline comment, note the following: The data in question doesn’t belong to the CRU and the owners of the data, presumably, will not delete it, but if they do it is their prerogative. The owners make these data available free of charge to those that meet their criteria, and to others for a charge at their discretion. The CRU has no control over these data without the approval of the owners. Some of this may not be responsive to your question, but I though it all worth mentioning given the context of this topic thread.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:48 PM

  301. The denialists are DESPERATE! I eat dinner at the same restaurant 5 days a week. There is one waiter who has been listening to me on the subject of global warming. One manager is DESPERATELY trying to convince the employees that global warming is a hoax.
    The whole hack thing was done in desperation. The “conservatives” or “denialists” or whatever are scared to death of an idea! How unAmerican, how strange, in a free country, to be afraid that an idea might spread!
    Astounding!
    Think of That, Hedda!

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Dec 2009 @ 8:56 PM

  302. #261 Hugh Hickey.

    You mean you have been trawling through other peoples emails for your own squalid interest to see if you can find any tidbits.

    Since you asked I read those particular emails and I can find nothing much out of the ordinary. The only comment that could conceivably be so was a request that was refused by the editor anyway. Even here, without the context, it is impossible to make any conclusions about what was actually meant. There are any number of interpretations, most of which would be completely benign.

    Andrew

    Comment by Andrew Hobbs — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:20 PM

  303. Richard Steckis (270) “The invocation of Venus is a red herring. Venus has an atmosphere that is 98% CO2. The conentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is 0.038%. Also the geology and planetary dynamics is completely different from Earths.”

    It is likely that Venus’ atmosphere was not too different from ours. Then things went really wrong see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_greenhouse

    Comment by o — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:25 PM

  304. As the son of a professor, I’ve personally witnessed the politics and spitefull behavior involved in the peer review process. The attempt to stack the deck for or against any theory happens all the time and will continue. Money is sometimes at stake either with respect to funding or for personal profit.

    I’m not a scientist, so I have to rely on the opinions of others with respect to AGW. According to the following article, I understand that McIntrye has made himself somewhat of a nuisance in his requests for information and that some feel he is doing so just to be a disturbance, so I can understand the desire not to cooperate with him.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2009/12/gerald_north_interview.html

    However the phrase in one of the emails “think of RC as a resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put forward by the McIntyres of the world.” is troublesome to say the least. That and the nefarious tone in questioning people’s motives is not helpful as you’ve found out. Stick to the science.

    Comment by Mike F. — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:33 PM

  305. Norman (#289):
    Start here: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/
    Pages 6 and 7 are the most relevant, but you’ll want to read the whole thing.

    Mike (#294):
    Google “Radiative Transfer”

    Comment by R Simmon — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:35 PM

  306. 295: …BBC…interview…details the struggles of the CRU programmer, and decides that the poor guy was trying to organise data with a programme that was not fit for purpose…

    There is a clear conclusion here, for those who are not a-priori hostile – the CRU is underfunded compared to the task given to it.

    Also, its a bit iffy linking to Mike Hulme; in his other writing, he seems infected with post-modern critiques of science.

    Comment by Bruce the Canuck — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:37 PM

  307. The link to Trenberth’s paper (previous CRU email thread) appears to be dead.

    [Response: should be fixed now. -gavin]

    Comment by Mark — 3 Dec 2009 @ 9:58 PM

  308. OK, so I am walking down the street and some guy screams at me to get out of the way of the bus that is going to hit me. Problem is, I don’t see any bus.

    Hmmm, I think a more apt analogy is that you are standing in the middle of the road with a blindfold and really good earplugs. You can’t see the bus, and when you know it is there it’ll be too late.

    Comment by Jody Klymak — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:11 PM

  309. Re 247:
    Bruce Williams writes: “Global Cooling in the 70’s”

    Bruce, this statement is an indication that you need to do more background reading before you start throwing out insulting statements toward Gavin. You may not know it, but he is 1 person with an actual job and responsibilities other than responding to every question (often multiple times) every newbie to this field can think up to post here. Do yourself and Gavin a favor and start reading some of the early articles here on Realclimate, then you can work your way up to speed.

    As far as the global cooling in the 70′s myth, you might want to start here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/
    here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-1970s-science-said-about-global-cooling.html
    or here:
    http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/131047.pdf

    Comment by Ken W — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:11 PM

  310. “Third, even if it is in fact due to reduced sensitivity of the trees, this does not mean that the historic T estimates are necessarily in error, as a substantial, valid calibration period still exists in almost all cases.”

    If some of the tree-ring data were randomly omitted, then yes, it would be enough to just have long enough available sample. However, it is completely clear in this case that data were selectively omitted because it didn’t correlate with measured temperature. This IS going to bias results and invalidate conclusions.

    [Response: No. Read the Briffa et al 1998 paper, and then read about some of the other reconstructions that don't use these proxies. - gavin]

    Comment by Tuomo — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:27 PM

  311. Norman, 289:

    The NASA WISE telescope is looking at the IR coming from outer space: asteroids, planets, and whatever else. To get a good look, you launch the thing into space, to avoid greenhouse gases absorbing the IR coming from the asteroids.

    Based on that, you are then trying to infer something that doesn’t follow about the IR emitted by the earth. I think you’re basically trying to say the greenhouse effect is already saturated. I recommend reviewing this: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    Comment by tharanga — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:30 PM

  312. Mike says:
    3 December 2009 at 6:04 PM
    Maybe researches should copy right their e-mails.

    There’s no need to, it’s already copyrighted!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:35 PM

  313. Re: 285
    B.D. writes:
    “While it’s not the CRU’s job to curate the raw data, they would have been doing the community a great service by not deleting or losing that data … I think that speaks volumes about the CRU’s commitment to the science.”

    They have done the science community a great service. Anyone remotely familiar with climate science over the past 30 years knows that.

    Some magnetic tapes (probably not readable even if they did still exist) and boxes of hardcopy got misplaced during some office moves over 20 years ago (before Dr. Jones was even there) means CRU isn’t committed to science? You’ve got to be kidding?

    It sure would be nice if governments funded science in such a way that every group had their own highly skilled (or should we say infallable) archivist so nothing would ever be lost again. And a complete staff of technical writers, that would thoroughly document everything so anyone (even people from other countries decades in the future with no understanding of the science) could ask any question and get satisfactory answers within 24 hours, would be nice.

    But alas, we live in the real world where scientist are overworked, underpaid, challenged by rude uninformed people at every opportunity, and regularly accused of evil.

    Comment by Ken W — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:37 PM

  314. There is a news report today that Andrew Weaver had a couple of break-ins late last year and some of his colleagues at the University of Victoria had some attempted hacks and people trying to impersonate network technicians in the past few months.

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=2300282

    Comment by Holly Stick — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:40 PM

  315. The media commentators are missing the biggest point about the CRU emails.

    As is typical, it’s never quite clear what the deniers are claiming, but claiming it’s all a “scam”
    implies a great deal of collusion in deception among the scammers. In effect, you
    would need a Vast Conspiracy to explain the different, changing, internally debated
    but in the end scam supporting data and models. Many deniers explicitly invoke
    a conspiracy.

    But, you’re looking at the private records of people who must be an important part of
    the hypothesized conspiracy. You can find some things to pick at, but you don’t find a trace of the extensive discussion and arrangements that would be necessary to run the scam.
    This is proof that no such conspiracy exits.

    Suppose I claim the Free Masons are conducting a secret evil conspiracy to rule the world
    After scanning their secret transactions I triumphantly announce proof that
    they are evil, because I can prove they fixed some parking tickets. Now, if that’s the worst I can find in their secret records, my claim is disproven, not
    supported.

    Comment by Lance Drager — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:43 PM

  316. ““the current warming is neither unique, nor a crisis.” What has uniqueness got to do with it? It’s not like we’ve got the evacuation of half of Bangladesh down to a fine art.”

    I think this is not a helpful comment. The link between warming and sea-level rise is uncertain, in my opinion, beyond the direct thermal expansion. Because of this uncertainty, of course uniqueness has everything to do with the risks.

    Comment by Tuomo — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:45 PM

  317. “the “skeptics” make mistakes that would earn college students F’s on their exams. For example, taking the time-derivative of temperature and SOI data before correlating them and then drawing the wrong conclusion about how much of the observed warming is due to the SOI might be such a mistake (I see a good exam question for college students here).”

    I of course agree with you on the specific examples. But I think that the people on the AGW have run their share of the spurious regressions of persistent variables.

    Comment by Tuomo — 3 Dec 2009 @ 10:49 PM

  318. Nobody wants AGW to be true. – gavin

    What about Phil Jones’ email:

    Tim, Chris, I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020. * * * I seem to be getting an email a week from skeptics saying where’s the warming gone. I know the warming is on the decadal scale, but it would be nice to wear their smug grins away.

    [Response: The desire to make silly people look silly is completely dwarfed by everyone's desire not to see dangerous anthropogenic interference in climate. I would readily forgo the pleasure at seeing of Bob Carter having to admit that the planet was still warming, if in fact it wasn't. However, it is, and so given that I am human, there might be a tiny silver lining to the very large black cloud. Other reasons for wry smiles are the fact that the same people who are declaring that the CRU data is compromised, messed up the CRU data that they use in their logo, and in fact need to rely on the CRU data itself for their contention it hasn't warmed this century. Oh the irony. But don't confuse light entertainment with the risk to society posed by increasing emissions. They are not commensurate. - gavin]

    Comment by John Doe — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:01 PM

  319. “Third, even if it is in fact due to reduced sensitivity of the trees, this does not mean that the historic T estimates are necessarily in error, as a substantial, valid calibration period still exists in almost all cases.”

    If some of the tree-ring data were randomly omitted, then yes, it would be enough to just have long enough available sample. However, it is completely clear in this case that data were selectively omitted because it didn’t correlate with measured temperature. This IS going to bias results and invalidate conclusions.

    [Response: No. Read the Briffa et al 1998 paper, and then read about some of the other reconstructions that don't use these proxies. - gavin]

    Gavin — I have read some of those papers, and will of course continue. I know enough statistics that I do know, beyond reasonable doubt, that selectively omitting data that doesn’t fit the model will overstate the fit. Perhaps I don’t understand the exact question to which you are responding “no.”

    Comment by Tuomo — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:02 PM

  320. “Believe me, the only thing that will work is full disclosure, honesty and transparency.”

    How’s that diesel emissions startup going, Max?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:23 PM

  321. Some people, not Eli I hasten to add, might think that Richard Steckis is trying to mislead when he says

    Who said that this is a new discovery? I certainly did not. The fact remains that without feedbacks there is no way that a doubling of CO2 will produce a 3 or 4 degree C warming. Just can’t happen. Estimates are that for a doubling of co2 alone and without feedbacks the temperature rise would be of the order of 1.4 to 1.75 degrees.

    I agree that the world is what it is. It is certainly not what you choose to make it.

    and those same people, but not Eli, would perhaps ask whether Richard hallucinates that there are no feedbacks that make the climate system response ~3 K/doubling of CO2.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:29 PM

  322. I’ve noticed the tar baby behavior of trolls, though I think they don’t necessarily present proxy targets. You usually can’t reason with them, but you can get under their skin if you put your mind to it. (I’m not recommending trolling the trolls here.)

    There’s also a similarity to road rage and some other behaviors that feed off a dehumanized abstraction of a person or group. Implicit in much denialist nonsense is not only an absence of awareness of the breadth and depth of scientific activity, it’s checks and balances, but an inability to properly identify with the face-to-face social activity of doing science.

    Some people are really tying themselves in knots to justify sticking it to uppity scientists who think they’re so damn smart just because they do hard stuff and have the nerve to look happy about it.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 3 Dec 2009 @ 11:45 PM

  323. R Simmon (#305). Thank you for your response to my post on WISE IR telescope. I am not a thermodynamics expert. The links you posted were the charts of energy balance I have seen before. I do have a potentially dumb question, All the energy entering our system does not have to be converted to heat. Isn’t a lot converted into varies forms of kinetic energy (with friction will gradually turn into heat), like wind, turbulence, waves, motion of all kinds.

    Comment by Norman — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:04 AM

  324. tharanga (#311). Thanks for your response to my post on IR and WISE telescope. I did read the link. I am not sure I can comprehend the logic however. In my thinking, it does not matter on what side of window pane you are on to see through it. If the Earth’s atmosphere is far from saturation (as your link suggests by using a desert nighttime temp drop)then why wouldn’t NASA put the IR telescope in a desert and cool it with liquid helium. It would save the $300 million in launch costs also it is only good for 10 months before its hydrogen coolant is exhausted. On the ground you could run it for years.

    Also I am not sure how CO2 could get to the upper atmosphere and stay. CO2 and H2O are both heavier molecules than O2 or N2. Shouldn’t they tend to stay in the lower atmosphere?

    Comment by Norman — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:12 AM

  325. “The information contained in this e-mail and any subsequent correspondence is private
    and confidential and intended solely for the named recipient(s). If you are not a named
    recipient, you must not copy, distribute, or disseminate the information, open any
    attachment, or take any action in reliance on it. If you have received the e-mail in
    error, please notify the sender and delete the e-mail. ”

    That standard disclaimer/privacy notice, is often seen at the bottom of emails. When one hits reply, it gets copied automatically to the bottom of your reply.

    Most of the alleged UEA emails, are strings of repiles, but these privacy disclaimer notices are almost totally absent. If you dont believe me, search for
    “private” in the document set. It comes up as “private industry” and “private bag” often, but in just one disclaimer in the entire set. And that disclaimer seems to be under a UEA signature, which suggests UEA staff had access to such disclaimers, and could use them.

    Other mundane details that usually get copied as well – senders, servers, signatures, etc – are present as expected.

    Why are the privacy disclaimers absent? Presumably as someone went through the emails, and edited them out.

    Who? The leakers have more reason to do this, than academics . People aren’t going to read the leak, if the document regularly tells them, this is private stuff, you are not the intended recipient, you are not supposed to be reading it, please delete it at once.

    Which brings me to the key point. If the hackers did edit the emails – the emails have in short been tampered with, have lost their integrity and cannot be taken at face value.

    A large scale forgery, isnt likely and would be quickly spotted. But small scale tampering certainly is possible, and hidden among millions of words, would be hard to detect. Adding a sentence here and there, changing a word, “sexing up”, so to speak.

    The integrity of the leak, is now in question. I for one am no longer prepared to take the emails, as genuine. There may be only small parts altered – but as I have no way of knowing which they are – the whole lot, is tainted, and cant be used.

    ironically – the supposed revelations, that some people are jubilating over – may not have come from Jones et al. They may have been edited in, by the leakers own colleagues.

    Comment by Mike Brisco — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:36 AM

  326. Nobody wants AGW to be true. – gavin

    Better phone James Hansen and remind him that he really doesn’t want it to be true.

    Comment by ERJohnson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:54 AM

  327. “Tim, Chris, I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020″

    There is a more subtle point in this statement as well: if one believes that indeed it is likely that the climate sensitivity is high, and if one believes that natural variability can in fact mask climate sensitivity for decadal periods, then there is the worry that a combination of high climate sensitivity with masking by natural variability and other factors like aerosols might result in a delay in mitigation. This delay would then likely increase the costs of later mitigation as well as increase the level of inevitable warming that must be adapted to.

    In the case that climate sensitivity is indeed high, I, for one, would prefer to see slightly faster warming sooner in order to send the right signals to mitigate. Additionally, warming is best dealt with spread out over time… a pause in warming followed by accelerated warming is likely worse than a steady rate of warming that reaches the same temperature in 2100.

    Therefore, we have a set of possibilities:
    High CS, No Near-Term Warming: Bad!
    High CS, Near-Term Warming: Also bad, but better chance of mitigating, and probably slower temperature change.
    Low CS, Near-Term Warming: Some danger of “over-mitigating”, which would have some cost to society… but really, we’re not in danger of much mitigation at all yet, so I think worrying about over-mitigating at this point is silly. I’d also argue that over-mitigation is easier to correct in 10 years when the science improves than under-mitigation.
    Low CS, No Near-Term Warming: Best scenario! We probably don’t mitigate, and then it turns out we didn’t really need to mitigate!

    No Near-Term warming may make it a little more likely that we’re in a low-CS world (by Bayesian updating) but given that most of the constraint on CS is not from past-century historical temperature but rather from paleoclimate and other data, my understanding is that this reduction in estimated CS will be slow. (absent some unexplained major cooling in the near future)

    Comment by Marcus — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:24 AM

  328. It’s not a conspiracy, folks. Its an SEP field.

    http://everything2.com/user/Tmaq/writeups/Somebody+Else%2527s+Problem+Field

    -Tom

    Comment by Tmaq — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:33 AM

  329. Not really on topic but I am really puzzled how people seemingly competent in the SW development claim throughout the discussion that there are hacks in the FORTRAN code while the code they quote is clearly IDL. http://nstx.pppl.gov/nstx/Software/IDL/idl_intro.html#INTRO

    Comment by Wojciech Burkot — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:35 AM

  330. Forgive me if this has already been said but I have given up trying to read every post. (I don’t know how Gavin et al have kept up).

    As another person (CMB) has pointed out on ‘Open Mind’, now that the denialists have denied themselves the use of CRU because it is ‘corrupted’, then they will have to use GISS data (or equivalent).
    In which case 2005 is the hottest year ever and 1998 is only equal 2nd place with 2007. Cooling anyone?

    Comment by Andrew Hobbs — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:46 AM

  331. David B. Benson

    I wrote (229):

    “What is also “settled science” is that it has not warmed since the end of the 20th century despite continued all-time record increase in CO2, but has cooled instead by around 0.1°C (same caveat on the temperature record as above).”

    You did not address this statement, but countered (281) with:

    “This decade is the warmest on record; use any of the four major global surface temperature products.
    The fact that you are wrong about this small, easily checked, matter should suggest to readers here that other of your assertions may well also be flawed.”

    Sorry, David.

    You are changing the subject. We are not talking about absolute “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly”, but rather about warming/cooling trends, and the records all show that it has cooled since the end of 2000.

    Get the difference?

    So (to put it eloquently, as you did) the fact that “you are wrong about this small, easily checked, matter should suggest to readers here that other of your assertions may well also be flawed.”

    It’s really not that difficult to grasp if you put your mind to it. You are a smart guy, and I’m sure you can figure it out if you try.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:08 AM

  332. Secular Animist (267)

    You wrote:

    “Will there be some satisfaction in having science that is “strong” enough to permit us to observe, document and fully understand in great detail the process of extinction of most life on Earth, including the human species, while it is unfolding before our eyes?”

    Amen, brother! The end is near unless we repent and change our ways NOW.

    The last guy I heard screaming this was wearing two cardboard signs on his body that proclaimed, “The end is near!”.

    That’s not science.

    That’s fundamentalist religious voodoo.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:21 AM

  333. Transparency and Complexity, Part I of IV

    Sufferin’ Succotash wrote in 292:

    Anyway, there’s a parallel between this case and the way creationists have exploited debates within the scientific community over biological evolution. What the biologists have been debating, of course, isn’t the fact of evolution but the mechanics of it. And the Adam-And-Eve-On-A-Triceratops crowd has been using the absence of 100-percent unanimity among scientists as “evidence” against evolution.

    Seems to be that the denialists are trying to use the hacked emails in the same way. Going further, it seems that their opponents are making a mistake and inflating their importance by taking them seriously.

    Another favorite — which sometimes overlaps with the “disagreement in the details denotes uncertainty regarding the fundamentals” point that you have noted is the quote-mining, that is, deliberately going out and looking for passages that can be misquoted (by means of what Ayn Rand refered to as “context-dropping” where the context — which is generally given in the text itself — conditions the application and meaning of what is being quoted) in order to support the conclusions of the individual doing the quoting rather than the individual being quoted. We have seen plenty of this — basically with respect to virtually all of the so-called “incriminating evidence uncovered” by the “Climategate” burglars.

    The problem of quote mining by creationists became so bad that proponents of evolutionary biology devoted a large section of a website to uncovering instances of it:

    The Quote Mine Project
    Or, Lies, Damned Lies and Quote Mines
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/project.html
    *
    Then there is moving the goal-posts — which is a common strategy with creationists.

    I give the following regarding Michael Behe (a “leading intellectual” at the Discovery Institute) in an essay at the British Centre for Science Education:

    In biological systems, it is not unusual for Behe to react to a given incremental explanation of the evolution of a presumably irreducibly complex sub-system by pointing out that the theorists who have expended considerable effort in arriving at a naturalistic explanation of that sub-system have as yet to identify all the possible ramifications of the sequence of steps which they have proposed. Alternatively, when shown how a presumably irreducibly complex system may have in fact resulted from a sequence of steps from a simpler system, Behe will sometimes claim that it wasn’t actually the more complex system which was irreducibly complex, but rather the simpler system.

    The effect of these two strategies is that of requiring a step-by-step explanation of the evolution of the entire organism before the claim of irreducible complexity is itself removed from the organism which possesses the sub-system, and which Behe originally claimed was irreducibly complex. But by that time he will have moved on to some other purported instance of irreducible complexity. Such moves on Behe’s part – moves which require biologists to constantly explain progressively more and more in order to get Behe to remove a particular claim – are instances of a fallacy known as “moving the goal-posts”. These claims of his require no real substantive work on Behe’s part to actually demonstrate them – they are contrived so that both the burden of proof and the real effort lies entirely with those proposing genuine causal explanations. And if such persons meet any given burden, Behe will always be more than happy to give them another.

    Michael Behe and His Irreducible Complexity:
    The Evolution of Behe’s Irreducible Complexity
    http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/MichaelBehe

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:29 AM

  334. Transparency and Complexity, Part II of IV

    Something similar exists with respect to the request for “100% transparency”…

    Manacker requests in 238 that climatologists be

    …100% open and transparent now….

    Seems fairly reasonable — but for the word “now.” Does he mean right this moment? Do you suppose was stomping his foot while typing this?

    John MacQueen is a little more “transparent” in 156:

    To not retain and show all source data, processes, methods and code and to not freely present same to public scrutiny is ridiculous considering the magnitude of the impact they desire it to have on human civilization….

    That they may be annoyed by skeptics and misrepresentation does not diminish the responsibility to be fully transparent at every level in their justification for the changes they are asking humanity to make at a global level.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:31 AM

  335. Transparency and Complexity, Part III of IV

    Marcus points to the same sort of moving the goal-posts strategy here:

    “100% open and transparent now”

    But where does 100% open and transparent end? Perhaps every climate scientist should have a keytracker on their computers and a tap on their phones, continually transmitting data to the internet. And all scientific meetings should be held in one of those “Reality TV” houses so that no shady conversations in side-corridors will go unrecorded…

    Gavin Schmidt makes the same point in a letter to Ben Santer dated December 2, 2008 as quoted by Elizabeth May:

    The contrarians have found that there is actually no limit to what you can ask people for (raw data, intermediate steps, additional calculations, sensitivity calculations, all the code, a workable version of the code on any platform, etc) and like Som-ali pirates they have found that once someone has paid up, they can always shake them down again.

    Elizabeth May: An Informed Look at the East Anglia Emails
    3 December 09
    http://www.desmogblog.com/elizabeth-may-informed-look-east-anglia-emails

    … and I make the same point at some length here in relation to a request that for transparency and documentation with respect to land temperatures here:

    But to take your first example, what about the height at which the temperature is taken? If the thermometer is lower it will be closer to the skin temperature. What about the direction of the wind? The shape and constitution of the terrain? This may matter. Was the thermometer in the shade? Did they switch thermometers? What color was the thermometer? What time of day was it? michel, these things might not matter to you, but they may matter a great deal to Michael. And these are just some of the aspects one might wish to consider regarding the measurement of just land temperature.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/open-thread-16/#comment-36827

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:33 AM

  336. 321
    Eli Rabett says:
    3 December 2009 at 11:29 PM

    “and those same people, but not Eli, would perhaps ask whether Richard hallucinates that there are no feedbacks that make the climate system response ~3 K/doubling of CO2.”

    Not at all. Feedbacks are real but the relative importance and measurability of the feedbacks are not well covered. AR4 chapter 8 Section 8.6.4 states:

    “A number of diagnostic tests have been proposed since the
    TAR (see Section 8.6.3), but few of them have been applied to
    a majority of the models currently in use. Moreover, it is not yet
    clear which tests are critical for constraining future projections.
    Consequently, a set of model metrics that might be used to
    narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and
    climate sensitivity has yet to be developed.”

    This quite clearly indicates that the modelled feedbacks that give you your ~3K per doubling are not cast in stone and are yet to be verified.

    The fact is that most of the feedbacks are not measureable given current technology.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:36 AM

  337. Transparency and Complexity, Part IV of IV

    The request for full transparency seems simple enough. So does a grade school pencil. But as Leonard E. Read has a “pencil” observe:

    I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me-no, that’s too much to ask of anyone-if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because-well, because I am seemingly so simple.

    Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

    I, Pencil
    The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, December 1958
    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/i-pencil/

    *

    Incidentally, the quote mining and moving goal posts aren’t the only things these auditors of science have in common with the creationists. Just within this thread someone was bringing up the argument that the greenhouse effect violates the second law of thermodynamics.

    Barton Paul Levenson addressed the argument in 193:

    Their paper reduces to the proposition, “the second law of thermodynamics says you cannot transfer heat from a cold body to a warm one. Therefore, back-radiation from the cooler atmosphere cannot heat the warmer ground.”

    Well, they’re wrong. The second law says you can’t have NET heat transfer from a cooler body to a warmer one. And even that is only true if the heat isn’t pumped there by appropriately adding energy to the system. If G&T were right refrigerators wouldn’t work; the heat from the cooler interior couldn’t possibly warm up the radiator in back.

    Creationists make a similar argument that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics – which demonstrates the same sort of creative accounting. And earlier in this thread (80 someone pointed us to an essay on the break-in approvingly quoting McIntyre at EvolutionNews. That blog is owned by the Discovery Institute, an outfit that was recently recycling the “scientific creationism” of the 1980s — with the same results, roughly 30 years later.

    Then again, some things are a little different. Intelligent design (the recycled scientific creationism) had one major institute being largely funded by a Howard Ahmanson — a reclusive millionaire. Climate denialists have an entire armada that has been funded to the tune of $16 million by Exxon between 1998 and 2005 — that has also received over $260 million from Scaife, Bradley, Koch and Coors foundations between 1985 to 2007. It would seem that climate denialists have a little more money to play with — and the consequences would likewise seem to be on a greater scale.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:40 AM

  338. I read with dismay that PJ has stepped down from his position and MM is “under investigation”. It reminded me of the following quote from Sagan’s masterpiece “Demon Haunted World – Science as a candle in the dark”…

    “We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces… I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us – then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.”

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:47 AM

  339. I had to cut the word pre sript ion from the quote

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:48 AM

  340. 303
    o says:
    3 December 2009 at 9:25 PM

    “Richard Steckis (270) “The invocation of Venus is a red herring. Venus has an atmosphere that is 98% CO2. The conentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is 0.038%. Also the geology and planetary dynamics is completely different from Earths.”

    It is likely that Venus’ atmosphere was not too different from ours. Then things went really wrong see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_greenhouse

    O. try reading beyond wikipedia. It is not a particularly good reference source.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:48 AM

  341. Could one of you who believe in global warming please answer these questions: What is the optimal temperture for human life? Should our aim be static tempertures? In the OH river valley 700 years ago it was much warmer that it is today. We know this from remains found in Indian camps. What causes this warming and the subsequent cooling? Were the Indians driving SUV’s? Why is global warming bad? I would like to be wearing shorts and playing golf next Christmas here in OH. If the oceans are rising why is Key West still the same size it was in 1968? PLease submit your ideas and I will peer review them with several friends and we’ll get back to you. BTW Could I interest any of you in my new Carbon Debit business?

    Comment by Jeffrey Jena — 4 Dec 2009 @ 3:32 AM

  342. However the phrase in one of the emails “think of RC as a resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put forward by the McIntyres of the world.” is troublesome to say the least

    I don’t find the notion of combating disinformation troubling in the least.

    Why do you find the notion of combating disinformation troubling? Are you afraid that claims that the world is only 6,000 years old might be combatted? Or the claims that the 150-year old basis for our physics-based understanding that increasing CO2 will warm the earth are false might be combatted?

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Dec 2009 @ 4:01 AM

  343. At risk of being seen as importunate, I would like to reiterate: A new aspect to this crisis is about to hit the mainstream media fan. BBC Newsnight has an interview with a programmer who has looked at the CRU codes, the “HARRY_READ_ME.txt” and found them wanting. He details the struggles of the CRU programmer, and decides that the poor guy was trying to organise data with a programme that was not fit for purpose.

    The denialists are going to have a field day. It is going to muddy the waters at Copenhagen big time – unless we can show visually to the people that the warming trends are still present even with the CRU input removed.

    It seems to me, an amateur, that the most expeditious way to unmuddy the waters would be to pull all the CRU work out of the equation and present a new composite 1000y temperature graph.
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison_png

    Not because the CRU work is necessarily wrong, but because they are now perceived to be wrong, under public suspicion, bringing climate science generally under a cloud of doubt.

    We can be confident that the Spaghetti Graph, relieved of one or two strands, will still show significant warming.

    Is that technically possible, or is the CRU data present in all temperature data?

    Comment by Richard Lawson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 4:18 AM

  344. Prompted by the discussion on here, I have been trying to understand how robust is the ‘data’ on which the value-added’ datasets are founded, and how data is audited to ensure their validity. I came across the following which shows how fragile any conclusion may be.
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/gistemp-quartiles-of-age-bolus-of-heat/
    For the surface station database, the ‘n’ in any analysis is clearly critical and it looks variable to say the least.

    [Response: This guy's analyses are extremely screwy, but the good news is that you can check it on your own. The Data Sources page has direct access to the code and database. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill — 4 Dec 2009 @ 4:39 AM

  345. Matthew L:

    I am pretty much convinced on the science that CO2 is causing global warming, but but have yet to be convinced about the extent of that warming or the projections of doom. Certainly none of the graphs of global temperatures, sea level rise or ice melt yet show any catastrophic change.

    GCMs long ago predicted more droughts in continental interiors from global warming.

    In 1970, 12% of the Earth’s land surface was “severely dry” by the Palmer Drought Severity Index. By 2002 that figure was 30% (Dai et al. 2004).

    How do you think that trend is going to affect human agriculture?

    Ref: Dai, A., K.E. Trenberth, and T. Qian 2004. “A Global Dataset of Palmer Drought Severity Index for 1870–2002: Relationship with Soil Moisture and Effects of Surface Warming.” J. Hydrometeorol. 1, 1117-1130.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 4:52 AM

  346. Max:

    What is also “settled science” is that it has not warmed since the end of the 20th century despite continued all-time record increase in CO2, but has cooled instead by around 0.1°C (same caveat on the temperature record as above).

    BPL: No matter how many times you repeat this classic denialist lie, it still won’t be true. Warming continues:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Ball.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

    How many times do I have to post the same links before you read them? How many times do people have to tell you warming is still going on before you look at the primary data and do a regression yourself? Why can’t you learn?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:03 AM

  347. Dr. Lovins,

    Thanks for writing in! I’ve been a fan since the days of “Soft Energy Paths.” Would that people had started listening to you back then. Maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:11 AM

  348. John Macqueen:

    I would think someone could easily pick up some funding in the current political climate to start a large scale project to reconstruct the temperature records and all involved both deniers and believers could support such an effort done openly and transparently with a 100% solid audit trail.

    Who would object?

    Exxon-Mobil, Consolidated Coal, the Heartland Institute….

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:13 AM

  349. Richard Steckis:

    The invocation of Venus is a red herring. Venus has an atmosphere that is 98% CO2. The conentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is 0.038%.

    BPL: Read and learn: http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/NewPlanetTemps.html

    Also the geology and planetary dynamics is completely different from Earths.

    Different, but hardly completely different. And that doesn’t much affect the greenhouse effect going on in the atmosphere, aside from the question of how the CO2 got there. BTW, the “planetary dynamics” of Venus would be its motion through space.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:18 AM

  350. chris mcv:

    these guys are not private researchers, they are working in public institution and are paid by tax dollars. They have to answer to me as a tax payer.

    Right! And I think you should direct military policy in Afghanistan, too. After all, you’re paying for it. They should turn over all their tactical and strategic and logistical plans, or better yet, publish them on the internet.

    What you want is called “micromanagement,” and it is the worst possible way to get anything done. You don’t hire an expert and then continually jog his elbow. You assume he’s competent until proven otherwise and let him get on with the job.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:23 AM

  351. Norman,

    Try here: http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Saturation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:26 AM

  352. Hi Gavin

    I genuinely appreciate your response, and I do appreciate your advice on framing the question, however I don’t think you can change the DIRECTION of the question….

    The fact that you tried suggests that global warming proponents don’t have to prove their case. For skeptics like me, that is a constant frustration.

    I constantly hear what constitutes an acceptable level of proof (you gave a few example) but what would have to CHANGE for you to accept that the evidence contradicts the models?

    Surely if the earth’s temperature were to fall for a certain number of years, that would give you second thoughts. The only question here is HOW MANY years, right?

    So I repeat the question….

    What OBSERVABLE climatic events would have to be OBSERVABLE (as opposed to modeled) for you to become convinced that “The DOMINANT cause of climate change is carbon emissions from human activity” statement is NOT true?

    Comment by Julian Tol — 4 Dec 2009 @ 6:00 AM

  353. Gavin@214
    Of course the 90% was out of the hat to illustrate the non linear absorption capabilities of CO2. Word is that CO2 has already utilized its maximum climate forcing potential. I requested step by step explanation on why we should fear CO2 given the above statement.

    Please Gavin, be responsive, thanks.

    Comment by Rob — 4 Dec 2009 @ 6:50 AM

  354. BBC’s Radio 4 has twice suggested that the email leaks suggest that CRU tried to exaggerate the dangers of GW. I wonder which emails they had in mind? As Gavin and others have said, there seems to be a sign error involved. The trouble is that I am not sure that Radio 4 would know what ‘sign error’ means.

    Details. 1. If UEA did have a dodgy influence on HadCRU temperatures throwing them away would make the recent warming slightly greater.
    2. If they did under-estimate the MWP (as was claimed on BBC2 Newsnight) boosting that would probably make the estimated climate sensitivity rather higher.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Dec 2009 @ 7:27 AM

  355. W. Manny says:
    What we’re afraid of is clowns, criminals and jackasses having an entirely illegitimate influence on scientific discourse and public policy related to stabilizing the climate, to the detriment of the world at large.

    And that is of course exactly what skeptics are worried about.

    Comment by PeterK — 4 Dec 2009 @ 7:37 AM

  356. Nobody wants AGW to be true. – gavin

    That, sadly, is simply _not_ the case. Most of the political establishment is positively slavering over the new taxes and bureaucracies and social controls that AGW would legitimize, as is everyone whose political philosophy lies towards the totalitarian end of the spectrum – eg Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment:
    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

    [Response: The existence of perceived co-benefits to climate policies in no way undermines the need for policies to reduce emissions. Are you saying you would support emission reductions only if there were no knock-on benefits? That would really be perverse. And note too that this politician doesn't want the worst case scenarios to come true. - gavin]

    Comment by PeterK — 4 Dec 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  357. 304 “However the phrase in one of the emails “think of RC as a resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put forward by the McIntyres of the world.” is troublesome to say the least. That and the nefarious tone in questioning people’s motives is not helpful as you’ve found out. Stick to the science.”

    Are you trolling? For heavens sake, this is such a weak argument. I would say that this email is so gentle that it makes your comment absurd. The McIntyre’s of the world have been keeping us from making the progress we need to make because they have the deep pocketed greedy corporate vested interests behind them. They’ve been able to work AGW science from being settled in the same way that the science of cigarette smoking could never be settled. Where in the PUBLIC domain do we possess the ability to counter their deep pocketed propaganda without the volunteer efforts of researchers like Gavin? It’s a David vs Goliath.

    When I think of Dick Cheany confirming that a reporter is an asshole or when he calls Senator Pat Leahy a *&$#*%$% in public I can only imagine what he says in his private emails.

    Yes I do believe you’re trolling as others who are “concerned” about the tone. The ability by the right wing to feign righteous indignation is something to see.

    Comment by Dale — 4 Dec 2009 @ 8:06 AM

  358. Looks like there IS an international climate conspiracy. In addition to the CRU hack, somebody’s been busting in to Andrew Weaver’s U-of-T office:

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2300282

    Comment by bigcitylib — 4 Dec 2009 @ 8:40 AM

  359. Re: 282 Adrian:

    Apologies, Adrian – I’m a qualified programmer, not a climate scientist, and I was making a point about the computational side. For that I really wasn’t concerned about chasing datasets so I based my figure on the list of 21896 station which are held /cru-code/linux/obs/_ref/station-list-ncep.txt in the code I was looking at.

    If less than 1/4 of those potentially available stations are used in the final datasets then all that does is give an idea of just how much data needed to be discarded. Which reinforces the point that being able to account for what, why and how data has been dropped is essential.

    I am NOT suggesting manipulation or fraud by that, because I don’t wear tinfoil to bed. But basic good practice in large data handling requires such things to be accounted for!

    Comment by Joe — 4 Dec 2009 @ 8:47 AM

  360. of course agree with you on the specific examples. But I think that the people on the AGW have run their share of the spurious regressions of persistent variables.

    Comment by Tuomo — 3 December 2009 @ 10:49 PM

    (Note the lack of specific counterexamples, but I digress…)

    How many papers containing freshman-level blunders have been waved around on the floor of the Senate, on Faux News, talk-radio as proof of AGW?

    Bad papers on most scientific topics just molder away quietly without being cited or publicized — but bad AGW “skeptic” papers are different. They often get the fox news headline treatment.

    In the past decade, every single paper touted by AGW “skeptics” as disproving AGW either has been misinterpreted by the “skeptics” or is a complete fustercluck. I defy you to come up with any counterexamples.

    I defy you to come up with any counterexamples.

    Comment by caerbannog — 4 Dec 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  361. #146

    “Delete emails”

    That comment fails to distinguish between deletion of data and deletion of emails. The latter should not be done with important data but what about the former?

    Deletion of emails and keeping the server secure, have exactly the same effect , with one reservation, that the latter has proved to be a bit less reliable. The most obvious lesson from this theft is that all emails should be deleted from the server regularly say once every three months. In addition researchers could be encouraged to delete their emails more frequently or transfer them to folders on their own computers with strongly encrypted passwords.

    By the way, next time the leak may consist of telephone calls and spoken conversations recorded by hidden recorders. Will we then be subjected to arguments that anyone working in a university receiving a government grant has no right to private conversations?

    The neutral part of the media has not yet woken up to the existence of a campaign of misinformation. It has now reached such a stage that long discredited experts can say anything at all, hang it on the emails and come on to the media. The interviewers are ill equipped to deal with it.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Dec 2009 @ 10:22 AM

  362. “The fact remains that without feedbacks there is no way that a doubling of CO2 will produce a 3 or 4 degree C warming.” Richard Steckis

    Aren’t you leaving out the part “and without those same feedbacks, there is no way that Milankovic forcing can end an ice age, or cause the abrupt rise in temperature in response to slow changes in forcing.”?
    note the “sawtooth” shape” of the benthic forams and Vostok temperature record compared to the slowly varying eccentricity in the graphic at http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Wikipedia:Milankovitch%20cycles
    “The Milankovitch theory of climate change is not perfectly worked out; in particular, the largest observed response is at the 100,000-year timescale, but the forcing is apparently small at this scale, in regard to the ice ages.[1] Various feedbacks (from carbon dioxide, cosmic rays or from ice sheet dynamics) are invoked to explain this discrepancy.”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 4 Dec 2009 @ 10:44 AM

  363. Norman, good question, and the answer is —

    Infrared astronomers have in fact put super-cooled infrared telescopes on mountain sites.
    http://www.complexclimate.org/2009/05/error-in-olr-model.html?showComment=1259370184223#c6154088727814822034

    (I pointed that out to Alastair who didn’t think it was possible for those wavelengths to penetrate the atmosphere at all; they do, but the result is messy and difficult as described for the astronomers to work with — which is why the orbiting infrared telescopes have such popularity)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Dec 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  364. Norman,

    > I am not sure how CO2 could get to the upper atmosphere and stay.
    > CO2 and H2O are both heavier molecules than O2 or N2. Shouldn’t
    > they tend to stay in the lower atmosphere?

    You’re making a “Wegman error” there — using logic instead of the library.
    You can look this up. See if you can find this answer for yourself by looking or asking a librarian for help:

    CO2 is well mixed by diffusion throughout the atmosphere. H2O vapor is well mixed but H20 condenses to water droplets and freezes, so you get clouds and snow on Earth from water. On Mars, both CO2 and H2O freeze out of the atmosphere.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Dec 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  365. Richard Steckis (340)
    If Wikipedia does not do it for you, then have a go at chapter 1 and 4 of R. Pierrehumbert’s book.
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    Comment by o — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:01 PM

  366. re: 351

    The quick rise in temps surrounding the end of a glacial maximum is one of the most disturbing things about our current situation. Temps rise precipitously over ~1000 period in response to fairly weak Milankovich forcings and then subside as Milankovich forcings abate. That is a cautionary example for sure. But (and I have no data or theory behind this) what if the first few degrees of warming are the equivalent of “low hanging fruit” and that there are physical limits — due to geography — on the size of possible feedbacks. IOW, we’ve already experienced most of the feedbacks that the planet Earth is capable of — albedo and the like — and all that’s left of warming will be that provided by the direct forcing from CO2. Not good, but 1.5C of warming is certainly better than 4C.

    It’s a thought. Maybe it’s simply wishful thinking.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  367. “1) IF you think the climate has “stagnated” during the last 10 years”
    Don’t need an “if” there, it’s a reasonable desription of post 1998.

    “2) AND IF you think climate is within its natural variability and is unpredictable ….
    “THEN why during this 10 years of stagnation there hasn’t been any _significant_ cooling trend?”

    Unless you are nailing down all the components of variability as known quantities you cant rule out a particular trend as possible. If the natural climate variations are unpredictable, then there is not expectation about what would happen in a given year or even decade. It’s natural variability. The only thing to create such an expectation would be a specific climate driver that is assumed, and temperatures trends not lining up with the driver prediction.

    We see the same logical fallacy at work when those who say “The IPCC models dont match the temp records when you take out the CO2 forcings ergo the Co2 forcings much be good.” Well … they dont, but all it shows is the IPCC models might not be accounting for all other possible sources of (natural) variability.

    Comment by Patrick M — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:17 PM

  368. Thefordprefect(494), this has likely already been answered, but…. With only few exceptions the emitted frequency is the same as the absorption frequency – a photon coming in and another going out of the same discrete internal energy level. The emission in all directions is correct. The CO2 molecule heating up with absorption is not. The temperature increase ensues when an excited CO2 molecule collides with some other atmospheric molecule and transfers it international energy to the crashee’s translation energy (which determines temperature).

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  369. #250 “But where does 100% open and transparent end? ”
    It starts and ends with results a scientist deems worthing of sharing. All the supporting materials – raw data, statistical codes, etc – for all peer-reviewed literature and (Government-funded) research reports produced should be 100% publicly available. That’s ‘open and transparent’. All such results should be independently replicatable. Validation of results is the point, not peering into personal emails.

    Comment by Patrick M — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:32 PM

  370. How about: Instead of playing defense, going on the offense? Surely over the course of 13 years of e-mails you can tease out several dozen passages that demonstrate how climate scientists, communicating amongst themselves without any anticipation of it all going public, bemoan the severity of climate change? Wouldn’t this obliterate the idiocy of the skeptic community having found only three words (“hide the decline”) over all that time?

    Comment by Rick Weinstein — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:42 PM

  371. Rob asks:”Of course the 90% was out of the hat to illustrate the non linear absorption capabilities of CO2. Word is that CO2 has already utilized its maximum climate forcing potential. I requested step by step explanation on why we should fear CO2 given the above statement.

    Please Gavin, be responsive, thanks.”

    We should fear CO2 because your statement is not a given. Understanding in detail requires some reading about atmospheric physics in a textbook, a lesser understanding can be obtained from the basics of light absorption. Gavin’s response was about two molecules absorbing at the same band, but one of them being removed at height. There are subtleties, such as the fact that the primary effect comes from larger changes in IR emission and absorption in the upper atmosphere (because CO2 is not close to what you were thinking as “maximum” at height because of lower gas density). More IR emission above us, more heating down at the surface.

    There is NO maximum to the forcing potential, as that depends on log(CO2), and log(infinity) = infinity. There are practical limits, but we are far from those.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  372. RE: 238 “Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming….”

    I would fall squarely within that 59%, but not for the apparently implied reason. My opinion is that most or all of the denialist works that Gavin, RayPierre, Tamino, et al have debunked have falsified research data and/or implications from the data. This includes the hilarious ‘CO2 warming violates the 2nd law’ comedy. The apparently hoped-for inference that most Americans doubt the science supporting the reality of AGW fails by the very language of the question. (Maybe most respondents ARE thinking of the denial fizzies!) It’s puzzling how anyone could say that nobody falsifies or misrepresents data, though, given the bizarre representations and conclusions/inferences therefrom that we’ve seen in the deny-o-sphere.

    Comment by ghost — 4 Dec 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  373. “What is the optimal temperture for human life? Should our aim be static tempertures? In the OH river valley 700 years ago it was much warmer that it is today. We know this from remains found in Indian camps.”

    http://courses.csusm.edu/hist337as/hb/h37hbfra.htm
    “Mississippian agriculture allowed this tradition to develop a city of thirty to sixty thousand people on the east bank of the Mississippi opposite the present site of St. Louis, at a site we call Cahokia. This city continued to be an urban center until about seven hundred years ago. It was probably brought down by overpopulation and climate change (the usual suspects), but archeologists say the collapse was quick and possibly violent.”

    I wonder if someday scholars will say ” Fossil fuel based agriculture allowed this tradition to develop a world population of 6.6 billion people….It was probably brought down by overpopulation and climate change(ironically due to the very fossil fuel use which drove its rapid development), but archaeologists say the collapse was quick, violent, and spread globally.”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:24 PM

  374. Norman says:
    4 December 2009 at 12:12 AM

    Also I am not sure how CO2 could get to the upper atmosphere and stay. CO2 and H2O are both heavier molecules than O2 or N2. Shouldn’t they tend to stay in the lower atmosphere?

    No! It’s called turbulent mixing, look up the ‘homosphere’.
    By your logic clouds couldn’t exist water being ~1000x denser than air.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  375. Word is that CO2 has already utilized its maximum climate forcing potential. I requested step by step explanation on why we should fear CO2 given the above statement.

    Please Gavin, be responsive, thanks.

    You can find this yourself on the net. The physics showing your claim to be wrong dates back to the 1950s. I’m sure Spencer Weart’s book covers the history of that claim and the work done by physicists that disproved it.

    Why should Gavin (or anyone else) spend their time repeating stuff that anyone interested in the science can find out for themselves?

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  376. Norman: It does matter which way you’re looking, in terms of what you want to know. If you want to look at asteroids, you’ll want to see the IR coming from the asteroid, without anything in between absorbing it (or without other IR sources adding to the confusion). Hence, you put your telescope in space.

    In the other direction: IR is emitted by the earth’s surface (some of which makes it out), but also throughout the atmosphere. The interesting question is the altitude and temperature at which bits of emitted IR make it out to space without being absorbed.

    If the written descriptions of the saturation issue and the greenhouse effect in general don’t quite satisfy, perhaps playing with this toy at the same time might help? You can move around in altitude, looking up or looking down, all the while changing the concentrations of the greenhouse gases. You can see the longwave radiation change as you do all those things.

    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/Projects/modtran.orig.html

    Comment by tharanga — 4 Dec 2009 @ 1:56 PM

  377. The article by Peter Kelemen in Popular Mechanics was very well done, and I completely agree with him.

    Comment by EL — 4 Dec 2009 @ 2:56 PM

  378. I think the confusion over the 2nd law of thermodynamics comes from how it is stated more then anything else. A cool atmosphere does not warm the earth, the sun does. However, a cool atmosphere causes the earth to cool more slowly then a cold atmosphere does. A warm object will cool more slowly next to a cool object then it will next to a cold object. Of course I’m not a physicist and I may have thought this through wrong so if I have feel free to eschew me.

    Comment by stevenc — 4 Dec 2009 @ 3:37 PM

  379. Gavin (or anyone else)

    I’m involved in a discussion elsewhere and someone posted the following

    Anyone of the pro-AGW types like to explain this code found in the CRU hack?

    ;
    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
    ;
    yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75; ; fudge factor
    if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’

    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

    Basically, it interpolates the raw data from the 20th century into a hockey stick shape.

    Now why might a CRU piece of code want to do that?

    The scandal is not in the e-mails, it’s in the 1,000s of line of FORTRAN77 and Harry’s comments.

    They are mucking around with the raw data, destroying correlation, adding fudge factors, splicing in other data with a dubious provenance, bitching about the appalling data integrity, data lost, data with huge gaps.

    It is not science, it’s not even close. It’s what I call the spreadsheet wallahs at work of doing 99 times out of 100 – it is goalseeking.

    They want a hockey stick shape, that’s what the graph will draw. You could put in lottery numbers into that code and you would get a hockey stick every time.

    As I don’t understand Fortran (my programming skills don’t go beyond VBA) can you tell me if he has a point?

    [Response: No. See comments passim for the answer. We’ll gather these things into an FAQ in a while for easier referencing. (PS. if he doesn’t know this is IDL and not Fortran, he isn’t much of a programmer). – gavin

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 4 Dec 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  380. Re: #359
    Help for for readers who are curious about Hank’s reference to Wegman :
    Look at Hank’s earlier comment here :

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/the-missing-piece-at-the-wegman-hearing/comment-page-1/#comment-15877

    The earlier comment explains ‘Wegman’ to-day’s provides the physics.

    [I hope you don't mind my butting in , Hank]

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:04 PM

  381. Richard Steckis (336) — Read Annan & Hargreaves for an excellent determination that Charney equilibrium climate snesitivity is very close to 3 K.

    Rob (353) — Your “word” is wrong or at best misleading. At the top of the page is the Start Here link. Start there, continuing with “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:14 PM

  382. Hello Gavin,
    first of all, thank you for your Herculean work here. It is really appreciated.
    There is one thing that I never completely understood. I sometimes hear the argument that if there was a stronger MWP this would imply an even higher climate sensitivity, but why is this the case? I know this is only tangentially related to the emails, but it always comes up in discussion: e.g., the emails finally prove that they wanted to get rid of the MWP – and I wonder why they would want to do this in the first place.
    Would be great if you could write a few lines explaining this.
    cheers
    Paz

    Comment by Paz — 4 Dec 2009 @ 5:47 PM

  383. Jeffrey Jena — 4 December 2009 @ 3:32 AM:

    Dumbth.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 4 Dec 2009 @ 6:20 PM

  384. @379 Andrew,
    You might want to read Tim Lambert’s response at Deltoid.
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php

    Comment by wildlifer — 4 Dec 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  385. Paz (381) — I am of the opinion that various researchers wanted to extend the paleoclimate reconstruction far enough back in time so that the northern hemisphere (mostly) MWP would be clearly seen to have a beginning as well as an end.

    As for size versus climate sensitivity: that appears to be most difficult unless one first understands what the forcings for the MWP were. I suggest starting with climatologist W.F. Ruddiman’s popular “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum”. Indeed, he did a guest post here on RealClimate some time ago.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Dec 2009 @ 6:41 PM

  386. BPL

    To my statement:

    “What is also “settled science” is that it has not warmed since the end of the 20th century despite continued all-time record increase in CO2, but has cooled instead by around 0.1°C (same caveat on the temperature record as above).”

    You reply (346): “No matter how many times you repeat this classic denialist lie, it still won’t be true. Warming continues”

    BPL, calling it a “classic denialist lie” and attaching a bunch of meaningless stuff does not change the physically observed fact based on all four main temperature records, that it has cooled by around 0.1°C since the end of 2000.

    You write:

    “How many times do people have to tell you warming is still going on before you look at the primary data and do a regression yourself?”

    I have downloaded the primary data and done a linear regression of all 4 records:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2600/3670965001_4249d9a68e_b.jpg

    The average observed linear rate of cooling since January 2001 was 0.1°C, as you can see.

    Looks like you are the “denier” this time, BPL. Pull your head out of the sand.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 4 Dec 2009 @ 7:14 PM


  387. I know this is only tangentially related to the emails, but it always comes up in discussion: e.g., the emails finally prove that they wanted to get rid of the MWP – and I wonder why they would want to do this in the first place.
    Would be great if you could write a few lines explaining this.

    If you are referring to the “2000 years needed to contain the MWP” remark, please be advised that data going back 1,000 will “contain” only about half the MWP. Data going back 2,000 years will contain it all (and then some).

    The next time that subject comes up in a discussion, ask the individual who brings it up if it is possible to “contain” two gallons of milk in a one-gallon bottle.

    Comment by caerbannog — 4 Dec 2009 @ 7:32 PM

  388. Timothy Chase (335)

    In your argument against “100% openness and transparency now”, you first question the word “now”, then explain how bothersome complete openness and transparency would be and then quote a December 2, 2008 statement from Gavin to Ben Santer which supports your postulation.

    There are two basic flaws in your logic:

    1. Gavin’s statement was “pre-Climategate”; get it through your head that the rules have changed. “Now” is not December 2008. (I believe Gavin sees this).
    2. Your argument against transparency sounds similar to the early Watergate arguments of the Nixon administration evoking national security and presidential immunity (these arguments got “shot down” as the scandal widened).

    Hiding behind excuses for anything other than 100% openness and transparency now will only make things worse for the AGW cause; remember that Watergate only became a serious problem for Nixon when it became clear that there had been a coverup.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 4 Dec 2009 @ 7:41 PM

  389. In response to #351

    It appears the discussion is that an increase in CO2 does not increase the absorption of IR radiation because it is already absorbing all of the IR radiation, IE saturated.
    Your hypothesis is that it does make a difference.
    To prove your point, you set your initial
    “a is the absorptivity of the upper level (which must fall between 0 and 1)”
    to 0.5 and then you change it to 0.6 in an attempt to show how it not changing causes warming?
    I seem to have missed the logic here. Shouldn’t it have stayed the same so you could prove that by staying the same it changed the temperature?

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 4 Dec 2009 @ 9:42 PM

  390. For Norman, a better reference than my older one:
    Here’s the Wegman error, from a NPR program quoting from the transcript:

    —-
    HARRIS: And the limits of Wegman’s expertise became painfully clear when he tried to answer a question from Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky about the well known mechanism by which carbon dioxide traps infrared radiation – heat – in our atmosphere.

    Prof. WEGMAN: Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Where it sits in the atmospheric profile, I don’t know. I’m not an atmospheric scientist to know that. But presumably, if the atmospheric – if the carbon dioxide is close to the surface of the earth, it’s not reflecting a lot of infrared back.

    Representative JAN SCHAKOWSKY (Democrat, Illinois): But you’re not clearly qualified to…

    Prof. WEGMAN: No, of course not.

    Rep. SCHAKOWSKY: …comment on that.
    —–

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5569901

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Dec 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  391. Also in response to #351

    By changing ONLY 0.1?

    0.1 is 10% of the allowed value of 0 to 1. Not an insignificant change. And it changed the temperature by 3 of 300 or about 1%, which is 10% of the change you made.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 4 Dec 2009 @ 9:50 PM

  392. (People deserve some amusement.)
    I’m way behind, but I cannot resist adding a note, for those who recall Prof. Emeritus Howard Hayden‘s comments in one of the closed threads.

    I’m sure few will be surprised to find that his book A Primer on CO2 and Climate, 2nd Ed features (p.8-9) none other than a famous paper by none other than E. G. Beck. He also likes Gerlich & Tscheuschner.

    The 12 reviews rate this book:
    5 10 (pretty good!)
    4 1
    1 1

    I was especially amused that 125 of 128 people found helpful a 5-star review entitled “Remarkable non-technical account of the role of CO2 in the climate.”

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Dec 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  393. SecularAnimist:

    Amory Lovins, who I saw speak as a young teenager, is, I think, just trying to be practical. I used to question the way he played into the American free market religion, but now I think it was practical.

    The point is, we are where we are. It’s possible that thanks to corporate media and disinfo campaigns that climate science would indeed become weaker. It’s still possible. In its effects. So in that sense, Amory’s comment is actually hopeful and optimistic. If it’s not enough to prevent severe damage, well, that’s the human world for you, and the dominant paradigm. It’s only by being hyper-alert to every possible opportunity that we can turn the tide. Every person convinced, or not unconvinced, to care about the now-near-but-still-future is probably a coral reef saved – maybe even a species.

    I hate the way market fundamentalists are forcing us all into Sophie’s Choices every day, but we are where we are. Denial of our predicament won’t solve it.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 4 Dec 2009 @ 10:12 PM

  394. “1) IF you think the climate has “stagnated” during the last 10 years”
    Don’t need an “if” there, it’s a reasonable desription of post 1998.

    Really?

    I have used the UAH data because that’s the one favoured by those who dispute AGW (presumably because it maximises the warmth of 1998 vs later years). I have even cherry-picked the ending date of the blue series to maximise its slope, making it as hard as possible for the past decade to be “on trend”. (Adding just one more month drops it slightly.) And yet, despite all that, I can’t see any way to describe the past ten years as anything other than “on trend” — the rate of warming actually increases slightly, from 0.116 degrees C/decade to 0.126 degrees C/decade.

    Comment by Jason — 4 Dec 2009 @ 10:33 PM

  395. Manacker 388: I suppose you realize that in the Watergate scandal, the bad guys were the ones who did the illegal break-in? Have you heard that the means don’t justify the ends.

    Comment by dlharman — 4 Dec 2009 @ 11:00 PM

  396. A post from Tom Harris, Natural Resources Stewardship Project, at Free Dominion :*

    Posted: 01/ 10/ 07 2:20 pm
    Post subject: If the science is wrong, then nothing else matters

    “I completely agree with fourhorses that the ultimate aim is to create a situation where the CPC can say assertively, “The science no longer supports the assumptions of the Kyoto Accord.”

    However, politically this cannot be done overnight without the Conservatives taking what they consider to be an unacceptable hit (do people think they would really lose votes with this statement (from Canadians who would otherwise vote for them, that is?).

    So, the solution put on this site a little while ago by Tina is one I would support as well – namely, they don’t take sides at all and admit they don’t know and so are holding unbiased, public hearings in which scientists from both sides are invited to testify. The resulting chaos, with claims all over the map, will do enough to thoroughly confuse everyone (which is appropriate, actually, since the science is so immature and, frankly, confusing) and take the wind out of the sails of the “we are causing a climate disaster and must stop it” camp entirely, and the CPC can quietly turn to important issues without really having had to say much at all.

    What’s wrong with this approach?

    Sincerely,
    Tom Harris, Executive Director, Natural Resources Stewardship Project
    Web: http://www.nrsp.com

    http://www.freedominion.com.pa/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=73474&start=15

    Comment by Climate reviewer — 4 Dec 2009 @ 11:23 PM

  397. Ref #395

    If the means don’t justify the ends, then why does it take an FOI request to get data long after it’s conclusions have been reached and published?

    And why isn’t (paraphrasing)
    don’t anybody tell them that the UK has an FOI act
    as heinous as hacking emails?
    And isn’t the CRU a public funded educational institute?

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:13 AM

  398. Phil Felton (#374) and Hank Roberts (#390)

    Thank you gentlemen for your information. I did look up the Homosphere and the turbulent air will keep things nice and mixed at least in the Troposphere, Stratosphere and Mesosphere. This turbulent air does bring up other information I have read about. Some making a challenge against the Greenhouse effect at all.

    The air inside a car sitting in the sun will be much hotter than the outside air. The interior of the car absorbs the solar energy and is converted to heat. But the air inside the car gets so hot not because of continuous reflection of IR back into the car (visible light in but IR can’t penetrate the glass). It gets hot because convection is cut off.

    You have both demonstrated that our atmosphere is very turbulent and well mixed. Is it possible that the warming of the lower atmosphere (as seen via measured temperatures over the past 100 years) is due to patterns of air masses like an inversion that prevent convection. This might explain why the 1930′s were so blazing hot in the U.S. even though we were only beginning to add massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    I also do not know why a saturation point for IR is not valid. Take the oceans for an example. Solar energy will be completely absorbed by a few hundred feet of ocean water, after a certain point it is totally dark. A lot of energy is going into the ocean, it warms the surface layers and that is it. How come light in the oceans does not continue to be emitted and absorbed all the way to the bottom of the sea and in fact warming the ocean floor? I may be absurd but that is what the unlimited absorption of carbon dioxide sounds like to me. The lower layers absorb the ground IR and warm up, emitting more to the air above and so on. Once the sunlight hitting the oceans is absorbed it is done, the energy is used up, it does not continue to warm the ocean below.

    Hope I am not making too much of a fool of myself with my reasoning.

    Comment by Norman — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:21 AM

  399. #394, by plotting 1979-2009 trends, you’ve answered a different question then whether temps are stable during the last 10 year. If you want to see trend stagnation, do it on the shorter periods, like this 2001-2009 one:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/rss_jan2001_june2009-500×341.jpg

    … and btw, if you want to be convincing wrt the long trend, start at 1950, which encompasses full impact of CO2, not 1979, which cherry-picks the start date to maximize trend.

    Comment by Patrick M. — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:27 AM

  400. Anybody have a comment on
    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11685

    [Response: There are so many different threads that are all jumbled up there that it is incoherent. See the first context point for specific details. - gavin]

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:43 AM

  401. This may be slightly OT, but given the incessantly repeated mantra of the unacceptable costs of limiting CO2 emissions, many people in the US in particular may be missing the point. Solar and wind energy are on the way in anyway, no matter how you look at the climate, increasingly for economic reasons, as commented for example here:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1204/p08s01-comv.html

    The den… skept… oh to hell with it… those in denial of the evidence of anthropogenic global warming are actually the ones who threaten the prosperity of what was once known as the free world. By allowing and encouraging vast swathes of the population to choose vociferous brute ignorance and blog science over proven excellence, they may run far greater risk of counseling the destruction of their own economy than do the scientists.

    Not all those who have been, for various good reasons, unwilling or unable to put in the years of study and research necessary to gain a degree, let alone any higher qualification, in the domain of climate science (or even physics) – but who nevertheless now feel compelled to appoint themselves judges of the work of those who have – are absolute bastards, but they run the risk of being badly manipulated by various people who almost certainly are. We have had acid rain. We have had smog. We have had oil slicks and lead poisoning. Is it really so inconceivable that our current way of doing things may just also be having more complex and less readily detectable longer term effects on the world about us – including the climate?

    Comment by iain — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:49 AM

  402. From 356, apropos totalitarian politicians piggy-backing on AGW scares
    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

    Gavin: …this politician doesn’t want the worst case scenarios to come true.

    I don’t think today’s major politicians much care either way whether AGW is true or not. What they _do_ really care about, is that we become instilled with fear at the IPCC-endorsed scenario, and so become pliant subjects in their scaled-up social ‘engineering’ and taxes.

    And when scientists fail to respond to such abuse of their conclusions, the public not unreasonably concludes that the scientists share and support the politicians’ project of making science serve politics, rather than be a search for truth. IOW, they begin to suspect scientists’ motives, which means they begin to give the scientists’ findings less credibility too.

    To counter skepticism of themselves, scientists need to start speaking out against the fear-mongering political tide of exaggeration and distortion. Which is admittedly problematic, given that this would involve angering their ultimate employers.

    [Response: Try thinking about your suggestions empirically. If you were right then wouldn't there be a difference in govt. science in the Bush and Obama eras? A difference between the US, the EU and Japan with their very different cultural thinking about the role of govt? None of these things happen. Stop declaring things to be true and try demonstrating that they are. If you can. - gavin]

    Comment by PeterK — 5 Dec 2009 @ 1:50 AM

  403. dlharman

    Who are the “bad guys”; the inside whistle-blowers that leaked the Nixon shenanigans, including the illegal break-in and cover-up, (Deep Throat), those that leaked the CRU emails and possible (but as yet unproven) illegal actions of using taxpayer funds to manipulate data to deceive those same taxpayers, or the guys committing the improper and illegal actions?

    Both US and UK laws do protect whistle-blowers, i.e. confirming in this case that the ends (exposing improper behavior) do indeed justify the means (leaking data to prove this). Get up-to-date.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 5 Dec 2009 @ 3:42 AM

  404. Gavin,

    I assume that is not your comment to Jason’s 394, since you are usually well informed and would not make such a statement.

    All four records (HadCRUT, GISS, UAH and RSS) show a significant cooling trend since the end of 2000, and an essentially flat trend since the all-time record strong ENSO year 1998.

    The late 20th century warming trend (of around 0.14C per decade) was replaced by an early 21st century cooling trend (of around 0.1C over the period), as I pointed out to BPL with a graph of the original data (386).

    Accept it. The Met Office has, and has rationalized it as a result of natural variability (a.k.a. natural forcing).

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 5 Dec 2009 @ 3:56 AM

  405. About the FOI2009.zip file, I noticed something really, really odd about the timestamps on 3 of the files in the .zip: FOIA/documents/briffa-treering-external/ecat/yamal/rw/82/l00311.rw, l00321.rw, and l00331.rw.

    Gavin (or anyone else at RC), do you happen to know what the original dates of these files were? I tried to find CRU’s contact information to ask about this, but it seems they’ve redirected their entire web site so I can’t find it.

    bi

    Comment by frankbi — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:14 AM

  406. Re #352 “What OBSERVABLE climatic events would have to be OBSERVABLE (as opposed to modeled) for you to become convinced that “The DOMINANT cause of climate change is carbon emissions from human activity” statement is NOT true?”

    This is, as Gavin has pointed out, the wrong question.

    Because scientists DO NOT CLAIM that “The DOMINANT cause of climate change is carbon emissions from human activity”

    Scientists claim that climate change is a perfectly NATURAL process, but that human interference with the climate will cause a period of warming which will (if unabated) cause significant damage to the economy/humankind.

    The ‘claim’ is, in very simple policymakers terms

    “If we keep burning fossil fuels unabated over the next 50 years temperature will rise by 3 degrees or more”

    The are many observables that could be used to prove this statement wrong.

    A DECLINE in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere over the period of a couple of years would suggest we don’t understand the carbon cycle properly and that the human contribution wasn’t as important as we think it is. (No such decline has been observed since 1750, so good luck)

    The observation of a NATURAL PROCESS that was somehow causing the increase in CO2 since 1750 (you’d have to prove how this process was also leading to observed isotope ratio changes in the atmosphere and O2 decline as well, and also show where the CO2 from fossil fuels went if it didn’t go into the atmosphere – likewise, good luck)

    Use of paleoclimate OBSERVATIONS (plenty of these around) to show that the response of climate to increased CO2 is low. So we need not worry about CO2 as much as we do now, because its impact on climate is lower than currently believed.

    In terms of global temperature observations, you’d have to show that observed global temperatures over a 30 year period were inconsistent with a lower value of climate sensitivity than the (roughly 3 degrees) one we use today.

    All of those bits of evidence, based on observation, could be used to show that CO2 is not something we should be worrying about.

    Of course, in answer to your actual question about ‘dominant’ drivers of climate change.

    If global temperature jumped by 3 degrees next year (either direction), we’d have to find a new mechanism that explained this, because its not predicted by currently understood climate science. So there’s an observable. Not one anyone would welcome, mind you.

    Comment by Silk — 5 Dec 2009 @ 5:41 AM

  407. Norman:

    Also I am not sure how CO2 could get to the upper atmosphere and stay. CO2 and H2O are both heavier molecules than O2 or N2. Shouldn’t they tend to stay in the lower atmosphere?

    Norman, the relative molecular weights of CO2, H2O, O2 and N2 are 44, 18, 32 and 28, respectively. CO2, O2 and N2 are all well mixed by turbulence; they literally never have time to settle out by weight. H2O has a different distribution (a very shallow “scale height”) because it is a condensable substance at Earth temperatures and easily changes among gas, liquid, and solid.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:20 AM

  408. For all those demanding maximum transparency and openness: great. I’m all for that.

    Now go and demand the same of the denial side, and see what they say if you propose they publish the root password of their mail servers on the net so anyone can see what they’re up to.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:26 AM


  409. If the means don’t justify the ends, then why does it take an FOI request to get data long after it’s conclusions have been reached and published?

    Because (if you had been paying attention), the CRU could not legally release all of the data. Some of the data were proprietary, and the original owners/producers of said data try to make money selling it to commercial interests. So when proprietary data *are* made available for research purposes, generally the research institution (like CRU) has to sign a nondisclosure agreement. I don’t like that arrangement (it would be much better for all to have open access to all data), but that’s the way it is. CRU has to operate within the bounds of the law when it comes to intellectual property.

    It’s no different than situations where Microsoft agrees to share its Windows source-code with university researchers. There will *always* be nondisclosure agreements involved. What do you think computer-science researchers would be saying in their emails if they were being inundated with FOI requests for the Windows source-code in their possession, code that they could not legally release? What if they had to spend hours of their time dealing with garbage like that?

    You do know that there’s no “FOI gadfly” job-order account that researchers can charge to when they are having to deal with crap like this, don’t you? Do you think that their research sponsors would be happy if they said at the end of the year, “We couldn’t meet all our milestones because we burned up so many labor hours of your money dealing with FOI requests”?

    And then there’s the matter of Margaret Thatcher pushing to have the UK Met office privatized. What effect do you suppose that privatization has on the free availability of data?

    Comment by caerbannog — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:24 AM

  410. Max: the records all show that it has cooled since the end of 2000.

    BPL:

    1. You said “the last decade.” That would be 1999 to 2008, not 2001 to 2008. 10 years, not 8.

    2. Trend 2001-2008:

    NASA GISS: Up 3.45 K per decade, but not significant (t = 0.27).

    Hadley CRU: Down -0.12 K per decade, but not significant (t = -1.70).

    UAH satellite: Down -0.13 K per decade, but not significant (t = -0.91).

    In other words, since none of the year coefficients are significant, there is no “trend.” So quit saying it’s cooling, because there’s no evidence that you’re right, and all the longer-term (i.e., statistically significant) evidence is that you’re wrong.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:35 AM

  411. Richard Steckis:

    This quite clearly indicates that the modelled feedbacks that give you your ~3K per doubling are not cast in stone and are yet to be verified.

    The most important one is the water-vapor feedback, which is almost impossible to be negative or even neutral, given the Clausius-Clapeyron law. And the empirical evidence confirms that it’s happening, and happening rather strongly:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Held, I.M. and B. J. Soden, 2000. “Water vapor feedback and global warming.” Annu. Rev. Energy Environ., 25, 441–475.

    Minschwaner, K., and A. E. Dessler, 2004. “Water vapor feedback in the tropical upper troposphere: Model results and observations.” J. Climate, 17, 1272–1282.

    Oltmans, S.J. and D.J. Hoffman, “Increase in Lower-Stratospheric Water Vapor at Mid-Latitude Northern Hemisphere Site from 1981-1994,” Nature, 374 (1995): 146-149.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    Soden, B.J., D. L. Jackson, V. Ramaswamy, M. D. Schwarzkopf, and X. Huang, 2005. “The radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening.” Science, 310, 841–844.
    http://www.gfy.ku.dk/~kaas/forc&feedb2008/Articles/Soden.pdf

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  412. Richard Steckis:

    It is likely that Venus’ atmosphere was not too different from ours. Then things went really wrong see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_greenhouse”

    O. try reading beyond wikipedia. It is not a particularly good reference source.

    BPL: Right. Try these:

    Crisp, D. and D. Titov 1997. “The Thermal Balance of the Venus Atmosphere.” 353-384 in Venus II, Ed. Bougher, S.W., D.M. Hunten, and R.J. Phillips. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press.

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/venusfact.html

    Prinn, R.G. and Fegley, B. 1987. The Atmospheres of Venus, Mars, and Earth: A Critical Comparison. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 15, 171-212.

    Seiff, A. et al. 1980. “Measurements of Thermal Structure and Thermal Contrasts in the Atmosphere of Venus and Related Dynamical Observations: Results from the Four Pioneer Venus Probes. JGR 85, 7903-7933.

    Seiff A., Schofield J.T., Kliore A.J., Taylor F.W., Limaye S.S., Revercomb H.E., Sromovsky L.A., Kerzhanovich V.V., Moroz V.I., Marov, M.Ya. 1986. 3-32 in Advances in Space Research Vol. 5, The Venus International Reference Atmosphere, Ed. Kliore A. J., Moroz V. I., Keating G. M. NY: Pergamon Press.

    Taylor, F.W. et al. 1983. “Radiative Transfer in the Venus Atmosphere.” 650-680 in Venus, ed. Hunten, D.M. et al. Tucson, AZ: Univ. of Ariz. Press.

    Tomasko M.G., P.H. Smith, V.E. Suomi, L.A. Sromovsky, H.E. Revercomb, F.W. Taylor, D.J. Martonchik, A. Seiff, R. Boese, J.B. Pollack, A.P. Ingersoll, G.Schubert and C.C. Covey. 1980. “The thermal balance of Venus in light of the Pioneer Venus mission.” J. Geophys. Res., 85, 8187–8199.

    Von Zahn, U. et al. 1983. “Composition of the Venus Atmosphere.” 299-430 in Venus, Ed. Hunten, D.M. et al. Tucson, AZ: The Univ. of Arizona Press.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  413. Jeffrey Jena:

    What is the optimal temperture for human life?

    37.0 C or 98.6 F core temperature.

    For environment, almost all permanent settlements are found where the mean annual temperature is between 0 and 30 C (273-303 K).

    For our agriculture and economy to be stable, we want it to stay close to the 287-288 K we’ve enjoyed for the last couple of thousand years, since any substantial variation from that (like, by 1-2 K or more) will disrupt the hell out of our food sources and trade.

    Should our aim be static tempertures?

    Within reason, yes.

    In the OH river valley 700 years ago it was much warmer that it is today. We know this from remains found in Indian camps. What causes this warming and the subsequent cooling?

    No idea, but you can’t really generalize from the Ohio River Valley to the world. Some areas have warmed and some have cooled due to regional climate change effects having to do with land use, albedo, and changes in river and ocean flow, local winds and air currents, and local aerosol burden and type. Global warming is about the Mean Global Annual Surface Temperature (M-GAST). That has gone up, and a 1 K change in that can move agricultural growing belts by hundreds of miles.

    Were the Indians driving SUV’s?

    No, SUVs arose in roughly the 1980s.

    Why is global warming bad?

    Because it will cause more droughts in continental interiors, more violent weather along coastlines, and the disappearance of glaciers which a billion people in Asia and Latin America depend on for their fresh water. In the long run, rising sea levels will drown trillions of dollars worth of coastal infrastructure around the world.

    I would like to be wearing shorts and playing golf next Christmas here in OH. If the oceans are rising why is Key West still the same size it was in 1968?

    See above about the OH River Valley. The ocean, like the land, varies from place to place. Sea level is actually different from place to place due to variations in local gravity, currents, salinity, pollution burden, and winds. Some areas have gone down and some have gone up, but the average has been rising for a while now.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  414. Rob:

    Word is that CO2 has already utilized its maximum climate forcing potential. I requested step by step explanation on why we should fear CO2 given the above statement.

    BPL: Here it is a step at a time.

    1. Word is that CO2 has already utilized its maximum climate forcing potential.

    2. That word is wrong, and the person or people it originates with clearly have no idea of the physics involved.

    3. Therefore, we don’t have to worry about that issue.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  415. stevenc:

    A cool atmosphere does not warm the earth, the sun does.

    BPL: The Earth receives 161.2 watts per square meter of sunlight and 333 W/m^2 of IR back-radiation from the atmosphere. The surface visual albedo is 0.15 and the surface IR albedo is closer to 0.004 (ECHAM5 figure), 0.05 at most.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  416. Max: The average observed linear rate of cooling since January 2001 was 0.1°C, as you can see.

    BPL: What was the t-statistic on the year term, Max? Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  417. Bruce Williams:

    To prove your point, you set your initial
    “a is the absorptivity of the upper level (which must fall between 0 and 1)”
    to 0.5 and then you change it to 0.6 in an attempt to show how it not changing causes warming?

    No, you’ve gotten it exactly backward. I showed that when the absorptivity of the upper layer went up, the temperature of the ground increased, even though the lower layer already absorbed 100% of the IR from the ground. Please read it more carefully. Better yet, do the math.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:13 AM

  418. Dr. Jerry Pournelle IMHO provides one of the clearest view of the relevant and material issues here:

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2009/Q4/view598

    [edit- text replaced with link]

    [Response: Pournelle is wrong in every single factual statement and dramatically misreads the emails to support a preconceived narrative. This

    ends up neither being clear nor relevant. - gavin]

    Pournelle is not advancing any “narrative” other than some fiction books he has written, he is as much an adherent of rigorousness and fidelity in methods as any in your eminent team. http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2009/Q4/view599.html#climate

    He accepts the likelihood of an overall warming trend, believes the greenhouse effect is an experimental risk worth advancing mitigation for, and sees AGW as the most likely explanation (Although I’m not sure if he sees modelled AGW as providing the best theoretical approach for the majority-view), all reasonable and well-informed views. My main agreement with him is that acceptance is hindered by the sparseness of extraordinary data with which the
    extraordinary conclusions and recommendations can be supported. Pournelle’s influential policy experience and skills in operations-driven analysis represents the kind of knowledgeable person you need to bring into agreement – or at least to avoid active contention with.

    Mind you, early on I found arguments for AGW (but not GW) not too compelling. But due in no small part to the grounded arguments you and far too few others have tirelessly reasoned with, I have started to see the theoretical case for AGW as the better fit. At least for the moment, pending better data and/or theories, and presuming the current majority-view is not weakened by overtly-partisan behavior among its proponents.

    I hope the added information elicits a more considered response than the last one.

    Comment by JLS — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  419. Accept it. The Met Office has, and has rationalized it as a result of natural variability (a.k.a. natural forcing).

    Max

    And this is an example of the thinking that is overturning climate science? Someone who doesn’t understand what a forcing is? Or natural variability? Doesn’t even understand the vocabulary?

    That’s what we’re up against … people who don’t even understand the words they bandy about claiming to have proof that climate science is a fraud.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:25 AM

  420. #394, by plotting 1979-2009 trends, you’ve answered a different question then whether temps are stable during the last 10 year.

    Check again — I plotted the 1979-1998 trend and then extrapolated it to this year, and I compared that trend with the 1979-2009 trend.

    What I showed was that 1999-2009 was entirely consistent with the warming extrapolated from the earlier period. In fact, despite cherry-picking the end date of the earlier trend to maximise the rate of growth that the last decade would have to be consistent with, the last decade actually increased the rate of growth when it was added to the data.

    If you want to see trend stagnation, do it on the shorter periods, like this 2001-2009 one:

    If I really want to see trend stagnation I can compare the temperature now to the temperature five minutes ago. But I wouldn’t learn anything from that.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/rss_jan2001_june2009-500×341.jpg

    So, if the past decade is entirely consistent with the warming trend derived from data prior to the past decade (and we’ve been a little “over trend” recently), what does that tell you about the reliability of a trend derived from just 8.5 years of data?

    … and btw, if you want to be convincing wrt the long trend, start at 1950, which encompasses full impact of CO2, not 1979, which cherry-picks the start date to maximize trend.

    Surely I’d want to start earlier than that to see the “full impact” of CO2?

    Sadly the 1979 start date was picked for me because I decided to use the favourite data set of many of those claiming something significant about the past ten years, and that data set only started then. Fortunately, even that data set seems long enough to make the point.

    Comment by Jason — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:35 AM

  421. Re #402

    “To counter skepticism of themselves, scientists need to start speaking out against the fear-mongering political tide of exaggeration and distortion. ”

    What tide would that be, then?

    I’m in Copenhagen.

    Which of the following statements is true?

    A – “Based on the science, politicians are over-reacting to the problem and are proposing mitigation steps that are too severe”

    B – “Based on the science, politicians are under-reacting to the problem and are proposing mitigation steps that are too weak as too effectively deal with the problem”

    C – “Based on the science, the actions proposed by politicans seem to be about right”

    Comment by Silk — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  422. I assume that is not your comment to Jason’s 394, since you are usually well informed and would not make such a statement.

    All four records (HadCRUT, GISS, UAH and RSS) show a significant cooling trend since the end of 2000, and an essentially flat trend since the all-time record strong ENSO year 1998.

    manacker,

    It’s a shame your analysis ended in June 2009. I get a “trend” for UAH of -0.146 C/decade using January 2001-June 2009. However, adding just four more months to bring it up to date with the latest figures almost halves that trend to -0.086 C/decade. (The picture I posted earlier omitted November — the second-hottest month since August 1998, according to UAH.)

    If adding just four more months of data can have that big an impact on the trend, I’m going to assume that the length of the time series is insufficient to extract the real trend from the noise. YMMV.

    Comment by Jason — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  423. I had a disturbing thought yesterday. The hacker who stole the emails and carefully de-contextualised them must be a frequent visitor to RC, since they went to so much trouble to hack RC too. It seems more than likely that the hacker is actually commenting here, probably trying to push the idiotic “it must have been a leak” theory.

    For me, the question is “was the hacker working for an organised lobby group, or was he a misguided reactionary?” Either way, of course, he is being used by the big-energy propaganda mill. The only real question is, does he know he is being used?

    Gavin, your patience in the face of so much unmitigated, unthinking, vindictive nonsense is an amazing tour-de-force. Your book made my Christmas list.

    Comment by Didactylos — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  424. Sorry, that should be five more months including November. The image I posted only showed four more but the updated trend is using all five.

    Comment by Jason — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  425. Comment by Philip Machanick 5 December 2009 @ 8:26 AM:

    “Now go and demand the same of the denial side, and see what they say if you propose they publish the root password of their mail servers on the net so anyone can see what theyre up to.”

    A thought that has no doubt occurred to many of us. Judging from what we read here from the contrarians most of their internal musings would be utterly painful to digest.

    But how about dollar accounting? Public entities such as CRU have what are ultimately open accounting ledgeres. What about the privately financed sites such as Steve McIntyre’s operation? May we be treated to some transparency there?

    We hear a lot from contrarians about money and how it supposedly guides the direction of scientific inquiry. “Follow the money” is indeed good advice, but I suspect any serious effort to track contrarian dollars to their source will meet a brick wall, for now anyway.

    Later, when the pitchforks and torches come out and show trials begin we’ll probably get some nice accurate accounting of how the PR response to climate change was financed.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:50 PM

  426. BPL,if the surface is warmer then the atmosphere then more energy has to go from the surface to the atmosphere then from the atmosphere to the earth. Now that energy may go from the surface to the atmosphere and back again several times with some of it being lost to space with each cycle but it remains true that it is the sun that is warming the earth and the atmosphere is mearly acting to retain the heat. Hence no violation of the 2nd law.

    Comment by stevenc — 5 Dec 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  427. Latest BBC take: ‘CRU’s programming ‘way below expected standards’’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8395514.stm

    “…some climate scientists are suggesting to government that the situation is potentially so damaging that they’d like to see the UK global temperature record re-analysed from scratch to clear the air. That might not be such a bad idea, given some of the fresh concerns about the quality of the programming in question.”

    “John Graham-Cumming is a software engineer; he is not a sceptic on climate change but he is shocked by what he’s seen in the programming.”

    Dr. Cumming stated, “If you kook at the work that was done here in the alleged CRU files…it is not clearly documented, there is no audit history of what’s happened to it, so it would be below the standard you’d expect in any commercial software.”

    He tells of bugs and errors in the programming language resulting in lost data without any warning to the end user.

    When asked the question of whether he would be comfortable betting billions or trillions of dollars on this software, he states that he would not, “because it is not obvious what it is doing and why it’s doing it, and that needs to be made clear”.

    Looks like a complete re-analysis may be required to clear this up.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:24 PM

  428. Pournelle is just posting old contrarian talking points consistent with his politics, sorry. If you want to rely on a science fiction writer for information about science policy, pick one who is also a scientist.

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2009/12/democrats-and-republicans-two-very.html
    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2009/09/and-now-loons-of-left-prove-that-it.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  429. BPL

    Your query (416):

    “What was the t-statistic on the year term, Max? Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?”

    Sorry. BPL. No “inflation” from monthly data.

    The annual data show the same average cooling trend of 0.1 degC. (See plot below).
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3464289034_9e57f541b7_b.jpg

    No matter how you try to twist it or turn it, BPL, it has cooled since the end of the 20th century.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:32 PM

  430. JLS (418) — (1) CO2 is a global warming (so-called greenhouse) gas; without it the earth would be too cold to be habitable. Check any middle school earth science text. (2) Humans have been burning lots of fossil fules; obvious. (3) CO2 in the atmosphere continues to increase; check the Keeling curve. (4) More CO2 in the atmosphere produces more warming; radiative physics.

    Hence, not just GW but AGW.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  431. Ref #417

    I am assuming you are then saying that the absorption is not saturated?
    Or at least not saturated in the upper levels?

    And if this is true, then on what data do you argue this? I would like to look at it.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  432. @404. Your question, if it is an honest one, is best answered I think by an old post of Gavin’s found here, where it points out questions about trends over an x-year period depend on where you start. As you can see in the graph there, not all 8-year trends are positive, some are flat, and some are even slightly negative. But the trend is what’s important, and the clear pattern is that temperatures are trending upward.

    (Gavin, it would be interesting to have the graph there updated.)

    Comment by passerby — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:55 PM

  433. It’s interesting that the CRU dataset (as well as other temperature datasets) has features that climate change deniers have tried to use as evidence against the idea of anthropogenic global warming, e.g., the cooling period between the 1940s and 1970s and the apparent cooling of the recent decade. Now, the same people are charging that the data was manipulated to give a false impression that the earth is warming. If the scientists involved had really wanted to “cook the books”, wouldn’t they have eliminated those troublesome (albeit explainable) features? Far from having been manipulated to support an agenda, the evidence is that the data is being presented “warts and all.”

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 5 Dec 2009 @ 3:54 PM

  434. “Hide the decline”

    The latest issue on data being massaged to “hide the decline” has to do with the tree-ring proxy temperature record (which showed a decline after 1961) not agreeing with the observed record (which did not). So the observed temperatures were apparently spliced onto the tree-ring record to “hide the decline”. Fairly innocent stuff, if maybe questionable science, when the tree-ring record for the later years is not shown, as well.

    If nothing else, it raises major questions as to the accuracy and reliability of the proxy record.

    But IPCC has other examples, which are not so innocent. Here is just one example:

    Global sea level has been measured by tide gauges at various coastal stations (where sea level has a direct impact on humans) since the 19th century.

    These records (from Proudman) show that the rate of sea level rise was slightly higher in the first half of the 20th century (taken as 1904-1953) than in the second half (1954-2003), with the overall average around 1.7 mm/year.

    The most recent decade (1993-2003) showed an increase of 1.6 mm/year, according to a study by Carl Wunsch et al., between –0.3 mm/year and 2.0 mm/year, according to two different Proudman reports using different gauges [edit]

    See attached graph:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/3144596227_545227fbae_b.jpg

    In its SPM 2007 report IPCC tells us that the 1993-2003 increase was 3.1 mm/year, compared to only 1.8 mm/year over 1961 to 2003, implying an acceleration.

    In the fine print IPCC concedes, “Data prior to 1993 are from tide gauges and after 1993 are from satellite altimetry”.

    [edit]

    Any comments?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:59 PM

  435. E Zorita calls for Mann and Jones to stay out of future review activities as they are not trustworthy. He does not say that AGW is a fraud or anything like that…his concern is tribalism by certain scientists. Ed is a well published climate scientist (much more so than McIntyre) and has a full time job doing climate science.

    I think you should link to it and respond to it. I hope the delay in seeing my previous comment on this same topic is based on one of your huddles to get a response rather than on evasion.

    Comment by TCO — 5 Dec 2009 @ 6:26 PM

  436. Getting back to the context of the hack: What’s your view on the new ar*eh*legate? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpEGBgHxNTQ

    Comment by Tuomo — 5 Dec 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  437. All raw data should be published.
    All processing ‘algorithms’ should be published.
    The debate can then become less political and more collaborative.
    This would also be a wonderful time to place all code/algorithms/documentation into a sensible source control system, with off-site backup.

    Welcome to the new Netflix competition.
    (Perhaps Al can contribute a $1M for the prize.)

    Comment by ZZT — 5 Dec 2009 @ 6:52 PM

  438. Transparency and Complexity Revisited, Part I of V

    Manacker, my apologies, I didn’t see your comment until this morning. To make up for it I have written a somewhat lengthy response.

    manacker wrote in 388:

    In your argument against “100% openness and transparency now”, you first question the word “now”, then explain how bothersome complete openness and transparency would be and then quote a December 2, 2008 statement from Gavin to Ben Santer which supports your postulation.

    Gavin had stated:

    The contrarians have found that there is actually no limit to what you can ask people for (raw data, intermediate steps, additional calculations, sensitivity calculations, all the code, a workable version of the code on any platform, etc) and like Som-ali pirates they have found that once someone has paid up, they can always shake them down again.

    Elizabeth May: An Informed Look at the East Anglia Emails
    3 December 09
    http://www.desmogblog.com/elizabeth-may-informed-look-east-anglia-emails

    That was in a private letter to Ben Santer dated Decdember 2, 2008. As this was a private letter (one of the letters stolen in the “Climategate” break-in) I have no reason to think that Gavin Schmidt was being anything less than candid. And I find it remarkably applicable to your current demand for “100% openness and transparency now.”
    *
    manacker wrote in 388:

    1. Gavin’s statement was “pre-Climategate”; get it through your head that the rules have changed. “Now” is not December 2008. (I believe Gavin sees this).

    You write, “Gavin’s statement was ‘pre-Climategate’,…”

    What do you think was “uncovered” by “Climategate”? Do you have some specific correspondence in mind? I strongly suspect that any letter that you might bring up at this point and points that you might “reasonably” choose to draw from it have already been addressed, within the past few threads. In fact I strongly suspect that they have been addressed several times.

    But in either case you will have to be more specific. Vague allusions establish little more than a lack of the command of the facts.
    *
    You write, “Gavin’s statement was ‘pre-Climategate’, … ‘Now’ is not December 2008.”

    What rules? Are you thinking of the rules against breaking into someone else’s building perhaps? Those against hacking into someone’s computer? In either case I believe that we are speaking of “the rule of law.”

    No, “now” is not December 2008 — and yet I find Gavin Schmidt’s statement in a private correspondence remarkably applicable. One might even think it remarkably prescient — but for the fact that it was as applicable then or five years before that as it is now — and he no doubt acquired this insight from experience.
    *
    manacker wrote in 388:

    2.Your argument against transparency sounds similar to the early Watergate arguments of the Nixon administration evoking national security and presidential immunity (these arguments got “shot down” as the scandal widened).

    How so? Did I bring up either national security or presidential immunity?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:04 PM

  439. Transparency and Complexity Revisited, Part II of V

    My argument against “100% openness and transparency” is essentially the same as Gavin’s — and it is a bit more fundamental than either of these two issues. And for me at least it arises out of my study of of economics, human Action and the philosophy of science. It isn’t a rule. It is a principle — in much the same way as the principles of physics.

    The demand for “100% openness and transparency” sounds reasonable on the face of it — that is until one attempts to spell out precisely what it means and how it is to be applied. In “Knowledge and Decisions”, Thomas Sowell elaborates upon an insight by Friedrich A. von Hayek using the example of a restaurant.
    *
    In a well-run restaurant which serves the finest cuisine, many of the details that go into how the restaurant is run and how the food is prepared are left unarticulated or are stated or thought of only in fairly vague terms. A pinch of this, a handful of that, and how to tell when a customer is about request something before they actually consciously signal it. How the floor is to be mopped, when to vacuum, all of the expectations of the owner, the manager, the cook and the maitre de.

    People learn first by watching others then by doing, much like one learns how to play a piano, ride a bicycle or type on a keyboard. (These latter examples were used by Ayn Rand to illustrate essentially the same principle.) There isn’t any one time or place in which all of the details that are involved get spelled out.
    *
    And what does it take to spell them out specifically? Setting aside the high end restaurant for the time being at least, you might want to consider McDonalds. They actually try and spell out in precise detail how a given McDonald’s restaurant is to be run. The result? Volumes. (I know because I’ve worked behind the counter and have seen the books for myself.)

    It is about the same size as a set of encyclopedias. In this way they are able to standardize practices throughout the entire restaurant chain. They are able to achieve uninformity — and replicability — defining methods, procedures and specifications in such a way that no detail depends upon the tacit expertise of any member of the team in order to duplicate what is done the same way everywhere else.
    *
    But that generally isn’t how it works. Not at most restaurants, nor in most human endeavors. There are those who have expertise — who have automated a body of knowledge that was only in part articulated while they were in school acquiring their degress and the rest of which was acquired in a form that was scattered throughout the experience acquired over the earlier part of their career.

    Experts have a body of knowledge — tacit and automized — which distinguishes them from the novice and the man on the street. It is what results in a division of cognitive labor — and distinguishes between the the expert and the novice in any line of endeavor.

    *
    Now admittedly for an individual scientist with respect to a single study, what he does may be less complicated than what it takes to run a restaurant in its every detail. However, what stands behind and is presupposed by the study in terms of its literature, physical principles, methods, significance and implications in all likelihood often dwarfs that which is serves as the foundation for the good majority of human endeavors.

    And the scientist doesn’t stop there, honing what he has done to the point that anyone can easily replicate it. He assumes a certain level of expertise on the part of those who read the study, that much of what he has done can be taken for granted as that which is generally assumed, tacit and forms the background as part of the foundation for much of the activity in his line of study. And then after the writeup he moves on to the next study.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:05 PM

  440. Transparency and Complexity Revisited, Part III of V

    Other scientists in his discipline have the background. Typically they don’t need to have a great deal spelled out to them. Students do. They need to have the teacher patiently spell out every step in a the solution to a problem in integral calculus. In fact this is part of the reason why I think it is a mistake for a math teacher to teach out of a textbook he has written.

    When I went to Iowa State I had an acquaintance, a pretty girl who had gone to a school up in Chicago during grade and high school. She was taking a class in business calculus. At one point she confided in me that she had failed the past three tests and asked me if I would help her study for the next test.

    I asked her when the test was. She said, “9:00 PM tonight.” It was 3:00 PM. I found an empty classroom and started by trying to find out where she was in terms of her background in math. It turned out that she didn’t even know how to simplify fractions.

    Although conversationally she did just fine, it came to writing she confided that in an essay used to determine where she was in English, upon its being evaluated she was asked if she could speak English. And I suspected her non-standard use of prepositions (think “twice as less”) was getting in the way of her ability to understand mathematical relationships.

    So we began with fractions. We dealt some additional math then turned to integrals. I took her step-by-step through the problems. I showed how the principles learned in the case of one problem was dependent and built upon the problems that came before it. She seemed uncertain at first but then to follow me and her confidence seemed to grow.

    By the time she went in to take the test I was more nervous than she was. An hour later she came out beaming. She had gotten an “A.” Her difficulties weren’t due to any lack of intelligence or even willingness to learn on her part. She could learn — quickly. She proved it.

    Her difficulties were due to a poor education, teachers who found steps one through ten obvious and skipped from the first to the last without any consideration for those to whom these steps weren’t obvious — and a professor who evidently thought that he had already explained everything in the textbook he had written — and could simply breeze through everything in class and expect everyone to pick things up the first or second time.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:06 PM

  441. Transparency and Complexity Revisited, Part IV of V

    Now lets look at some of the things which novices at least might matter with regard to climatology: land and satellite temperature measurements. What do these measurements depend upon — which assuming the novice understood – would want articulated and all in only place neatly wrapped up with a bow? So that they could replicate the results, reproduce the study, understand the results and their significance?

    *

    what about the height at which the temperature is taken? If the thermometer is lower it will be closer to the skin temperature. What about the direction of the wind? The shape and constitution of the terrain? This may matter. Was the thermometer in the shade? Did they switch thermometers? What color was the thermometer? What time of day was it? These things may or may not matter to you, but they may matter a great deal to someone else. And these are just some of the aspects one might wish to consider regarding the measurement of just land temperature.

    What about satellites? The orbit will most certainly matter. Has it decayed? What about the time of day that it was over a specific point? What direction were the instruments pointed? How were the instruments constructed? What physical principles were they relying upon? How often the satellite gets tested? Are such tests “hands-on”? What algorithms did they use for compensating for orbital decay — assuming they weren’t in the position to put a new satellite in orbit and validate that orbit each year? What of the quality of the materials that are used in the construction of the instruments — and the instruments used in the validation of the satellite’s instruments?

    *

    But typically a great deal of the information such novices are asking for is already available. They simply don’t know where to look — and aren’t really all that motivated to do so. And even were someone to have the time, inclination and desire to walk them step by step through the entire process those who are making the demands of more transparency wouldn’t really have any interest.

    They have simply heard that scientists are being secretive and possibly engaged in some sort of conspiracy. Or perhaps they have heard that the scientists are incompetent. Or assuming they are just a little more insightful — as evidenced by their repeatedly demanding material which they know is already available or answers that they have already received, they may wish to create the impression that scientists are either incompetent or engaged in some sort of conspiracy. Or perhaps they simply wish — for various reasons — to harrass scientists whose conclusions they dislike and perhaps bring science to a grinding halt.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:07 PM

  442. Transparency and Complexity Revisited, Part V of V

    Scientists are rarely interested in the exact replication of the results of previous studies. They don’t need to have every detail spelled out for them in order to understand the results — and there wouldn’t be nearly as much progress if they obsessed upon such replication rather than coming up with their own new and innovative studies. And given their familiarity with the literature, they are able to see how things fit together and what will be innovative.

    But when they need additional details they generally know who they can go to get them — or at least who will know or where to look. This, too, is aquired with experience and constitutes an aspect of expertise. But it is typically tacit, and even in the case of a single study and that which it immediately depends upon rarely all articulated in the same place.
    *
    The principle is closely related to Duhem’s Thesis — which points out the fatal flaw in Karl Popper’s Principle of Falsifiability. No theory can be tested in isolation. Any time we wish to test a given theory, the theory itself is an semi-articulated product of the division of cognitive labor. Its premises and principles stand in the foreground.

    But there is much which is tacit — much which is assumed in deriving the the testable implications of the theory. And that which is tacit largely consists of other theories that are preferably more well-established. Their premises are likewise assumed by the conclusion — the hypothesis which is in part “derived” from the theory that is in the foreground, but in part “derived” from the theories that are in the background.
    *
    The principle is also closely related to my understanding of the meaning of “scientific consensus.” Typically a scientific consensus is largely tacit, consisting of that which is essentially well-established and rarely needs to be argued for anymore. Oftentimes within a given discipline it consists of what was established in other disciplines — such as when the principles of optics were assumed in the testing of General Relativity. It will generally be the product of numerous, largely independent lines of evidence where the justification for the conclusion will be far greater than that which it would receive from any one line of evidence in isolation from the rest.

    It becomes necessary to articulate the propositions which constitute a scientific consensus (or at least the basis for that consensus) typically only at the interface between the scientific community and the rest of society — typically in science education. Or more recently, when groups seek to politicize science, viewing it merely as a means to an end — and a potential weapon in an economic, religious, cultural or ideological battle. Such as cigarettes and CFCs, the link between HIV and AIDS, evolution or climatology.
    *
    Now I presume that my argument no longer reminds you of the Whitehouse’s defense in the Watergate affair.

    By way of contrast, “Climategate” reminds me a great deal of Watergate — inasmuch as it revolves around the attempt to dig up some dirt — or at least material which could be twisted and made to appear questionable — by means of an act of theft. The biggest difference in this case (so far) appears to that the victims are being “put on trial” rather than the perpetrators of the crime.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  443. Yes, Max, I have a comment:

    The satellite data are believed to be much better than the tidal gauge data. Unfortunately, the former don’t extend to the beginning of the twentieth century.

    Does that mean the better data should be ignored?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:32 PM

  444. “E Zorita calls for Mann and Jones to stay out of future review activities as they are not trustworthy. He does not say that AGW is a fraud or anything like that…his concern is tribalism by certain scientists. Ed is a well published climate scientist (much more so than McIntyre) and has a full time job doing climate science. I think you should link to it and respond to it. I hope the delay in seeing my previous comment on this same topic is based on one of your huddles to get a response rather than on evasion.”

    Here’s the link:

    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/zorita/myview.html

    Comment by Tuomo — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:32 PM

  445. Ref #409

    One cannot get private data through the FOI system. One can only get what should be public data. Check the acts please.

    From

    http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/willis-vs-the-cru-a-history-of-foi-evasion/

    “As far as I know, I am the person who made the original Freedom Of Information Act to CRU that started getting all this stirred up. I was trying to get access to the taxpayer funded raw data that they built the global temperature record out of.”

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:49 PM

  446. manacker #404:

    All four records (HadCRUT, GISS, UAH and RSS) show a significant cooling trend since the end of 2000, and an essentially flat trend since the all-time record strong ENSO year 1998.

    Since you are obviously unfamiliar with the extent of natural variability, take a look at the HadCRUT3 data set for the first 50 years. It is essentially flat (trend 0.08C/century) but with low correlation (R2 = 0.0124, p-value of t-test 0.9 so not statistically significant: no trend in other words). Now look at the data 1887-1899. 1887 was a big peak. 1887-1899 (23 years) has a trend of -0.89C per century, R2 = 0.238, t-test p-value 0.0009, i.e. statistically significant. Now look at the period 1900-2008. You get a trend of 0.7C per century, R2 = 0.74, t-test p-value 0.0001, highly statistically significant.

    What can you learn from this? At a period when there was insignificant AGW, you can find a period of over 20 years when there is significant cooling in an overall period when the there is no statistically significant trend. More on my blog, where I illustrate that even if you add a strong artificial trend to the first 50 years of the HadCRUT record, you still get a downward trend starting at 1878.

    There is a good reason for this. The combined effects of ENSO and the solar cycle make looking for trends over less than 30 years problematic. Unless you filter these out, finding trends over even as much as 20 years can be very misleading, as you can see here.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:56 PM

  447. > All raw data should be published.

    Indeed. Every petroleum and mineral company has a huge proprietary collection of data that gives them reason to look one place or another for whatever they make money from. Once all that is published, science will benefit greatly.

    You go first.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:57 PM

  448. ZZT #443:

    All raw data should be published.

    Absolutely. And we should live in a utopian social-ist universe where scientists have unlimited funding, there is no proprietary data, and we have invented a time machine, so we can transport a few terabytes of disk back to 1980, when the cost of enough disk to store all the raw data would have been in the millions of dollars.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 5 Dec 2009 @ 9:01 PM

  449. Stoat covers Zorita quite adequately:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/11/zorita_goes_for_the_jugular.php

    > In the fine print IPCC concedes
    Manacker (Max Anacker) figures the way to hide something is to label it correctly, because, well, he repeats his claims no matter how debunked.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2009 @ 9:03 PM

  450. Bruce Williams — look at the first link under Science in the right hand sidebar, and at the infrared astronomy work, and this search:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+%2Bnot%2Bsaturated

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2009 @ 9:05 PM

  451. Manacker (Max Acker) does this kind of bogus claim repeatedly.

    Above at 5 December 2009 at 2:32 PM — he points to a snapshot (with an April 2009 date, but no attribution/source given).

    It’s so much easier to fool people if you don’t provide the source link and notes to it, so they can check your claims about what it means.

    You can look this stuff up for yourself. Try a reliable source:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/notes.php#trends
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/

    Snapshots are lovely things. You can prove whatever you’re able to believe:
    http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/fairies/cottin2c.jpg

    Or, you can use all the information, and give people a link to check.

    “Here’s the full range of WTI, together with its trendline (currently 0.15°C/decade)” http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/mean:12/plot/wti/trend

    “This is just a tool to help you dig into the data to help you form your own opinions. Whatever you decide the most important thing is that you learned what the issues in analysis are and how to test your ideas against real data.” http://www.woodfortrees.org/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2009 @ 9:34 PM

  452. Ref #431

    I am assuming you are then saying that the absorption is not saturated?
    Or at least not saturated in the upper levels?

    And if this is true, then on what data do you argue this? I would like to look at it.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 5 December 2009 @ 2:51 PM

    Here’s an example of the spectra of CO2 at today’s concentration and double today’s, you’ll see that it is not saturated and that broadening of the individual lines leads to increasing absorption with concentration.

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/CO2spectra.gif

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:01 PM

  453. http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/06/the-times-climate-e-mail-hackers-aimed-to-maximise-harm-to-copenhagen-summit/

    According to TimesOnline, the investigators of the CRU email theft (dubbed SwiftHack or Climategate) have concluded that the release of the stolen material was timed to cause maximum damage to the upcoming Copenhagen conference. The system had been hacked weeks before.

    This development, along with new reports of sabotage at the University of Victoria, should finally lay to rest the baseless rumour that the CRU hacked file was assembled at CRU and released by an inside whistleblower, a canard that it turns out was started by – wait for it – none other than Steve McIntyre himself!

    Plus: Andrew Bolt fingers Tom Wigley as the whistleblower.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:02 AM

  454. More is coming to light about how and why the CRU emails were hacked – see this story from the UK’s Mail on Sunday (a right-wing conservative newspaper):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233562/Emails-rocked-climate-change-campaign-leaked-Siberian-closed-city-university-built-KGB.html

    There is a bitter irony here. It looks as if all those good folks so eager to expose a grand conspiracy on the part of climate scientists have in fact been playing the part of (very willing, albeit unwitting) accomplices in one of the cleverest pieces of black propaganda of recent years. It seems increasingly probable that the whole exercise has been masterminded by the Russian security services – formerly known as the KGB – who have a proud track record in this respect.

    Vladimir Putin, a former KGB man himself, must be delighted at the ease with which effective action to place curbs on the fossil fuel industry has been sabotaged.

    [Response: Hmm... My faith in the Daily Mail investigative unit is not particularly high, and the story seems to be related purely to the ftp site where the zip file was originally put. But this was on an open 'incoming' directory, and seems very like to have simply been used as a convenient spot. I would not get too excited by this. -gavin]

    Comment by Tom Scott — 6 Dec 2009 @ 5:29 AM

  455. Manacker said (434): **”The most recent decade (1993-2003) showed an increase of 1.6 mm/year, according to a study by Carl Wunsch et al., between –0.3 mm/year and 2.0 mm/year, according to two different Proudman reports using different gauges”**

    TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellite altimeter data put sea level rise trend at +3.3mm per year, between 1993 and 2009. No doubt that’s been pointed out elsewhere.
    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html

    Comment by JBowers — 6 Dec 2009 @ 5:48 AM

  456. RE manacker

    The annual data show the same average cooling trend of 0.1 degC. (See plot below).
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3464289034_9e57f541b7_b.jpg

    No matter how you try to twist it or turn it, BPL, it has cooled since the end of the 20th century.

    I will repeat BPL’s question:

    What was the t-statistic on the year term, Max?

    If the trend is not significant, you cannot conclude that there is cooling.

    Side note: Barton, I was interested in your question, “Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?” Is there a fundamental problem with using the monthly data to determine the significance of the regression – maybe autocorrelation? Thanks in advance.

    [Response: Auto-correlation in the monthly data is clear and impacts the significance, but there is also a difference in the HadCRU data because of the seasonal variability in their arctic 'hole' which means that their annual number is not exactly equal to the average of the monthly ones. - gavin]

    Comment by Deech56 — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:34 AM

  457. Below are quotes from an article (http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=413) that I would like clarification on:

    “During the past few thousand years, there were two periods during which global temperature was as high or higher than it now is.”

    “The computer models that incorporate the greenhouse-gas theory are being massively contradicted by current readings. That is, CO2 is continuing to build up in the atmosphere, and yet global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise.”

    “It might be, as the historical evidence can be interpreted as suggesting, that variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is an effect rather than a cause of global temperature, since CO2 levels appear to lag variation in global temperature.”

    Are these statements true and if so, don’t they prove that global warming isn’t a real threat? I am an environmental engineer, so some technical explanation is fine, but I do not work in the “climate change” field. I am only trying to determine what the truth is. Thank you.

    Comment by Dannielle A. — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:08 AM

  458. Hank,

    When in 428 you ventured that Jerry Pournelle “…is just posting old contrarian talking points consistent with his politics, sorry. If you want to rely on a science fiction writer for information about science policy, pick one who is also a scientist…”,

    you also alluded to an operations researcher who mastered experimental systems analysis and mentored under empiricist old school, who among other things did X-projects engineering at Boeing and NA Space Division, Cold War defense studies with Possony and USAF, and was instrumental in refining SDI policy and competitive-strategies” at the end of the Cold War era. Not your average SF writer, and more than the standard rocket scientist we all quip about.

    His trained Bayesian approach helps to profile the premises underlying any complex field which is subject to uncertainties in data, bounded by time and resource limits, and beset by contention between opposing analytical approaches and contradictory scenarios. IMHO this kind of systems insight which does not rely solely on the merit of relevant knowledge is very useful to those at a remove who lack both the expertise and proximity sufficient for an ex-cathedra judgment call.

    Comment by JLS — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  459. The origin (or rather the lack of origin) of the words “The science is settled” has been shown on this website. And I thank those who provided this info or links.

    So what about those who say that “Global warming is now called climate change, yada, yada, yada.”. When was “climate change” first officially and _widely_ used? Clearly the first IPCC used it in 1986. So what is there before that?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  460. ad 30 (http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/global_warming_misinformation_nature_emits_more_co2.html)”only the human contribution is responsible for the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.” Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2? “natural emissions are balanced by natural sinks” Really? Why were CO2 levels changing in the past, before human made CO2?

    Comment by Lubos Mokras — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:39 AM

  461. http://www.desmogblog.com/another-look-stolen-emails

    A great video that debunks Climate Gate.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:52 AM

  462. Danielle, for temperatures, that’s easy to look up; for example see
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/cru-hack-more-context/comment-page-10/#comment-147372

    JLS, that an old, old discussion going back to the Vietnam era, see e.g.
    http://www.sfwriter.com/asimov2.htm or
    http://www.coolscifi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=416200

    _The Mote in God’s Eye_ was pretty good though.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  463. “Stoat covers Zorita quite adequately: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/11/zorita_goes_for_the_jugular.php

    William M. Connolley’s post is a great example of the divide between a certain group of climate scientist and the rest of the thinking world in how the issues are currently perceived.

    When someone (like Zorita) finds professional assassinations of dissidents in the CRU emails, this group says they are not professional assassinations. Then the group claims that someone is making personal attacks or settling old scores and trashes that someone properly. The (probably unintended) effect of these (counter) attacks, such as Connolley’s, is that they confirm to the rest of the world that the professional assassinations of dissidents that we saw in the CRU emails are in fact real.

    [Response: The fact that Zorita is not a 'dissident', but rather has personal issues with a number of scientists (who no doubt have personal issues with perhaps him and others) is not a sign of 'professional assasination' but one simply of personalities - which I don't think anyone has ever suggested scientists should avoid. Enough on this issue please. - gavin]

    Comment by Tuomo — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:00 AM

  464. Ref #450

    Hank Roberts – My google does not produce a right hand sidebar. Just a google search page with the results:

    ************************************************
    #
    RealClimate: Still not convincing
    Aug 3, 2009 … However, the Clausius-Clapeyron Relation refers to the saturation vapor pressure, and the atmosphere is not saturated. …
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/…not…/comment-page-2/ – Cached
    #
    RealClimate: The lure of solar forcing
    27 posts – 3 authors – Last post: Jul 31, 2006
    It turns out that this is not how it works. Even though the core of the CO2 band is saturated, the edges of the band are not saturated. …
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/…/the-lure-of-solar-forcing/ – Cached – Similar
    #
    RealClimate: A Saturated Gassy Argument
    Jun 26, 2007 … Any saturation at lower levels would not change this, since it is the layers from which radiation does escape that determine the planet’s …
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/…/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/ – Cached
    ***********************************************
    etc. etc.
    What is the site you were originally on when you used this search?

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:12 AM

  465. Theo Hopkins says: “So what about those who say that “Global warming is now called climate change, yada, yada, yada.”. When was “climate change” first officially and _widely_ used? Clearly the first IPCC used it in 1986. So what is there before that?”

    In the 1950′s we see “climate change” and “global warming” being used:

    *”It was in a newspaper account of Revelle’s scientific work that the phrase “global warming” was published for the first time and “climate change” for almost the first time, although neither phrase would become common until the late 1970s.”*
    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:tTqQMCUdmmQJ:www.aip.org/history/climate/Public.htm

    For a video of a documentary made in 1958 on the subject (complete with falling ice and all), see here for the Frank Capra produced ‘The Unchained Goddess’:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgzz-L7GFg

    Comment by JBowers — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:13 AM

  466. Ref #452

    Phil Felton
    Are these graphs empirical or calculated? And who produced them?

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:28 AM

  467. Theo:
    ——
    “Climate change” is a phrase popularized by Republican pollster Frank Luntz who advised the Bush administration and Republicans everywhere to use it instead of “global warming”
    —–
    http://climatespin.blogspot.com/2008/08/words-matter-call-it-climate-disruption.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  468. Oh this is nice. A web site devoted to undermining your critics. Now, that’s what I call real science. Real Rush Limbaugh science.

    From
    http://www.desmogblog.com/slamming-the-climate-skeptic-scam

    15 June 09
    Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  469. re #459
    JLS:
    A good technical background may *enable* someone to learn enough climate science to understand the basics. However, even very smart people
    - with PhD’s in (say) physics
    - perhaps with distinguished publication records in their own fields
    - maybe even Members of the National Academy of Sciences
    - maybe even a Physics Nobel

    can easily fall deep into anti-science for any combination various anti-science reasons, of which the most common is probably ideological/political. By happy coincidence, I recently finished a detailed study of 200+such people, who signed one of the silliest climate anti-science petitions I’ve seen.

    I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Pournelle’s fiction over the years, but he seems squarely within several of the clear demographic attributes for this (Southern California aerospace, SDI/nuclear weapons, libertarian/very conservative politics, knew Robert Jastrow personally). If I’d read the Wikipedia page minus the comments on climate, and knew nothing else, if someone asked me to guess whether he accepted climate science or not, I’d have said “unlikely”.

    In particular, if you are unfamiliar with the politics around George C. Marshall Institute (GMI), SDI (Star Wars), and Robert Jastrow, you might want to learn.
    Jastrow, of course, was a towering figure in astro-*, and very influential, and very politically conservative. I read a few of his books in high school. Would Pournelle have known him? Almost certainly, at least by reputation. Would Pournelle have known him personally? Likely, as Jastrow lived in Los Angeles for 10+ years. That would be my reasoning, but in fact:

    “I’ve known Bob Jastrow for several years.”
    from Chaos Manor Reports.

    My study talks about those some (and the next iteration in a few days, does more), but keep an eye out for Merchants of Doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming, a meticulous scholarly study of GMI’s creation for SDI/Reagan support, and where it went from there, with help from Fred Singer, for example.

    Politics/ideology can sometimes totally trump laws of physics,at least in some people’s minds, if not in the real world.

    Comment by John Mashey — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  470. I just want to thank Gavin et al for the incredible effort they are putting into this. Someone suggested, a few hundred posts back, that it would be better to not get engaged with the public discussion and stick to just doing the science. Real Climate’s work has clearly shown the value of participating in this debate and is proving invaluable to those of us that try hard to keep up with the latest research and its clarification. You are fighting the good fight here. Thanks.

    Comment by Joseph — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  471. @Dannielle A. — 6 December 2009 @ 8:08 AM who is “…trying to determine what the truth is.”

    short answer –

    “During the past few thousand years, there were two periods during which global temperature was as high or higher than it now is.” They are expressing an unwarranted certainty in a few local proxies.. It is true that grapes were grown in England, and the coast of Greenland was occupied in some areas by Vikings ioccasionally in the last few thousand years.
    We also know from the differences in sediments (diatoms under ice vs open water, clam shells which grow in open coastal water but not under ice shelves) that the melt in Arctic ice and the collapse of Wordie, LarsenA, LarsenB, & Wilkins ice shelves didn’t happen before in the past few thousand years.
    We also know from borehole thermometry that the temperature trends are different in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps, and frequently go in opposite directions. Grep “arctic antarctic temperature seesaw ” (without the quotes.)

    “The computer models that incorporate the greenhouse-gas theory are being massively contradicted by current readings. That is, CO2 is continuing to build up in the atmosphere, and yet global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise.” They make the false assumption that computer models predict monotonic rises in temperature with CO2, possibly because they are completely unfamiliar with how modeling works, and they haven’t actually looked at the IPCC summaries of model predictions. The models do have a lot of internal variability, and if we have an El Nino, or a La Nina, temperatures can be above or below the long term average trend. Because of diurnal, seasonal, and weather related variations, there is a lot noise in the data, whether its actual data from the many real weather stations, or real satellite temperature images, or model cells. This noise doesn’t mean that the models are wrong, just that neither the models nor the actual measurements aren’t perfectly accurate. They are also ignoring the fact that the five and ten year trends in glacier and Arctic summer ice indicate NO moderating of rising temperatures.

    “It might be, as the historical evidence can be interpreted as suggesting, that variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is an effect rather than a cause of global temperature, since CO2 levels appear to lag variation in global temperature.” This is half true. As sea temperature rises, CO2 exsolves from the water, increasing atmospheric CO2 , and increasing the pH of the seawater. We also know from radiative physics that more atmospheric CO2 will lower thermal IR radiation, causing warming. Variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is not just a cause of warming, or just an effect of warming, but both. Since the 2 effects both have the same sign, there is a positive feedback; it is what causes the rapid rise in temperature at the end of an ice age, when the slowly varying Milankovic forcing crosses a threshold. We know we are putting a lot of CO2 from fossil fuel into the air NOW, more than enough to account for the rise in CO2 we are seeing NOW. The temperature rise we are seeing NOW likely will account for higher CO2 levels in the future, the lag is about 800 years. The pH level in the ocean is falling NOW which accounts for some of the CO2 we know we are emitting, but isn’t showing up in the atmosphere. In about 800 years, the pH of the oceans will probably rise, allowing new organisms to evolve & replace the corals which may go extinct between now and then.

    long answer -
    get yourself a pizza, a six pack, and a long free afternoon, click on the “start here” button at the top of the RC homepage http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/, and keep clicking.

    By the way, I would guess from the URL that the site http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=413 has the logical fallacy that combatting global warming would cost our freedom and destroy our economy, so it can’t be true. (real short answer – they’re lying)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:24 PM

  472. RE My comment and Gavin’s inline response

    Side note: Barton, I was interested in your question, “Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?” Is there a fundamental problem with using the monthly data to determine the significance of the regression – maybe autocorrelation? Thanks in advance.

    [Response: Auto-correlation in the monthly data is clear and impacts the significance, but there is also a difference in the HadCRU data because of the seasonal variability in their arctic 'hole' which means that their annual number is not exactly equal to the average of the monthly ones. - gavin]

    Thanks. Is it standard practice, then, to test for trend significance using annual means? Not being a programmer or R-literate, I just use Excel to perform simple regression analyses of the annual GISTEMP data to challenge “cooling” claims, and just want to make sure I am not over-simplifying.

    Comment by Deech56 — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  473. Hank Roberts (451)

    You wrote:

    “Manacker (Max Acker) does this kind of bogus claim repeatedly.

    Above at 5 December 2009 at 2:32 PM — he points to a snapshot (with an April 2009 date, but no attribution/source given).

    It’s so much easier to fool people if you don’t provide the source link and notes to it, so they can check your claims about what it means.”

    A suggestion: Open your eyes before you make false claims.

    The sources for all 4 temperature records are clearly shown on the chart I posted.

    Seek and ye shall find. And don’t make false accusations.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  474. 457
    Dannielle A. says:
    6 December 2009 at 8:08 AM

    Below are quotes from an article (http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=413) that I would like clarification on:

    “During the past few thousand years, there were two periods during which global temperature was as high or higher than it now is.”

    “The computer models that incorporate the greenhouse-gas theory are being massively contradicted by current readings. That is, CO2 is continuing to build up in the atmosphere, and yet global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise.”

    “It might be, as the historical evidence can be interpreted as suggesting, that variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is an effect rather than a cause of global temperature, since CO2 levels appear to lag variation in global temperature.”

    Are these statements true and if so, don’t they prove that global warming isn’t a real threat? I am an environmental engineer, so some technical explanation is fine, but I do not work in the “climate change” field. I am only trying to determine what the truth is. Thank you.

    Hello Danielle,

    Climate is a multidecadal creature, and is influenced by both anthropogenic and solar/planetary factors.

    You need to look at two things: signal and noise. Signal represents the underlying multidecadal trend, which can be due to anthropogenic factors or things like Milankovitch cycles, and in many instances both. Noise runs along much shorter timespans – a good example being ENSO – El Nino & La Nina. These can cause very short-term but profound warming and cooling patterns respectively.

    With respect to CO2 – it causes temperatures to increase but as temperatures rise more of it is released. Check out what goes on in former Permafrost areas as an example. But the last 200 years are quite unique, in that we have been adding massive amounts of CO2 into the equation on top of what goes on in all the usual natural cycles. This is obviously very different from the last few glacial/interglacial cycles when the fossil fuel burning was not part of the main event.

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:06 PM

  475. BPL (457)

    Believe Gavin has cleared up the slight difference in the Hadley record between the average of the monthly data and the reported annual data.

    It has no real impact on the fact that the record shows a linear decadal cooling rate of 0.1C since the end of 2000.

    The average of all records shows a similar cooling trend (as the graph shows).

    What this signifies long term is anyone’s guess. Right now it looks like the cooling will continue for a few more years, and the Met Office has even explained the reasons for the current cooling (i.e. natural variability).

    But there is really no point in denying that it has cooled since the 21st century started, because that is what the physically observed and reported record shows.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  476. Hank Roberts

    Can you translate what you wrote in 449 into plain English?

    The logic appears a bit garbled.

    Thanks.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:18 PM

  477. Dannielle A. (457) — Global warming is a significant risk to the continuance of agriculture; drier where it is dry and wetter where it is wet; prime agricultural land swallowed by rising seas. This is due to the excess CO2 caused by burning fossil fuels.

    To obtain some idea of the hazards before you, read Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”. Here is a review:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:39 PM

  478. @Theo Hopkins — 6 December 2009 @ 9:22 AM “When was “climate change” first officially and _widely_ used?”

    The widespread use of “climate change” came about when Republicans came to realize that “global warming” was happening, they could no longer pretend it wasn’t happening, and they needed to regain control of the debate.

    Republican Frank Luntz, “known as the architect of House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1994 ‘Contract with America’,” circulated a “talking points” memo that contains an amazing number of memes -we have to wait until we have all the facts, the science is uncertain, reducing our fossil fuel use will hurt the poor most, taxing fossil fuels will hurt the poor, we shouldn’t do anything until everybody(China, India, Mexico) agrees to do the same things, we should emphasize “common sense”- see http://www.ewg.org/node/8684
    If you want to understand the political battle, you should read the entire memo – http://www.ewg.org/files/LuntzResearch_environment.pdf

    some excerpts -
    “‘Climate change’ is less frightening than ‘global warming’ As one focus group participant noted, climate change ‘sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale’. While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

    “Indeed, it can be helpful to think of environmental (and other) issues in terms of “story.” A compelling story, even if factually inaccurate, can be more emotionally compelling than a dry recitation of the truth.” (Remind you of anyone? “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”Joseph Goebbels)

    “The environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general- and President Bush in particular – are most vulnerable. A caricature has taken hold in the public imagination: Republicans seemingly in the pockets of corporate fat cats who rub their hands together and chuckle manically as they plot to pollute America for fun and profit. ” (Why sir, If you think that I would resort to caricature, let alone sarcasm and ridicule, of the conservatives whose call to inaction is the greatest threat to our civilization and the common environment on which it depends, I would have to reply, you’re absolutely correct.)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  479. Timothy Chase (438)

    You asked me:

    ‘What do you think was “uncovered” by “Climategate”?’

    The leaked emails have uncovered very little in legally incriminating evidence, if any at all. They have shown an arrogant inner cabal of highly influential climate scientists, but arrogance is not against the law. They point to possible wrongdoing under the FOIA, but this has yet to be really proven. They point to some massaging of data to make things work out in favor of the point being proven, but again this is far from conclusive.

    But, as these emails and the data they contain are more closely investigated, new problems arise.

    As an example see my post 427 of 5 December 2009 2:24pm, which shows that there are bugs and errors in the CRU programming.

    To the point of “transparency”, I am simply telling you that “Climategate” has resulted in the fact that a higher level of transparency and public scrutiny by independent auditors who do not “have a horse in the race” will now be demanded of climate science than has been the case so far, i.e. the “rules of the game” have changed.

    Those climate scientists that accept the new rules will be better off for it, particularly if they have no “dirt” to hide. Those that stonewall, whitewash or try to cover up will not do so well.

    This makes sense, in view of the major economic consequences of the debate and the questions, which “Climategate” have raised.

    When Nixon + company hid behind reasons for not handing over all of the tapes to allow complete scrutiny, this is a similar ploy to hiding behind the great bother that this would cause in the case of the climate records. As the BBC report concluded, it might be best to redo the entire CRU record starting from scratch, regardless of the bother and cost.

    Sure, there are major differences between Watergate and Climategate.

    But there are also similarities.

    And that was my point.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  480. Hank Roberts (447)

    I agree with your point on data transparency.

    Publicly funded scientific climate data should be made available for critical scrutiny by independent outside auditors at the request of the public, who has paid for the data in the first place.

    Data on petroleum prospects and reserves paid for by oil companies should be made available for scrutiny by outside consultants at the request of the shareholders, who have paid for this data.

    It’s all about the “golden rule”, Hank. The gut that puts up the “gold” writes the “rule”.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:10 PM

  481. Kevin McKinney (443)

    You commented to my earlier post:

    “The satellite data are believed to be much better than the tidal gauge data. Unfortunately, the former don’t extend to the beginning of the twentieth century.
    Does that mean the better data should be ignored?”

    As far as “better data” is concerned, the report by Carl Wunsch et al. (for which I cited the link on the graph) concludes (concerning the satellite data):

    “systematic errors are likely to dominate most estimates of global average change” and the “database is insufficient to compute sea level trends with the accuracy necessary to discuss the impact of global warming”
    http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/Wunschetal_jclimate_2007_published.pdf

    A report by one of the NOAA scientists directly involved casts serious doubt on the validity of satellite altimetry for measuring sea levels, concluding, ”every few years we learn about mishaps or drifts in the altimeter instruments, errors in the data processing or instabilities in the ancillary data that result in rates of change that easily exceed the formal error estimate, if not the rate estimate itself.” “It seems that the more missions are added to the melting pot, the more uncertain the altimetric sea level change results become.”
    http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU04/05276/EGU04-J-05276.pdf

    So the satellite data are clearly not “better”.

    The other point that makes 1993-2003 satellite sea level measurements not comparable with the longer-term tide gauge record prior to 1993 is basic: the two methods measure totally different scopes.

    Tide gauges measure sea level at several selected coast lines (where sea level has an impact on us land dwellers).

    Satellite altimetry measures the entire ocean, except for polar regions and areas near coastlines, where measurement cannot be made.

    To make the claim that there has been a recent acceleration in sea level rise by comparing apples with oranges is poor science.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:37 PM

  482. Theo Hopkins (459)

    Who first said, “The science is settled?”

    See post my 371, 3 December

    At a December 1997 Kyoto press conference, climate scientist and IPCC Chair from 1997-2002, Robert Watson, was asked about the growing number of climate scientists who challenge the conclusions of the UN on AGW. He responded, “The science is settled, [and] we’re not going to reopen it here.”
    http://sovereignty.net/p/clim/kyotorpt.htm

    “Climate Change” is part of the name of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, so it is not a new concept or term.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:47 PM

  483. Theory: Climate change is a conspiracy.
    Lemma: It is sufficient to show that climate scientists handpick their data.
    Proof: 10,000 emails hacked. Outcome: Some scientists manipulate data in ways 99% of people don’t understand.
    Better proof: ~20 or so emails handpicked out of context show scientists talking about manipulating data using tricks. Therefore there must be a conspiracy.

    Theory: Idiots who don’t trust scientists are willing to cheat the scientific method to deny anthropomorphic climate change.
    Lemma 2: Hack 10,000 emails and handpick ~20 of them to manufacture a conspiracy.
    Proof: If there was a conspiracy, it would be easy to find a better climate model to challenge current findings.
    Lemma 2: They think climate scientists would handpick data.
    Proof: They do, because they would too, and did.

    Comment by JD — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:28 PM

  484. Sorry if this has been brought up before, but I would like to ask about Dr. Mann´s interview with Black on BBC. He was asked a question about what he thought about the mail from Jones talking about “keeping Michaels & McKitrick 2004 or Kalnay & Cai 2003 out of the AR4 somehow – redefine peer-review” etc.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8392611.stm

    Dr. Mann stated that he does not agree with Jones that should be kept out of the AR4. Unfortunately, he did not sound too convincing to me when trying to distance himself from Jones.

    My question is quite simple: What is the need for disagreement? Why not just stand by Jones´ statement? At the time of Jones´ writing the e-mail, it was well known that these two papers contained significant errors, undermining their conclusions completely. Why is it necessary to make excuses for aiming to exclude such papers – known to be wrong – from the AR4? To my mind, one surely does not need to “redefine” peer-review in making a convincing argument for that. Is this too difficult to explain to the broader public?

    Comment by Christoffer Bugge Harder — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  485. Could someone explain were I am wrong here:
    From #452 – By doubling the CO2, the emissivity decreases by about 8%.
    CO2 is about 4% of the total Greenhouse energy blocking mechanism.
    If we double the CO2 and assume that it fully blocks all the extra energy from the earth, then it will block an additional 4% * 8% = 0.32%.

    To reach equilibrium, the earths energy output must increase by 0.32% – It does this by increasing temperature.

    At 286 K, according to the Stefan–Boltzmann law, j = oT^4
    o being a constant, j at 286 is equivalent to 379.3562.
    Adding 0.32% we get 380.5701. Divide by o and taking the 4th root we would get 286.23, or a temperature rise of 0.23C.
    (Back of the envelope type thing)

    What brings it up to 3C (13X calculated) as the IPCC seems to state?

    o = Stefan–Boltzmann constant = 5.67e^-8

    [And yes, I realize the 0.32% will compound itself if you iterate through a couple of times, but it is really insignificant beyond the first pass.]

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:37 PM

  486. Max/Manacker,

    you aren’t seriously crowing about an EIGHT year trend, are you? Do you think this is somehow significant (whether or not it’s even true)? If you look at eight year trends, then the record shows substantially more negative trends in the anomaly at many points in time in the past 130 years (just for kicks, I actually did this using the J-D annual anomaly from the following site: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts.txt), let alone the past 30 years. Imagine if every time climate contrarians had popped up and said, “Look, the warming is done, now it’s global cooling!”. They’d look pretty silly, huh?

    Cheers,

    Martin

    Comment by Martin — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:49 PM

  487. manacker says: 6 December 2009 at 3:10 PM
    > Hank Roberts (447) I agree with your point on data transparency.

    Nope, you don’t agree, you’re trying to pretend I’d agree with your interpretation, which is pure market-libertarian PR.

    I’m sure you understand my point. Your spin isn’t even close to right.
    The companies profiting from the damage need to be opened up.
    Here’s the model. You’ll find climate scientists won’t object to taking this approach and opening up all the research, I expect.

    Even though scientists make their living and reputation by collecting data and then extracting papers from it, and giving away data loses the benefit to them of all the work done to collect it — once the proprietary files are opened up, everyone gets equal benefit and a whole lot more research gets done to everyone’s benefit.

    Here’s the model to follow:

    http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/1/45
    http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/91/11/1749/
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/settlement/interviews/glantz.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  488. Lubos Mokras (460) — Under equilibrium conditions, warming the oceans expresses some of the CO2 there; cooling the opposite. So under equilibrium conditions CO2 acts as a feedback to enhance the actual forcings making the climate a bit warmer or cooler. But burning fossil fuels has added excess carbon to the active carbon cycle; equilibrium no longer obtains.

    There are many resources to learn something about climate. I suggest starting with the “start here” link at the top of the page.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:22 PM

  489. The leaked emails have uncovered very little in legally incriminating evidence, if any at all.

    You don’t there is enough evidence to demonstrate that the emails where illegally hacked? Seems like a pretty cut and dried case to me of illegal hacking, although I’m sure the perpetrators covered their tracks well enough.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:28 PM

  490. “Response: The fact that Zorita is not a ‘dissident’, but rather has personal issues with a number of scientists (who no doubt have personal issues with perhaps him and others) is not a sign of ‘professional assasination’ but one simply of personalities – which I don’t think anyone has ever suggested scientists should avoid. Enough on this issue please. – gavin”

    Forgive me dwelling on this a bit, despite your plea to drop the topic. Given that this is a comment thread of post “Comments on CRU Hack: More context”, I think this is the most appropriate place on your site to discuss Zorita’s that “Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process.”

    I think that this is an opinion by a serious scientist in the field. I find the attempts to dismiss this as a “personal issue” or as an attempt to “settle old scores” utterly unconvincing.

    I have personally witnessed and to a lesser extent been involved in situations where the academic debate gets personal and things heat up. Nobody was calling for barring people or anything like that.

    I think Zorita is realistically seeing the situation from the outside perspective. The emails reveal what the outsiders see as unprofessional conduct that taints the entire IPCC process. The simplest way to fix the IPCC process in the public’s eyes is remove the people most tarred by the emails from the process. Is it possible that Zorita could hold this view even in the absence of any personal issues?

    [Response: Anything is possible, but single scientists calling for blacklists of other scientists - one of whom was barely mentioned in the emails - and in the absence of any evidence of impropriety associated with their roles in the IPCC, is both premature and, frankly, a little odd. I do not want to get into a psychological or personal examination of Zorita's motives in making this statement (and for the record I don't recall any interactions with him personally), and so this topic is closed. - gavin]

    Comment by Tuomo — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:28 PM

  491. Bruce Williams (485) — I think you’ll find what you did wrong by reading Ray Pierrehumbert’s
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:38 PM

  492. stevenc: BPL,if the surface is warmer then the atmosphere then more energy has to go from the surface to the atmosphere then from the atmosphere to the earth. Now that energy may go from the surface to the atmosphere and back again several times with some of it being lost to space with each cycle but it remains true that it is the sun that is warming the earth and the atmosphere is mearly acting to retain the heat. Hence no violation of the 2nd law.

    BPL: No. The atmosphere is giving off IR because it is warm, not because the warmth came from sunlight absorbed earlier. The surface is being heated more from the atmospheric IR than from the direct sunlight. And there’s still no violation of 2LOT.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:44 PM

  493. Max: “What was the t-statistic on the year term, Max? Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?”

    Sorry. BPL. No “inflation” from monthly data.

    The annual data show the same average cooling trend of 0.1 degC. (See plot below).
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3464289034_9e57f541b7_b.jpg

    No matter how you try to twist it or turn it, BPL, it has cooled since the end of the 20th century.

    BPL: I’ll ask again. What was the t-statistic on the coefficient of your year term?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:46 PM

  494. Dannielle A: The statement “global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise” is false. Check it out here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  495. Lubos Mokras: Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2?

    BPL: By its radioisotope signature. CO2 from the climate system has a normal complement of carbon-14. The carbon in CO2 from fossil fuels is 100-300 million year old, and since the half-life of 14C is only 5570 years, the 14C is effectively all gone. There are also differences in the 13C/12C ratio.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:58 PM

  496. BPL (493)

    The data are the data, monthly or annual. And they show a linear cooling trend, using exactly the same approach that IPCC has used in explaining longer and shorter term trends in its AR4 and SPM 2007 reports.

    Your question is an irrelevant side track.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:59 PM

  497. Max: But there is really no point in denying that it has cooled since the 21st century started, because that is what the physically observed and reported record shows.

    BPL: Sorry, Max, you’re wrong. You do not have enough data to conclude that. A “trend” has to be statistically significant, and your regression is not. There has been no significant cooling; the data is sufficiently flat that we don’t know if the real trend is up, down or sideways. We simply don’t know. And the main reason we don’t know is that 8 years is too short to prove anything.

    The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more. They came up with that definition decades before global warming was a public issue, solely from statistical considerations.

    Where statistical sampling is concerned, 8 << 30.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:05 PM

  498. Martin (486)

    I agree fully with you that eight (or almost nine) years of cooling prove nothing for the long term.

    The record has shown other cooling multi-decadal trends (1880-1910, 1945-1975) with warming half cycles in between.

    Is the current cooling the start of another multi-decadal cooling half-cycle, like all the others?

    Who knows?

    I do not. You do not. Nor does the Met Office or GISS.

    We’ll just have to wait and see if “natural variability” (a.k.a. natural forcing factors) will continue to more than offset record increases in CO2 for another decade or so. Right now it’s anyone’s guess with differing opinions out there.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:07 PM

  499. John Mashey
    Ref #469

    Do you remember as a kid when something went wrong and you were sure it was your fault, but couldn’t figure out what you had done to cause it? Like when parents get divorced and their children blame themselves because of what they (the children) had done?

    This is inherent in human beings, it is a mechanism we use to keep from doing things that will hurt us, and sometimes it goes awry. Are their people in the world that never outgrow this?

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:10 PM

  500. Bruce Williams: Could someone explain were I am wrong here: From #452 – By doubling the CO2, the emissivity decreases by about 8%. CO2 is about 4% of the total Greenhouse energy blocking mechanism…

    BPL: Well, to begin with, CO2 is 26% of the clear-sky greenhouse effect, not 4% (Ramanathan and Coakley 1978, Kiehl and Trenberth 1997). So I guess that takes your 0.23 K increase to 1.5 K. With water-vapor, ice-albedo and other feedbacks, it’s not hard to see that doubling.

    BTW, radiation physicists say the expected dT from doubling CO2 in the absence of all feedbacks is 1.2 K, not 0.23 K.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:12 PM

  501. Hank Roberts

    You are slipping into ideological polemic (487) rather than reasoned debate. It’s not an area I want to get into.

    Openness and transparency in climate science is a fall-out of Climategate, like it or not.

    It will not go away by ignoring it or rationalizing why climate science is doing good for mankind and should therefore be above scrutiny.

    The public (who pays for climate research with taxpayer funding) has a right to know anything about climate science that it wants to know, including independent audits of the data and data handling process, if they so desire.

    Those are the facts here.

    Max

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:17 PM

  502. BPL (497)

    See my post 498 in response to Martin 486.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  503. Given that this is a comments thread to a CRU-email context post: Here’s a question about what exactly “Mike’s Nature trick” is. By Mike’s Nature trick I mean what exactly was done by Jones that he referred by that term.

    If you read the web, you see a lot of claims. Some obviously wrong, some more intriguing. My question to you: Are the following claims true?

    - Briffa’s proxy data is valid as a temperature proxy only if it correlates with the instrumental temperatures.

    [Response: Basically true. You could also use other independent temperature proxies in earlier times. - gavin]

    - In Briffa’s original proxy data series, the proxy series correlates positively with the instrumental series before 1940, but there’s no positive reliable positive correlation in the post 1940 data.

    [Response: Not quite. The divergence happens post 1960. - gavin]

    - (Based on the email correspondence and code samples, someone could guess that) Jones deleted the post-1960 values of the Briffa series, replaced them with some materially different values.
    - The Jones’s materially different values are most likely instrumental temperature measurements or other values selected to be close to the instrumental measurements
    - Jones then smoothed the spliced series.

    [Response: This is a misreading. The only goal was a smoothed blend of the proxy and instrumental data to indicate the long term and recent changes without it being too cluttered. The post-1960 data in the Briffa reconstruction isn't relevant to that. But smoothing requires some decision about what to do with the end point problem (in this case starting in 1935 since it was a 50 year smooth). Jones used the instrumental data so that values from 1935 to 1985 are a blend of the proxy and instrumental data. I'm not quite sure what the criterion was at the 1999 end point of the instrumental period. - gavin]

    - The end result was a “proxy” series that looked like an accurate reconstruction of late 20th century temperatures when compared to the instrumental measurements.

    [Response: No. The end result was described as the proxies and instrumental record.- gavin]

    - The results were published in World Meteorological Organization WMO-No. 913 (http://www.wmo.ch/pages/prog/wcp/wcdmp/statemnt/wmo913.pdf)

    [Response: The smooth was used in that brochure. - gavin]

    My question to you are which ones of these claims are true and which are not? I guess with more resolution I’d like to know which claims are demonstrably wrong (proven innocent), which claims could be true but that there’s not credible evidence for (not proven guilty), and which claims are demonstrably true (guilty).

    What is of particular interest to me is whether the output of the “highly artificial” “fudge factor” code was ever used in any published papers. I have a co-author that uses “if 6==9″ as debugging toggle, and code sections in those parts do not (at least intentionally) make it to our papers. He argues that this might be a similar case.

    [Response: No. There was a draft, but it doesn't seem to ever have been published, and is very clear about why and how this was done. - gavin]

    Comment by Tuomo — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  504. BPL

    For the IPCC comparison of temperature trends covering short-term periods (some less than 30 years) with longer-term periods to attempt to demonstrate an acceleration in warming see AR4 p.104 FAQ 3.1

    The curve could have been drawn with all points starting at the beginning of the 20th century, proving that the first 40 years had a warming trend of almost twice the entire 100 year.

    Short term trends in a cyclical record can always be picked to show a greater rate of increase than the longer trend.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:31 PM

  505. Bruce Williams — you’re confusing three different pointers I suggested in my response to you at (450) above (5 dec. at 9:05pm)

    I recommended you look at the first link under Science on the right hand side of the page — that would be this page, the page that you’re reading right at the moment.

    You can also look up the infrared astronomy work, it’s easy to find.

    You can also click on that search I suggested, which searches realclimate for the keywords.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:38 PM

  506. Barton Paul Levenson says to Lubos Mokras: “Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2?”

    Nature can’t. (And I am not talking about the journal.)

    However, a person analyzing and modeling data has to draw that divide. A system has both exogenous and endogenous variables. Exogenous variables are not causally impacted by the system state.

    Endogenous variables are determined by the system. Co2 should be modeled as having both components. Usually, it’s a good modeling choice to consider co2 that is quickly released by humans as exogenous. Usually, it’s a good modeling choice to consider the co2 that is absorbed by the oceans endogenous.

    The endogenous part reflects the system equilibrium path, and empirically inferring any causality from that part in a complex system is difficult. In contrast, the exogenous variation in co2 is easier to use in establishing causal relationships.

    Comment by Tuomo — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:40 PM

  507. _The Mote in God’s Eye_ was pretty good though.

    Unfortunately, the world has largely passed Pournelle by … think of it as …

    Evolution in action :)

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:44 PM

  508. Max (498),

    No, we really do not need to “wait and see”. It doesn’t matter. Even if your putative 8-yr trend was significant (a point you still haven’t answered, as far as I can tell), we KNOW the long-term trend is deadly. We don’t live in this pretend world of yours in which we’re utterly mystified about what the next decades will bring.

    –Martin

    Comment by Martin — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:48 PM

  509. Would anyone know if the IPCC climate computer models were anything other than just statistical, as opposed to, say, models based on chemical and physical interactions?

    [Response: Yes. Because you wouldn't be able to download the code, read and understand it, and then replicate the results. - gavin]

    Comment by Ralph G. Mastromonaco — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:57 PM

  510. Lubos Mokras, 6 December 2009 at 9:39 AM, for details beyond Barton Paul Levenson’s reply to you about how we know CO2 addition is from humans, try these sources:

    To start, read The Global Warming Debate’s Chapter 7: Attributing Mankind.

    Then see SkepticalScience’s Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions.

    Followed by SkepticalScience’s Are humans too insignificant to affect global climate?.

    And then SkepticalScience’s Comparing CO2 emissions to CO2 levels.

    And the ever popular It’s volcanoes (or lack thereof).

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:27 PM

  511. BPL, we really aren’t disagreeing. I was just trying to come up with a way of explaining what happens in such a way as to avoid confusion over the 2nd law. I still prefer my preventing cooling over warming explanation since that makes it clear it is not violating the 2nd law. Perhaps if I used the pot burner and lid comparison it would be better. The burner warms the pot while the lid prevents the heat from escaping. The lid does not warm the pot it mearly prevents the pot from cooling. Does this make it more clear? I obviously failed previously or we wouldn’t still be discussing it.

    Comment by stevenc — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:34 PM

  512. Max: “But there is really no point in denying that it has cooled since the 21st century started, because that is what the physically observed and reported record shows.”

    BPL (to Max): “You do not have enough data to conclude that. A “trend” has to be statistically significant, and your regression is not. There has been no significant cooling; the data is sufficiently flat that we don’t know if the real trend is up, down or sideways. We simply don’t know. And the main reason we don’t know is that 8 years is too short to prove anything.”

    Ok, what has been the trend 1979 – 2008? How does it compare with the warming experienced in, say, the first half of the 20th Century?

    Comment by Don Shor — 6 Dec 2009 @ 10:03 PM

  513. Re #466
    Bruce Williams says:
    6 December 2009 at 11:28 AM
    Ref #452

    Phil Felton
    Are these graphs empirical or calculated? And who produced them?

    I calculated them using LInepak, they’re accurate.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 6 Dec 2009 @ 10:36 PM

  514. Manacker:

    The sources for all 4 temperature records are clearly shown on the chart I posted.

    As in: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3464289034_9e57f541b7_b.jpg

    Forgive me if this is woefully ignorant, but isn’t your link to ‘GISS’ data actually NCDC (NOAA) data?

    NCDC monthly data = ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/monthly.land_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat

    GISS = http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    I think you understand that 8 years is to short to establish a climate trend, and I believe you are aware that 8-year flat or cool trends are present throughout the various temperature series that show overall warming. What we are currently observing is nothing very unusual per se WRT a warming climate. Other than that we are unable to forecast interannual variability, which no one disputes, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.

    The comparison 1979 1998 trend with 1979 2009 trend is a more robust method to assess the climatic trend changes, if any, of the last 10 years or so, than excising data previous to a more recent point in time, don’t you think? The signifigance values are much higher for the former method after all.

    (Trying to bring this back to topic….)

    It is somewhat ironic that you insist on access to *all* data, yet are not inspired to use as much as is available already to make an analysis. I note that this is a recurring theme in other respects on the data issue.

    Comment by barry — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:52 PM

  515. Max is in “reasonable” mode here, I see.

    Max, elsewhere:

    “As such, it [the IPCC report] is full of agenda driven pseudo-scientific exaggerations and distortions, which all go in the direction of making its “pitch”.

    “Forget the alarmist junk science sites like RealClimate and read the many original studies out there, if you really want to know what’s going on.”

    “Real Climate is selling AGW hysteria. ”

    Topped by the hysterically ironic:

    “Stick with factual argumentation, not silly name-calling.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:12 AM

  516. Cheers to you, Gavin, for dealing with all these posts and responding to queries and challenges, even repeating the same information for scrollers. Your patience is a great boon to the matter (although I think your unedited first-retorts to some of the posts might be entertaining).

    Are there any amongst the RC contributors that could relieve you for a while, or are you the best choice for referee?

    Comment by barry — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  517. I really hate to jump in this briar patch again, but it’s just too numerous to ignore. manacker made a claim, backed up with linear regression and data from four major temperature sources, that global temperatures have cooled in the 21st century. He didn’t say (IIRC) what statistical significance this had; nor how it fit or didn’t fit into longer term temperature trends; nor if this is “significant” overall; etc; etc; etc. The gyrations and tap dancing a bunch of you do in trying to deny the obvious (no more no less) because you wish it weren’t is astounding (not to mention entertaining…)

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:55 AM

  518. >> All raw data should be published.

    >Absolutely. And we should live in a utopian social-ist universe where >scientists have unlimited funding, there is no proprietary data, and we >have invented a time machine, so we can transport a few terabytes of disk >back to 1980, when the cost of enough disk to store all the raw data would >have been in the millions of dollars.

    Err…you seem to be forgetting that storage costs decreases at an impressive rate. The tape storage of the 1980s could/should/probably were moved to disk in the 1990s. No need for a time machine, no need for angst.

    Presumably the cost of storage would be vastly less than the cost of collecting the data in the first place and I am sure that all those grant applications had ample provision for IT resources.

    Even Jon Stewart and his writers noted that only allowing the ‘value added data’ to survive was undeniably unconvincing.

    Could it be that there are a new set of deniers – those that deny that the CRU crew could ever make a mistake?

    From what one can see of the CRU data stewardship, coding, posturing, and prevarication it is hard to imaging that an open source effort with a linux web server wouldn’t have been a better investment for the human race.

    Unless of course it was all political in the first place.

    Comment by ZZT — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:05 AM

  519. Bruce Williams,

    I’m not sure where multiplying a global emissivity change by the total greenhouse contribution by CO2 is supposed to get you. Maybe it’s me, but I cannot even see why this would make sense. By the way, the total CO2 contribution to the greenhouse effect is more on the order of 20% than 4%, but this is complicated by overlap effects and the current atmospheric composition. Note first of all that the forcing of CO2 is logarithmic and therefore the effect of doubling of CO2 at modern concentrations is substantially less, than say, removing all of the CO2 from the atmosphere. The temperature change that results from a forcing of 4 W m-2 (or approximately 2x CO2 under the terrestrial climate regime and realistic initial concentrations) can be approximately given as:

    {∂σ T_eff4/∂T_sur}-1 or 4σT_eff3

    where we assume the emission and surface temperature are linearly related, and please note that you need to use the effective temperature (~ 255 K) since this is where radiation balance is set, not the surface temperature. This results in a climate sensitivity of about 0.27 K (W m-2)-1, or around 1 K for a doubling of CO2. This is treated a bit more realistic in models, although the results are basically the same, with very small differences in results.

    This is purely considering the fact that the area under the Planck curve must increase to compensate for the “bite” taken out of the spectrum by the extra CO2, as the planet now radiates at a colder temperature until equilibrium is established. To get the IPCC range of sensitivity, you need to include other things, such as the increase in water vapor of the atmosphere, global albedo changes, and the like. Although it can be said with high confidence that this substantially (at least doubles or triples) the no-feedback case, the error bars are much larger, and simple formulas don’t really work given the complexity of the feedbacks involved, so the evidence is primarily built off of past climate behavior.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:41 AM

  520. Here’s my five cents…

    What I can see happened with the hack and what I read from the posts …leads above all to one conclusion… the whole issue of “fighting global warming” and “saving the planet” is completely besides the point, not to mention over the top.

    Human beings are not up to the task of climate science when it comes to reliable predictions… and, above all, should be thrown into the next best dungeon for any such attempts as geoengineering.

    What’s even worse is that this whole ridiculous debate about CO2 being at the heart of our troubles is just covering for things in the world that are truly of high impact to the welfare of human and all other beings on this planet.

    The hacked emails clearly show climate science as what it is today …a scientific hoax… a political instrument to cover up for the actual system failure in our, especially western, societies… which is the monetary system… and all the shit, corrupt science included, that comes along with it.

    And all you “experts” trying to counter cite, re-reference and refute the arguments won’t do anything about that.

    The Bilderbergs, Rothchilds, Rockefellers and Goldman-Sachs of this world… are truly having a fun time watching all you people debate matters completely besides the point… while war is waging in the middle east and the coastlines of the Philipines are being privatized and nobody seems to care.

    If anything… global climate is a matter of engergetic input output relations… in other words… in theory, there is nothing beneficial to solar energy other than less emissions (ignoring any waste produced during manufacture & maintenance)… all that energy production, no matter from which source, is bound to aggregate and turn into heat upon consumption.

    And that is simply why CO2 is quite a stupid measure… if anything, it should be Joule. Same goes for any engery source we try to bind and make available on the surface upon which we crawl and the atmosphere that surrounds it.

    Even if I were to take any of this debate for a serious matter, fighting global warming is as much fruitless as adopting to changing climate is not.

    There have always been refugees around the world and obviously for quite other reasons than climate. I find this whole debate, above all to be humongously ignorant, and all you proponents of “save the planet by saving the climate” to be rather polemics.

    Sure, burning fossil fuels should be restricted and abolished, but not to “fight warming”. Above all it is a ridiculous waste… as, especially for oil, there are so many uses, which we restrict by burning it… and let’s not forget the emissions and ecological mess through sunken tankers and the kind of terraforming natural habitats through mining.

    Saving energy… is a brilliant idea. Quite a reasonable proposition… but “fighting climate change” …anyone, are you out of your minds?

    I believe, scientists around the world, not just when it comes to “climate science” are completely overrated, if not much too little discussed in terms of the implications that come along with all these technologies as devlopped on the grounds of scientific achievements.

    This debate is about one thing: Stop, you guys! We have real matters to discuss. People are starving and being fed junk and given junk in relief to control their lives ever more severely… the ultra-rich in this world are having a good laugh about all you people saving the planet, while they are tightening the chains around your necks and ankles ever more tighly.

    I am not a proponent of such nomenclature… but looking at all these matters, I can truly understand why some people get so outraged that they start calling you environmental nazis. Do you want to know why? Or are you just angry or ignorant about me even mentioning this? The reason why is, because you are so much endulged into your own state of mind and into the high priesthood of climate science that you are ignorant to the real pains and sufferings all around you, mere bystanders, possibly with a bulkload of useless ideals and hypocrises.

    And, believe it or not… I am not sponsored by anyone but rather speaking out of my own tiny mind. Also I have no anti-environmentalist agenda whatsoever, the opposite is the case. I love permacultrue and find it to be much neglected by all of us industrialised junkees.

    You guys have to learn to be a bit more buddhist with respect to your false matters and a bit more Marthin Luther King with respect to matters of real concern… such as: When does anyone start ask for true democracy? …for people voting on matters, not on political colours or camps? Vor people being able to veto government regulations that the majority of us would NEVER agree to.

    But I guess, if this whole debate were a matter of democracy, climate science would rather have to fear the voive of the people, as it would surely cast its relevance into nothingness.

    Comment by Tobias — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:18 AM

  521. Gavin, What is the percentage (roughly) of climatologists who work on the determination of the radiative forcings in the climate models?

    [Response: Very hard to say. There are hundreds (thousands?) of people working on radiative transfer, aerosols, solar variability - models, theory, remote sensing etc. - and that is out of 10s of thousands. - gavin]

    Comment by RaymondT — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:28 AM

  522. Re: 499
    “This is inherent in human beings, … Are their people in the world that never outgrow this?”

    So, are we to assume (from your post) that humans are therefore NEVER responsible for ANYTHING bad? If not, then why even post such a silly thing?

    Another common human tendency is the tendency to dismiss long-term threats (e.g. certainly these little enjoyable cigaretts won’t hurt me).

    Another common human tendency is to think we understand commplex issues without doing any serious research. That’s very common when non-scientists dismissively ignore mountains of scientific evidence built up over decades.

    Comment by Ken W — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:43 AM

  523. Gavin, The reason I asked about the % of climatologists working on the determination of the radiative forcings is that the consensus argument is often used in public policy decisions. My understanding is that the roughly 2,000 scientists who said that “The evidence for global warming was unequivocal and it was very likely that humans play a dominant role in that warming” are not climatologists but either scientists such as biologists who observe changes in the climate which are consistent with the model predictions or scientists and engineers who are looking for mitigation solutions. Since the earth sciences are so complex and since research demands that problems be sub-divided in narrow disciplines I am wondering how someone for example working on the increase in malaria due to climate change can assert with 90% confidence that climate change is occurring ? Since the global warming theory depends so heavily on the numerical modelling of the climate it seems that the people who can best have an opinion on the certainty of climate change would be those climatologists who work on the selection of the radiative forcings used in the climate models. How can someone for example working on the measement of the ocean temperatures assert with 90% certainty that climate change is occurring ?

    Comment by RaymondT — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  524. Such a delicious turn: Were Russian security services behind the leak of ‘Climategate’ emails?

    …The server is believed to be used mainly by Tomsk State University, one of the leading academic institutions in Russia, and other scientific institutes.

    Computer hackers in Tomsk have been used in the past by the Russian secret service (FSB) to shut websites which promote views disliked by Moscow.

    Such arrangements provide the Russian government with plausible deniability while using so-called ‘hacker patriots’ to shut down websites.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  525. Gavin, I realized that I have fallen in the trap of confusing climate change and anthropogenic climate change (AGW). Here is my corrected message

    The reason I asked about the % of climatologists working on the determination of the radiative forcings is that the consensus argument is often used in public policy decisions. My understanding is that the roughly 2,000 scientists who said that “The evidence for global warming was unequivocal and it was very likely that humans play a dominant role in that warming” are not climatologists but either scientists such as biologists who observe changes in the climate which are consistent with the model predictions or scientists and engineers who are looking for mitigation solutions. Since the earth sciences are so complex and since research demands that problems be sub-divided in narrow disciplines I am wondering how someone for example working on the increase in malaria due to climate change can assert with 90% confidence that AGW is occurring ? Since the global warming theory depends so heavily on the numerical modelling of the climate it seems that the people who can best have an opinion on the certainty of AGW would be those climatologists who work on the selection of the radiative forcings used in the climate models. How can someone for example working on the measurement of the ocean temperatures assert with 90% certainty that AGW is occurring ?

    Comment by RaymondT — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:21 PM

  526. Numerous other sources, Silk, 50. One of teh best documented is the Central Engand Temperature record.

    Tamino’s fina paragraph reads :

    “The rate of warming in CET since 1980 is 0.05 +/- 0.02 deg.C/yr, or half a degree C per decade. If this trend continues, then by mid-century CET will have increased by a substantial amount, another 2 deg.C. This will bring CET to heights unknown for at least 350 years, probably several thousand years, and in all likelihood warmth not seen since humans inhabited the British Isles”

    From 1940, 7 decades, the trend is just 0.13 degrees per decade.

    Since 1659, no single year has averaged 11 degreesC. Of the 44 years with temperatures at 10degreesC or above, 22 were before 1945.

    Is his comment justified?

    Comment by Fred Staples — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:15 PM

  527. Re Manacker’s 479, Part I of II

    This is in response to manacker’s 479.

    In 438, Transparency and Complexity Revisited, Part I of V, I asked:

    What do you think was “uncovered” by “Climategate”? Do you have some specific correspondence in mind? I strongly suspect that any letter that you might bring up at this point and points that you might “reasonably” choose to draw from it have already been addressed, within the past few threads. In fact I strongly suspect that they have been addressed several times.

    manacker responded in 479:

    The leaked emails have uncovered very little in legally incriminating evidence, if any at all.

    … and yet a crime was committed. By those who broke in and stole all the material, material which they held on to not so that it could be examined in detail but so that it could be released when it would have the maximum impact upon Copenhagen.

    Please see:

    E-mails alleged to undermine climate change science were held back for weeks after being stolen so that their release would cause maximum damage to the Copenhagen climate conference, according to a source close to the investigation of the theft.

    Climate e-mail hackers ‘aimed to maximise harm to Copenhagen summit’
    Ben Webster, Times Online, December 3, 2009
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6941880.ece

    (Hat-tip to DeepClimate)
    *
    manacker wrote in 479:

    They have shown an arrogant inner cabal of highly influential climate scientists.

    As I stated earlier in 438,”Vague allusions establish little more than a lack of the command of the facts.”

    I would argue that they show a group of individuals who are used to being attacked by industry-financed “skeptics” who often have an ideological axe to grind, scientists who may at times be understandably defensive.

    Regarding the industry-financing:

    If you add it all up, the fossil fuel industry outspent the environmental groups by $36.8 million to $2.6 million in the second quarter, a factor of 14 to 1. To be fair, not all of that lobbying is climate change lobbying, but that affects both sets of numbers. The numbers don’t even include lobbying money from other industries lobbying against climate change, such as the auto industry, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.

    The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy
    Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389

    And the attacks aren’t simply in print or in the UK.

    Please see:

    An alleged series of attempted security breaches at the University of Victoria in the run-up to next week’s Copenhagen summit on climate change is evidence of a larger effort to discredit climate science, says a renowned B.C. researcher.

    Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria scientist and key contributor to the Nobel prize-winning work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says there have been a number of attempted breaches in recent months, including two successful break-ins at his campus office in which a dead computer was stolen and papers were rummaged through.

    Attempted breaches show larger effort to discredit climate science: researcher
    Megan O’Toole, National Post, Dec. 3, 2009
    http://www.nationalpost.com/m/story.html?id=2300282

    (Hat-tip to DeepClimate)
    *
    manacker wrote in 479:

    They [the CRU emails] point to some massaging of data to make things work out in favor of the point being proven…

    Do you havew something specific in mind?

    I had stated in 438:

    I strongly suspect that any letter that you might bring up at this point and points that you might “reasonably” choose to draw from it have already been addressed, within the past few threads. In fact I strongly suspect that they have been addressed several times.

    Is this why you have chosen not to be specific?
    *
    manacker wrote in 479:

    As an example see my post 427 of 5 December 2009 2:24pm, which shows that there are bugs and errors in the CRU programming.

    I am a programmer. To say that there are bugs or errors in code is a virtual tautology. However, I would ask whether there is any indication that this resulted in a single figure being published that was wrong. A single point in a graph. At what stage was the code? Was it actually be used or was it merely in the developmental stage? Was it being adapted for a purpose for which it wasn’t intended, and was it abandoned before it actually got used?
    *
    manacker responded in 479:

    To the point of “transparency”, I am simply telling you that “Climategate” has resulted in the fact that a higher level of transparency and public scrutiny by independent auditors who do not “have a horse in the race” will now be demanded of climate science than has been the case so far, i.e. the “rules of the game” have changed.

    Those who would set themselves up as “independent auditors” of climatology are anything but “disinterested” or qualified for that matter. (Please see for example: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:19 PM

  528. Re Manacker’s 479, Part II of II

    To audit something you must first understand it.

    I suggested as much here:

    Now lets look at some of the things which novices at least might matter with regard to climatology: land and satellite temperature measurements. What do these measurements depend upon — which assuming the novice understood – would want articulated and all in only place neatly wrapped up with a bow? So that they could replicate the results, reproduce the study, understand the results and their significance?

    Transparency and Complexity Revisited, Part IV of V, comment 441

    … and then stated with regard to the surface temperature records:

    what about the height at which the temperature is taken? If the thermometer is lower it will be closer to the skin temperature. What about the direction of the wind? The shape and constitution of the terrain? This may matter. Was the thermometer in the shade? Did they switch thermometers? What color was the thermometer? What time of day was it? These things may or may not matter to you, but they may matter a great deal to someone else. And these are just some of the aspects one might wish to consider regarding the measurement of just land temperature.

    ibid.

    However, if you don’t trust the results from Hadley CRU there are plenty of other temperature records that show virtually the same thing.

    For example, tempearture trends from the surface:

    Global Temperature from GISS, NCDC, HadCRU
    January 24, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/giss-ncdc-hadcru/

    This would appear to suggest that any coding errors that Hadley may have made did not make it into the their calculations regarding trends in temperature. But if you have a problem with surface measurements there are always satellites — which show essentially the same trends:

    ToughStations.org: Pouring Salt On Climate Critics “Contaminated” Wounds
    17 Sep 2007
    http://logicalscience.blogspot.com/2007/09/toughstations.html

    Of course if you were to wish to independently audit the satellite records, as I indicated before (441) here are a few of the questions you would have to consider:

    What about satellites? The orbit will most certainly matter. Has it decayed? What about the time of day that it was over a specific point? What direction were the instruments pointed? How were the instruments constructed? What physical principles were they relying upon? How often the satellite gets tested? Are such tests “hands-on”? What algorithms did they use for compensating for orbital decay — assuming they weren’t in the position to put a new satellite in orbit and validate that orbit each year? What of the quality of the materials that are used in the construction of the instruments — and the instruments used in the validation of the satellite’s instruments?

    It seems that to critique the experts you would have to become one yourself. Indeed, it appears you would have to become an expert in all relevant areas. How are you to audit that? Demand that they articulate and neatly package for you every detail? As I indicated comments 438 through 442, we are dealing with the same sort of problem that Frederich A. Hayek identified with the attempt to replace the economic coordination of a decentralized free market with a centrally-planning.
    *
    manacker wrote in 479:

    Those climate scientists that accept the new rules will be better off for it, particularly if they have no “dirt” to hide. Those that stonewall, whitewash or try to cover up will not do so well.

    “No ‘dirt’ to hide.” This reminds me of a quote, “Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear.” Some might attribute it Joe McCarthy, others to J. Edgar Hoover (who its said blackmailed presidents), still others have attributed it to Joseph Goebbels, and still others to “1984.” Any thoughts on its origin?

    Judging from the use that the emails have been put to, the demands for such “transparency” are rooted in the desire for material from which to quote-mine (taking passages out of context — see comment 333) which even in principle is impossible, where any serious attempt to achieve it would bring the scientific enterprise to a grinding halt. No level of detail would satisfy Young Earth Creationists that evolution has taken place, and no level of detail would satisfy libertarians or conspiracy nuts that the global warming is taking place and that it is as serious as mainstream science indicates that it is, and no level of detail would suffice to get fossil fuel interests to admit as much.

    As suggested above by the correspondences between different temperature records, science is self-auditing. But it goes well beyond the temperature records. It includes the melting glaciers that have been providing over a billion people with water in Asia alone, the droughts in Australia, the falling water levels in US southeast, the melting of the Arctic Icecap, the collapse of iceshelfs in Antarctica, ice loss in Greenland, West Antarctica and now East Antarctica. There are many independent lines of evidence for global warming, for the fact that we are causing it and for the fact that it is something we should choose to deal with now. And the justification for a conclusion supported by multiple independent lines of evidence is generally far greater than the justification that it would receive from any one line of evidence considered in isolation. Over time, different lines of investigation result a form of auditing far more powerful and exacting than “climate skeptics” could ever hope to honestly impose.
    *
    manacker wrote in 479:

    Sure, there are major differences between Watergate and Climategate.

    But there are also similarities.

    As I indicated in 442:

    … “Climategate” reminds me a great deal of Watergate — inasmuch as it revolves around the attempt to dig up some dirt — or at least material which could be twisted and made to appear questionable — by means of an act of theft. The biggest difference in this case (so far) appears to that the victims are being “put on trial” rather than the perpetrators of the crime.

    … this is one point on which we are in agreement.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  529. Barton Paul Levenson@414

    Thank you very much, now it all makes sense.

    Comment by Rob — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:34 PM

  530. Bruce@485
    It’s due to the alleged positive feedback. The scientists have asserted that cloud feedback are positive and significantly so.

    That’s it.

    [Response: Huh? Read the IPCC report. - gavin]

    Comment by Rob — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  531. dhogaza (506),

    I believe “Evolution in action” is a quote from Oath of Fealty — another good book, but not even close to the imagination displayed in Mote in God’s Eye.

    Cheers,

    Martin

    Comment by Martin — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  532. I wrote: “What is of particular interest to me is whether the output of the “highly artificial” “fudge factor” code was ever used in any published papers.”

    [Response: No. There was a draft, but it doesn't seem to ever have been published, and is very clear about why and how this was done. - gavin]

    Thanks a lot. Do you have a pdf of that draft that also shows the figures? Your link is to a html version (http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~timo/papepages/pwosborn_summertemppatt_submit2gpc.pdf) that doesn’t show the graphs and the figures are important to resolving this matter. Also, since I can only see captions, which figure is that code segment producing?

    Comment by Tuomo — 7 Dec 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  533. Here and there in this thread, glacier retreat have been discussed.

    Question:
    Most often people seem to link glacier retreat to drought. How is it so? The amount of precipitation and hence the feed to the rivers and streams would be the same wouldn’t it? Maybe the flood during spring wouldn’t be that high, instead the flow would be more evenly distributed over the year? Would that cause drought?

    [Response: Snow pack provides a big reservoir of water in mountain regions, and allow for significant water flow in the summer when rain is low and evaporation high. Thus a reduction of snow pack could lead to summer water shortages. - gavin]

    Comment by Rob — 7 Dec 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  534. Tuomo said:”Barton Paul Levenson says to Lubos Mokras: “Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2?”

    Nature can’t. (And I am not talking about the journal.)

    However, a person analyzing and modeling data has to draw that divide.”

    Utterly and completely wrong. One merely needs to read up on the carbon cycle and realize that it is RATES that need modeling separately, not the actual origin of individual CO2 molecules. Equilibrium is rate into atmosphere = rate leaving atmosphere. Disturbing one of these with an a new term added will reach a new equilibrium. This is why half of the CO2 we burn stays in the atmosphere (human rate into atmosphere leads to absorbed by the oceans at half the human rate ). This explains why the oceans are getting more acidic. The rate of carbonate precipitation will catch up again so that rate in = rate out, in thousands of years.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 7 Dec 2009 @ 2:33 PM

  535. I wrote: “What is of particular interest to me is whether the output of the “highly artificial” “fudge factor” code was ever used in any published papers.”

    [Response: No. There was a draft, but it doesn't seem to ever have been published, and is very clear about why and how this was done. - gavin]

    I read the paper. Here’s what I believe is the relevant section, on page 21:

    “Warm-season temperature reconstructions with extended spatial coverage have also been developed, making use of the spatial correlation evident in temperature variability to predict pasttemperatures even in grid boxes without any tree-ring density data. The calibration was undertaken on a box-by-box basis, and each grid-box temperature series was predicted using multiple linear regression against the leading principal components (PCs) of the calibrated, gridded reconstructions described in section 4.4. The PCs were computed from the correlation matrix of the reconstructions, so the calibration was in effect removed and similar results would have been obtained if the PCs of the raw, gridded density data had been used instead. The only difference is that the calibrated data with the artificial removal of the recent decline were used for the PCA. Using the adjusted data avoids the problems otherwise introduced by the existence of the decline (see section 4), though all reconstructions after 1930 will be artificially closer to the real temperatures because of the adjustment(the adjustment is quite small until about 1960 – Figure 5c). Tests with the unadjusted data show that none of the spatial patterns associated with the leading PCs are affected by the adjustment, and theonly PC time series that is affected is the leading PC and then only during the post-1930 period. Inother words, the adjustment pattern is very similar to the leading EOF pattern, and orthogonal to theothers, and thus only influences the first PC time series.”

    I don’t find the argument particularly convincing as far as the substance of this hypothetical experiment goes. But that’s not the point. The point is that I think this is conclusive evidence that the “very artificial” “fudge factor” code is _not_ fraudulent.

    Comment by Tuomo — 7 Dec 2009 @ 2:56 PM

  536. Fred Staples makes some statements and asks a question:”Numerous other sources, Silk, 50. One of teh best documented is the Central Engand Temperature record.

    Tamino’s fina paragraph reads :

    “The rate of warming in CET since 1980 is 0.05 +/- 0.02 deg.C/yr, or half a degree C per decade. If this trend continues, then by mid-century CET will have increased by a substantial amount, another 2 deg.C. This will bring CET to heights unknown for at least 350 years, probably several thousand years, and in all likelihood warmth not seen since humans inhabited the British Isles”

    From 1940, 7 decades, the trend is just 0.13 degrees per decade.

    Since 1659, no single year has averaged 11 degreesC. Of the 44 years with temperatures at 10degreesC or above, 22 were before 1945.

    Is his comment justified?”

    Yes. See http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/central-england-temperature/ and search for answers to someone coincidentally named Fred Staples.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 7 Dec 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  537. Barton Paul Levenson says to Lubos Mokras: “Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2?”

    Tuomo said: “Nature can’t. (And I am not talking about the journal.) However, a person analyzing and modeling data has to draw that divide.”

    t_p_hamilton says: “Utterly and completely wrong. One merely needs to read up on the carbon cycle and realize that it is RATES that need modeling separately, not the actual origin of individual CO2 molecules. Equilibrium is rate into atmosphere = rate leaving atmosphere. Disturbing one of these with an a new term added will reach a new equilibrium. This is why half of the CO2 we burn stays in the atmosphere (human rate into atmosphere leads to absorbed by the oceans at half the human rate ). This explains why the oceans are getting more acidic. The rate of carbonate precipitation will catch up again so that rate in = rate out, in thousands of years.”

    Aren’t you overreacting to semantics? Reason why separating between endogenous and exogenous release of co2 is useful for analysis is precisely because the mechanism by which the co2 then operates is exactly the same, irrespective of the source. (Hence my comment “Nature can’t.”) If it weren’t so, then you couldn’t take the exogenous releases, see what impact they have on the system, and draw more general conclusions about how the variables relate to each other in the system.

    Comment by Tuomo — 7 Dec 2009 @ 3:07 PM

  538. I’d like to return to the HARRY_README file. I can’t begin to understand why he had to infer the format of the data files he was using – at one point he has to decide whether longitude is stored -180 – 180 or 0 – 360!!!

    Even if he was reconstructing existing results, it seems incredible that the data was just stored as arrays of bare numbers with no documentation as to how they were to be interpreted.

    What confidence do we have that the original analysis did not stumble on the same problems – possibly with erroneous results.

    If taxpayers have paid good money to record the data, is it too much to document the format of the results!

    Comment by David Bailey — 7 Dec 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  539. Rob: “Question:
    Most often people seem to link glacier retreat to drought. How is it so? The amount of precipitation and hence the feed to the rivers and streams would be the same wouldn’t it? Maybe the flood during spring wouldn’t be that high, instead the flow would be more evenly distributed over the year? Would that cause drought?”

    [Response: Snow pack provides a big reservoir of water in mountain regions, and allow for significant water flow in the summer when rain is low and evaporation high. Thus a reduction of snow pack could lead to summer water shortages. - gavin]

    For a good overview of the impact of climate change on the western US, and particularly California water supplies, go to the Pacific Institute web site http://pacinst.org/
    and download the pdf Climate Change and California Water Resources.

    The overall assumption is that more water would fall as rain, less as snow, and that snow-melt in the spring and summer, which fills our reservoirs, would be reduced. Earlier runoff can be more difficult to capture and store. Some water districts would have increased water available, some would have less. Ground water would be presumably less affected, though in some areas agricultural irrigation is a factor in groundwater recharge.

    To many this is primarily an engineering problem. California voters will be facing a $10 billion bond issue on the next ballot that would include more reservoir storage, various conservation requirements, and the possibility of a major conveyance structure for north-south water.

    Comment by Don Shor — 7 Dec 2009 @ 3:45 PM

  540. Gavin, I work in a research center modeling enhanced oil recovery. When we apply for grants from the government we are asked about the environmental impact of the process in terms of how much CO2 is emitted. We also have a branch which looks at the sequestration of CO2 in oil fields and in aquifers. Most of the researchers working in oil recovery or CO2 sequestration are not familiar with climatology. When the director is interviewed he simply asserts that “if the projections of the IPCC are correct we are heading for a catastrophe”. What I am getting at is that AGW is assumed to be a fact however those doing the research on mitigation (especially the modelers) for example are not aware of the reasons for the science behind the IPCC forecasts. The same applies to some biologists studying the assumed effect of AGW on the spread to insect pests. However, these scientists are part of the IPCC consensus. My question to you is: to what extent are the catastrophic scenarios predicted by the IPCC biasing the science of climatology ? Does a researcher in climatology have better chances of getting a grant accepted if he assumes that AGW exists ?

    [Response: First of all, the 'scenarios predicted by the IPCC' aren't predictions, they are projections based on 'what if' economic scenarios and and state of the art physical science. Whether they are catastrophic is in the eye of the beholder. IPCC makes no claims about whether they are catastrophic. With respect to grants, I am sure that anyone starting out there grant proposal full of factual errors (e.g. "we don't know whether AGW exists") will make reviewers raise their eyebrows. However, if someone were to write "I have an idea for looking into this or that unresolved issue, and it is important for our understanding of climate sensivity", they will have just as good a chance at funding as anyone else -- probably better. Finally, in response to the quesiton "does IPCC bias the science" the answer is simple: IPCC *reflects* the science. That's how it was designed, and that is how it works.--eric]

    Comment by RaymondT — 7 Dec 2009 @ 3:58 PM

  541. > The amount of precipitation and hence the feed to the
    > rivers and streams would be the same wouldn’t it?

    No. You can look this stuff up for yourself. For example, as I can guess some key words that may relate to your question:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=lomborgh+climate+change+drinking+water

    leads to, among other useful resources:

    http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/on-water-climate-change-lomborg-and-getting-your-facts-right/

    http://sciblogs.co.nz/crikey-creek/2009/11/12/bjorn-lomborg%E2%80%99s-op-ed-sense-and-non-science/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Dec 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  542. Timothy Chase (527/528)

    Your long plaidoyer sounds more like it’s coming from a defense attorney rather than a computer programmer.

    You are sounding quite defensive – although I have made no claims of wrongdoing.

    Your statement that the only “crime” was in releasing the stolen data does not necessarily fit UK (or US) laws protecting whistle-blowers, but (not being a lawyer either) I’ll leave that up to others to decide.

    The claim of sloppy computer programming came from a BBC interview with a computer programming engineer, entitled: “CRU’s programming ‘way below expected standards’”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8395514.stm

    Some quotes:

    “…some climate scientists are suggesting to government that the situation is potentially so damaging that they’d like to see the UK global temperature record re-analysed from scratch to clear the air. That might not be such a bad idea, given some of the fresh concerns about the quality of the programming in question.”

    “John Graham-Cumming is a software engineer; he is not a sceptic on climate change but he is shocked by what he’s seen in the programming.”

    Dr. Cumming stated,

    “If you look at the work that was done here in the alleged CRU files…it is not clearly documented, there is no audit history of what’s happened to it, so it would be below the standard you’d expect in any commercial software.”
    He tells of bugs and errors in the programming language resulting in lost data without any warning to the end user.

    When asked the question of whether he would be comfortable “betting billions or trillions of dollars on this software”, he states that he would not,

    “because it is not obvious what it is doing and why it’s doing it, and that needs to be made clear”.

    That is just one expert’s opinion, of course.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Dec 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  543. Composed this for who you gonna call # 122, #123 (Dec 6 4:12.13 PM) but was closed out. I’ll try here

    Jim Hanson just now (12/7 12:30 PST)in a call-in interview on CNN took questions from the public.

    A farmer lady was very upset by “all this global warming talk” since her crops are freezing. Jim told her Global Warming and Climate change were longer term than today’s temperature and referred her to his new book “Storms of our Grandchildren” – to be released tomorrow for a further explanation.

    Answering the questions about East Hadley, Jim said that it was unfortunate that they did not make their data readily available. He pointed out that there was much other data and he had always made his available.

    Jim handled the questions well -all the questions I heard – Jim answered coolly, calmly and truthfully. Follow his lead, admit the poor judgment of the East Hadley folk and move on. That’s my recommendation and I’m sure Kelemen would agree.

    Gavin a second point, can we get a review of Jim’s new book or something on RC. Good publicity and interesting thread.

    John

    Comment by John Peter — 7 Dec 2009 @ 4:24 PM

  544. Barry (514)

    Believe you will see that the links cited are the ones to the data plotted.

    I have agreed with you, “8 years [almost 9 years now, Barry] is too short to establish a climate trend”.

    The point being made is that we do not know whether or not the current cooling is the beginning of a longer trend or not. Some scientists apparently believe that this is the case, but it is, of course, anyone’s guess.

    You do not know the answer to that question any more than I do (or Phil Jones, James E. Hansen, either, for that matter).

    There have been no periods of comparable cooling of this length since 1976, when the late 20th century warming cycle started. If you can show me periods of this time length in the HadCRUT record, which show linear cooling of 0.1°C, please do so.

    The more serious complication comes from the recent Met Office explanation that “natural variability” (a.k.a. natural forcing factors) have been strong enough to more than offset record increases in CO2 concentration (expected to raise temperature by 0.2°C) to result in a cooling of 0.1°C.

    This raises the question: if these natural forcing factors were strong enough since the end of 2000, why could they not also have been a significant cause for the late 20th century warming cycle (or for the largely unexplained early 20th century warming cycle, for that matter)?

    But that is all speculation.

    The only thing that is unequivocal is that it has cooled since the end of the 20th century, no matter which record you look at.

    And that was the point I made, which you are unable to refute.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Dec 2009 @ 4:52 PM

  545. Rod B says: 7 December 2009 at 12:0 AM

    > …manacker made a claim, backed up … He didn’t say
    > (IIRC) what statistical significance this had; nor …
    > if this is “significant” overall; etc; etc; etc.

    Exactly. That’s what he does. Pretty picture, vague handwaving, no credible analysis. It’s like billboard advertising, pictures for people who don’t have time to read.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Dec 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  546. Thanks Eric for your reply: “With respect to grants, I am sure that anyone starting out there grant proposal full of factual errors (e.g. “we don’t know whether AGW exists”) will make reviewers raise their eyebrows.”

    I don’t see why stating “we don’t know whether AGW exits” should be a FACTUAL error since the role of CO2 on global warming has not been isolated from the multi-decadal variability. For example Mojif Latif asks “How much did internal decadal variability contribute to the warming during the recent decades?”.

    [Response: Those are very clearly different statements. The latter is interesting, the former, not so much. - gavin]

    Comment by RaymondT — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:12 PM

  547. Here is a good way to view the temperatures this decade:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/

    Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:14 PM

  548. manacker wrote: “The only thing that is unequivocal is that it has cooled since the end of the 20th century, no matter which record you look at. And that was the point I made, which you are unable to refute.”

    That’s an outright lie, which has been repeatedly “refuted” on this very thread, and you know it. That means you are repeatedly, deliberately, knowingly lying — and, you are lying to people who know you are lying, and you know that they know you are lying. Which seems a strangely futile thing to do.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:29 PM

  549. ZZT #518: in 1980, an open real 2400ft tape stored about 5MB. It may have cost an order of magnitude less than disk, but a complete record of a year’s climate data would have been a lot of tapes. Of course these numbers improved over the decade but the exponential improvement in computer technology makes capabilities in today’s world a poor basis for looking back 30 years.

    As an example, I looked up the CPU and memory specs of a $5-million top of the line Cray from 1975, extrapolated Moore’s Law through today and arrived at a price tag of under $50. Then I looked at the spec of my bottom of the range cell phone, and it’s actually a tad better than predicted.

    In terms of 1980s research budgets, tape would not have been much of a help. Hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of millions.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:30 PM

  550. Rod B: I really hate to jump in this briar patch again, but it’s just too numerous to ignore. manacker made a claim, backed up with linear regression and data from four major temperature sources, that global temperatures have cooled in the 21st century. He didn’t say (IIRC) what statistical significance this had; nor how it fit or didn’t fit into longer term temperature trends; nor if this is “significant” overall; etc; etc; etc. The gyrations and tap dancing a bunch of you do in trying to deny the obvious (no more no less) because you wish it weren’t is astounding (not to mention entertaining…)

    BPL: Apparently you are as much of a statistical illiterate as he is. For the 1,835th time:

    8 years doesn’t mean anything, because the rise in temperature is highly irregular. You need at least 30 years.

    The 8-year dip is not statistically significant. That means the error bars include zero. The real trend could be up, down, or sideways. NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION TO KNOW.

    If you’re impressed that Max did a statistically meaningless analysis because the line he got sloped a bit down and to the right, go for it, but don’t expect anyone who’s ever taken a statistics course to take your seriously. IT’S STILL WARMING. DEAL WITH IT.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  551. Tobias: The Bilderbergs, Rothchilds, Rockefellers and Goldman-Sachs of this world… are truly having a fun time watching all you people debate matters completely besides the point…

    BPL: Not to mention the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, the Atlanticists, the Freemasons, the Jews, the Vatican, the Grays, and the Reptoids!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:36 PM

  552. Barton Paul Levenson says to Lubos Mokras: “Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2?”

    BPL: That was Lubos, not me.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:42 PM

  553. Don Shor (512) asked:

    “Ok, what has been the trend 1979 – 2008? How does it compare with the warming experienced in, say, the first half of the 20th Century?”

    The early 20th century warming cycle from around 1910 to 1944 has been studied, most notably by Delworth and Knutson
    http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/reference/bibliography/2000/td0002.pdf

    The HadCRUT record shows a linear warming of around 0.54°C over the period. IPCC states (AR4, Ch. 9, p.691):

    “Detection and attribution as well as modelling studies indicate more uncertainty regarding the causes of the early 20th-century warming than the recent warming.”

    The late 20th century warming is the main focus of IPCC. AR4, Ch.3, p.240 tells us:

    “The 1976 divide is the date of a widely acknowledged ‘climate shift’ (e.g. Trenberth, 1990) and seems to mark a time (see Chapter 9) when global mean temperatures began a discernable upward trend that has been at least partly attributed to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”

    “The picture prior to 1976 has essentially not changed and is therefore not repeated in detail here.”

    The anthropogenic cause of the late 20th century warming cycle is underscored in Chapter 9:

    “No climate model using natural forcings alone has reproduced the observed global warming trend in the second half of the 20th century. Therefore, modelling studies suggest that the late 20th century warming is much more likely to be anthropogenic than natural in origin”

    The HadCRUT record shows a linear warming of around 0.50°C over the period 1976-2005, which is cited by IPCC in AR4 (around the same as the earlier warming period).

    Prior to 1910 and between 1945 and 1975 there were cooling cycles, so that the linear warming for the entire 20th century (defined by IPCC as the period from 1906 to 2005) was 0.74°C. Over the actual 20th century (1901-2000) the HadCRUT record showed a linear warming of 0.65°C. The difference of 0.09°C is largely due to the elimination of the strongly cooling years 1901-1906.

    Since the end of 2000 it has also been cooling, but this period is too short so far to be considered a new cooling cycle.

    Hope this clears it up.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  554. Max: The only thing that is unequivocal is that it has cooled since the end of the 20th century, no matter which record you look at.

    And that was the point I made, which you are unable to refute.

    BPL: I already refuted it. Several times. You just didn’t understand the refutation because you are an illiterate when it comes to statistical analysis.

    Crack a book!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  555. Thnaks Gavin. [Response: Those are very clearly different statements. The latter is interesting, the former, not so much. - gavin]. It seems to me from previous messages that you stated that we would need another 10 to 20 years before we can isolate the CO2 forcing from the multi-decadal oscillations IN THE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE signal. It seems to be that the “evidence” for the CO2 forcing so far would be the increase in the upper troposphere temperatures. Isn’t that an indirect method since in ajusting the CO2 forcing function you also have to subtract the multi-decadal oscillations ? Also to my knowledge there is still uncertainty regarding the albedo effect of the cloud ? Thanks for bearing with me.

    Comment by RaymondT — 7 Dec 2009 @ 5:46 PM

  556. Martin (508)

    As I have already stated, I agree with you that the long-term temperature record is more meaningful than shorter-term intervals.

    The long-term trend since 1850 (when the HadCRUT record started), with all its warts and questionable input data, shows several multi-decadal warming and cooling cycles, averaging about 60 years per complete cycle, with an underlying warming trend of 0.041°C per decade over the entire period, as we have been emerging from a colder period called the Little Ice Age.

    So this is the long-term record, which probably has the greatest significance.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:18 PM

  557. Barton, Max Acker (manacker) knows exactly what he’s doing.
    He’s like an advertising campaign, repeating the same thing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:22 PM

  558. PS, Barton, a reminder — every time you repeat what Max said, it becomes more memorable; there’s good science supporting how he’s doing his PR.

    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/09/deck_is_stacked_against_mythbu.php

    ‘Obviously, this has implications for correcting these myths. The article suggests that, rather than repeat them (as the CDC “true and false” pamphlet does, for example), one should just rephrase the statement, eliminating the false portion altogether so as to not reinforce it further (since repetition, even to debunk it, reaffirms the false statement). Ignoring it also makes things worse, as the story noted that other research “…found that when accusations or assertions are met with silence, they are more likely to feel true.”‘

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:27 PM

  559. OK, BPL, here’s an example that will make it easier for you to understand, without getting into all kinds of statistical rationalizations of what is going on out there.

    I’m at home with the flu (an example).

    I’ve taken my temperature every day for the last week. I notice that it has dropped from 103F to 98.6F.

    I conclude that it has dropped over the week.

    But not that I am totally over the flu yet. So I keep measuring it and following the advice of my wife to drink lots of water, etc.

    But, hey, the temperature has come down, as the thermometer showed

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:28 PM

  560. Since I just learned something extremely useful here on the “highly artificial” “fudge factor” code segment, maybe you can also comment on the following. In this is not the appropriate comment thread, please point me to the appropriate place for this.

    I am getting more emails from my Nordic friends. The gist of those emails is that more recent evidence makes it less and less plausible that the current temperatures are unique when compared to the temperatures for the last 2500 years.

    See for example: http://people.su.se/~hgrud/documents/Grudd%202008.pdf

    “On decadal-to-centennial timescales, periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were equally warm, or warmer. The 200-year long warm period centered on AD 1000 was significantly warmer than the late-twentieth century (p/0.05) and is supported by other local and regional paleoclimate data. The new tree-ring evidence from Tornetrask suggests that this ‘Medieval Warm Period’ in northern Fennoscandia was much warmer than previously recognized.”

    What’s your view of this study? I am pretty impressed by this study, since their calibration period produces a high R2. Furthermore, they find that density measure (MXD) gets a larger weight than ring width (TRW) in the calibration to instrumental temperature record.

    There’s also an interesting comment on Briffa’s series adjustments:

    “The update of the Tornetrask data, including relatively young trees in the most recent period, has significantly reduced the mean cambial age of MXD data in the twentieth century (Fig. 1a). As a result, the loss of sensitivity to temperature, apparent in earlier versions of the Tornetrask MXD chronology (Briffa 2000), is now eliminated. Hence, this study shows that data with a disproportionately high cambial age in the most recent period can create a similar ‘divergence phenomenon’ in the late twentieth century. This calls for further investigations of the age structure in other MXD data series that show a similar phenomenon.”

    “Diverging trends between Tornetrask MXD and TRW are apparent around AD 1800 (Fig. 9). This was registered also by Briffa et al. (1992) who interpreted the phenomenon as a loss in the sensitivity of MXD to temperature and, therefore, made an adjustment to the trend in MXD for the period AD 1750–1980. However, when the tree-ring data is compared to the 200-year long temperature record from Tornedalen it clearly shows, on the contrary, that the diverging trends are caused by the TRW data (Fig. 10). The correlations between MXD and temperature are consistent between the four 50-year periods, while TRW shows a poor correlation in the first period and then higher and fairly consistent correlations in the following three periods. Hence, there is an apparent loss in the sensitivity of TRW to temperature in the first half of the nineteenth century.”

    So, as long as I am interpreting this correctly, the author claims that the MXD series was incorrectly adjusted by Briffa. Instead of the ad hoc adjustment of the MDX series to better with the instrumental records, Briffa should have left the series unadjusted. This in term would have led to very different subsequent conclusions about the temperature record? Am I interpreting this correctly?

    Of course, this is just one region and not the entire globe. However, it’s interesting that the evidence from dendroclimatology is converging towards the egological evidence and not the other way around.

    Comment by Tuomo — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:43 PM

  561. re: 542 Who cares whether a software engineer thinks research code programming standards are below the standards for commercial software? I would’ve been shocked had he found otherwise.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 7 Dec 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  562. BPL, maybe it’s time you had Max take a good read of the Dunning-Kruger effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect).

    Max, if you don’t understand that either, there’s not much we can do for you.

    RaymondT: here’s a bit more reading for you.
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/Foster_et%20alJGR09_formatted.pdf
    http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/464/2094/1367.full

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 7 Dec 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  563. Tuomo said:”Aren’t you overreacting to semantics? ”

    Perhaps you did not say what you intended. The variable under question (with respect to manmade or natural) is [CO2]. A simple model would have rate for production of CO2 as d[CO2]/dt = +k(natural sources) + k(man), removal would be -k(natural sinks). No endogenous or exogenous variables for [CO2], just one variable [CO2].

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 7 Dec 2009 @ 8:02 PM

  564. Gavin and all – I wish the RealClimate scientists all the best in these troubling times…I think one of you already said it, but it’s definitely a new low. Stay strong. Your posts over the years have really helped me to understand climate science. Thanks for all that you do.

    Comment by Michelle — 7 Dec 2009 @ 9:58 PM

  565. Well, I’ve just been listening to my local NPR station, WAMU-FM in Washington DC, airing a talk program called “ON POINT” which originates with another NPR station in Boston. The subject: the Copenhagen conference, US public opinion and the impact of the stolen emails.

    The host chose to air recorded statements from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, and to hammer away belligerently at guest Michael Mann about how the public could trust climate scientists anymore in light of the emails. Again and again the host steered the discussion away from the actual fact of anthropogenic global warming, and to go on and on about public opinion becoming more “skeptical” and wondering out loud how that could happen — as though dishonest and misleading programs like his had nothing to do with influencing public opinion.

    So, here I am unexpectedly and unwillingly listening to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News preach the gospel of global warming denial and rant about the “criminal conspiracy” by scientists to perpetrate a heinous hoax — on NPR, National Public Radio, supposedly the bastion of the “liberal media”. The malicious, dishonest, reprehensible attacks on scientists by the ExxonMobil-funded denial propaganda machine — legitimized for a “liberal” audience, by NPR.

    This is what the American people are being hammered with, every day, from every imaginable media outlet — including the so-called “liberal” National Public Radio.

    When historians of the not-too-distant, and likely very short, future ponder how it was that the highly educated population of the most advanced and well-informed nation in the world could sit by and allow anthropogenic global warming to destroy the Earth’s biosphere, how they could fall for the blatantly inane propaganda of the fossil fuel industry, they will surely point their fingers at the corporate-owned mass media — which certainly includes the corporate-sponsored National “Public” Radio — and their relentless, shameless, conscienceless collusion in the industry-funded campaign of denial and deceit which has succeeded for a generation in keeping the American people ignorant of the grave danger, and indeed the very existence, of anthropogenic global warming.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:14 PM

  566. BPL (550), really good tap dance!

    Comment by Rod B — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:50 PM

  567. t_p_hamilton says: “Perhaps you did not say what you intended. The variable under question (with respect to manmade or natural) is [CO2]. A simple model would have rate for production of CO2 as d[CO2]/dt = +k(natural sources) + k(man), removal would be -k(natural sinks). No endogenous or exogenous variables for [CO2], just one variable [CO2].”

    Yeah, I kind of winged it when I wrote it. But you get the point though. If you are trying to estimate a complex system of two variables, say co2 and temperature, then finding exogenous variation in either variable or preferably both variables is going to make the estimation problem a whole lot easier.

    Suppose you write down the stochastic differential equations for temperature and co2. Then you try to estimate those from long-term “proxy” histories, which are effectively time-aggregated observations. That’s a really difficult estimation problem if one can identify exogenous variation in both temperature and co2 (or at least one). How do you know whether temperature is causing co2 or co2 temperature and by how much?

    Now, suppose that we can get an accurate series of something that changes temperature but doesn’t directly change co2. Say some sort of record of sun’s radiation. That will allow us to isolate variation in temperature that was not caused by co2 and record the response in the system to a pure temperature shock. I guess climate science calls these “forcings.”

    Am I on the right track?

    Comment by Tuomo — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:00 PM

  568. manacker wrote in 542:

    Your long plaidoyer sounds more like it’s coming from a defense attorney rather than a computer programmer.

    I went to St. John’s College, taking the Great Books Program which focuses upon the authors and literature that forged Western Civilization. Plato, Darwin, Lobachevsky, Marx, constitional law — that sort of thing. Many of those that go to St. John’s go on to become lawyers.

    However, I was also a philosophy major, writing an eighty page paper critiquing The Critique of Pure Reason (here), another paper of similar size critiquing Six Meditations on First Philosophy (here) and yet another that provided a history and criticism of Early Twentieth Century Empiricism (here), the last of which forms much of the basis for my understanding of the philosophy of science.

    Unfortunately there isn’t much of a market nowadays for philosophy. So I am now a programmer. You have to do something to try and pay off the student debt.

    Yet I must admit that being a lawyer has some attraction. However, I find it far easier to imagine myself in the role of a prosecuting attorney, not the defense. This was metaphorically speaking how I thought of myself as I wrote the papers critiquing Descartes and Kant.

    Consider… in 542 you have not responded to the following points:

    1. a crime was committed by the hackers;
    2. the stolen emails were released in a way that indicates the attempt to disrupt the Copenhagen conference rather than permit any meaningful investigation of their contents;
    3. the fossil fuel industry is lobbying Washington at roughly fourteen to one compared to environmentalists;
    4. similar crimes against climatologists are being committed elsewhere, including security breaches and the theft of computers in Canada;
    5. to the best of our knowledge no paper was ever affected by the errors in the code;
    6. regarding CRU, other temperature records (including satellite records) are available and show virtually identical temperature trends;
    7. those who would set themselves up as qualified, disinterested auditors of the science of climatology are neither qualified nor disinterested;
    8. given the nature of the cognitive division of labor that exists within science, no individual or centralized authority would have available the information, knowledge or skills necessary to audit the science;
    9. given its very nature, science is self-auditing in a way that over time far surpasses anything one might honestly wish to impose on it;
    10. simply given the “analysis” that has been offered of the emails so far, the auditing that climate “skeptics” would seek to impose upon climatology would appear to be that of quote-mining passages of text, cherry-picking of data and continually receding goal-posts of demands, that it would be akin to Young Earth Creationists auditing evolutionary biology;
    11. any serious attempt to impose the sort of “transparency” that climate “skeptics” would seek to impose upon science would, by the very nature of the cognitive division of labor that exists within science, bring climatology to a grinding halt;
    12. that in fact there is a close correspondence between Watergate and Climategate — in that theft was attempted in both cases in the attempt to discover material that could be twisted and made to appear questionable; and,
    13. the major difference between Watergate and Climategate in that in the latter it is the victims rather than the perpetrators of the crime that are being put on trial.

    You make vague allegations of one form or another but rarely offer any argument or evidence to back your claims up.

    And this was simply with respect to the past two posts of mine, 527 and 528.

    Your “responses” prior to that were of even lower quality.
    *
    There was an internal memo by the tobacco company Brown and Williamson that stated “doubt is our product.” Tobacco companies found the medical science showing the link between tobacco and various medical illnesses inconvenient and therefore attacked it. But as they saw it, they didn’t have to prove anything. They only had to manufacture enough doubt to paralyze any attempt at the regulation of tobacco. They simply had to create the appearance that the science was still debatable.

    A number of the organizations involved in that campaign have been involved in later campaigns involving DDT, CFCs — and fossil fuel. Like the earlier campaign, they don’t seek to prove anything but only manufacture enough doubt, to create the appearance that the basic science is still debatable when it had actually been well established for years. Not all the details, but the fundamentals.

    Not much point in my continuing with you, is there?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:07 PM

  569. can anyone debunk this?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/understanding_climategates_hid.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Climatescam+%28ClimateScam%29

    Comment by wano — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:42 PM

  570. 568: regarding CRU, other temperature records (including satellite records) are available and show virtually identical temperature trends;

    OK, so let me get this straight. East Anglia committed amazing levels of incompetence in their data analysis. It would be quite the coincidence if their results were anything close to accurate.

    Yet you tell us that it’s all OK because “other temperature records” show “virtually identical” results.

    If A was done incompetently and B looks just like A, what does that tell you about B? It tells me that it would be wise to look into B to see how it ended up so much like A.

    In other words, all of the raw data and source code for these climate studies needs to be open-sourced right now. Because if it isn’t, the world is going to wonder, “What are they hiding?” [edit]

    [Response: You are assuming what you seek to prove. But since the GISTEMP code is available, and part of a open source project (see comments passim), you will no doubt be able to find your mysterious conspiracy. How about at least considering the possibility that the CRU group, the GISTEMP group, the NCDC and the JMA are all getting basically the same result because... wait for it.... this is actually a good estimate of what is happening in the real world. Gosh. - gavin]

    Comment by Michael Trigoboff — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:44 PM

  571. Too bad these comments don’t have an edit feature, I didn’t quite write it right in my comment 560 either. Here’s a better way to say it:

    Most tree-ring studies don’t adjust for the age of the tree. The width and density of the tree ring are related to both how many years old that particular tree was when it grew the ring in question and what kind of year that year was. (In some other field, these are called the cohort and year effects.)

    [Response: Not true at all. All the RCS chronologies for instance fit a growth curve for trees in that region and only use the residuals for climate proxies. Older studies did this too but in ways that did not preserve any potential long term climate effects. - gavin]

    Grudd demonstrates pretty convincingly that the reason why the tree ring density has stopped correlating with temperature in the post-1960 sample is that the trees in the previous studies were old. Grudd collected data on young trees and merged those to the data set. The presence of both old trees and young trees from all periods then allowed him to estimate the relation between the ring density and the age of the tree when the ring grew, and separate this from the year effect.

    The paper suggests that Briffa / Briffa et al. (so many papers, can’t keep track) should have collected younger sample trees, should have removed the effect of the age of the tree, and then should have stuck with unadjusted density-based proxy. This would have eliminated the need for “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline.” There’s no decline in the density of recent rings of young trees.

    Now, what’s the punch line from Grudd’s study? When you model the tree ring density right, you’ll get a relation between temperature and density that holds up well throughout the sample. Then, if you use that model to reconstruct temperature record (blue line in his Fig 12), you’ll see that in Northern Europe was really warm for a couple of centuries about 1000 years ago, warmer than now.

    Comment by Tuomo — 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:01 AM

  572. Ref #522

    So, are we to assume

    No. You may not assume; Ken W.

    The statement was “Are their people” – Not all or even the majority of people. You’re assuming and tart response shows that the old saying – “Assuming makes an ass out of u and ming, and I’m betting ming doesn’t like it.” is true.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:51 AM

  573. Tobias

    Ref #520

    “Human beings are not up to the task of climate science when it comes to reliable predictions… and, above all, should be thrown into the next best dungeon for any such attempts as geoengineering.”

    And with your attitude they never will.
    You’re “Holier than though” attitude misses the point. Right now, mankind cannot accurately predict the weather for more than 3 days out, let alone the climate. But the people involved here are at least trying. And yes there are some bad ones in the lot, and they have managed through mismanagement and ego to mess up a process that needs to continue.

    The ones that messed it up suffer the same problem you do – to much ego, and not enough sense or long term commitment.
    If you want help the world, seriously, get with Ralph Nader – He has done more for humanity than you have. At least he gets things done and doesn’t berate others doing it.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:12 AM

  574. Timothy Chase #568: you raise good points. Note also how tobacco companies included in their strategy causing confusion about other areas of science so that their astroturfing couldn’t easily be tracked back to them, as revealed for example by George Monbiot in his book Heat (some details on my blog).

    This gets me wondering: do we have enough info to go after the fossil fuel industry with a class action suit, to recover damages arising from their sabotage of effective action on climate change? We are not talking about a small matter like tobacco here, where only a few tens of millions of people died unnecessary and horrible deaths. Half a billion people are at risk from loss of water from the Himalayan glaciers alone.

    If tobacco eventually lost lawsuits in the hundreds of billions of dollars, what sort of liability is the fossil fuels industry setting itself up for? Hundreds of trillions? I’m sure there are some hotshot lawyers out there who’d like to work on a case on that scale…

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:25 AM

  575. Timothy Chase

    You stated your personal opinion on Climategate (568), so I will respond with mine.

    1. a crime was committed by the hackers;
    Response: This depends on whether or not the whistle-blowers are protected under the UK (or US) whistle-blower protection law

    2. the stolen emails were released in a way that indicates the attempt to disrupt the Copenhagen conference rather than permit any meaningful investigation of their contents;
    Response: A matter of opinion. It could have been simply to expose the weakness of the AGW premise

    3. the fossil fuel industry is lobbying Washington at roughly fourteen to one compared to environmentalists;
    Response: This claim is blatantly false – the taxpayer funding for climate research in support of the AGW premise as promulgated by IPCC far exceeds any funding by the fossil fuel industry for research to prove the contrary

    4. similar crimes against climatologists are being committed elsewhere, including security breaches and the theft of computers in Canada;
    Response: An unsubstantiated claim, but it has nothing to do with Climategate in any case

    5. to the best of our knowledge no paper was ever affected by the errors in the code;
    Response: Your knowledge may not be so conclusive (see the BBC report I cited)

    6. regarding CRU, other temperature records (including satellite records) are available and show virtually identical temperature trends;
    Response: Not “virtually identical”. The satellite (tropospheric) record shows a slower warming trend than the surface record, even though the GH theory indicates that it should be more rapid

    7. those who would set themselves up as qualified, disinterested auditors of the science of climatology are neither qualified nor disinterested;
    Response: A matter of opinion. Is Steve McIntyre, for example, financially beholden to anyone (such as IPCC), or is he an independent operator (bring evidence for your response)? His qualifications as a statistician are unquestioned.

    8. given the nature of the cognitive division of labor that exists within science, no individual or centralized authority would have available the information, knowledge or skills necessary to audit the science;
    Response: A matter of opinion. A group of independent auditors acting in the service of the public could scrutinize the science, in the interest of the taxpaying public, who paid for, and hence who owns the science. “The science” here is not only whether or not Arctic sea ice has melted, in any unprecedented or unusual manner in the late 20th century, whether or not the late 20th century showed unusual warming of the surface air and ocean, etc., but whether this can be conclusively shown to be a result of AGW

    9. given its very nature, science is self-auditing in a way that over time far surpasses anything one might honestly wish to impose on it;
    Response: As long as there are hundreds of millions (if not trillions) of dollars of carbon taxes (direct or indirect) at stake the alleged “self-auditing” nature of the supporting science becomes suspect. Your statement only holds as long as the science is not “agenda driven”

    10. simply given the “analysis” that has been offered of the emails so far, the auditing that climate “skeptics” would seek to impose upon climatology would appear to be that of quote-mining passages of text, cherry-picking of data and continually receding goal-posts of demands, that it would be akin to Young Earth Creationists auditing evolutionary biology;
    Response: A weak and totally unfounded analogy; this has absolutely nothing to do with creationism, just insistence on good science

    11. any serious attempt to impose the sort of “transparency” that climate “skeptics” would seek to impose upon science would, by the very nature of the cognitive division of labor that exists within science, bring climatology to a grinding halt;
    Response: Your unsubstantiated opinion. I am of the opinion that complete transparency and openness to independent audit in science are paramount.

    12. that in fact there is a close correspondence between Watergate and Climategate — in that theft was attempted in both cases in the attempt to discover material that could be twisted and made to appear questionable;
    Response: The Watergate whistle-blower (Deep Throat) was not prosecuted for leaking confidential information, nor were the Washington Post reporters who published this leaked information. Your opinion that the “theft” was made “in the attempt to discover material that could be twisted and made to appear questionable” is conjectural. Watergate exposed improper and illegal actions by individuals in power in the public service. Whether or not Climategate will expose manipulated data, sloppy science, or outright illegal destruction or withholding of tax-payer funded information under the FOIA is still open

    13. the major difference between Watergate and Climategate in that in the latter it is the victims rather than the perpetrators of the crime that are being put on trial.
    Response: A rather one-sided opinion. Whistle-blowers have exposed many questionable, fraudulent and outright illegal acts and are protected under law in the UK as well as the USA. It may turn out that the “victims” were actually the tax-paying public, who paid for good climate science but got skewed data and personal opinions instead

    The “tobacco company” analogy is ludicrous, Timothy. Stick with the topic, rather than going off on irrelevant waffles.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 8 Dec 2009 @ 3:11 AM

  576. manacker, whistleblowers don’t steal data and hack mailservers and websites. Given that you have failed to get even the basics right, I don’t think the rest of your recycled claims are worthy of comment.

    Comment by Didactylos — 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:40 AM

  577. CNN is running a week-long series “Global Warming: Trick or Truth?” While they are getting some good sound bites from top scientists like Ken Caldeira, Michael Oppenheimer and Peter Liss, they are also giving plenty of air time and credibility to hard-core climate contrarians.
    One segment that really made me blink was a discussion with Dr. Oppenheimer, Stephen McIntyre *and* Chris Horner of AEI. Huh? Two contrarians vs. one scientist? That’s not even false balance. Fortunately Dr. Oppenheimer is good on camera and came across well. The overviews by the anchors continue to get in the point that “scientists say the science is intact,” but the scurrilous snipers are getting plenty of air time.
    Let’s just keep one point in mind: there is no ‘decline’ to ‘hide’ in the ‘real temps’ since 1960, only the tree-ring proxies. We can stress that Prof. Briffa used the ‘real temps’ in preference to the problematic tree-rings – real data from over 10,000 surface stations that show a real increase.
    If you view clips of FauxNews quoting ‘hide the decline’, they’re tossing in the words ‘in temperature’ – which is *not* what the email says, but it’s what all their base want it to say.

    Comment by Jim Prall — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:03 AM

  578. @575 manacker

    3. You are confusing lobbying with research. Hmm…

    Comment by Mike — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:21 AM

  579. manacker, do read the book “Doubt is their product”,

    http://books.google.com/books?id=J0P3IdSYO_MC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    Have a look at chapter 14.

    More links,
    http://www.amazon.com/Doubt-Their-Product-Industrys-Threatens/dp/019530067X
    http://thepumphandle.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/david-michaels-speaks-at-google/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_controversy

    You are part of “Doubt is their product”, indirectly (doing it for free!?!) or directly (getting a buck out of it).

    Comment by Firkas — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:51 AM

  580. Max, you’re bizarre, dude.

    1. a crime was committed by the hackers;
    Response: This depends on whether or not the whistle-blowers are protected under the UK (or US) whistle-blower protection law

    You know for a fact it was whistle blowers? All the way from Russia, with love? You are using declarative statements that they were whistle-blowers. Must be in on it? BTW, W-B laws don’t apply to ideology.

    2. the stolen emails were released in a way that indicates the attempt to disrupt the Copenhagen conference rather than permit any meaningful investigation of their contents;
    Response: A matter of opinion. It could have been simply to expose the weakness of the AGW premise

    Foolishly argumentative.

    3. the fossil fuel industry is lobbying Washington at roughly fourteen to one compared to environmentalists;
    Response: This claim is blatantly false – the taxpayer funding for climate research in support of the AGW premise as promulgated by IPCC far exceeds any funding by the fossil fuel industry for research to prove the contrary

    Completely, bizarrely non-responsive. He said lobbying. As in lobbyists. And is is demonstrably accurate. Last I heard some months ago was 8 – 1. Guess it’s gone up.

    4. similar crimes against climatologists are being committed elsewhere, including security breaches and the theft of computers in Canada;
    Response: An unsubstantiated claim, but it has nothing to do with Climategate in any case

    Let me get this straight. 1. You know who hacked the EAU e-mails, and that they were insiders. 2. You know who hacked the folks in Canada and that they aren’t connected to the EAU e-mails. Got that about right? I’ll let Interpol know you’ve solved both cases…

    5. to the best of our knowledge no paper was ever affected by the errors in the code;
    Response: Your knowledge may not be so conclusive (see the BBC report I cited)

    No, you are making the claims. Show where the papers are substantively wrong because of a coding error.

    6. regarding CRU, other temperature records (including satellite records) are available and show virtually identical temperature trends;
    Response: Not “virtually identical”. The satellite (tropospheric) record shows a slower warming trend than the surface record, even though the GH theory indicates that it should be more rapid

    I’ll leave the science to the scientists, but again you’re making a ridiculous comment. Purely argumentative. They ALL show the warming you and your ilk have been told doesn’t exist. They are, for the purposes of determining whether warming is occurring and whether it is anthropogenic vitually identical. Why pretend you didn’t understand the point? It’s childish.

    7. those who would set themselves up as qualified, disinterested auditors of the science of climatology are neither qualified nor disinterested;
    Response: A matter of opinion. Is Steve McIntyre, for example, financially beholden to anyone (such as IPCC), or is he an independent operator (bring evidence for your response)? His qualifications as a statistician are unquestioned.

    Unquestioned by whom? RealClimate and other climate scientists have pointed out a number of FUBAR examples of his “unquestioned” skills. And in peer-reviewed literature, to boot. A mistake you are making now and that he has made in the past is the assumption that it’s all numbers. McIntyre may know numbers, but because he doesn’t know climate, he doesn’t use the numbers correctly.

    Can you explain why there are so few climate scientists that are deniers?

    8. given the nature of the cognitive division of labor that exists within science, no individual or centralized authority would have available the information, knowledge or skills necessary to audit the science;
    Response: A matter of opinion. A group of independent auditors acting in the service of the public could scrutinize the science

    So, not only do we have to pay the climate scientists, we now have to train and pay an entire new set of them to check the work of the first set? Are you out of your mind? When you cannot point to any paper, peer-reviewed or not, that in any way overturns what we know of climate science, how do you have the gall to suggest such an effort and expense is justified? Absurd.

    …but whether this can be conclusively shown to be a result of AGW

    It is conclusive. Show how it isn’t. Refute the science. Your assertion it isn’t proven means nothing. Sun? No. Sun spots? No. Clouds? No. Cow farts? No. What, then? What do you not understand about “unequivocal?”

    9. given its very nature, science is self-auditing in a way that over time far surpasses anything one might honestly wish to impose on it;
    Response: As long as there are hundreds of millions (if not trillions) of dollars of carbon taxes (direct or indirect) at stake the alleged “self-auditing” nature of the supporting science becomes suspect.

    1. What about those paid by Exxon, et al? Not suspect? All the crap you believe is directly or indirectly tied to that money. All of it. Why does that motivation not matter to who you think is worth listening to?

    2. Your statement necessarily implies that all climate science is suspect since the understanding of the effects of CO2 are over 100 years old. The rest of the basic underpinnings occurred long before carbon credits were ever discussed. Let me say this slowly: if all the basic science existed before the carbon credit system, how can it be tainted? For chrissakes…

    Oh, and the Big Boogey Man, Hansen? He’s against carbon credits and for a tax that goes 100% back to the public. Go figure…

    10. simply given the “analysis” that has been offered of the emails so far, the auditing that climate “skeptics” would seek to impose upon climatology would appear to be that of quote-mining passages of text, cherry-picking of data and continually receding goal-posts of demands, that it would be akin to Young Earth Creationists auditing evolutionary biology;
    Response: A weak and totally unfounded analogy; this has absolutely nothing to do with creationism, just insistence on good science

    I am non-plussed at your GIGO style of debate. The analogy wasn’t of the topics, but of the processes. And they are related. Most denialists, and their funders, are conservative christians.

    11.

    Too ridiculous to even bother answering.

    12. Your opinion that the “theft” was made “in the attempt to discover material that could be twisted and made to appear questionable” is conjectural.

    False. It is the observed result of the hacking.

    13. the major difference between Watergate and Climategate in that in the latter it is the victims rather than the perpetrators of the crime that are being put on trial.
    Response: A rather one-sided opinion. Whistle-blowers

    Wrong. Again, observable fact. The scientists are on trial for doing nothing more than try to resist asinine interference in doing their jobs. As for whistle-blowers, you have not shown a single shred of evidence of the involvement of a would be whistle-blower, so stop claiming it. The hack came from a shack in Russia, not CRU.

    The “tobacco company” analogy is ludicrous, Timothy. Stick with the topic, rather than going off on irrelevant waffles.

    How are undeniable facts of history irrelevant? Not only are some (many?) of the same people involved, it’s the same tactics by many of the same people, Singer first and foremost. Are you claiming there is no connection between tobacco denial and AGW denial? If so, you are either lying or naive beyond description.

    Comment by ccpo — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:19 AM

  581. Max: OK, BPL, here’s an example that will make it easier for you to understand

    BPL: I understand what you’re saying perfectly well. I’m just pointing out that the data doesn’t say what you think it says, and you’re too ignorant about data analysis to understand why.

    Let me try to explain in a way even you can understand. Statistical equations–like a linear regression of temperature against time–are not like equations in algebra. If Y = 2 X + 3, you can always solve for X and get your original data again, with no loss of information. You cannot do that with a statistical equation. A statistical equation is uncertain, and the smaller your sample size, the more uncertain it is. A statistical equation comes with error bars. The fact that you find Y going up with X, or Y going down with X, doesn’t mean anything if the error bars on your coefficient include zero. An increase or decline is only a TREND if it’s statistically significant. Yours isn’t.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:15 AM

  582. Rod B: BPL (550), really good tap dance!

    BPL: It’s called “knowing what you’re talking about.” Which you clearly do not.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:19 AM

  583. I wrote “Most tree-ring studies don’t adjust for the age of the tree. The width and density of the tree ring are related to both how many years old that particular tree was when it grew the ring in question and what kind of year that year was. (In some other field, these are called the cohort and year effects.)”

    [Response: Not true at all. All the RCS chronologies for instance fit a growth curve for trees in that region and only use the residuals for climate proxies. Older studies did this too but in ways that did not preserve any potential long term climate effects. - gavin]

    I agree that regional curve standardization (that uses the age of the tree when the ring was grown) does control for the age effect properly. This is not new in Grudd’s paper, perhaps it is the dominant method. As you can see, I am not familiar enough with these research — that’s one of the reasons why I am here!

    Comment by Tuomo — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:38 AM

  584. manacker says:
    8 December 2009 at 3:11 AM”The “tobacco company” analogy is ludicrous, Timothy. Stick with the topic, rather than going off on irrelevant waffles.”

    I say, your assertion that there has been no attempt by special interests to derail the discussion of climate change and sow doubt and confusion is a hundred times more ludicrous.

    Here’s one mere example:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2009/jul/01/bob-ward-exxon-mobil-climate

    But, then, he’s a scientist, so I doubt you can possibly trust what he says. For anyone seriously interested in the subject of climate change, and to have not known of these shenanigans, you would need to have been living on the moon for the last decade.

    At least English MP Chris Huhne has been here on Earth:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo061012/debtext/61012-0013.htm

    “On that point, I ask the Secretary of State to consider what to do about the remaining climate change deniers, who include multinational corporations. Although ExxonMobil, for example, no longer denies global warming outright, it funds institutions and websites that do. Judged by its actions, not its words, it is a climate change-denying organisation, and it has been treating some reputable bodies pretty badly. I said recently that the Royal Society had pointed out that ExxonMobil was still funding climate change-denying organisations such as the International Policy Network and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The IPN is the organisation whose executive director, Mr. Morris, popped up so long ago with a poisonous and personal attack on Sir David King, the chief scientific adviser, as having no status in the debate because he was not a climate scientist. I do not know how much ExxonMobil thought that nasty bit of attempted character assassination was worth, but Mr. Morris ludicrously described Sir David as

    “an embarrassment to himself and an embarrassment to his country”,

    and the Royal Society calculates that overall ExxonMobil spent $2.9 million on such outfits last year alone.

    The Royal Society’s letter says that

    “ExxonMobil last year provided more than $2.9 million to organisations in the United States which misinformed the public about climate change through their websites.”

    Exxon’s director of corporate affairs, Mr. Nick Thomas, rang me and said that the author of the letter to ExxonMobil had left the Royal Society. I asked whether he had been sacked, and Mr. Thomas said that he could not possibly comment, but it was clearly significant. The implication was left hanging in the air. When I checked, I found that Bob Ward, the senior manager at the Royal Society, had been promoted into another job. The Royal Society is standing by every word that he wrote, as it made clear in a subsequent press release attempting to deal with internet rumours.

    I ask the House: should we be buying fuel from people such as ExxonMobil? I do not want even indirectly to be helping to fund bodies such as the International Policy Network and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. I do not think that the Government should do so either, if only as a tribute to the sterling work of Sir David King, so I hope that Government procurement of fuel oil no longer uses Esso or Exxon. ExxonMobil is surely the irresponsible and unacceptable face of capitalism, to borrow a phrase. Perhaps Ministers could tell us what they propose to do, if only to protect the reputations of their own distinguished employees.”

    Comment by JBowers — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:59 AM

  585. Tuomo: How do you know whether temperature is causing co2 or co2 temperature and by how much?

    BPL: Granger causality tests. And physics.

    Tuomo: Now, suppose that we can get an accurate series of something that changes temperature but doesn’t directly change co2. Say some sort of record of sun’s radiation. That will allow us to isolate variation in temperature that was not caused by co2 and record the response in the system to a pure temperature shock. I guess climate science calls these “forcings.”

    Am I on the right track?

    BPL: Yes, very much so! You’re talking about a statistical procedure called multiple regression, where one “dependent” variable Y, say temperature anomalies, is matched against a number of “independent” variables X2, X3, etc. (X1 is a stand-in for Y used to compute the “regression intercept”). The independent variables might be ln CO2, solar constant, dust veil index, PDO index, etc. Annual figures for these are publicly available going way back. For CO2 we have direct measurements since 1959 and ice core measurements for hundreds of thousands of years before that; for solar constant (“TSI” for Total Solar Irradiance) we have direct measurements back to the ’60s and so-called proxy reconstructions going back centuries. PDO index goes back to 1900, dust veil index to antiquity (although the present list needs to be extended forward past 1995, which is when the last revision I know of was done).

    I did such a regression recently, for the period 1900-2007, extending DVI by assuming it to be zero for 1996-2007 (probably not too far off since there were no large volcanoes in that time). I found that ln CO2 accounted for 73% of variance and everything else together accounted for another 9%. The solar contribution was statistically insignificant.

    If you want to run the numbers yourself, I have many of them available on my climatology site:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Climatology.html

    Others are available on the web from places such as NASA GISS, Hadley Centre CRU, NOAA, the US Geological Survey, Japan Meteorological Agency, etc.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  586. BW: If you want help the world, seriously, get with Ralph Nader – He has done more for humanity than you have.

    BPL: I liked him until he threw the 2000 election to Bush. Then I stopped listening to him.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 8:09 AM

  587. manaker wrote: “This depends on whether or not the whistle-blowers are protected under the UK (or US) whistle-blower protection law …”

    That is a blatantly dishonest statement, given that there is absolutely NO evidence — ZERO, NONE AT ALL — that there were any “whistle-blowers” involved in the theft of the emails by hackers.

    Nor is there any evidence in any of the emails that there was anything untoward or improper, let alone illegal, to “blow the whistle” on.

    On the other hand, there IS evidence that whoever stole the emails — or received them from the thieves — sat on them for several months and then deliberately released them just before Copenhagen, to the accompaniment of an obviously well-prepared and well-orchestrated media barrage of distortion, innuendo and outright lies about the contents of the emails.

    Your dishonest pretense that this was the act of “whistle-blowers” is laughable and is certainly fooling no one here.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Dec 2009 @ 8:45 AM

  588. What “mkp” in “mkpcorrelation” stands for?

    []s,

    Roberto Takata

    [Response: 'Make' 'p'(earson?) 'correlation' I would guess. - gavin]

    Comment by Roberto Takata — 8 Dec 2009 @ 9:03 AM

  589. Seems like Max is trying to drown out everyone else. He reminds me of someone I knew a long time ago who had spent a little too much time living in a “therapeutic community”, the result being that his usual approach had been honed, through long practice sessions, to be apparently calm, reasonable, larded with deep human concern for his interlocutors, and unshakably rooted in a parallel universe where he, and only he, possessed any virtue or awareness of the true facts. His comments at #575 for example:

    #1 assumes on no evidence whatsoever the existence of whistleblowers
    #2 assumes that the emails were not released by a whistleblower (“expose the weakness of the AGW premise” is hardly whistleblowing in the legal sense that he and others refer to, and that is inconsistent with #1)
    #3 unsubstantiated claim
    #4 complains that his respondent makes an unsubstantiated claim (prefers to ignore media reports on the goings on in Canada, an interesting desire for substantiation given his preparedness to run with other gibberish)
    #5 unsubstantiated claim, appeal to authority at the BBC (want to bet that his regard for the BBC’s authority is selective?), utter cluelessness about how science works in practice
    … et cetera et cetera…

    Some interesting nuttiness in what he is saying though, that scientists will in some sense benefit from carbon taxes (the statement about agenda driven science does not seem likely, its more likely that big businesses will eventually work out how to make money out of it or that governments will become dependent on the revenue flow in the way that some are for gambling tax revenue). Perhaps he thinks that the representatives of large corporations are more trustworthy than the scientists he regards as being influenced by large amounts of off-in-the-future tax dollars collected by someone else and spent on someone else? Could it possibly be something else? Could it possibly be that corporations have an interest in avoiding these taxes? Heavens! How could anyone suggest such a thing!

    Regarding his “group of independent auditors acting in the service of the public”: how their work is quality controlled is an interesting issue (yes, auditing does need to be quality controlled itself) and a related issue: how you keep the nutters out of a group like that? This is a topic that attracts crazies, perhaps he thinks that candidates might be rounded up by a government agency, who send them to him to be interviewed? Just the ticket, a government department to decide whether the rest of climatology is wrong. How does this kind of wholly loopy “we don’t need to understand the issues and methodologies, we don’t need to understand what is important, we only need to check the source code/numbers” idea keep re-surfacing? Presumably the auditors will not be climate scientists because that would be just reproducing the way that science works now and he clearly doesn’t want that. An open mind and a good dose of ignorance perhaps? We have some of that already and it is having little to no impact on the science other than soaking up time and effort of people who are actually working in the field dealing with ignorance or trivial corrections.

    Then, more talismanic invocations of “transparency” (his assumption is that any scientific analysis is only ever done once so getting it wrong means its wrong forever, and also seemingly that scientists do not actively compete with each other) and more inventing of entirely unsubstantiated whistleblowers. I am mostly surprised that he did not use the term “falsifiable”, that would have completed the picture nicely, but perhaps he will get around it it later (or maybe I missed it earlier).

    His objection to the tobacco company reference: too close to the mark or is he just that ignorant of the history?

    Comment by grumpy software architect — 8 Dec 2009 @ 9:52 AM

  590. There appears to be some confusion in a comment above about the relevance of the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act.

    Under 43B (3) it states “A disclosure of information is not a qualifying disclosure if the person making the disclosure commits an offence by making it.”

    If hacking was involved, one might presume that an offence has been committed and therefore any disclosure or disclosures arising from such hacking would not constitute a protected disclosure(s) under the meaning of the Act.

    Furthermore, a test of GOOD FAITH would need to be applied.

    Is it clear that the hacker(s), if such exist and if the alleged theft did involve hacking, was(were) acting in good faith and committed no offence? If the materials were stolen physically, again the question arises as to whether the alleged thefts were carried out in good faith.

    Overall, if seems rather odd to me that the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act should be invoked in this situation. UK legislation that does seem to be more appropriate is that of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which defines an emergency.

    Under Part 1 (1) there is defined:

    “In this Part “emergency” means—

    (a) an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom,

    (b) an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of a place in the United Kingdom, or

    (c) war, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom”

    It should be noted that the UK has enacted world leading legislation to tackle climate change, and has/is introducing a wide range of regulatory frameworks and national planning systems. The question arises as to whether the alleged theft and release of the CRU properties were designed to undermine the UK’s efforts to protect its environmental security, and consequential to that, to protect critical infrastructures, such as may be at risk at the coast due to potential sea level rise.

    To my mind, a very serious act may have been committed that strikes at the heart of UK national security and the continued discharge by HM Government of duties of care to the UK public and other stakeholders.

    Comment by eco — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  591. Tuomo said”Yeah, I kind of winged it when I wrote it. But you get the point though. If you are trying to estimate a complex system of two variables, say co2 and temperature, then finding exogenous variation in either variable or preferably both variables is going to make the estimation problem a whole lot easier.

    Suppose you write down the stochastic differential equations for temperature and co2. Then you try to estimate those from long-term “proxy” histories, which are effectively time-aggregated observations. That’s a really difficult estimation problem if one can identify exogenous variation in both temperature and co2 (or at least one). How do you know whether temperature is causing co2 or co2 temperature and by how much?”

    Are you talking paleoclimate or industrial age? In the modern age, we can determine that change in CO2 is from combustion and land use change by the extremely difficult process of “looking”.

    It is not so complicated that an applet can’t be programmed for it (assuming a consensus CO2 sensitivity of about 3 degrees C for doubling CO2):
    http://carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/

    See the specific explanations and references to the scientific literature under each tab. The issue is not how difficult it is (which may sound like a reason to think it hasn’t been done to the ignorant), but whether it has been done.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  592. Moderators, is it really necessary to provide a forum for such blatant, sneering, gloating, cynical, deliberate dishonesty as that with which “manacker” is spamming this thread?

    The fossil fuel industry’s zombie army of brainwashed Ditto-Head deniers are already turning every public forum where AGW is discussed into a sewer of lies and vicious attacks on the “world conspiracy of climate scientists” that would make Goebbels proud.

    Is that to be the fate of RealClimate’s comment pages? To become just another venue for the arrogant, belligerent deceit and ignorance of the deniers and their dupes? In the name of “openness” to “skepticism”?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  593. manacker wrote in 575:

    You stated your personal opinion on Climategate (568), so I will respond with mine.

    Manacker, I wasn’t making arguments in 568: I was listing the arguments that I had made in 527 and 528, arguments oftentimes with links to the relevant supporting material, other times arguments that I made in considerable detail or had dealt with in greater detail in the comments before.

    You ignored them. Naysaying the mere list at this point amounts to nothing. Just more manufactured doubt.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:19 AM

  594. Philip Machanick wrote in 574:

    Timothy Chase #568: you raise good points. Note also how tobacco companies included in their strategy causing confusion about other areas of science so that their astroturfing couldn’t easily be tracked back to them, as revealed for example by George Monbiot in his book Heat (some details on my blog).

    Unfortunately I haven’t read Heat as of yet, but currently I am getting into Climate Cover-Up by Hogan and Littlemore.

    *

    There is a fair amount of information on the people and organizations involved in the doubt industry, particularly on the web.

    Naomi Oreskes details some of this in:

    The American Denial of Global Warming
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    She points out that Frederick Seitz was involved in the denial of the link between tobacco and cancer in the 1970s and 1980s and of course more recently played a significant role in denying a connection between carbon dioxide and global warming. She likewise points out that S. Fred Singer who has been at work denying anthropogenic global warming was involved in the denial of the link between environmental tobacco smoke in the 1990s, the connection of sulfur and nitrogen to acid rain and CFCs to the ozone hole.

    For more on Seitz and Singer I would suggest:

    Frederick Seitz
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Frederick_Seitz

    S. Fred Singer
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fred_Singer

    She also mentions the George C. Marshall Institute and Alexis de Tocquerville Institute as having been involved in the both the tobacco and AGW denial campaigns.

    Anyway, for those who are interested, here is some background information on organizations involved in both campaigns:

    Alexis de Tocquerville Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Alexis_de_Tocqueville_Institution
    *
    Competitive Enterprise Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=CEI

    Competitive Enterprise Institute And Global Warming
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Competitive_Enterprise_Institute/Competitive_Enterprise_Institute_And_Global_Warming
    *
    George C. Marshall Institute
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio
    *
    Heartland Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute

    … and here are a couple of larger papers worth looking at:

    How to Manufacture Public Doubt: Analysis of the public relations techniques used by the Climate Denial Industry
    http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/global%20warming%20denial%20industry%20PR%20techniques%20report%20March%202009.pdf

    Scientists’ Report Documents ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science
    http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-GlobalWarming-tobacco.html

    Philip Machanick wrote in 574:

    This gets me wondering: do we have enough info to go after the fossil fuel industry with a class action suit, to recover damages arising from their sabotage of effective action on climate change? We are not talking about a small matter like tobacco here, where only a few tens of millions of people died unnecessary and horrible deaths. Half a billion people are at risk from loss of water from the Himalayan glaciers alone.

    The science certainly exists, and there is industry documentation in the public sphere — and the IRS 990s, for example.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:20 AM

  595. CORRECTION to the above

    The link for the George C. Marshall Institute should have been:

    George C. Marshall Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=George_C._Marshall_Institute

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  596. Manacker, there is nothing ludicrous about the tobacco analogy. Check out the common PR firm, strategy and spokespersons. You can do it.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:29 AM

  597. Max Acker teaches the doubt, once yet more again. All doubt, all the time, on every point, with no citations to factual sources. The guy’s like an entire advertising company slapping up PR posters.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:32 AM

  598. Philip Machanick (574), there ya go! If you want answers, follow the money. Always.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  599. “post hoc ergo propter hoc.”

    If the planet is 4.5 billion years old, how can we predict how its climate will behave by studying a small amount of data from a mere 10,000 or even 1 million years, if it were available? This seems to me to be like predicting what I will have for breakfast on July 10, 2011 by how many times I sneezed last week. I agree that the climate is changing, but it seems to me that that is what climates do. We will never have a static climate, and to believe that we can control it by affecting one variable seems foolish.

    Comment by Justin Waits — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  600. Didactylos (576), a side bar: why on earth would you say whistle-blowers don’t steal data, etc??? (I’m assuming that a legally protected whistle-blower has to be connected to the organization, not just any outsider.)

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:02 PM

  601. Indeed, whistleblowers are typically people who already have access to the information in question…that is “people sticking their necks out from within”

    The most charitable description for the hackers is “investigative journalist.” A journalist can be charged with numerous crimes in the course of acquiring and disseminating sensitive information, but the act of reporting the information and notifying the public is a protected act (absent a gag order).

    Journalism require courage because you’re likely to end up with powerful people hating your guts and being sued by everyone under the sun.

    The fact is that these hackers illegally accessed data and there are numerous local, national, and international laws which put them firmly in the wrong.

    Comment by floundericiousWA — 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  602. Here are three more major figures in tobacco and AGW denial campaigns:

    Steven J. Milloy (Mr. Junk Science)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Steven_J._Milloy

    Thomas Gale Moore
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Thomas_Gale_Moore

    Roger Bate
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Roger_Bate

    … and a few more organizations involved in both denial campaigns:

    American Enterprise Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Enterprise_Institute

    Americans for Prosperity
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Americans_for_Prosperity

    Burson-Marsteller (PR firm)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Burson-Marsteller

    Cato Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cato_Institute

    DCI Group (PR firm)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=DCI_Group

    Frontiers of Freedom
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Frontiers_of_Freedom

    Heritage Foundation
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heritage_Foundation

    Independent Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_Independent_Institute

    International Policy Network
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Policy_Network

    John Locke Foundation
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/John_Locke_Foundation

    Junk Science (Steven J. Milloy)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=JunkScience.com

    The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_Advancement_of_Sound_Science_Coalition

    Incidentally, I recognize many of these names from the organizations in the Exxon disinformation network that has also been funded by the Scaife, Bradley, Koch and Coors (Castle Rock) foundations — to the tune of over $262,000,000 between 1985-2007. (Not all IRS 990s for 2008 are available yet.)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:40 PM

  603. Gavin
    In the CRU (HadCrut) reconstruction, ghcn data is being used. What series are used, ghcn-raw or ghcn-homogenized? If you don’t know could you please ask Phil Jones or any contact you may have at CRU.

    Comment by Rob — 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  604. Interestingly, there have been other recent times when groups of experts (e.g. the CIA) provided the necessary evidence/justification for political action (cf. the certainty over Iraq’s WMDs).

    Tends to be that after the dust has settled the experts aren’t as vehement.

    Be careful of politicians with an eye for a crisis!

    Comment by ZZT — 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  605. Didactylos (576)

    Whistle-blowers get their insider info from whatever sources are available. Despite a lot of speculations out there, it is still unclear who got what information and how they got it, pending a full investigation.

    Whistle-blower protection laws exist in the UK and USA and it will be seen whether or not they cover those that leaked the emails.

    The point is that the data were paid for by taxpayer funding, so the taxpayer has a right to see them if he so desires under the FOIA. To what extent that includes correspondence related to the data between scientists receiving taxpayer funding is a point that will need clarification.

    If data were withheld or destroyed this could represent an infraction of the FOIA, but this is all still pending investigation.

    I personally do not see that much will happen on the legal front, but it is too early to say what happened here and what the legal ramifications and consequences will be for both the whistle-blowers and the scientists involved.

    But those are just my thoughts, which BTW are just as valid as yours.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:17 PM

  606. re: 575. Wow. Most of your gross, illogical assumptions, claims and implications are patently ridiculous without a shred of objective evidence to support them. Science is about hypotheses, data collection, analysis, conclusion, peer-review and additional hypotheses. The emails have no bearing at all on the data collected or the evidence. You would be wise to stick to what is known as scientific facts instead of wishful thinking that the science behind AGW is somehow flawed. Every major climate science society across the world (e.g., the AMS, AMOS, NSF, RMS, NOAA, the AGU) agrees about the role that AGW plays in warming the global average temperatures since the 1970s. The idea that you as a layman somehow know something that literally thousands of peer-reviewed climate researchers do not is the height of scientific arrogance.

    Comment by Dan — 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:30 PM

  607. There has been a great deal of talk about trust (or lack of it) in scientists and others involved in this controversy. Given than many of us non-climate scientists and non-americans are not familiar with all the individuals making the running, it would be very helpful if someone could prepare a brief document or table showing which, if any, of the big players (on either side of the argument) have been involved in previous scientific controversies, such as:

    The health risks of inhaling asbestos fibres;

    The health risks associated with lead compounds in vehicle fuel;

    The health risks associated with smoking tobacco,

    The link between HIV and AIDS.

    If zero people fall into any of these categories, this shuld be a simple task.

    Comment by Dendrite — 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  608. Gavin, I recently purchased your fascinating book:” Climate Change: Picturing the Science by Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe” which you edited and co-authored. In this book, you make a comparison between the development of the theory of continental drift and the AGW theory. You wrote; “However, once it is clear that a new theory explains observations better than the previous theory and that its predictions have been validated, the scientific community will switch over very quickly. For continental drift, that point came in the 1960s, when unequivocal evidence of sea-floor spreading at mid-ocean ridges gave rise to the theory of plate tectonics, suddenly making sense of many different anomalies, including those highlighted by Wegener decades ago.”
    There is a fundamental difference in proving the continental drift theory compared to “proving” the AGW theory. In the former case, the continental drift theory was demonstrated purely by experimental (observational) means (for example the observation of alternating patterns of magnetic polarity on both sides of rift faults). In contrast, the AGW theory relies heavily on numerical modeling since the effect of the CO2 forcing is determined indirectly by history matching previous global temperature records. In the case of the continental drift there is one dominant driver which is the movement of the magma as it approaches and moves the earth’s crust. In the case of the AGW theory there are several drivers. My question is then: “What would be the equivalent of the “magnetic polarity reversal observations” in the continental drift theory which would have switched the thinking of the scientists in the AGW theory?

    Comment by RaymondT — 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  609. Those actually interested in recent global temperatures should follow the link in my comment #547.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 2:47 PM

  610. Re: 572
    Bruce, “sticks and stones … ” ;-)

    I’m glad to see that you apparently agree that humans are indeed sometimes responsible for doing bad things and therefore your original post (which inferred those who accept AGW haven’t outgrown some imagined childish tendency to blame things on themselves) was not really based on reality.

    Bruce (#499) wrote:
    “Do you remember as a kid when something went wrong and you were sure it was your fault, but couldn’t figure out what you had done to cause it? Like when parents get divorced and their children blame themselves because of what they (the children) had done?

    This is inherent in human beings, it is a mechanism we use to keep from doing things that will hurt us, and sometimes it goes awry. Are their people in the world that never outgrow this?”

    Comment by Ken W — 8 Dec 2009 @ 3:08 PM

  611. Hank,

    On your #462 “JLS, that an old, old discussion going back to the Vietnam era, see e.g.”

    Yup. Pournelle himself admits to having been an unabashed promoter of SDI, which given the immaturity of ABM systems then was more of a competitive-strategy to demoralize the Soviets than a 1980S program deliverable. Russel, Possony, Pournelle and others from think-tanks like RAND were devising such ways to beggar the Soviets by provoking them into disproportionately costly tech development and deployment races. AFAIK Asimov had less access to developments both technical and political and could not produce good critiques of SDI and other Cold War CS.

    Ironically, it turned out that “Nuclear Winter” was neither good modelled climate science. The effects of the technology CS is better grounded as a Cold War-winning story (at least to those formerly of the Reagan administration), yet it is not viewed by historians as the only or even main factor, either.

    Comment by JLS — 8 Dec 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  612. Re: 575
    “4. …
    Response: An unsubstantiated claim, but it has nothing to do with Climategate in any case”

    So Dr. Weaver and University of Victoria spokeswomen Patty Pitts are just making up the break-ins?

    “6. …
    Response: Not “virtually identical”. The satellite (tropospheric) record shows a slower warming trend than the surface record, even though the GH theory indicates that it should be more rapid”

    RSS TLT 1979 – 2008 trend is warming of 0.153 K/decade
    GISS Surface Temperature 1979 – 2008 trend is warming 0.177 K/decade.

    Read the link below and then come back explaining how the datasets aren’t “virgually identical”
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/giss-ncdc-hadcru/

    “7. …
    Response: A matter of opinion. Is Steve McIntyre, for example, financially beholden to anyone (such as IPCC), or is he an independent operator (bring evidence for your response)? His qualifications as a statistician are unquestioned.”

    Given his 30 year career in the mining industry, one shouldn’t rule out that Mr. McIntyre may have a financial interest in the on-ongoing profitability of various mining and oil companies. And a BS in math hardly qualifies someone as being a statistician of “unquestioned” qualifications. My own undergraduate degree in Math didn’t even require 1 introductory statistics course (though I took 1 as an elective).

    “8. …
    Response: A matter of opinion. A group of independent auditors acting in the service of the public could scrutinize the science, in the interest of the taxpaying public, who paid for, and hence who owns the science.”

    This has already been done. Multiple times. Try reading any of the publications put out by the National Academies of Science (from any G8 country), the US Climate Change Program, the American Geophysical Union, or virtually any other scientific organization.

    http://dels.nas.edu/dels/rpt_briefs/climate_change_2008_final.pdf
    http://www.climatescience.gov/default.php
    http://www.agu.org/sci_pol/positions/climate_change2008.shtml

    Comment by Ken W — 8 Dec 2009 @ 3:53 PM

  613. Whoops, the limbo bar has been lowered again. Any contortionists care to try slithering under? How about Max? Max is double-jointed, maybe he can take a shot at it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/08/met-office-warmest-decade

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/science/earth/09climate.html?hp

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:10 PM

  614. To Philip Machanick, Thanks a lot for the links to the papers especially the one by Foster et al. The paper argues against the claim by McLean et al. 2009 which states that the decadal and longer term variation in large scale tropospheric temperatures can be explained by a single factor-the El-Nino/ENSO. Even before reading this paper my impression was that the multi-decadal oscillations were beyond the ENSO scale as presented in the WCC3 conference in Geneva this year. I would be curious to see how McLean et al will rebutt the paper by Foster et al. My understanding from the presentation of Mojib Latif at the WCC3 was that the ENSO is an initial value problem but that the multi-decadal oscillations were beyond the ENSO scale and was a mixture initial value and boundary forcing problems. Could an ENSO oscillation have long term effects in terms of changing the global humidity content which would last longer than the actual ENSO itself ? I understand that climatologists assume that the relative humidity is constant globally.
    I really enjoy this website which I recommend whenever I have an opportunity especially when I blog with skeptics. It is important that skeptics (such as myself) express their understanding about climate with climatologists.

    Comment by RaymondT — 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  615. [Originally intended for Eric's thread on balance which is now closed]

    The point of balance or neutrality appears to have suddenly shifted. In the UK, almost every single interview about the Copenhagen conference includes a question about the email leaks]
    ——————————————-
    ——————————————–
    Evolution, Neutrality and the greenhouse gas theory of global warming.

    Yesterday archaeological reporter/actor Tony Robinson launched Channel 4′s (UK) new series “Man on Earth”.

    This is what he has written about the series. “Climate change is part of our heritage, and throughout various moments of history, we’ve either adapted to the changing climate and have ultimately been successful, or we have failed to adapt, and ignored it, in which case disaster has arisen. We can choose either to deal with it or not. We have in the past, and it’s there to see.”

    That appears to emphasise adaptation over mitigation. The first programme dealt with past episodes of global warming and cooling and involved interviewing paleoclimatologists and visits to museums containing human skulls. So why am I still grumbling, at least about the first programme?

    Because these huge natural climate swings were dealt with in some detail without once mentioning the greenhouse gas contribution. This is so often how this topic is taught. There was nothing in the last 50 minutes (I missed the beginning) which might have displeased Fred Singer who propagates the “climate is always changing” mantra. It is just as if some editor had said that ‘we’ll leave out greenhouse gases because they are controversial’. This was combined with another fault, i.e that the whole story was presented as if it was 100% certain. Just history. When will greenhouse gas mechanisms take their rightful place in the teaching of science instead of being segregated as part of green environmentalism and entertaining controversy? Perhaps later in the series?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:27 PM

  616. Manacker: You are dead right: “Complete transparency and openness to independent audit in science are paramount.” Anyone who can’t (or refuses to) see this is not a scientist, no matter how many letters follow their name.

    Comment by Louis6439 — 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:36 PM

  617. I am totally depressed! Just read comments over at Andy’s Dot Earth site and you’d think more people would get it. The dump all OVER the Copenhagen meeting without considering the poor and the homeless. Forget the climate science people – what about helping the poor of the world?? Even if the science is wrong – can’t we find the heart to help another human being out? It’s depressing. Or disgusting. Are there no morals anymore?

    Comment by richard — 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:37 PM

  618. SA on manacker

    “That means you are repeatedly, deliberately, knowingly lying — and, you are lying to people who know you are lying, and you know that they know you are lying. Which seems a strangely futile thing to do.”

    Generally, it’s an attempt at asserting power and a way of showing contempt. It’s probably futile to make an appeal to constructive behavior in this case, but good luck with that anyway.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  619. Re: 576 Didactylos

    There is no evidence the data was stolen.

    All the evidence IMHO points to an internal leak likely by a computer systems administrator.

    The file seems to be a dump for a possible FOI act disclosure that was denied.

    Comment by John MacQueen — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:47 PM

  620. Max writes:
    “1. a crime was committed by the hackers;
    Response: This depends on whether or not the whistle-blowers are protected under the UK (or US) whistle-blower protection law

    2. the stolen emails were released in a way that indicates the attempt to disrupt the Copenhagen conference rather than permit any meaningful investigation of their contents;
    Response: A matter of opinion. It could have been simply to expose the weakness of the AGW premise”

    I thought a whistle-blower would release everything. Instead, we have a hacker who “manipulated” the emails and code to create the impression he wanted. Why would the hacker “hide” the rest of the data he has? Could it be that he “deleted” the emails and code that didn’t fit his agenda?

    Comment by jerryg — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:06 PM

  621. manacker #575:

    Is Steve McIntyre, for example, financially beholden to anyone (such as IPCC), or is he an independent operator (bring evidence for your response)? His qualifications as a statistician are unquestioned.

    Here is his personal bio off his own web site. Where do you see “statistician” in there?

    In any case, who are you alleging is financially beholden to the IPCC? Here’s their budget. Most of the money is for meetings and administration.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:53 PM

  622. Max #575: “3. the fossil fuel industry is lobbying Washington at roughly fourteen to one compared to environmentalists;
Response: This claim is blatantly false – the taxpayer funding for climate research in support of the AGW premise as promulgated by IPCC far exceeds any funding by the fossil fuel industry for research to prove the contrary.”
    Incorrect. U.S. government subsidies (direct and indirect business subsidies) to the fossil fuels industry exceed $20 billion annually, and that doesn’t include national security spending (some of which is fossil-fuel related.) Since all money is fungible, spending on climate research pales in comparison to what the U.S. taxpayer contributes to the fossil fuel industry’s research and public-relations budgets.
    But it is true that the fossil fuel industry would not have to spend much to get all the data and run the models or run their own models, in order to disprove climate science. So no doubt they have done so, and couldn’t disprove it. Which is why they have aimed at shooting the messenger (i.e. the scientists.)

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:25 PM

  623. Just a thought on the code leaked from the CRU.

    In commercial software companies the journey from
    development to production is a long one.
    But one thing is a given. The
    devs, integrators and production support operators all
    abide by certain well documented standards and methodologies
    that ensures what comes out at the other end doesn’t
    resemble in any shape or form that which was left for all the world and his
    dog to see on that server in Tomsk.
    This is probably the software industries equivalent
    of the scientific method. Ultimately rubbish in rubbish
    out.

    Standards include very basic things:

    Unit testing and reproducible results
    If I check something
    at 18.00 then I expect an email in my mailbox
    the next day when some or any of the test cases fail.
    I also expect to see a pretty clear exception message
    telling me why it failed.

    Code reviews
    self documenting code
    Continuous builds – see above
    Logging standards
    EXCEPTION HANDLING – THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF
    ANY CODE! IF SOMETHING FAILS I HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT.
    Portable code – ie no hard coded
    references to someone’s home directory

    Use of version control system to store
    source code, tagging of source code, branching
    of source code etc – ie release management
    cvs to store data and META-DATA so I know what the
    hell the data means.
    standard build and packaging tool

    etc..etc..

    What is shocking about the CRU revelations is the TOTAL lack
    of any on these things.

    When I was new to development I once checked in some code into CVS without
    adding any comments. About half an hour later the lead architect took me aside
    and told me never to do it again. So I guess I never did. I know how important it is to
    track changes to software and to have an audit trail. Of course the code here is not being deployed
    to a commercial site, but the same rules must apply. The consequence
    of not applying the above rules is self evident. If they aren’t applied
    and they were not and are not being applied at the CRU it’s clear that only rubbish
    can come out.

    Comment by kevin king — 8 Dec 2009 @ 8:37 PM

  624. It comes down to trust. Scientific experts produce papers that lay people will never read and often cannot understand. But can we trust them to do a good job and make impartial conclusions? The CRU emails would suggest that increasingly we can’t.

    I generally agreed the AGW thesis and was in favour of carbon reductions, but now I’m not sure. Transparency is essential if there is going to be any hope of getting something passed in Congress. There’s simply no way it can happen now as long as the research is seen as tainted. And it IS tainted, no matter how much AGWers think it’s an outlier or it doesn’t matter.

    Dude, it matters. I don’t trust these guys right now. Get it right. If you can’t get anything passed, you will have no one to blame but yourselves. Science doesn’t do arrogance well.

    Thanks for the blog Gavin. Lots of good info here, but I would seriously lose the sarcasm. It simply doesn’t work well any more.

    Comment by Chris Hirst — 8 Dec 2009 @ 9:41 PM

  625. Justin Waits (599) & RaymondT (608) — Please read “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    after reading Andy Revkin’s review:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E7DF153DF936A35753C1A9659C8B63

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 9:56 PM

  626. RaymondT (614) — I’m an amateur here, but for reasons given in Ray Pierrehumbert’s
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html
    and some of his papers (available from his web site), El Nino is rather unlikely to have effects which last long beyond the end of the episode.

    I’m still attempting to understand El Nino nad one of the better web resources seems to be
    http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter14/chapter14_02.htm
    (Kindly let us know if you find a still better one!)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:14 PM

  627. Timothy Chase (602), your character assassination net casts a large trail. I’m impressed.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:39 PM

  628. kevin king #623 – why do you think that that CRU code is part of a software product? The same rules do not apply to single use software at all. Your examples are all down at the coding level in a product development process and you left out the stuff about quality management: applying different approaches to defect discovery, managing defect injection processes, balancing software lifetime against development cost. Continuous build and standardised logging FFS… the point is how defect injection and removal work over time, not whether the code is commented (regardless of your personal scars).

    If we were to treat the statistical scripting that produces these numbers in the gold-plated cost-per-loc way that a lot of these coders want, paradoxically problems would NEVER get fixed, there would be strong incentives to NOT go back and mess with the algorithms, there would be incentives to say “well, its just too expensive to fix that part of the code, we will work around it in the new development”, and if you haven’t heard that, you haven’t worked on a seriously large and complex software product that costs real money to build. I’d rather an environment where people are inclined to mess with the code and compete with each other in producing the right numbers, not an environment where the algorithms and the judgement calls in their selection are hidden behind layers of code review, commenting policies and a “standard build and packaging tool” all stored on the one true Subversion server.

    People keep pointing to current development processes and a number have referred to OSS development, but many seem to have forgotten the scandalous business of the changes to the Linux memory manager years ago, where a significant change was made to the memory management behaviour in a maintenance release. Yes, the code was reviewed to death and it worked, but it still hurt a bunch of people because the higher level design decisions were not reviewed by, and could not be reviewed by, the code review processes that some people seem to want to apply to the CRU programs.

    Another and much older example from a very large and significant software product, an OS: in the early 1980s that code had a significant bug in it in that users could be locked out of the OS if they were unexpectedly disconnected. The bug was still there in the mid 90s when I encountered it and I happened to know someone who years earlier had worked on finding and fixing the bug. They knew roughly where the problem was, but the risk to the system of rewriting that code was too great (the Linux MM problem from early this decade is the example of what happens when you take the risk and it does not work out).

    Comment by grumpy software architect — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:05 PM

  629. The latest from Willis Eschenbach,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/

    and published today (12/8) has been sent my way by skeptic correspondents several time this evening, and IMO needs to be addressed on a priority basis.

    Comment by Michael Dodge Thomas — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:07 PM

  630. kevin king wrote in 623:

    In commercial software companies the journey from development to production is a long one.

    Agreed.

    kevin king wrote in 623:

    But one thing is a given. The devs, integrators and production support operators all abide by certain well documented standards and methodologies that ensures what comes out at the other end doesn’t resemble in any shape or form that which was left for all the world and his dog to see on that server in Tomsk.

    Left there by whom? I don’t think the author of that intended it either for production or publication.

    Additionally it sounds like you are assuming the standards applicable to a software company. Not some inhouse project. Present-day standards — as opposed to something that may have been a decade or older.

    kevin king wrote in 623:

    Unit testing and reproducible results.

    At my former company (prior to its getting bought by something larger than Microsoft) we had unit testing — done by the developer. We had smoke-testing, done by a tester assigned to the team. We had regression testing to insure (as best as possible) that none of the earlier functionality was broken by the fixes.

    This was automated, run by someone who wrote the scripts for such testing. At least until we got rid of the local testers and shipped work overseas. Then we went over a year without any regression testing. No one apparently knew how to run the software that ran the scripts.

    kevin king wrote in 623:

    If I check something at 18.00 then I expect an email in my mailbox the next day when some or any of the test cases fail. I also expect to see a pretty clear exception message telling me why it failed.

    Preferably.

    kevin king wrote in 623:

    Code reviews.

    We talked about it. Oddly enough when things were getting especially desperate, we had already gone through several rounds of layoffs, and everyone was doing the work of three.

    kevin king wrote in 623:

    Self-documenting code.

    Sounds great. Also sounds rather recent. With Classic VB for example (which came out during the 1990s and ceased being supported by Microsoft in April 2008) there was no self-documenting code. You had inline comments. The only self-documenting code I have seen so far is documented in XML (where objects, properties and methodes are automatically documented) and at that point you are talking object-oriented.

    That is fairly recent. VB5 and VB6 were pseudo- object-oriented and compiled, yet they were not self-documenting. And VB6 came out in 1998.

    What about scripting languages? Fortran (which is common in climatology) is compiled and in its most recent incarnations is likely self-documenting, but when was this introduced? IDL — which came out in 1977 — the language that this code was apparently written in — is described as being only partially self-documenting even in its most recent incarnations.

    kevin king wrote in 623:

    Continous builds – see above

    Yep – definitely a software development company. We were doing software for major companies with massive networks – the software was used for monitoring those networks in order to more efficiently manage the hardware they had rather than buy more hardware – and we didn’t usually do a build more than once a week.

    The client software we developed (part of a three-tier solution working against an Oracle database) was large enough that the project had ceased to compile in Visual Studio even when it was only half the size. We had a construction worker who taught himself assembly, then C, then C++, and then VB. He wrote a program such that it could compile individual projects (custom components, including controls and DLLs) without keeping open the projects that they depended upon as part of the project group.

    That was inhouse and it was run manually. Rarely more than once a week. (If we ran it more than once a week chances were someone had screwed up.) And it (first half of the name was “Build” and the other half refered to a lady dog — the idea of the coder that wrote it) didn’t get put into the code repository until 2005. That was our inhouse software.

    The rest of your “requirements” likewise sound like a professional software development company — not inhouse software development — and not like you are used to reworking legacy code.

    Ideally things should meet these standards, but inhouse software and legacy software are unlikely to meet such standards. And even today some of what you demand simply isn’t available in languages.

    kevin king wrote in 623:

    Of course the code here is not being deployed to a commercial site, but the same rules must apply.

    Modern standards which are largely applied by modern, professional software companies that in many cases simply could not have been applied a decade or more ago — and some of which simply can’t be applied to some languages even today.

    The code was obviously legacy. The language it was written in was from the 1970s and it may have been almost as old. Even in a professional software development company intent upon selling software for use by large clients many of those standards would not have been standard even in the first few years of this millennium.

    And there is every reason to believe that what came out of that software never saw the light of publication. You are trying to apply standards to it which could very well have not even been conceived of at the time that the code was originally written.

    I would have to say that either you are unfamiliar with the history of software development or are being deliberately anachronistic in your application of the current standards of software development to software developed in an earlier time.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:13 PM

  631. Re 623: I disagree with your entire post. I essentially never do any of that stuff and I assure you that I don’t produce rubbish. If I did all the standards type stuff that you insist is necessary I’d never get anything done. I haven’t looked at the CRU code and have no idea how big it is. Research codes are notorious for being poorly documented. Whether or not exception handling is as important as you claim or not depends on how the code is used.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:49 PM

  632. Lee A. Arnold

    Youwrote:

    “U.S. government subsidies (direct and indirect business subsidies) to the fossil fuels industry exceed $20 billion annually, and that doesn’t include national security spending (some of which is fossil-fuel related.)”

    You are comparing apples with oranges when you talk about “subsidies” to the energy companies. How about the corporate taxes they pay? The net flow of money is from the fossil fuel industry.

    But that is irrelevant. What we are talking about here is government taxpayer funding of climate research to support the AGW premise versus funding from energy companies to prove the opposite.

    And here the pro-AGW government funding far outweighs what energy companies are spending to counter AGW.

    In other words, my statement is correct that “the taxpayer funding for climate research in support of the AGW premise as promulgated by IPCC far exceeds any funding by the fossil fuel industry for research to prove the contrary.”

    Max

    [Response: Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Research from government sources is not designed to 'support the AGW premise' - the vast majority supports the satellite progams which I'm pretty sure are not deciding which photon they register based on whether it supports warming or cooling. And the research grants that are funded at NSF can be looked up - and although I've challenged people repeatedly, no-one has ever found any evidence of claims that they are only funding reseach to support AGW. And finally, the research that oil companies pay for (and I have a number of colleagues who've received research grants on paleo-climate from the likes of Shell etc.) is perfectly fine in general and not tied to any political outcome. You are confusing the millions the oil companies have spent/spend on spreading disinformation with research. CFACT, CEI, FoS, Heartland etc. do not do scientific research. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:16 AM

  633. Kevin King:
    Sigh.
    How long have you been in this business?

    I am afraid you do simply do not understand the differences between engineering production software that must exist in multiple releases, have test harnesses, manage databases, etc, etc with software engineers, QA/release teams, etc … versus code researchers write for themselves to analyze data, sometimes for one-shot papers.

    OF COURSE one does all that stuff for production-grade code. GISS does a pretty good job this way when appropriate. It’s easier now than it used to be.

    Comment by John Mashey — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:55 AM

  634. 619:

    The file seems to be a dump for a possible FOI act disclosure that was denied.

    I would be interested in seeing the wording of an FOIA request that could manage to gather together that collection of documents.

    It would have to look something like “Everything in your home directory that could be even remotely interesting, plus everything else.”

    I’m not an expert on the relevant legislation but I would have expected genuine FOIA requests to be far more specific than anything that could have resulted in that collection.

    I’m a little bit puzzled by this line of reasoning anyway, though — if it was gathered in response to an FOIA request that was subsequently and legally denied, doesn’t that mean that anybody who releases that data anyway is not a whistleblower but rather automatically a lawbreaker?

    And why hasn’t anyone come forward and said “Hey, that looks like it was collected in response to my FOIA request — look, here is what I asked for: …”?

    Simply saying it was stolen by a hacker seems far more parsimonious.

    Comment by Jason — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:04 AM

  635. Kevin King wrote:

    What is shocking about the CRU revelations is the TOTAL lack
    of any on these things.

    Why?

    We’re talking about straightforward implementations of mathematical tools that are run to generate data. Not enormous idiot-proof shrink-wrapped products used by millions of people, or flight control systems.

    My company creates scientific software that sells for the price of a good car. We put a lot of effort in to making that software high performance, user-friendly, idiot proof, and bug free, using all the normal tools of the commercial software design trade.

    However, I also often write little one-off programs to test a theory and refine an algorithm. Once I have it working, then I go to all the additional trouble of making the code meet our standards and incorporating it into the normal code base. This easily takes at least ten times as much effort as actually writing the test code itself did. It is therefore not surprising that scientists on a shoe-string budget wanting to write their own software to test their theories fail to adhere to software design Best Practices. The software is not the product; the data is.

    It isn’t even a disaster that this means their little test programs (and they are little) may have bugs in them affecting their results because the ultimate test is not thousands of sceptics pouring over their source code, or feeding in physically impossible values to test exception handling, but rather other researchers writing completely independent code, often using completely independent data, seeing if they can come up with the same results.

    Nobody is saying policy should be decided on the back of what CRU’s in-house software produces. If it didn’t basically agree with all the other lines of evidence then it would be ridiculed and the authors would be scratching their heads trying to see what they did wrong.

    Frankly, I’ve seen a lot worse. They even have variable and function names more than a single letter long! And comments referencing published articles! If you really think that code is all that bad then you seriously need to get out more.

    Comment by Jason — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:33 AM

  636. Lee A. Arnold:

    But it is true that the fossil fuel industry would not have to spend much to get all the data and run the models or run their own models, in order to disprove climate science. So no doubt they have done so, and couldn’t disprove it. Which is why they have aimed at shooting the messenger (i.e. the scientists.)

    This is, indeed, the ultimate question that I’ve never even seen sceptics ask themselves, let alone attempt to answer:

    If the evidence did not support AGW, and the scientists were fudging the figures, why would Exxon et al continue to fund “think tanks” and “policy institutes” rather than simply spending that money to acquire and analyse the raw data and release their findings along with the source code to prove once and for all that AGW was a scam?

    Comment by Jason — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:01 AM

  637. Re #623
    Software people and science people.
    Much of recent computational physics since the second world war grew up before it was called software and certainly before it was commercial. It was often written informally by scientists who had not taken computer science degrees. That did not stop it from being hugely successful. Much theoretical and applied physics ought to have collapsed by now if your criticism had been seriously significant. Lots of invalid PhD theses would have had to be junked. The reason why this did not happen is that the more important calculations ended by being checked by others who wrote their own programs. That is not very different from the way experimental results are checked.

    The record of commercial software has not been so wonderful. What other industry managed to sell so many products for so long to so many people which broke down so many times? And who is responsible for the lax security at the UEA server, software experts or scientists? The same question applies to the hackers themselves.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:24 AM

  638. On providing context to Phil Jones’s statement “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the U.K., I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone…,” Gavin responded with “The FOI requests started in 2007 and they were turned down then…not because there is anything wrong or embarrassing about the data, but because some of it is restricted by agreements with third parties.” (this is from a Nov 24 post in this thread)

    IMO, Gavin’s statement does not pass the common sense test. If there were third-party agreements in place then Jones would hardly have to resort to deleting data. I can see no other reasonable context for Jones’s comments other than a williness to destory data in opposition to the law rather than see it fall into the hands of those whom he clearly sees as the enemy. This behavior can be fairly described in many ways, but being consistent with the generally accepted principles of scientific research would not be among them of them.

    [Response: That was hyperbole born of frustration- no data was destroyed and none will be. And there are third party agreements. - gavin]

    Comment by Richard — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:29 AM

  639. Justin Watts: If the planet is 4.5 billion years old, how can we predict how its climate will behave by studying a small amount of data from a mere 10,000 or even 1 million years, if it were available?

    BPL: Because climate operates on a characteristic time scale of 30 years, not billions.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:51 AM

  640. Raymond T: My question is then: “What would be the equivalent of the “magnetic polarity reversal observations” in the continental drift theory which would have switched the thinking of the scientists in the AGW theory?

    BPL: The high-altitude spectral observations taken in the 1940s which disproved the “saturation” objection to AGW theory raised by Angstrom and Koch in 1901.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:54 AM

  641. JLS: “Nuclear Winter” was neither good modelled climate science.

    BPL: Actually, it was. The famous 1984 “Nuclear Autumn” paper righties still cite as “disproving” it got the plume heights wrong by a factor of three. See Turco et al. 1991.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  642. John Macqueen: All the evidence IMHO points to an internal leak likely by a computer systems administrator.

    BPL: WHAT “evidence?” Care to cite it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:57 AM

  643. #636 Jason:

    Back in the 90s, the Global Climate Coalition led by ExxonMobil DID fund scientists to determine the cause of global warming. GCC’s own scientists concluded that human emissions of GHGs were responsible so they promptly squelched that report and began funding front groups to deny the science and to confuse the public.

    Revkin writes about this here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:26 AM

  644. Jason, exactly. I’ve often cited the mutually inconsistent nature of common denialist arguments as good reason for believing the mainstream.

    But another very good one is looking at the choices made by Heartland, Cato, et al: if they are so confident that reality is “on their side” then it would be logical to hire researchers and fund studies. Instead, the vast preponderance of effort goes into hiring PR people.

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Cover-Up-A-Review

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:44 AM

  645. Just have to totally disagree with 631.
    If you don’t test basic code you’ve got a problem.
    You’ ve evidently never worked in a production environment.
    Exception handling is the thing. Ah ha..the CRU doesn’t write
    code for production environments. Okay but It still seems to
    me the need to handle exceptions correctly and consistently is
    important. Exceptions are not handled correctly in some of the code from the CRU.

    And John Mashey 633. The emails talk about different releases of
    the software. There are multiple versions. Are you seriously suggesting no releases are made and
    not stored in a repository that is regularly backed up? Are they
    stored on the developer’s laptop?

    I would actually have to advertise agile development here
    and simple unit testing. Okay I have no experience of coding Fortran
    modules but let’s assume the following.
    I write a piece of code that runs a collection of combined algorithms
    that I put together to combine data from 2 different datasets.
    I now add another piece of code that uses the above that I’ve
    packed off undocumented in some file I forgot to name correctly. Let’s
    call it fudge.gy.
    The new piece of functionality appears to work. It returns apparently
    reasonable results. Unfortunately I’m not aware of the fact the
    script I forgot to test is silently swallowing exceptions and returning
    unreliable data. Had I constructed some unit tests against which
    I could compare input and output data I would have picked this up.

    I mean okay, let’s skip the continuous builds. Let’s just
    have a simple reproducible set of unit tests where I can test input data
    against output data. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

    And 635. Of course I have seen worse code. But trillions of dollars
    rest on code like this. Not much of an excuse.

    Comment by kevin king — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:15 AM

  646. Re: 639 “ustin Watts: If the planet is 4.5 billion years old, how can we predict how its climate will behave by studying a small amount of data from a mere 10,000 or even 1 million years, if it were available?

    BPL: Because climate operates on a characteristic time scale of 30 years, not billions.”

    And because the concern is over what happens during the next 100 years not the next 100 million years. There are on the order of a billion people who rely on the water that flows out of the Himalayan glaciers. If those rivers become seasonal or begin undergoing large seasonal fluctuations in volume in the next 50 years the upheaval will be unprecedented. Note that this is the case whether the current temperatures have occurred 0 times or 1,000 times in the past 100 million years. Denialists love to go on about how the current temperatures and co2 levels are not unique in world history. What is unique, as Gavin has pointed out dozens of times, is the combination of rapid rise in conjunction with a world population approaching 7 billion and an advanced technological society.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:21 AM

  647. 645: Nowhere did I say I don’t test my codes. Obviously I do. The fact is that whenever I have something I think is worth saying that involves computer codes I publish it and if other people find it interesting they will write their own code and reproduce it. In that way my results are verified and it is in this way that the CRU code has been validated. Even if it were true that responding to climate change will cost trillions, trillions are not resting on any the output of any single code.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  648. Hi RC,

    Hat’s off for keeping up with the high volume of questions. Could I also please 2nd the request by 629, by asking for an explanation of the article he linked – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/ .. I’ve just read it and I’ve curious to know your opinion as to why the results differ greatly from the previously published figures?

    [Response: See here. - gavin]

    Also, one more, if I may -

    Reading through the headlines on that site, I also came across a rant about one of the emails referring to the CRU being potentially funded by Shell Oil and/or other oil companies.

    Apologies if you’ve already responded to a similar question – I’m just getting a grip on this whole situation, but can you explain how the funding requests were concluded and if I could ask why the CRU would risk exposing themselves to claims of conflict of interests, in the circumstances? Here is the link to the article – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/04/climategate-cru-looks-to-big-oil-for-support/

    Thanks for your time,

    -Josh

    [Response: Oil companies have sometimes funded real scientists to do research on issues that were interesting to them. Deep time paleo-climate is a frequent subject for instance. But at no time to the companies sponsoring the research get to determine the outcome (at least not with any of the scientists I know). This is very different to oil companies sponsoring disinformation efforts on climate change which involve no research but plenty of misrepresentation instead. The former is fine, the latter, not so much. - gavin]

    Comment by Josh L — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:55 AM

  649. Somebody else posted this earlier, but I’m posting this again as it seems important.
    The blog postings methodology seems sound and the article is well written. I can’t directly spot any glaring errors.
    I’m myself curious how these “homogenizations” are made, especially for stations this isolated. The answer may be that individual stations don’t matter, but there must be some reason why this station’s data is processed the way it is. This would also shed light on how the data is processed generally.

    Thanks in advance, I know you are busy and probably tired of “debunking”/explaining this sort of stuff, but this article was in my opinion well written, and I can’t find it addressed anywhere else.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/

    [Response: See here. - gavin]

    Comment by KTB — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  650. 635: “It isn’t even a disaster that this means their little test programs (and they are little) may have bugs in them affecting their results because the ultimate test is not thousands of sceptics pouring over their source code, or feeding in physically impossible values to test exception handling, but rather other researchers writing completely independent code, often using completely independent data, seeing if they can come up with the same results.”

    Let me just quote a bit about the scientific method from Wikipedia:

    “Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.”

    And this is where the climate scientists at large fail. You cannot scrutinize the data fully. You cannot look into the details of the methodology since the little unreported details are hidden in the source code and you plain and simple cannot determine if the scientist is producing poor and error prone code. And this state of affairs will of course give scientist producing poor code a competitive advantage in the rush for pushing out papers.

    And we need to fix this now! Open the data and open the code. Otherwise there will always be a cloud of mistrust against your results.

    [Response: I can see that you feel strongly about this. So let's make a deal - you accept any studies for which the data is public domain and the code available and we'll just stick to discussing the conclusions drawn from that. Obviously, I'm not responsible for the whole community and so I can't enforce anything, but there is nothing of importance that can't be replicated using open data/source code. Or would the presence of a single solitary study using proprietary data devalue the work of everyone else? If you answer yes to that, then there is very little point continuing any dialogue. - gavin]

    Comment by John — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  651. Re: 645
    Kevin,
    I’ve rewritten tons of software in my career that came out of various research labs. What I’ve found is that they are usually very poorly written (no naming conventions, inefficient, etc., etc.) and lack all kinds of nice error-trapping, but they are accurate and generate correct results.

    How can this be?

    It’s because the research code is written by people who intimately understand the inputs, outputs, and processes that they are coding. In commercial software, where countless people (with no understanding of the inner workings of the software) can attempt all kinds of unanticipated things, you have to code against the possible (no matter how unlikely). But in research code, you can define very precisely the inputs and sequence of events, so it’s far easier to do it correctly.

    Comment by Ken W — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:00 PM

  652. Re: “[Response: That was hyperbole born of frustration- no data was destroyed and none will be. And there are third party agreements. - gavin]”

    Gavin, you’re a wonderful advocate for your cause, but at some point the layman, like me, has to ask how many strained explanations are too many? “Trick” is jargon. “Hide the decline” was about tree-rings not temperature and “hide” was just an unfortunate choice of words. “Redefin[ing] the peer review process” isn’t about rigging the game. An expressed willingness to break FOI laws is really just an expression of frustration.

    I think Mr. Occam needs a shave.

    Respectfully,

    Richard Grath

    [Response: I challenge you to publish 13 years of your email and have it be subjected to examination by hordes of hostile parties and then defend every single joke, ambiguous word choice or out of context quote they come up with. Unless you are some kind of saint, you would have just as many or more examples of things that can be spun to make you look bad. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. - gavin]

    Comment by Richard — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:07 PM

  653. Rod B wrote in 627:

    Timothy Chase (602 [and 594]), your character assassination net casts a large trail. I’m impressed.

    Maybe I’m getting a little of Atlas Shrugged out of my system. Then again there was James Taggart and the people he liked to do “business” with. Whatever. In my book identification precedes evaluation. Nothing is of greater importance than adherence to reality. SourceWatch has references for all the material I am relying upon. So much for the charge of character assassination.

    All totalled I have 17 different organizations that were involved in both the tobacco and AGW denial campaigns — but I’m sure there are more. However, it does mean that a fair amount of the money from the Foundations (Scaife, Bradley, Koch and Coors) went to pay denial campaigns other than those related to AGW. So at a certain level this means that a large part of the Exxon disinformation network was already in place before Exxon got around to using it.

    In this respect it reminds me of bacteria.

    Scientists were surprised at how rapidly different strains and species of bacteria developed resistance to new antibiotics. But of course there was a small world lateral gene transfer network. It was/is highly efficient, small world, involving hubs and paths between distant nodes of the network that involve few jumps. And the reason why it exists isn’t simply in order trade in genes for antibiotic resistance, but pathogenicity, metabolic processes, symbiosis, and other aspects of ecological fitness.

    And yes, even antibiotic resistance. It turns out that sometimes that strains of bacteria are already resistant to antibiotics when they are first developed — such that scientists have sugggested testing new antibiotics against wild strains of bacteria found in the soil before taking them any further. The pinnacle of creation. We weren’t the ones that originated antibiotics: bacteria were, for use against competing strains. It was the original germ warfare.

    AGW didn’t create the need for the network. It was acid rain. Tobacco. Lead paint. Asbestos. DDTs. CFCs. There is a reason why so many of these organizations espouse a libertarian ideology, why the funders have chosen to invest in it. Of course in some cases the funders genuinely believe in it. Perhaps the majority.

    No matter. Cooption. In either case it makes the organizations multi-use. A large part of the money spent on a given organization in the present is capital invested for dealing with unseen contingencies and needs in the future. And what of the Religious Right? Richard Mellon Scaife was largely responsible for creating it as a political force in American politics. Some overlap in the organizations and funders. What role does it play? The attacks upon evolutionary biology? There is still a great deal I don’t understand.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  654. re: 647 John Pearson:

    I’ve got to agree with Kevin King up to a point here. Note, the up to a point.

    What seems to be ignored in all the comments about “reproducibility” is that the released code is actually at a very low level in the research. It’s concerned with building and maintaining the basic database, not with calculating and confirming / invalidating results.

    As such, it’s highly unlikely that others have “written their own code to confirm” – any such confirmatory code will be at a higher level, but still based on data compiled by some pretty poor Fortran. The importance of exception handling has been understood pretty well since computers were invented and to include none in code handling huge amounts of data is foolish, bordering on negligent.

    There is also the small matter, highlighted by the “rogue” precip value that cause an overflow for poor Harry, that the software doesn’t carry out even basic checks for obviously erroneous data. 4992mm of rain in a month in Syria is a fairly obvious rogue value but anomdtb doesn’t notice and crashes as a result.

    The same module was used to process temperature sets but a temp set with similar error values that are an order of manitude too high (entirely possible – 4992 was quite likely 492 with a double-tap on the 9) probably wouldn’t cause an overflow because it’s erroneous values would still be within the “normal” range of the precipitation.

    Although it’s used with differing data ranges, the program doesn’t differentiate between the type of data it’s reading, or the likely values of that data. So you could quite easily re-name a precip file as temp and the program would happily insert 12 months of 100+ degree temperatures into the final dataset. I’m not suggesting for a minute that anyone would (intentionally) do that and such a big anomaly would almost certainly be spotted in later analysis. But the occasional mis-typed value here and there could easily slip through and produce a significant bias over time.

    Protecting against that sort of error is such basic stuff that we were taught it during O level computer science over 28 years ago – hardly a “new, modern development” concept! Failing to add such very basic checking, even to in-house code is a sign of either no appreciation of the issues (seriously, schoolboy level stuff guys) or intellectual laziness – take your pick which is more likely!

    Comment by Joe — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:17 PM

  655. [Response: Oil companies have sometimes funded real scientists to do research on issues that were interesting to them. Deep time paleo-climate is a frequent subject for instance. But at no time to the companies sponsoring the research get to determine the outcome (at least not with any of the scientists I know). This is very different to oil companies sponsoring disinformation efforts on climate change which involve no research but plenty of misrepresentation instead. The former is fine, the latter, not so much. - gavin]

    Funny how people who claim to follow the money never look at what it was used for!

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  656. Thank you joe. I’ll take up to a point. maybe simply writing test results into
    a schema with adequate constraints would pick up data integrity issues right?

    Comment by kevin king — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  657. Re: 651
    Richard: “Trick” is jargon.
    KenW: Yes, it is jargon. Just the other day I told my wife, “here’s a great TRICK you can use in Excel”. No deception. No cover-up. Just a clever way to achieve something.

    Richard: “Hide the decline” was about tree-rings not temperature and “hide” was just an unfortunate choice of words.
    KenW: Yes, the decline was in a tree-ring dataset. A more precise way this could have been written is “clear up the confusion this known bad data would produce on a plot”. But since it was an e-mail between people that understand the context, there wasn’t any need to write it in that manner.

    Richard: “Redefin[ing] the peer review process” isn’t about rigging the game.
    KenW: Would you want to put your endorsement on a paper that contained what you knew to be inaccurate information? Any group project will contain efforts by some to weed out the bad work of others. That’s called integrity and due diligence. But alas, the paper in question ended up in the IPCC report anyways. So much for those powerful scientists rigging the game.

    Richard: An expressed willingness to break FOI laws is really just an expression of frustration.
    KenW: What would you do if you received dozens of requests for data (each, which would take significant time away from your already busy work schedule) by people you knew only intend to misrepresent your work and are seeking more amunition to attack you with? I suspect you, like every other decent person, would at times express frustration and consider doing things you probably shouldn’t to eliminate the headaches.

    Comment by KenW — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:04 PM

  658. Rod B. @627

    Telling the truth is NOT character assassination. Issuing a selection of emails designed specifically to paint someone in a bad light is character assassination. In the former case, one is telling the truth; in the latter, one is distorting the truth. Do you see the difference, or do I need to draw you a map?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  659. Wano asks (569)
    > can anybody debunk [American Thinker]

    Yes; many places did, and long before AT wrote what you point to. You might say it’s been “predebunked.”

    The key is to understand the first “cartoon” picture they start out with –the sketch with the bump called a ‘Medieval Warm’ period, which was a sketch, from few sources, of a local not global event, that is far better understood — and that’s why it disappears from more recent _global_ temperature charts, as shown.

    It’s explained, for instance, here:
    http://www.pewclimate.org/what_s_being_done/in_the_congress/7_27_06.cfm

    What you’ve got there, Wano, is dead horse beaten into mushy hamburger. You can easily look this up for yourself.

    Recommendation — talk to a librarian; use Google Scholar.
    Don’t rely on some guy you don’t know, on a blog that you really want to trust for reasons unrelated to the science.
    That’s falling for PR. Don’t trust _anybody_’s PR. Learn to look this stuff up for yourself.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:35 PM

  660. Gavin

    I would fully agree with your comment (654) to t_p_hamilton.

    Funding valid research work in any field increases knowledge and is, therefore, a good thing.

    Funding “agenda driven science” is not a good thing, no matter who does it.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:37 PM

  661. To the question “third party agreements” blocking disclosure under the requirements of the FOIA, is anyone here qualified to comment legally on which would take precedence?

    Comment by manacker — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:44 PM

  662. Gavin

    You wrote

    [Response: Research from government sources is not designed to 'support the AGW premise' - the vast majority supports the satellite progams which I'm pretty sure are not deciding which photon they register based on whether it supports warming or cooling. And the research grants that are funded at NSF can be looked up - and although I've challenged people repeatedly, no-one has ever found any evidence of claims that they are only funding reseach to support AGW. And finally, the research that oil companies pay for (and I have a number of colleagues who've received research grants on paleo-climate from the likes of Shell etc.) is perfectly fine in general and not tied to any political outcome. You are confusing the millions the oil companies have spent/spend on spreading disinformation with research. CFACT, CEI, FoS, Heartland etc. do not do scientific research. - gavin]

    “Spreading disinformation” is a rather one-sided concept, which I’d rather not get into.

    Is IPCC and are the key researchers who are cited by IPCC “seeking the truth” (about our planet’s climate and what makes it work) or are they “seeking the proof” (for anthropogenic causes)? What do you truly think?

    The point was, Gavin, that there is far less money being spent by oil companies to disprove AGW than there is by governments to prove it (not fourteen times more, as SA had claimed).

    Max

    [Response: Wrong. The oil companies aren't spending a cent trying to disprove AGW. They have instead spent millions trying to tell people that AGW is disproved. Big difference. Research money is not spent on PR efforts. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:59 PM

  663. @Michael Dodge Thomas, #629, WUWT post “needs to be addressed on a priority basis”

    Michael, a good start is to search the WUWT thread you linked to for Nick Stokes’ comments.

    Comment by Ian — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:08 PM

  664. David,

    on your(430), agreed these are valid, although statement 4, atmospheric CO2 == AGW, IMHO is grounded as a correlation supporting the only available(ok) yet unfalsifiable(not ok) hypothesis. Please understand, I’m no climate expert, but the arguments of many real ones including some here lead me to accept that simulated scenarios may well be the best the models can “discover” to resolve things. Causation obviously cannot be empirically confirmed by experimentation at the required global scale.

    I can see that the data shows a recent warming trend coincident with a trend of increasing population and economic outputs. And long-term CO2 levels are of the greatest concern simply because these pose an unknown, uncontrolled, and possibly runaway risk, and therefore mitigation strategies ought be researched and readied to scale in the event outcomes do start to emerge dismally.

    Comment by JLS — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:21 PM

  665. I have been shocked and appalled to read of the connections between the AGW deniers (I now feel justified in using the term) and other denial campaigns such as those associated with the health risks of tobacco and the environmental risks of acid rain. This may be old news to some in the US, but I suspect that many of us in Europe are not as clued up on these things and will be as outraged as I am.

    These connections:
    1) call into question the motives of the denialists, and
    2) call into question their scientific judgement and competence. At best, they have a history of backing the wrong side, at worst they have shown a total disregard for scientific evidence and the principles of scientific practice.

    To think that I have spent hours being preached at, in print and even on TV, about ‘standards’ and ‘how science should be conducted’ by people with this kind of pedigree.

    Thanks to Timothy Chase (posts 594, 602, 627) for the info.

    ‘Climategate’ has certainly been an eye-opener for me.

    Comment by Dendrite — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  666. Max Anacker seems to be determined to be exhibit 1 for my statement “Funny how people who claim to follow the money never look at what it was used for!”:

    “Funding valid research work in any field increases knowledge and is, therefore, a good thing.

    Funding “agenda driven science” is not a good thing, no matter who does it.”

    Have you looked yet? Gavin gave some places to look for “government science”, i.e. the NSF which has every funded proposal abstract online. Go to http://www.nsf.gov and search awards for climate change. The first hit is:

    Award number 0909523

    Abstract

    Rapid changes in the arctic climate system that occurred in the relatively recent past can be compared with the output of climate models to improve the understanding of the processes responsible for nonlinear system change. This study focuses on the transition between the Holocene thermal maximum (HTM) and the onset of Neoglaciation, and on the step-like changes that occurred subsequently during the late Holocene. The millennial-scale cooling trend that followed the HTM coincides with the decrease in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation driven by slow changes in Earth?s orbit. Despite the nearly linear forcing, the transition from the HTM to the Little Ice Age (1500-1900 AD) was neither gradual nor uniform. To understand how feedbacks and perturbations result in rapid changes, a geographically distributed network of proxy climate records will be used to study the spatial and temporal patterns of change, and to quantify the magnitude of change during these transitions.

    rest of abstract deleted, you can read it yourself if interested, or any of the other 2000 proposals that have climate change as keywords.

    The agenda appears to be a better temperature record and how it can be used to understand “tipping points”. People will be paid to go out into the field and collect data and analyze that data and publish papers. The annual and final reports will include the peer-reviewed papers that result from this work.

    Now where is the Competitive Enterprise Institute money going? I’ll tell you, it is PR, nothing more nothing less. No data collection, no peer reviewed papers.

    This is because the National Science Foundation is interested in science, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is not. The names of the organizations should be a big hint.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  667. Hank Roberts (659)

    “The key is to understand the first “cartoon” picture they start out with –the sketch with the bump called a ‘Medieval Warm’ period, which was a sketch, from few sources, of a local not global event, that is far better understood — and that’s why it disappears from more recent _global_ temperature charts, as shown.”

    Sorry, Hank, there have been over twenty studies using all sorts of paleoclimate reconstructions from all over the world, which confirm that the MWP was somewhat warmer than the current period.

    [edit]
    As you can see, the evidence for a global MWP with temperatures somewhat higher than today are overwhelming.

    There is no need to rely on a single study (with a poor correlation between tree-ring data and physically observed temperature after 1960) or any of the “copy-hockeysticks” that followed it.

    Max

    Links to follow separately

    [Response: 20 studies? Gosh. Which have 'warm periods' at different times. And all the other studies that don't show it? You are falling into the same wishful thinking trap as Soon and Baliunas - only looking for what you want to see. (NB. Please do not spam the site with links). - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:24 PM

  668. I have to agree with Kevin King. The CRU data and code should represent software and scientific reproducibility, and be appropriately secured, backed up, commented, etc.

    To try to defend a lack of reproducibility, documentation, or even interest in maintaining the integrity of the data is brave and loyal to the cause, but stretching things.

    How would you like it if your medical records were not backed up but stored chaotically in a folder called ‘documents’ on a doctor’s hard drive.

    Tax payers invested millions obtaining this information and it has been treated as a political plaything.

    It should be open sourced immediately. If some of the ‘proprietary’ data can’t be opened – no problem – leave that out. If the effects of global warming are so severe (presumably) that warming will still show up. This will end the debate. The skeptical scientists will be able to satisfy their skepticism (which not a bad quality for a scientist to have) and the true believers will be able to ascend to seventh heaven – safe in the knowledge that not only did they save the planet but that they did it without impeding analysis. (Or even having to invent excuses for impeding analysis).

    Comment by ZT — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:45 PM

  669. JLS (664) — The science supporting atmospheric CO2 == AGW is impeccable, thoroughly researched, and eseentially all done by 1979. Please read the summary of
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=1

    Outcomes are already dismal in areas depending upon glacial meltwater. In addition, we are already seeing some of the 1 K predictions from Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”. Here is a review:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:49 PM

  670. To the question “third party agreements” blocking disclosure under the requirements of the FOIA, is anyone here qualified to comment legally on which would take precedence?

    No, but the information officer who evaluated the FOI request, as well as the one who reviewed it upon appeal, are, and stated that the balance lies with the third party agreements. I believe – you can look this up yourself – that the fact that the information is available from those third parties was one of the reasons for this determination.

    The US FOIA is even more restrictive in this regard – a FOIA can not be used to get ahold of such information under any circumstance. Only stuff – data, photos, whatever – that FOIA’d agency has the legal right to distribute will be given out. You can read about these restrictions on any number of agency sites discussing the FOIA process and what is, and is not, subject to release as a result of a FOIA request.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:52 PM

  671. I am more a student of people than climate. I’m more at home on an internet forum that discusses history and politics than science. And yet we too have a global warming thread.

    A major aspect of the problem is values and world views. It is very difficult for an individual to reevaluate the basic principles and perspectives through which he navigates the world. Further, if an individual cannot calmly and rationally reevaluate whether he should change, say, his religion or political party, how much more difficult would it be for an entire culture to change, for a significant fraction of the population to let go and begin anew.

    In the United States we have had this happen, but rarely… roughly every four score and seven years. We’ve had our Revolution, Civil War, and Great Depression. After each of these times of turmoil, we cam out very different from what we were before. Alas, it takes a great hardship for a people to collectively reject old values. The old way of doing things must in generally totally fail. If one wants to understand the degree of devastation it takes for a culture to collectively let go of dated values, one might examine pictures of Atlanta after Sherman rode through, or Berlin after Hitler’s suicide. People will cling to old values with precious fanaticism.

    Today there seems to be a required shift from world where economics provides the dominant values to one where ecology must take its place. People have kept trying to shovel dirt on Malthus’ grave. it has never quite happened. Still, there are too many people, and limited resources. His voice still speaks no matter how much dirt is thrown.

    On the Fourth Turning forums, the libertarians, conservatives and anarchists are universally skeptics on the issue of climate change. Their way of looking at the world sees big government as a problem… and not without reason. There is much that is less than perfect about big government. There is a problem in that their political values are stronger than their scientific values. The role of government in perpetuating much that is wrong with their world is vitally important in how they see the world. Any solution to any problem that involves big government exerting greater authority will be rejected on a values basis.

    Scientific integrity and adjusting one’s theories to fit observed data? Not so much. The bar required, for those dominated by political values, is not a matter of writing a better peer reviewed paper than the other guy. The bar is much higher. Such individuals must perceive their political values to have failed them in a catastrophic way before they will be willing to reevaluate their world views and accept that their culture must move on.

    Which is a problem. The Confederacy or the Axis Powers could surrender, and the reconstruction began almost immediately. Mother Nature will not respond to such a surrender as graciously. She is not so forgiving.

    I suspect everyone knows this on an intuitive level. I just felt a need to state it more formally. The ability of man to view the world objectively, and to change his mind in response to new information and peril, is really very limited. World views and values are necessary for cultures to be coherent and stable, for individuals to have quick and consistent answers to common problems. Cultures do need change. Given rapidly changing technology, the need for cultures to change has been far greater than the norm in recent centuries. Still, the process of change is invariably traumatic. People won’t change until they are virtually forced to do so.

    And by the time the effects of Global Warming become traumatic enough for many to reconsider their values, it may very well be too late for anything approximating a soft landing.

    All that philosophical rumbling aside, I’ve got problems in the latest skirmish of the moment. People might want to to a search on “darwin zero smoking gun.” The skeptics have started another skirmish, and there isn’t much available on the net yet to counter.

    Comment by Robert Butler — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:54 PM

  672. #659 Thanks Hank

    Just writing a piece about PR.

    Comment by Wano — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:19 PM

  673. Re: 662
    Max wrote:
    “The point was, Gavin, that there is far less money being spent by oil companies to disprove AGW than there is by governments to prove it (not fourteen times more, as SA had claimed).”

    Research money isn’t spent by governments “to prove it”. Research money is spent by government to gain an understanding of it. If that research somehow supports the truth of AGW (which I’d certainly expect to be the case if the theory has any validity), that’s a side effect, not the intent.

    Comment by Ken W — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:23 PM

  674. manacker wrote: “there is far less money being spent by oil companies to disprove AGW than there is by governments to prove it”

    gavin replied: “The oil companies aren’t spending a cent trying to disprove AGW. They have instead spent millions trying to tell people that AGW is disproved.”

    Moreover, governments aren’t spending a cent trying to “prove” AGW. The purpose of climate research is not to “prove” anything, but to find out what is actually going on.

    So manacker has managed to put two distinct falsehoods into a single sentence.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  675. JLS wrote: “Causation obviously cannot be empirically confirmed by experimentation at the required global scale.”

    Wrong. Anthropogenic causation has been empirically confirmed.

    JLS wrote: “… mitigation strategies ought be researched and readied to scale in the event outcomes do start to emerge dismally.”

    Outcomes are already “emerging dismally”. The ice is melting. The oceans are acidifying (and warming). The forests are dying. The deserts are spreading. The crops are failing. The seas are rising. The permafrost is thawing. All of this is already happening, rapidly, as a result of the anthropogenic global warming.

    If it isn’t already too late to stop it, then if we wait for things to get any more “dismal” than they already are, it surely will be too late.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:30 PM

  676. Re: 664
    JLS,
    If you’re not familiar with Spencer Werts “The Discovery of Global Warming” page, I’d encourage you to spend some time reading it.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by Ken W — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:32 PM

  677. re 656 Kevin King,

    It would, but it’s a relatively modern technique (certainly wrt non-pro development). That’s what I meant by “to a point” – the critics on here are quite right that modern professional development techniques probably don’t have a place in this sort of work.

    What they seem to forget, though, is that those techniques are only formalisation of best practice to make problems as easy to trace as possible. They’re purely designed to make commercial development relatively painless. You have to take an enormous step back from BEST practice to throw ALL error checking out the window and trust to the Gods (or the typists in some weather station somewhere), which is what a lot of this code seems to do.

    At the time this code seems to have been written the minimum acceptable approach, for anything remotely important, would have been to check input values for reasonableness – so recorded rainfall of 4000mm in a month would never have had a chance to throw an overflow. Similarly, all those temps (that might have been) typed in as 330 degrees instead of 30 would have been caught as the dataset was being built – once they’re incorporated it becomes very hard to spot them and virtually impossible to remove them without reprocessing everything.

    Comment by Joe — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  678. RaymondT #614: no one here has any objection to genuine skeptics, people who are not gullible and want to understand for themselves. I’m not an expert either and I try to help, knowing the real experts are too busy to help with every question (but someone will for sure correct me if I get things wrong).

    Go back and read the McLean et al. 2009 paper again. Look for this text:

    To remove the noise, the absolute values were replaced with derivative values based on variations. Here the derivative is the 12-month running average subtracted from the same average for data 12 months later.

    Try this technique on any data set of your choice (the function y=rand()+Ax will do nicely with A an arbitrary constant; vary A and see what happens — if you use a spreadsheet you may have to compute the random numbers once then copy and paste them as values to stop them recalculating). Or better still, think back to your first week of calculus. The effect of this data manipulation is to delete any linear trend from the data. If the data consists primarily of ENSO plus a linear trend, what you are left with is only variation due to ENSO.

    I wish I could get away with publishing such sloppy science. Then again, no. I have some self esteem.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:50 PM

  679. Max #632 Since almost all the corporations are using loopholes and subsidies to pay far less than the official U.S. federal corporate income tax rate of around 35%, and many corporations are paying next to nothing, (I think Exxon Mobil paid about 7%-8% in U.S. federal income tax, last year,) I think most tax economists would say that the “net flow of money” is actually going to the energy companies, out of other taxpayers’ pockets.

    But don’t keep avoiding the main question: Why hasn’t the fossil fuel industry disproved any of the main findings in climate science?

    If it were truly damning evidence in the emails, then it ought to be easy, and disproving it should not have taken a lot of money.

    Is that why you also need the excuse that the data isn’t available? — but this turns out to be a lie. It’s all available, and what isn’t, you can purchase for yourself from the weather bureaus.

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:53 PM

  680. Some people are arguing as if this a complete archive (especially on meaning extracted from “HARRY_READ_ME.txt”). I extracted the dates from the emails and sorted them. The distribution looks very suss. There are months with no emails at all, and one month with over 50. Mean 6.5 per month, stddev 7.3 (you can get the mean if you are lazy by counting the files and dividing by the total months, but I wanted to plot the distribution as well).

    I would expect a very busy research group to have a fairly constant flow of emails, slowly increasing since the 1990s as other modes of communication phased out. Obviously there will be some bursts of activity around deadlines but the pattern I see here doesn’t look right (seriously, a whole research group averaging 6.5 emails per month?) unless a lot of emails have been (possibly selectively) omitted.

    My own work inbox has 1750 mails since September last year, and I delete inconsequential emails. That’s about 120 emails per month, and I have nowhere near the level of collaborations going on that this group has.

    If a lot of emails have been left out, arguing over how well a coding exercise was documented because the only record of that is a single copy of a coder’s personal log is silly. How do we know this is the only documentation for that project? It’s one thing not to let the facts spoil a good argument. It’s quite another to argue on the basis of a lack of facts.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:25 PM

  681. JLS, WRONG!!

    CO2 was identified as a greenhouse gas in 1824 by Joseph Fourier.

    Global warming due to anthropogenic CO2 has been predicted at various times going back to around the turn of the last Century (Svante Arhennius).

    Warming was observed unmistakably from 1975 through the present, thus confirming the prediction. We have both correlation AND a mechanism, not to mention that the warming has an unmistakable greenhouse signature (e.g. simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling).

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:10 PM

  682. re: #645 Kevin King

    You still haven’t said how long you’ve been at this, which I asked to figure out where to start. As it happens, some of the tools and techniques you tell me about are *specifically* descended from ones I invented/helped invent/popularize in the 1970s and early 1980s, to the point they are taken for granted.
    I suspect this might precede your writing much code.

    By now, most software development is done on UNIX variants (including MacOS & Linux) or Windows, regardless of the target environment, which didn’t used to be true. People are used to having trouble-report systems, source-code control systems (like CVS). People are used to having scripting languages of various kinds to automate procedural tasks. People are used to having Makefiles. Some people are used to having powerful test-frame systems for regression & performance tests.

    But in the early 1970s, these rarely existed outside a few of the biggest, most sophisticated programming shops. There was quite a bit of manual labor, with people recommending programming teams with “program librarians.” Most larger projects were on mainframes.

    So where did some of this come from? As in science, things build on others’ work, BUT:

    {UNIX, C, make} came from Bell Labs/Murray Hill, but the early 1970s efforts to make UNIX more useful for more audiences were centered around one particular project:

    Programmer’s Workbench, dreamed up by Evan Ivie, done to support a 1000+-programmer staff writing code for IBM, Univac, and XDS computers, among others.

    PWB/Unix Shell”. “Shell programming” enabled large numbers of programmers to whip up procedural automation of all sorts without spending too much time doing it. This is also the origin of features that {Steve Bourne, Dennis Ritchie, and I} later generalized into Environment Variables for UNIX 7th Edition. That’s what lets one avoid hard-coded pathnames, which was one of the reasons for creating it in the first place. The PWB shell was also where variable search path ($PATH) started. Of course, all this (more-or-less} has been used in every UNIX variant since then, plus Windows besides.

    SCCS was the progenitor of most modern source code versioning systems, i.e., SCCS=>RCS=>CS, for example. Marc Rochkind (next office) wrote the first one, and later, he and Alan Glasser did more (My office-mate, so we had a lot of discussions, with delta-charts all over our whiteboard. That was 1974-1976.)

    PWB/UNIX had a big emphasis on document preparation, and sometimes on embedding documentation in source code on ways that programs could pull them out and turn into documents as need be, i.e., source code and documents were all part of combined repositories.
    That’s part of what the “MM macros” were about.

    LEAP was a PWB subsystem that let a minicomputer fake being a bunch of mainframe terminals to run regression and performance tests. (That’s a piece I had nothing to do with.)

    We talked about this publicly for the first time in late 1976, at which time we were running the largest UNIX computer center, and had done a lot of work on reliability and security. Of the 6-paper set we presented Oct 1976, here was the Introduction. While this may seem mundane now, at the time it was pretty far ahead of normal practice, particularly at its relatively low cost.

    BUT STILL, at Bell Labs, even though we had this technology in the 1970s, and big software engineering projects used it, our research scientists didn’t use much, for all the reasons others have mentioned. We had multiple projects in the 300-programmer size range, and some of them had far more stringent requirements for performance, real-time-response, and reliability than most programmers are used to. Bell Labs had everything from one-off code written by researchers for their own use, to massive codes that had to run big databases in complex networks, or run switching machines that simply *could not go down* (target: 2 hours in 40 years), and that had incredibly complex update strategies, because switches had to get new OS software releases while they were running.

    The appropriate level of software engineering methodology varied by project varied hugely, and we used to make sure (I helped teach the internal course for software project management, sometimes) that people picked appropriate levels.

    Agile programming is very nice where it works, but it is hardly new. See Small is Beautiful and Software Army on the March, two talks created around 1977 and 1982, respectively. Thousands of people heard these talks.

    But, anyway, your comments seem just fine for doing certain classes of software, but you seriously may want to consider the idea that some other posters here just might have a bit broader experience and even know what they are talking about :-)

    Comment by John Mashey — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  683. JLS wrote in 664:

    David,

    on your(430), agreed these are valid, although statement 4, atmospheric CO2 == AGW, IMHO is grounded as a correlation supporting the only available(ok) yet unfalsifiable(not ok) hypothesis.

    If carbon dioxide is anthropogenic — due to the burning of fossil fuel — the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 will increase over time.

    Falsifiable? Yes. The result? The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 has increased over time, strongly suggesting that it is anthropogenic in origin.

    If carbon dioxide is anthropogenic then the ratio then the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere should be decreasing over time.

    Falsifiable? Yes. The result? The percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere has been decreasing over time, strongly suggesting the carbon dioxide is the result of the combustion of fossil fuel.

    (NOTE: There are additional arguments — and more exact arguments in terms of carbon accounting, but the above should be easy enough for most people to understand.)

    Then again, there is a general problem with the principle of falsiability in that strictly speaking no modern theory can be tested independently of all other theories. I go into it here.

    But one can and should strive to make one’s theories as falsifiable as possible. And unlike the Omphalosian argument that so many “creationist theories” resemble, the “theory” that the major source of additional carbon dioxide is anthropogenic in origin (like the “theory” that there is a sun which illuminates the world — which I see when I stick my head out the window) certainly meets that requirement.

    However if we keep emitting carbon dioxide it is quite possible that the major source of carbon dioxide will be “natural” (in a sense) — due to positive feedback from the carbon cycle, e.g., if the ocean temperature rises enough then it will begin to degas the carbon dioxide that is currently suspended in it, if the temperature of permafrost rises sufficiently then it will emit methane that will decompose, resulting in more carbon dioxide, etc.

    I hope this helps…

    PS

    I strongly suspect David knew all this already. In fact his understanding of the science is probably just as good as mine if not better — but I wanted to respond just in case David didn’t see your comment right away. After all, it has been about four days since he wrote what you just responded to.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:32 PM

  684. Barton,

    on your (641), JLS: “Nuclear Winter” was neither good modelled climate science.

    BPL: Actually, it was. The famous 1984 “Nuclear Autumn” paper righties still cite as “disproving” it got the plume heights wrong by a factor of three. See Turco et al. 1991.

    I based this on cites of Carl Sagan conceding the actual climactic effects of the 1991 Gulf War did not meet predictions derived from work done by the TTAPS group. It could be the plumes from the burning Kuwaiti fields were supposedly not lofted high enough, but the point is much in this field remains disputed or unconfirmed. That said, I’m aware that Pinatubo did validate other of the scenarios.

    Comment by JLS — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:06 PM

  685. Re: 645 Kevin King:

    Just have to totally disagree with 631.
    If you don’t test basic code you’ve got a problem.
    You’ ve evidently never worked in a production environment.
    Exception handling is the thing. Ah ha..the CRU doesn’t write
    code for production environments. Okay but It still seems to
    me the need to handle exceptions correctly and consistently is
    important. Exceptions are not handled correctly in some of the code from the CRU.

    Exception handling is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

    I don’t bother including exception handling in the little tools that I write for my own personal use, either.

    Why? Because I’m writing a program, not creating a product. A program is something that works if you get the inputs just right and know how to use it; a product will still do something sensible no matter what inputs you give it and no matter what you do to it at each step.

    It is poor engineering (in the sense of not optimising resource use) to put the effort required into making a product when all you needed was a program because a product easily costs ten times as much to create.

    What really matters in this context is whether it gives the right result, and so far nobody seems to have found a bug in the released code that, when fixed, gets rid of the hockey stick or anything else — just as no serious bugs were found in the GISS code when that was released years ago. This should not be surprising, because if there were serious bugs in the code, they would have led it to produce results inconsistent with all the other temperature reconstructions out there, and the programmers would have noticed this and fixed them.

    Instead, they’re complaining that CRU wasn’t using software development methodologies that even the biggest commercial software houses don’t always use!

    And John Mashey 633. The emails talk about different releases of
    the software. There are multiple versions. Are you seriously suggesting no releases are made and
    not stored in a repository that is regularly backed up? Are they
    stored on the developer’s laptop?

    Even as a computer science postgraduate many years ago I didn’t use a “proper” version control system. I just created a tarball of my current source code whenever a milestone was reached (e.g. a paper that relied on it was published) or I was about to embark on a major modification.

    Combined with nightly server backups that would allow me to go back to an earlier date at will (but with some effort) it was fine and minimally intrusive. (I don’t know why you are suggesting that the code might not even have been backed up and was perhaps stored on the developer’s laptop since it seems to have been stolen from a central server. You seem to think that if they didn’t implement Best Practices they must have gone out of their way to do the opposite…)

    Things have come a long way since then but I don’t know why you are so shocked that scientists in other fields aren’t using formal version control systems. People did manage to get by before CVS was invented, you know. (In fact, I did try out RCS — the precursor to CVS — for a while, but actually went back to my old system fairly quickly.) Frankly, your comments about version control sound too much like those who ridicule anybody still using Subversion instead of Git.

    You really don’t seem to understand that practices that can be justified in a multi-developer team releasing commercial software products over a long period of time and supporting customers running different versions of those products just aren’t required for simple tools that are run by their authors to transform some data based on some mathematical formulas.

    I would actually have to advertise agile development here
    and simple unit testing. Okay I have no experience of coding Fortran
    modules but let’s assume the following.
    I write a piece of code that runs a collection of combined algorithms
    that I put together to combine data from 2 different datasets.
    I now add another piece of code that uses the above that I’ve
    packed off undocumented in some file I forgot to name correctly. Let’s
    call it fudge.gy.
    The new piece of functionality appears to work. It returns apparently
    reasonable results. Unfortunately I’m not aware of the fact the
    script I forgot to test is silently swallowing exceptions and returning
    unreliable data. Had I constructed some unit tests against which
    I could compare input and output data I would have picked this up.

    Yes, if there was a bug, or if the data being fed into the software failed to meet the assumptions placed upon it by the researcher, then adding in unit tests and exception handling could well have told them right away that the bug in the code or the data existed.

    But if the bug had no impact on the result (allowing it to go undetected), or if it did have an impact on the result but the cause took longer to find because of the lack of testing, then this may still have been the right tradeoff compared to putting in all the extra time and effort to include the unit tests and exception handling code.

    I mean okay, let’s skip the continuous builds. Let’s just
    have a simple reproducible set of unit tests where I can test input data
    against output data. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

    Don’t forget that they would no doubt be comparing the output from a freshly modified version of the program to the output of the previous version and if the result was different to what they expected based on the theoretical basis of the modification they made, they would investigate. There’s a big difference between “adopting the latest agile development fad holus-bolus” and “completely failing to check the results”.

    And 635. Of course I have seen worse code. But trillions of dollars
    rest on code like this. Not much of an excuse.

    No, they don’t. As I said. Nobody is saying policy should be decided on the back of what this code produces. It is one tiny piece of a much larger picture, and if it didn’t fit then it would be questioned.

    Think about it: GISS released all their source code and data years ago. It shows much the same thing as CRU’s code, with the differences explainable by the differences between their methodologies. Nobody has found any bugs in the GISS code that materially change the results, and so far I haven’t seen any reports of bugs in the CRU code that materially change the results.

    People can, and do, write working programs without all the latest large scale software development Best Practices. Criticising the development methodology without any evidence that the results are wrong or that it caused the software to be more expensive to develop seems odd to me.

    Comment by Jason — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:25 PM

  686. For all the programming experts commenting on the stolen code:

    Without further information from the folks involved, you have absolutely no way of knowing what the importance of the code snippet in the stolen e-mails was. Gavin has suggested that it was not involved in any finished product (published study). If you doubt this, or are just concerned, there is a simple solution.

    Much of the results published from the CRU data has been replicated using other databases and code that is freely available. You can obtain the code and run your own verification on the data, or just analyze the code for accurate output. All of this speculation is very, very empty, especially if you are actually a programmer. So, prove your point by making a contribution to the science. If you have said that openness and replication is fundamental to science, and the outcome is important to our society, prove it.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:29 PM

  687. Comment by JLS — 9 December 2009 @ 3:21 PM:

    You appear to be saying that CO2-greenhouse warming, described by climate science, is just the result of a descriptive statistical model and simple correlation. It is not. If I have misunderstood what you have said, never mind, otherwise go study.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:46 PM

  688. RaymondT #614: more on the McLean et al. 2009 paper here, specifically a claim from Carter that temperature lags ENSO by 7 months, which is probably not far off. What is odd is that Carter tries to claim that the paper is not about trends yet claims to have eliminated the possibility of CO_2 as a major driver of temperature. Since his analysis method eliminates the trend, his paper certainly is not about trends, but then he cannot claim to have accounted for a factor that is linearly increasing.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:48 PM

  689. Ray, a rare slip on your part, I’m afraid.

    Fourier’s 1824 paper was the first to enunciate the conceptual framework of greenhouse warming, identifying (and quantifying) it as a normal part of the Earth’s climate system.

    But attribution to CO2 & water vapor had to wait for Tyndall, 1860 or 61.

    Needless to say, your larger point stands.

    Those interested can access these classic GW papers and many others here.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:35 AM

  690. Have you checked http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/? Go there, you might like what you see (And may want to link that picture, too)

    Comment by James A — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:47 AM

  691. Gavin, I read the papers again and concluded that “the ‘trick’ Phil wrote is no more than the exclusion of the outlayers of reconstructed series from tree rings.
    If so, most of the empirical sttatistical analyst have daily experienced like the application of LPF in the signal processing.

    Is my understanding correct?

    thanks

    [Response: No. He was trying to construct a long term smoothed temperature record without odd end-point effects in the middle. - gavin]

    Comment by MR SH — 10 Dec 2009 @ 1:14 AM

  692. Robert Butler (670)

    You wrote:

    “the libertarians, conservatives and anarchists are universally skeptics on the issue of climate change. Their way of looking at the world sees big government as a problem… and not without reason.”

    This line of reasoning attempts to limit the debate on AGW to a strictly political one, rather than one about the validity of the supporting science. This is incorrect, of course. Rational skepticism is an integral part of the scientific process, which really has nothing to do with politics.

    It is an insistence on empirical data based on actual physical observations to support a theory (where model simulations are not empirical data).

    But back to the statement on “big government as a problem”, since you are “more at home on an internet forum that discusses history and politics than science”.

    Two quotations by H.L. Mencken, plus one by C.S. Lewis illustrate this point fairly well, in context with the political debate surrounding the AGW premise.

    H.L. Mencken

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it”:

    C.S. Lewis

    “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    Although these statements were written before the current AGW debate started, they apply very well for today’s political situation surrounding the AGW debate.

    Max

    [Response: Marvellous. So only politicians who explicitly say they are in it for the money can be trusted, and no possible idea for improving the lot of society can possibly be sincere or effective. Tosh. Take that public education, unemployment insurance, social security, medicare, public transport etc. etc. Be careful Max, your true colours are showing. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:36 AM

  693. Timothy Chase (#682), I think you meant carbon-13, not carbon-14 (though fossil fuel emissions should decrease the 14C ratio too).

    Comment by CM — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:42 AM

  694. #650, John:

    Let me just quote a bit about the scientific method from Wikipedia:

    “Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.”

    The key question is: “Are the results reproducible?”

    Note the use of the word “methodology” above rather than “source code”. The algorithm needs to be documented. The source code is simply an expression of that algorithm, and if the result is important, others will attempt to implement the same algorithm and, if they do not get the same results, they will publish papers saying so (or, at the very least, ask the original authors why they can’t get it to work). There is far more reputation to be gained from finding a serious flaw in an important result than simply saying “me, too”!

    Many years ago I was doing a PhD in Computer Science, and if there is one field where you might expect source code to be available, that would have to be it — and often it is. But, also quite often, it is not. Many times I crafted my own implementation of an algorithm published in a paper to try out the ideas and it never once occurred to me that the authors weren’t adhering to the scientific method by not giving me their source code. Quite frankly, even in the cases where source code was available, I would prefer to implement it myself because it is often faster to write my own implementation of the published algorithm than to try to figure out what their source code is doing. This is because the former is targetted towards a human audience, while the latter is written for a computer, and may be written in a language or for a target environment that is different to yours. It also ensures that what they have claimed about the algorithm is correct, because if you simply use their source code you can’t be certain that the source code accurately reflects the algorithm presented in the paper — you might overlook the same discrepancy that they (intentionally or not) did.

    The only advantage to having everything is that you can quickly prove that they did not lie about the output of the code they wrote, and, quite frankly, that is the least likely scenario. Reimplementing the published algorithm from scratch, ignoring their implementation completely, is far more likely to detect any bugs they might have in their code than analysing their source in painstaking detail would because the chance of both of you making the same mistake independently translation the algorithm into source is pretty slim.

    In cases like temperature reconstructions from station records, not knowing what stations they used is also beneficial, because if you can make an independent selection of stations and data and still reproduce their results then their results are pretty robust. If you get different results to them then questions need to be asked about how they selected their stations — questions that it may not be obvious need asking if you simply used the same data that they did, inheriting the same station selection bias, and then generate the same output.

    And this is where the climate scientists at large fail. You cannot scrutinize the data fully. You cannot look into the details of the methodology since the little unreported details are hidden in the source code and you plain and simple cannot determine if the scientist is producing poor and error prone code. And this state of affairs will of course give scientist producing poor code a competitive advantage in the rush for pushing out papers.

    And we need to fix this now! Open the data and open the code. Otherwise there will always be a cloud of mistrust against your results.

    As Gavin said, the GISS source code and data has been available for years and is consistent with CRU’s.

    It is far easier to detect “little unreported details hidden in the source code” if you try to reproduce their results solely from the published methodologies; if it wasn’t hard to detect them in source code then software in general would be far less buggy and open-source products with thousands of developers, like Linux, would never have them.

    Comment by Jason — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:04 AM

  695. Can someone critique this analysis of the ice core records in Greenland and Antartica please?

    http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/?p=3553

    [Response: It's a single record - not a hemispheric reconstruction, and the piece is full of misrepresentations and strawmen arguments. Who has said that CO2 is the only effect on climate? - gavin]

    Comment by Mick — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:20 AM

  696. Kevin King at 645, and others:

    If you think it is vitally important for climate science software to be better, come over to the Clear Climate Code project and make it better.

    Comment by Nick Barnes — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:55 AM

  697. Kevin @688 My bad. Thanks for the correction.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:02 AM

  698. 670: Robert Butler asks: “All that philosophical rumbling aside, I’ve got problems in the latest skirmish of the moment. People might want to to a search on “darwin zero smoking gun.” The skeptics have started another skirmish, and there isn’t much available on the net yet to counter.”

    One point has been raised by this blogger who lives close to Yamba, and queries if it’s the same Yamba:

    Perplexed by Smoking Gun
    Santa never made it to Yamba?
    http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2009/12/perplexed-by-smoking-gun.html

    Quote: “3000km, to give some context, is a little more than the distance between London England and Ankara Turkey. More than the distance from Detroit Michigan and Kingston Jamaica.”

    Comment by JBowers — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:46 AM

  699. Addendum to my last post on Yamba:

    Try this link as well:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/willis_eschenbach_caught_lying.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=channellink

    Comment by JBowers — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:52 AM

  700. RE Dendrite

    Thanks to Timothy Chase (posts 594, 602, 627) for the info.

    I second that thanks. Timothy, I linked to your posts in our local rag.

    Much of this is known to us, but it’s nice to see it all put together. I think it would be interesting to see how the message surrounding the hack has spread; the spin from the echo chamber seems to have resonated with journalists. But maybe with the increased visibility, there are new opportunities to educate, but we may have to wait for another annual temperature record for people to be receptive to the scientific message.

    Comment by Deech56 — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:01 AM

  701. CM wrote in 691:

    Timothy Chase (#682), I think you meant carbon-13, not carbon-14 (though fossil fuel emissions should decrease the 14C ratio too).

    You are right. Thank you for the correction.

    The plots for carbon dioxide and oxygen can be found here:

    pg. 138, AR4-WG1 Chapter 2, Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing, available at:

    Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
    IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg1_report_the_physical_science_basis.htm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:25 AM

  702. Gavin@691,

    Thank you for correcting my expression. The “outlayers” or “heavily disturbed” end-effects have been reduced to yield estimates, as is already noticed.

    I will circulate your points whenever I have the opportunities.

    Thanks

    Comment by MR SH — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  703. This bears repeating:

    Why? Because I’m writing a program, not creating a product. A program is something that works if you get the inputs just right and know how to use it; a product will still do something sensible no matter what inputs you give it and no matter what you do to it at each step.

    It is poor engineering (in the sense of not optimising resource use) to put the effort required into making a product when all you needed was a program because a product easily costs ten times as much to create.

    Jason gets it. Also …

    Quite frankly, even in the cases where source code was available, I would prefer to implement it myself because it is often faster to write my own implementation of the published algorithm than to try to figure out what their source code is doing. This is because the former is targetted towards a human audience, while the latter is written for a computer, and may be written in a language or for a target environment that is different to yours.

    If I write my own implementation, I’ll likely gain a deeper understanding of the published algorithm.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  704. hi: I hope I can get this question answered by someone. where can I find the best response to the “trick” and “hide the decline” comments? In one place. The reason I ask is I’d like to write a letter responding to T. Friedman’s recent article on climate where he lends credence to the massaging the data charge and appears to conflate the “trick” and “decline” issues–as in the data was massaged by a trick to hide the decline.

    from what I’ve read, he is confused. But if I’m going to write a letter to clear things up in our local paper, I don’t want to be confused.

    thanks,

    g

    Comment by gregory meyerson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:14 AM

  705. Max,

    You should read Lewis’s letters in his last few years, where he recanted his “hard words” against the National Health because he saw how it was helping poor people in England. He voted Conservative but he wasn’t an idiot about it, and he always respected science and scientists. (The frequent charge that he was a creationist are dead wrong; when he said once that he thought “scientists may be contemplating a complete retreat from the Darwinian position,” he was talking about the rival evolutionary theories current when he was in school in the ’20s.)

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  706. I tried to post on working code versus commercial code, but kept getting blocked by the spam filter. C’est la vie.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:21 AM

  707. > “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it”
    > C.S. Lewis

    Hard to believe a Briton who lived through WWII felt that way.
    Did he write that? When? Was he referring to religion, perhaps?

    The quote’s posted over 400 times recently–not once that I found with a cite to date or source.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:24 AM

  708. Gavin–I just want to send you and all the scientists working on our behalf some LOVE! I can’t believe what the media is bringing down on you because they are too lazy to become informed or have pollution industry involvement. I’m thankful for your appearance on CNN yesterday and your tireless moderation of this blog. I’m only halfway through all the posts. So, my prince, hugs and kisses to you and all the scientists who don’t deserve to be humiliated by these contrarians.

    Comment by Karen Landers — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:28 AM

  709. I understand the fears of “libertarians” about government action to address climate change. I worry about the government controlling my life, too.

    I know that when I take advantage of federal and state tax breaks & rebates and feed-in tariffs to install solar panels on my roof so I can generate my own electricity from free sunlight, and get a check each month from the local utility rather than a bill, I am going to feel SO oppressed by big government.

    And when government mandates — and more tax breaks — enable me to buy an electric car that I can charge from my solar panels, and reduce my gasoline cost to zero, I will be like SO totally downtrodden by Big Brother.

    And when I take that tax credit for re-insulating my attic and installing a high-efficiency heat pump and refrigerator to even further cut my energy costs, well I’ll really be feeling the jack boot of world liberal government, won’t I?

    And when households and small businesses and family farms and community-owned municipal utilities all over the country are generating their own electricity from solar energy rather than buying it from giant corporations, well, that will be just like living in Soviet Russia, won’t it?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:32 PM

  710. Re 657 from KenW

    Ken, it’s not the individual points but rather the totality. The statements taken separately each have, in theory, alternative explanations that depart from the apparent meaning. But as I asked Galvin, and did not really get an answer, just how many strained explanations must we listen to before the sheer volume itself indicates an issue? The list of quotes I provided is only a partial one. I haven’t even mentioned the FORTRAN source-code comments that are now being uncovered.

    The one (rhetorical) question you asked that I object to was “What would you do if you received dozens of requests for data (each, which would take significant time away from your already busy work schedule) by people you knew only intend to misrepresent your work and are seeking more ammunition to attack you with?” The correct answer is quite simple: obey the law. Freedom of Information laws don’t exist to satisfy friendly requests, in fact, they exist for quite the opposite reason. They are meant to provide access to public (or publically funded) information to those whom governments and their agents would prefer NOT to have access to the data.

    Try as they might, CRU cannot keep their research, and its underlying data, safely within the echo chamber. Openness improves the entire process, even when it’s inconvenient to scientists with “busy work schedules.”

    Regards,

    Richard Grath

    Comment by Richard — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:32 PM

  711. @551 Barton Paul Levenson

    Yeah, Big Finance is a myth… if only.

    Now you tell me, in social terms, the most fundamental unit of evaluation… that would be °C or °F, right?

    @573 Bruce Williams

    “The ones that messed it up suffer the same problem you do – to much ego, and not enough sense or long term commitment.”

    And that from someone who asks me to accept his ludicrous ideas now being forged into who knows what, policy-wise.

    Comment by Tobias — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  712. @gavin:

    [Response: I challenge you to publish 13 years of your email and have it be subjected to examination by hordes of hostile parties and then defend every single joke, ambiguous word choice or out of context quote they come up with. Unless you are some kind of saint, you would have just as many or more examples of things that can be spun to make you look bad. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. - gavin]

    Nothing in the hacked emails was out of context. As you point out, there are 13 years of context there.

    More important, and more wrong, is your idea that other people routinely make the same sort of crass, exclusionary, demeaning comments that you do. Other scientists do not do what you did.

    If other scientists did in fact behave as you do, the release of your emails would not have made international headlines.

    It doesn’t take a saint to behave better. It takes a professional.

    [Response: Let me know when you've put your emails out there and I'll have a look. In the meantime, forgive me for not taking your sanctimony too seriously. -gavin]

    Comment by Frank Brunner — 10 Dec 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  713. John Mashey,
    on your (469)

    Your high regard for Pournelle’s writings mirrors mine. Your view of his social context as a predictor of values and orientation in this issue is much stronger though. One may well have good reason to be skeptical of persons who regularly relate with persons identified as part of proscribed factions, but it might be considered that this is not necessarily evidence of professional or confessional affiliation. It’s easy enough to present an association, but are there grounds for you to suspect more?

    Comment by JLS — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:50 PM

  714. Gavin

    Your comment (667) to the 23 studies I linked from all over the world, which you “snipped”:

    ["20 studies? Gosh. Which have 'warm periods' at different times. And all the other studies that don't show it? You are falling into the same wishful thinking trap as Soon and Baliunas - only looking for what you want to see. (NB. Please do not spam the site with links). - gavin]

    If you check the studies you will see that the time period of all studies lies within the overall time frame of the MWP.

    Don’t belabor me with “wishful thinking”, Gavin. Either show me that all of these studies are wrong and why or accept them for what they show, i.e. a global MWP slightly warmer than today.

    Max

    [Response: Please try and think for yourself. How many studies do you think there have been that cover this time period? Possibly more than 20? Now why would only those twenty be on the co2-science website? Hmmm... let me think. So what would it take to say something about climate at that point in general? I know, let's try and put all the studies together! Oh.... but they are all measuring something a little different. Hmmm.... let's see if we can calibrate them to the instrumental temperature record then and see to what extent they actually reflect temperature. Then maybe we can put them on a level playing field and see what a reconstruction looks like! We should probably check that they have good enough age control and that the reconstruction matches some data that we didn't use in the calibration as well though. I wonder what that would produce...? - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:11 PM

  715. Secular Animist (675)

    You wrote:

    “Anthropogenic causation [for late 20th century warming] has been empirically confirmed.”

    Please provide sources and links.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  716. Here’s a bit more context for the CRU hack:

    “The world’s oceans are becoming acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the last 55m years, threatening disaster for marine life and food supplies across the globe, delegates at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen have been warned.

    A report by more than 100 of Europe’s leading marine scientists, released at the climate talks this morning, states that the seas are absorbing dangerous levels of carbon dioxide as a direct result of human activity. This is already affecting marine species, for example by interfering with whale navigation and depleting planktonic species at the base of the food chain.

    Although oceans have acidified naturally in the past, the current rate of acidification is so fast that it is becoming extremely difficult for species and habitats to adapt. “We’re counting it in decades, and that’s the real take-home message,” said Dr John Baxter a senior scientist with Scottish Natural Heritage, and the report’s co-author. “This is happening fast.”

    The report predicts that the north Atlantic, north Pacific and Arctic seas a crucial summer feeding ground for whales – will see the greatest degree of acidification. It says that levels of aragonite, the type of calcium carbonate which is essential for marine organisms to make their skeletons and shells, will fall worldwide. But because cold water absorbs CO2 more quickly, the study predicts that levels of aragonite will fall by 60% to 80% by 2095 across the northern hemisphere.

    Congressman Brian Baird, a Democrat representative from Washington state, who championed a bill in Congress promoting US research on ocean acidification, said these findings would help counter climate change sceptics, since acidification was easily and immediately measurable.

    “The consequences of ocean acidification may be every bit as grave as the consequences of temperature increases,” he said. “It’s one thing to question a computer extrapolation, or say it snowed in Las Vegas last year, but to say basic chemistry doesn’t apply is a real problem [for the sceptics]. I think the evidence is really quite striking.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/10/ocean-acidification-epoca

    Max Anacker is good at synthesizing words of comfort even when handed data that would make a normal person cringe. Max, can you help us to understand how this news dovetails with the CRU imbroglio in a way that should make us feel good? Should an invasion of “whistleblowers” get hold of the primary data behind this report and post it in Tomsk?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:25 PM

  717. Lee A. Arnold (678)

    ExxonMobil paid $30 billion corporate income tax in 2007 alone.
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/63131-exxon-s-2007-tax-bill-30-billion

    You wrote: “ I think most tax economists would say that the “net flow of money” is actually going to the energy companies, out of other taxpayers’ pockets.”

    Do you have any supporting evidence to support your statement that taxpayer funding to ExxonMobil exceeds $30 billion? Please elaborate.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  718. Max (692)

    Your H.L. Mencken C.S. Lewis quotes reflect just the sort of values I was talking about. People deeply distrust various flavors of politics and politicians, and will act on the distrust rather than the science.

    Most people here have scientific values, rather than political values. For most here it might seem to be enough that the science is valid. I don’t believe it will be. A serious change in culture would be required to minimize impact on the biosphere, and political values don’t shift without a major catastrophe that shows the old values are clearly wrong in a an emotional way.

    Humans are not Vulcans. Logic and science is not apt to be sufficient.

    We’ll just see what comes out of Copenhagen. Maybe I’ll be wrong…

    JBowers ( 698 & 699 )

    Thanks!

    Comment by Robert Butler — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  719. Re: 678 Philip Machanick, Thanks for your message. I will read the paper by MacLean et al. AND the paper by McLean et al. You climatologists are actually changing my thinking. Because I do modelling of enhanced oil recovery processes I am used to thinking that models are tested by whether or not they can predict oil production. In a way, reservoir engineers think like meteorologists in that they test whether or not the model predict the temperatures within a few weeks. As Goethe used to say “we see what we know”. Climatologists look at phenomena on a much longer time scale so even if the temperature was overpredicted in the 21st century it’s really the underlying signal of the CO2 radiative forcing that you are looking for. Extreme skeptics (which I am not one of) will say that the fact that you underpredicted the temperature means that the models are not good. I am starting to understand the time and volume scales you guys are working on. Thank you for changing my thinking.

    Comment by RaymondT — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:09 PM

  720. Max aka manacker #692, I met a hard-core libertarian at a protest against internet censorship and conversation turned to global warming. His attitude? Any government intervention is wrong. So what if the science is right and we’re all doomed? That’s what evolution is for.

    Tell us you don’t subscribe to that view.

    Unfortunately we can’t apply evolutionary pressures selectively to looney-tunes libertarians, otherwise I would tell him to go for it.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:24 PM

  721. Gavin

    When I posted quotations from H.L. Mencken and C.S. Lewis (692) you scolded me with:

    “Be careful Max, your true colours are showing”

    Hmmm… Do you find these quotations distasteful or not pertinent today?

    I find them very incisive.

    Max

    PS Sorry for falling into the trap set by Robert Butler (670) and getting into an OT discussion about politics, rather than the topic of this thread. will keep my discussion out of politics in the future.

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:42 PM

  722. BPL (705)

    Agree that Lewis had many opinions on politics that went beyond that one quotation I cited.

    Same is true for Mencken.

    But those quotations were in response to a question about the merits of “big government” (in the “Big Brother” sense).

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:47 PM

  723. Hank Roberts (707)

    As requested, here is link to Lewis quote:

    http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33029.html

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:51 PM

  724. SecularAnimist (709)

    You wrote:

    :when households and small businesses and family farms and community-owned municipal utilities all over the country are generating their own electricity from solar energy rather than buying it from giant corporations, well, that will be just like living in Soviet Russia, won’t it?”

    Are you kidding? Were you ever in the USSR? I was there many times. None of that existed there: no small businesses, no family farms, no local community-owned utility companies, etc.

    It was a centrally planned and run economy, run by an all-powerful big government.

    But hey, SA, we should get off of the topic of politics and get back on topic before Gavin throws us off the thread.

    Max

    [Response: Max, stop talking things so seriously. The comment was satire.... - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  725. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Empirical-evidence-that-humans-are-causing-global-warming.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:12 PM

  726. Please provide sources and links.

    Why do people have so much difficulty finding the IPCC reports? It’s not like they are hard to find! Just Google it already!

    That’s step one. Step two involves actually reading the report(s). The third step, understanding, may present more of a challenge. Consequently, people who are struggling with step three rather than step one are likely to get much more respect and assistance here.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:15 PM

  727. manacker wrote: “Please provide sources and links.”

    Why? So you can ignore them and/or lie about them as you have consistently ignored and/or lied about all the other information that has been presented to you on this thread?

    Timothy Chase in comment 683 has already addressed (some of) the empirical evidence for anthropogenic causation, and you are already busily ignoring that.

    You have demonstrated very thoroughly that you are (1) dishonest and (2) out to waste people’s time by getting them to respond to your drivel.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:16 PM

  728. #712

    More important, and more wrong, is your idea that other people routinely make the same sort of crass, exclusionary, demeaning comments that you do. Other scientists do not do what you did.

    Other scientists haven’t been subjected to a continuous barrage of dishonest attacks on their competence and integrity. Other scientists haven’t had to put up with harassment (from hate-filled emails to barrages of frivolous FOI requests).

    If you had to put up with the crap that Gavin and his colleagues have, I’ll bet that you’d be a lot less of a gentleman than Gavin has been.

    Comment by caerbannog — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:16 PM

  729. Dr Mann,

    Some commenters of mine have questions about whether “Mike’s Nature trick” is considered grafting or not. Are the post-1960 real temps for Briffa included in the final graph as part of the Briffa data set or part of the instrumental record? If they are part of the Briffa set, is it specified anywhere that the proxy data stops in 1960?

    I’d really appreciate a response – hadn’t even heard of grafting until today :)

    If you need more context, the comment thread is here: http://climatesight.org/2009/12/07/peter-sinclair-when-we-need-him/

    Thanks
    Kate

    Comment by Kate — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:20 PM

  730. manacker (714) — Start with what was already established 30 years ago:
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=1

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:30 PM

  731. gregory meyerson:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P70SlEqX7oY

    manacker:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html

    Comment by Molnar — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  732. Hank Roberts said:

    > “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it”
    > C.S. Lewis

    Hard to believe a Briton who lived through WWII felt that way.
    Did he write that? When? Was he referring to religion, perhaps?

    The quote’s posted over 400 times recently–not once that I found with a cite to date or source.

    Hank, you are a victim of manacker’s odd quotation style. The quote is by H. L. Mencken. Mencken was a satirist. Quoting him is a double edged sword indeed, particularly given some of his other views.

    C. S. Lewis, however, said “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair”. manacker would do well to take note of this.

    “There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on Earth.”

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:42 PM

  733. I’d like to know Professor Anacker’s opinion on the MAP (Medieval Acidification Period).

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  734. I wonder why the newspapers, TVs and internet medias do not touch upon the “divergence problem”, the lower reliability of reconstructed data after 1960, as Gavin popinted out at first. The meaning of “decline” where the reconstructed data tends to show lower than the actual temperature is often talked about as if “true temperature declined after 1960.” Without clarifying these two, the discussion would go somewhere.

    Comment by MR SH — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:08 PM

  735. Doug Bostrom (733) asked for my “opinion on the MAP (Medieval Acidification Period)”.

    The Medieval Acidification Period gets 17,700 Google hits including a study from Sweden, about medieval sulfur emissions principally from mining operations.
    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1579/0044-7447-31.6.460

    Curiously, the study concludes:

    “This early excess sulfur deposition in southern Sweden did not cause surface water acidification; on the contrary, it contributed to alkalization, i.e. increased pH and productivity of the lakes. Suggested mechanisms are that the excess sulfur caused enhanced cation exchange in catchment soils, and that it altered iron-phosphorus cycling in the lakes, which released phosphorus and increased lake productivity.”

    Looks like Nature stepped in to solve the acidification problem, but I have no opinion on this whatsoever.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  736. Secular Animist (727)

    No sources? No links? (Also could not find any in Timothy’s 683, which you cited as evidence).

    Makes all your statements sound pretty hollow, SA.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:30 PM

  737. Didactylos (732) and Hank Roberts

    The first two quotes are from H.L. Mencken.

    The third quote is from C.S. Lewis.

    Here is link to Lewis quote:

    http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33029.html

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:37 PM

  738. Philip Machanik

    We are drifting OT here, but I will respond to your post.

    Of course all government intervention in our lives is NOT wrong.

    There are many things that must be done by local and/or central governments.

    Infrastructure investments.

    Defense against external attack, including that from terrorists.

    Provide public education.

    Provide protection against crime.

    Enforcement of real pollution control and abatement.

    And many more.

    But in a representative democracy it is important that the government does those things which the population wants it to do and does NOT do those things, which the population does NOT want it to do.

    I would not label this view as “libertarian”, I would label it as “democratic”.

    How about you?

    Max

    PS We are at risk of getting tossed off by Gavin, as we are drifting far from the topic here.

    Comment by manacker — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:54 PM

  739. Results … about 18,100 for “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it”

    My that’s gotten more popular in the last couple of days.

    Well, well, well:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Mencken+World+War+II

    Mencken’s Dark Side
    The Washington Post | December 5, 1989
    The previously secret diary of writer and social critic H.L. Mencken reveals virulent antisemitism, racism and pro-Nazi leanings, shocking even the sympathetic Mencken scholar who edited it.

    The diary, typewritten on 2,100 pages between 1930 and 1948, was sealed on Mencken’s instructions for 25 years after his death in 1956. When a ruling by the Maryland attorney general opened the door to publication four years ago, it was said the diaries would reveal “the worst of Mencken” and his “dark side.”

    The newly published pages do exactly that, the Evening Sun reported yesterday. …
    ———-

    Sounds like he was describing himself, and his favorite political movement, and assuming everyone else was as bad.

    That fits — we see a lot of people who think anything a scientist finds is actually a political tactic in disguise.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:16 PM

  740. John Mashey at #682

    All good John; including this advice, which you might have given yourself a while back, when sprouting about civil engineering:

    “… you seriously may want to consider the idea that some other posters here just might have a bit broader experience and even know what they are talking about.”

    ;-) G.

    Comment by GlenFergus — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:34 PM

  741. Comment by manacker 10 December 2009 @ 8:21 PM

    “Looks like Nature stepped in to solve the acidification problem, but I have no opinion on this whatsoever.”

    Good old Mother Nature, always there for us when we foul our nest. Almost magical, really.

    So you’re pretty much focused on temperature records to the exclusion of any other broad effects of increases of C02 in the atmosphere? You don’t have any argument with the acidification finding? How about the GRACE measurements? Are those ok, too?

    How about this: Make a list of direct and indirect C02 measurements and knock-on effects you have no argument with. Now make another list of those you find a problem with.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:06 PM

  742. manacker wrote in 736:

    Secular Animist (727)

    No sources? No links? (Also could not find any in Timothy’s 683, which you cited as evidence).

    In 683 I stated:

    If carbon dioxide is anthropogenic — due to the burning of fossil fuel — the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 will increase over time.

    Falsifiable? Yes. The result? The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 has increased over time, strongly suggesting that it is anthropogenic in origin.

    If carbon dioxide is anthropogenic then the ratio then the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere should be decreasing over time.

    Falsifiable? Yes. The result? The percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere has been decreasing over time, strongly suggesting the carbon dioxide is the result of the combustion of fossil fuel.

    CM corrected me in 693:

    Timothy Chase (#682[changed to 683]), I think you meant carbon-13, not carbon-14 (though fossil fuel emissions should decrease the 14C ratio too).

    I thanked him for correcting me then wrote in 701:

    The plots for carbon dioxide and oxygen can be found here:

    pg. 138, AR4-WG1 Chapter 2, Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing, available at:

    Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
    IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg1_report_the_physical_science_basis.htm

    … and I believe that is the reference that Secular Animist meant to refer you to.

    Actually I believe the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report has been recommended to you previously. Have you gotten around to reading it yet?

    Now regarding greenhouse gases and their ability to reduce the rate at which the earth is able to radiate away heat, consider…

    For any wavelength that the atmosphere is optically thick to at sea level, there will be a height at which the atmosphere goes from being optically thick to optically thin. This is the principle that underlies our ability to perform infrared imaging of the atmosphere and its constituents at various altitudes. For example, here is carbon dioxide (a wavelength of 15 μm, I believe) at an altitude of 8 km:

    NASA AIRS Mid-Tropospheric (8km) Carbon Dioxide
    http://www-airs.jpl.nasa.gov/Products/CarbonDioxide/

    You will notice the plumes rising off the heavily populated east and west coast of the United States. We are able to image things at that altitude for that wavelength because most of the photons of that wavelength are absorbed below that altitude, but at that altitude or higher, once they are emitted, they will generally escape to space without further absorption.

    To the extent that greenhouse gases reduce the ability of the earth’s climate system to radiate away heat in the form of thermal radiation but the rate an which energy in the form of sunlight enters the system at the same rate as before the earth must heat up until in accordance with Planck’s law the temperature of the system rises enough that it is radiating energy into space at the same rate that energy enters the system. This is called “radiation balance theory” but I prefer to think of it as the principle of the conservation of energy.

    At one point a while back you seemed to have difficulty with the idea that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas — not to mention the fact that reflective aerosols emitted during the period from 1940 to 1975 might have a cooling effect by reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface, or that the effects of accumulating greenhouse gases is cummulative, but that over the short term natural variability in the form of climate oscillations may swamp the effects of what ever additional greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere over that period, but where an oscillation more or less by definition cannot result in any long-term trend. I hope at least that if the issue of greenhouse gases reducing the rate at which thermal radiation escapes the climate system is still a problem for you that the link to NASA above helps.

    Now lets consider two hypotheses regarding global warming… If the climate system is warming due to increased solar radiation, then the stratosphere and the troposphere should warm simultaneously. If the climate system is warming due to an enhanced greenhouse effect, then this will reduce the rate at which thermal radiation escapes the troposphere and warms the upper stratosphere. Furthermore, increased carbon dioxide in the upper stratosphere increases the rate at which the stratosphere is able to radiate what thermal radiation reaches it. This being the case, with an enhanced greenhouse effect the stratosphere should cool as the troposphere warms. This is a “falsifiable” prediction. (Note: there is a slight caveat at the bottom of this post regarding the principle of falsifiability.)

    The result?

    Please see:

    The second effect is more complicated. Greenhouse gases (CO2, O3, CFC) absorb infra-red radiation from the surface of the Earth and trap the heat in the troposphere. If this absorption is really strong, the greenhouse gas blocks most of the outgoing infra-red radiation close to the Earth’s surface. This means that only a small amount of outgoing infra-red radiation reaches carbon dioxide in the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere. On the other hand, carbon dioxide emits heat radiation, which is lost from the stratosphere into space. In the stratosphere, this emission of heat becomes larger than the energy received from below by absorption and, as a result, there is a net energy loss from the stratosphere and a resulting cooling.

    Stratospheric cooling
    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html

    … and the chart on the same page.

    Note: the lower stratosphere is also cooling but this is due to ozone loss as ozone is essentially a greenhouse gas that absorbs ultraviolet (and infrared) radiation — prior to ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth’s surface.

    Finally, if you still wish to argue for example that cooling during the period from 1940-1975 in the northern hemisphere (where statistically significant cooling took place in the southern hemisphere for only a single year and statistically significant global cooling took place only from 1944 to 1951 — odd that the cooling took place almost exclusively where we would expect anthropogenic reflective aerosols — mostly sulfates and sulfides — to be produced) somehow falsifies “greenhouse gas theory,” then please consider: no one ever argued that greenhouse gases were the only source of radiative forcing in the climate system. (Please see Hemispheres regarding the cooling.)

    Furthermore, even if they had, bringing in an additional hypothesis that “saves the theory” is ad hoc if and only if it cannot be independently tested. If it can be independently tested — as in the case of aerosols and the cooling taking place almost entirely within the northern hemisphere, not the southern — then it is an auxiliary hypothesis. For more on that please see:

    A Question of Meaning, Part 9 Section 3: The Refutation of Karl Popper
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/033.php#3

    I hope this helps…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:11 PM

  743. Also, Max Anacker, I pulled the term “MAP” (Medieval Acidification Period” out of my ___. There is no such thing, actually. Google does not actually return hits on that term, it returns conflated results as a result of coincidental mention of those three words in the same documents.

    I guess I should tone down the sarcasm.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:17 PM

  744. > in a representative democracy it is important that the government
    > does those things which the population wants it to do

    You have missed an important civics lesson, Max. Representatives are elected to make informed choices, not to be puppets of whatever idea is most popular momentarily.

    And that’s why any representative democracy has divided powers–to moderate the short-term notions that can arouse people to do stupid and execrable things. That’s why people create governments, in part — to do better by each other cooperatively than we might do to each other as unrestrained individuals.

    Mencken knew better, Max.

    Do you know when Mencken wrote this?

    “I give up the Germans as substantially hopeless. All sorts of authorities report that they are in an exalted and happy mood. If so, it is the kind of euphoria that goes with acute infections …. and his followers imitate, plainly with his connivance, the monkey-shines of the American Legion at its worst.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/04/books/l-the-diary-of-h-l-mencken-610290.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:34 PM

  745. manacker wrote in 738:

    But in a representative democracy it is important that the government does those things which the population wants it to do and does NOT do those things, which the population does NOT want it to do.

    This comes close to my view:

    Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.

    DesmogBlog: Revealing the Climate Cover-Up (right column of home page)
    http://www.desmogblog.com

    Of course we could argue about absolute majority rule vs. constitutional republics, whether a majority has the right to vote a minority into slavery, market externalities that extend beyond the borders of a democratic nation and so on — but you are right: we are drifting off topic.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:20 AM

  746. Lee A. Arnold (679), In 2006 Exxon-Mobil had $378B revenue, net income of $39B, paid $28B in income taxes — roughly 42% of the estimated $67B income before income taxes, and paid over $100B in total taxes.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:26 AM

  747. Manacker said: “PS Sorry for falling into the trap set by Robert Butler (670) and getting into an OT discussion about politics, rather than the topic of this thread. will keep my discussion out of politics in the future.”

    Fat chance, Max. Your pretension of being non-political is betrayed by your previous posts. And, your posts elsewhere (You know where I’m talking about)

    Comment by JBowers — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:30 AM

  748. Mencken also rabidly supported evolution theory. How bad can one guy get???

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:01 AM

  749. BPL (705)

    Yes, there is no question that Lewis cannot be defined by a single quotation alone, and I am sure that both his interest in religion, as well as his science fiction books, are of special interest to you. I’ve not read any of them, but may do so over the holidays. Which one would you recommend for a C.S. Lewis beginner?

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:29 AM

  750. Hank Roberts

    Of course, the elected representatives in a democratic republic are not merely robots of the voting populace. But they must represent their wishes (or they will not be re-elected).

    The people as a whole generally do not do “stupid and execrable things” any more frequently than their elected representatives.

    The point made by both Mencken and Lewis (in a slightly different way) is that a government which uses fear to motivate its people is doing so for an ulterior motive, i.e. to consolidate its power or gain support for an agenda, which it may honestly believe is in the best interest of the people it represents.

    I think you will agree that many regimes have frightened their populations with the fear of attack by an outside (or inside) enemy, in order to justify an action.

    To conjure up 7 meter waves swallowing NYC is not that different from frightening people with the “mushroom cloud smoking gun” of WMD in the hands of a hostile and brutal dictator.

    In neither case do the ends justify the means, as far as I am concerned.

    But that is just my opinion, and yours may be different.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:51 AM

  751. Doug Bostrom (741)

    You asked for my thoughts on the temperature record and the side effects of increased atmospheric CO2.

    The globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature record is a bit of a mess, with all the possible UHI distortions, ex post facto corrections, variance adjustments, etc., but it’s what we have, so I cannot argue with that.

    It shows that we have gone through several multi-decadal warming/cooling cycles (about 60 years per total cycle) since the modern record began around 1850, with an underlying warming trend of around 0.04°C per decade, as we have emerged from a generally cooler period ending in the 19th century, called the Little Ice Age.

    It takes a bit of a “leap of faith” to discern a direct correlation between this record and the record of atmospheric CO2, which began in the late 1950s, and has shown a steady increase.

    It has been said that the late 20th century warming period cannot be explained by the climate models without anthropogenic forcing, but this is not very conclusive, inasmuch as neither the equivalent early 20th century warming nor the late 19th century warming can be explained by the models.

    There are apparently still many things that climate scientists do not understand about what drives our climate, which I can accept. After all, they are only human.

    One side effect of increased atmospheric CO2 seems to be an increase in the growth rate of certain crops and trees, which is probably not a bad thing.

    Ocean acidification (technically a misnomer, since the ocean is alkaline and it is actually a miniscule reduction of oceanic alkalinity we are talking about) does not worry me very much since the observed changes are quite small (plus very difficult to measure at all) and some studies have shown that stabilizing feedback processes may have acted to reduce the ocean-alkalinity and carbon dioxide fluctuations in the geological past.

    In looking at the optimistically estimated total fossil fuel deposits on our planet, I see that these could cause an increase to slightly below 1000 ppmv in the atmosphere when they have all been consumed (150+ years from now?), and I also see that without the inclusion of positive (or negative) feedbacks from model simulations, this would result in a theoretical GH warming of around 1.3°C at equilibrium, so I am not too concerned about that either.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 3:30 AM

  752. Doug Bostrom

    Your attempted booby trap backfired, Doug. As I have already told you, I have no opinion whatsoever on the “Medieval Acidification Period”, which you cited, but there are Google references to this, including this study from Sweden.
    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1579/0044-7447-31.6.460
    http://ambio.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=display-figures&name=i0044-7447-31-6-460-f03&ct=1

    Enjoy.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 3:53 AM

  753. Timothy Chase (742)

    You asked:

    “Actually I believe the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report has been recommended to you previously. Have you gotten around to reading it yet?”

    Yes. Intensively. Long before blogging here.

    It is an interesting “sales pitch” for the AGW premise, with a lot of projections based on computer model simulations and other good stuff showing that it has warmed over the 20th century, that sea levels have continued to rise over the entire period, that Arctic sea ice has shrunk since satellite records started in 1979, etc.

    But this is not conclusive evidence, based on empirical data derived from physical observations, to support the premise that AGW (caused principally by human CO2 emissions) is a potentially serious threat, and that is what I requested SA to provide.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:08 AM

  754. Now the thread’s getting literary, I actually have a highly topical reading tip for when you have an hour to kill: Ibsen’s Enemy of the People.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2446

    Not one of his best, but in light of the current backlash against climate scientists, the satire seems rather acute and the characters easy to put faces on. It’s got the naive public-spirited scientist with an intemperate pen, the weather-vane liberal journalist, the ‘compact majority’ spokesman who is all for the environment but ready to disbelieve in any science that might cost home-owners money, the conservative oligarch who will stop at nothing to protect vested interests, and the twisting of the most innocent private information into proof of wrongdoing. Oh, and the drunk crank spouting nonsense at the town meeting, which certainly sounds familiar.

    Comment by CM — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:10 AM

  755. Hank, interesting point about the Lewis quote–I’m rather an amateur Lewis scholar myself, and I don’t recall ever reading that quote anywhere. And I’ve read just about everything he ever wrote.

    Since he taught philosophy and was an expert at formal logic, it’s very unlikely he would ever have made an “always” statement like that. Just doesn’t sound like him.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:06 AM

  756. Max, Mencken also wrote, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

    Comment by Deech56 — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:25 AM

  757. Kate (#729, re: “grafting”), I left a couple of pointers on your blog to pertinent previous responses by Mike and Gavin inline in these comments:

    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=1853#comment-143623
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2177#comment-147567

    Comment by CM — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:48 AM

  758. On “tricks” and “hide the decline”.

    Somewhere (now lost) RClimate linked to a Nature article (paper?) on the divergence of tree ring data and observed recent temperatures. I could only access the abstract, and to my pea brain, I couldn’t make head nor tail of the abstracts _and its conclusion_. Perhaps I was having a bad hair day.

    Could someone explain in their own words?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:54 AM

  759. @Hank 674: [[You have missed an important civics lesson, Max. Representatives are elected to make informed choices, not to be puppets of whatever idea is most popular momentarily.

    And that’s why any representative democracy has divided powers–to moderate the short-term notions that can arouse people to do stupid and execrable things.]]

    This is a sound argument for why governments should do nothing in response to the climate change hysterics, nee global warming hysterics.

    Climate change is the most popular idea around right now. It’s a short term-notion that can arouse people to do stupid and execrable things. I think, however, that you seek to tar the other side of the argument with the popular brush.

    That reminds me of when Mary Pipher published “Reviving Ophelia,” accusing MTV of perpetrating all sorts of reprehensible self-image crimes against young girls. In fact, MTV was politically in 100% agreement with Pipher.

    I may be reading you wrong, but you seem to be missing the fact that climate change is the popular notion. In the US, the political left, always sympathetic to your larger-government means-ends and sometimes sympathetic to your statistical arguments, is in control of both legislative branches, the executive branch, and four or five ninths of the judicial branch. They were put there, albeit indirectly in the case of the judicial branch, by popular vote.

    Please stop implying that the fossil fuel industry is popular.

    Comment by Frank Brunner — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:54 AM

  760. You’ve stated that the “hide the decline” email was taken out of context, and now Steve McIntyre has put it in context in his latest post on Climate Audit. It looks pretty serious to me. Any comments on that?

    [Response: He's not seeing the wood for the tree rings. There were three reconstructions at that time - each representing slightly different targets (hemispheric means vs. land-only, summer vs. annual temps etc.), and had been calibrated differently. As you can see from the draft figure, they didn't at first appear coherent - that is clearly a problem (which is what they were talking about). Is that a real incoherence though? or is it because of the slightly different treatment in the calibrations? That required more work to see, and much of it was, in fact, because of that. Very little of the discussion being picked over by CA has anything to do with the post-1960 issue in the Briffa data. The greater number of reconstructions in the AR4 (figure 6.10) obviously give a better sense of the structural uncertainty in these things which you couldn't get with only 3 of them. - gavin]

    Comment by Liam — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:02 AM

  761. Frank, you appear to have missed something yourself.

    That is, you appear to think that the mainstream climate science is a short term, popular idea.

    The reality is that it is a much more mature, firmly-rooted scientific theory than you imagine. The first paper on the greenhouse effect (not yet so-called) dates to 1824; CO2 and H2O were first identified as the primary substances involved in 1861; and the first mathematical model of CO2-driven atmospheric warming dates to 1896.

    A more comprehensive account–beautifully done, with hyperlinked text–is “The Discovery of Global Warming.” It is found here (as well as under the “Science Links” on the RC sidebar.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Twenty “classic” papers on climate science, starting with Fourier 1824, can be accessed at this site:

    http://wiki.nsdl.org/index.php/PALE:ClassicArticles/GlobalWarming

    I hope you’ll check these sources out; you’ll be much better equipped to assess whether or not there are, in fact, “climate change hysterics”–and, if there are, WHO they are.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:47 AM

  762. Mister Brunner,

    What planet have you been living on? Climate change has been a deep concern among scientists for over half a century.

    Many industry/large corporation interests have been quieting, smearing, distorting, falsifying, etc., the scientific empirical evidence that we are in a global warming crisis, and finally, the popular notion the corporations have created is being disrobed.

    We are happy to receive creatures from other planets. Perhaps you can educate us on why there is no global warming on our planet, as we educate you on why our planet is in serious crisis, where we have a moral obligation to the children (and their progeny) that we have created.

    Earth humans, including scientists, may not always put things logically, especially if they are paid off to falsify information (yes, Earth humans have many faults).
    But we have, fortunately, been able to overcome, in many instances, the frailty of Earth humans, because we do have science which has been working pretty well: it has landed us on our Moon, taken satellites far to the edges of our Galaxy, and provided us (and you) with the computers we are using.

    There is something interesting in your gross assumptions about left-wing politics v. the un-tampered with scientific evidence that has, fortunately, been winning out.
    Perhaps there are certain different conditions on your planet that you could compare with us to help us with our serious problem.

    No need to apologize, as we humans have our frailties, we can accept an honest mistake from you, come to terms with the truth of Earth’s global warming, and, I hope, either learn from you, or, perhaps, give you information that may prevent the same sort of global warming from happening on your planet.

    Live long and prosper, Mister Brunner,
    Concerned Citizen of the U.S. of American, and of Earth

    Comment by Barbara A. Slavinsky, PhD — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:00 AM

  763. manacker,

    I’m wondering what kind of evidence you’re demanding that the IPCC does not already provide in spades. It rings odd to require conclusive evidence … from physical observations… that a threat is potentially serious. With an unprecedented threat, truly conclusive evidence will surely be available too late, when the threat has become actual. Requiring that kind of evidence to take action sounds like poor risk management. So, sorry if this has been asked before, but how about you spell out, “fossil rabbits in the Precambrian”-style, what kind of evidence might actually satisfy you?

    Comment by CM — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  764. manacker says:
    11 December 2009 at 4:08 AM
    Timothy Chase (742)

    You asked:

    “Actually I believe the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report has been recommended to you previously. Have you gotten around to reading it yet?”

    Yes. Intensively. Long before blogging here.

    It is an interesting “sales pitch” for the AGW premise, with a lot of projections based on computer model simulations and other good stuff showing that it has warmed over the 20th century, that sea levels have continued to rise over the entire period, that Arctic sea ice has shrunk since satellite records started in 1979, etc.

    But this is not conclusive evidence, based on empirical data derived from physical observations, to support the premise that AGW (caused principally by human CO2 emissions) is a potentially serious threat, and that is what I requested SA to provide.

    No you’re weaseling and doing a ‘bait and switch’. SA posted about “anthropogenic causation” for which you demanded evidence. SA provided that evidence, but now you say that you asked for evidence that “AGW (caused principally by human CO2 emissions) is a potentially serious threat”, which you did not!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:21 AM

  765. “Please stop implying that the fossil fuel industry is popular.”

    They’re well funded and loud, however.

    And both parties are bought and sold. There are SOME hold-outs for the old ways of honour and probity, and that is on BOTH sides, but they are very much the minority.

    So the more money you have, the bigger voice.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:21 AM

  766. “I understand the fears of “libertarians” about government action to address climate change. I worry about the government controlling my life, too.”

    I take it that each and every libertarian is a volunteer in the army, so that they don’t have to rely on government intervention in the protection of their country.

    Yes?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:26 AM

  767. “Both sides are bought and sold?”

    Hmm. Who’s buying the mainstream science–or rather, “what” are the funders buying from mainstream scientists?

    If it’s honest work and analysis, no problem. Certainly, there can be (and are at times) research “fads”, but that’s a far cry from the Heartland Institute offering cash for any anti-AGW paper, as they are documented to have done.

    The fact that contrarian papers do continue to get published shows that you needn’t hew a party line just to survive–no matter how much umbrage at the most egregiously bad science was revealed by the hack. It doesn’t appear to me that the mainstream science is “bought and sold” in the negative sense.

    I do agree that transparency is needed; it’s a truism that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and while I think that standard has been met, by and large, in the purely scientific realm, there is perhaps an analogy to that in the sociological realm. That is, it may well be that climate science is going to have to operate in a metaphorical glass house, going forward. The claims of the significance of that research are very large; the consequences are extremely grave; and people need to be clear on their basis, validity and limitations. That does seem both fair and inescapable.

    Unfortunately, the conduct of the anti-consensus argument has been anything but transparent; rather, the strategy has been to muddy the waters at every opportunity. As “CFU” says, they’ve been “well funded and loud.” Not to mention unscrupulous.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  768. “Hmm. Who’s buying the mainstream science–or rather, “what” are the funders buying from mainstream scientists?”

    That was in response to someone talking about the politicians.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:26 AM

  769. Max (750), I’m with you on most things but have to demur on a secondary point about “people as a whole.” Never underestimate the stupidity of a crowd nor the potential irrationality/insanity of a large group.

    [Response: Or indeed of an individual. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:17 AM

  770. Re # 766 (Completely Fed Up)

    I would love to explain to you how thoroughly your comment (rhetorical question) misunderstands libertarian views. But undoubtedly Gavin would rule that OT. I’m mindful that you’re “completely fed up” with viewpoints lacking in a factual basis, but please try to consider that the issue can be bi-directional.

    Comment by Leighton — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  771. BBC Radio 4′s investigation into the hacked emails.

    The Report by Simon Cox (30 mins.)

    It will be here, for about 6 more days.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00p6t26/The_Report_10_12_2009/

    My immediate reaction.

    1.It is supposed to be based on 3,000 messageses. I have seen that figure before, does that exhaust the list? Is that consistent with the size of the hack in Mb?
    2. First impressions are what stay in most people’s minds and it starts with strong allegations attributed to moderate and extreme critics. Not of all these are mentioned again.
    3. It does allow space to both sides .
    4. The various topics are run consecutively with little or no flags between, so that the listener can easily get confused. Judith Curry is quoted being critical.but will the listener know whether she is talking about the recent instrumental records or the hockey stick constructions and if the latter which ones? This affects the meaning. She argues that this will affect climate models and hence future projections of warming.
    5. Uncritical use of populist proxies for temperature such as vineyards and skating on the Thames.
    6. “Squabbling between climate camps”. I think this referred to arguments betwwen different hockey players rather than those contrarians who are playing a quite different game.But it was not made clear.
    7. Any ambiguity is bound to be exploited. I hope the pending university enquiries will try to avoid this in their final reports.
    8. There was reference to a piece of spin (from the past)near the end. I don’t approve of that, but it has nothing to do with the science or with anything sackable.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  772. Completely Fed Up (765), and can I conclude this is why Congress routinely beats the hell out of the oil companies?

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  773. CM (763)

    Tou wrote: “I’m wondering what kind of evidence you’re demanding that the IPCC does not already provide in spades.”

    Sorry. It is up to the supporters of the AGW premise that (a) the observed global warming is principally caused by human emissions of CO2 and (b) that this is a potentially serious threat to choose and present empirical evidence, based on physical observations, to support this premise.

    IPCC has demonstrated that it has warmed since 1850 in multi-decadal spurts, that sea levels have risen since the tide gauge record started, that Arctic sea ice has melted since 1979, that atmospheric CO2 has risen since Mauna Loa measurements started, etc.

    This is largely based on good, solid physical observations.

    But IPCC has not been able to show conclusively based on empirical data (as opposed to climate model simulations) that the climate changes were caused by the increased CO2 or that these are a potentially serious threat.

    And that was my point.

    Max

    [Response: So basically you are insisting that attribution is impossible, and therefore nothing can ever be done. Why do I say that? Because the attribution of singular events absolutely requires some kind of model for you to have an idea of what would have happened absent the proposed cause. For a neutral example, explain to me how you would attribute the two year cooling event caused by Pinatubo without some kind of model. How do we know it wasn't just internal variability? - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  774. Rod B (769)

    Or of a well-meaning, but misdirected, government (check C.S, Lewis quote).

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:12 PM

  775. Oh…, Max –

    “(check C.S, Lewis quote).” – so it is physically impossible for there to ever be a problem that requires government action?

    “It is up to the supporters of the AGW premise that (a) the observed global warming is principally caused by human emissions of CO2″ [and CH4, etc, minus net cooling of aerosols, etc.] “and (b) that this is a potentially serious threat to choose and present empirical evidence, based on physical observations, to support this premise. ”

    Done and Done.

    Sorry it may have gone over your head or wasn’t on TV when you had it on. But it can’t be up to ‘us’ to force people to listen to us when we speak, etc. We can’t be largely responsible for other’s ignorance and/or stupidity.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  776. Max #717 Read further down in the comments at the link you gave, to find out what may really be going on… But my point was different: the dollar amount hardly matters. If corporations are not paying their full tax rate, then the other taxpayers are picking up an extra share of the cost of government. So then, WHATEVER a corporation spends money on — shoes, shorts, shirts, anti-global warming think-tanks and policy entrepreneurs and propaganda, perhaps — is being subsidized by the other taxpayers.

    This argument is no more arbitrary than your argument, with the exception that it is how most economists would look at it, I think. As the corporations might say, “It’s all coming out of your pocket, anyway.”

    And it is separate from your OTHER misconception in this same argument, i.e. that the intentions of the climatologists are “pro” global warming in the same way that the denialists are “anti.”

    No real scientist, nor anyone else in their right mind, wishes that global warming were true.

    Their basic question is why the temperature hockey stick matches the CO2 hockey stick. Radiation physics sounds like a good reason.

    If you can prove another forcing, bring it on.

    Denialists make TWO faulty attributions: one about climate forcings, the other about scientists’ motives.

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  777. manacker,

    I’m no scientist, so take this with a grain of salt.

    Do you not regard the absorption of infrared radiation by greenhouse gases (such as CO2, H2O, CH4, etc.) as a physical basis for anthropogenic global warming? This physical basis was hypothesized over a hundred years ago by Svante Arrhenius, and has been confirmed (albeit not as he hypothesized) by analysis of changes in outgoing longwave radiation between now (or at least recent years) and the 70s.

    Incoming and outgoing radiation is all that significantly impacts the Earth’s total heat content. What is it that you believe makes up for CO2′s absorption of outgoing radiation? How does the heat content of the Earth remain the same despite changes induced by anthropogenic gases?

    Comment by Greg — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:22 PM

  778. I am mostly skeptical of the interpretation by the economists of the “projections” of 1.5 C to 6 C warming in 2100 shown in IPCC reports. In their risk analysis the economists have to put a price on the uncertainty in the climate models. These models have shown that they have some qualitative ability of predicting warming trends in the upper troposhere and cooling of the stratosphere but have not been tested in their ability to quantitatively model temperature on a multi-decadal scale in order to directly show the sensitivity to long term CO2 radiative forcing on global temperature. My understanding is that we do not have good numerical simulations of the multi-decadal climate over a few decades. Using initial ocean temperature and salinity measurements, which are only starting to be available, and the boundary radiative forcings, climatologists should be able to obtain real estimates of the effect of the CO2 forcing in 10 to 20 years which would be the time required for the ocean temperatures to equilibrate. My question then is how do explain to economists the uncertainty in your climate models ? And to the economists, how do you then put a price on that uncertainty ? It seems somehow that the risks have been greatly exagerated by the media since I just got an email from a journalist in charge of a scientific radio show claiming that the risk of AGW is the survival of the species !!!

    Comment by RaymondT — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:23 PM

  779. Comment by manacker — 11 December 2009 @ 3:53 AM

    “Your attempted booby trap backfired…”

    Oh, my. An attempted booby trap! You appear to see conspiracies everywhere.

    This of course is coming from the person who said in reference to AGW: “Use your common sense. It’s all a hoax.”

    A hoax. All of it. GRACE, tide gauges, tree rings, atmospheric C02 content, sea surface temperature, species population shifts over latitude and altitude, ocean acidification, ice thinning/retreat, expansion of the atmosphere, the whole kit and kaboodle. All a hoax, maintained in near perfect secrecy despite the participation of thousands of persons.

    Stop for a moment and consider your appearance, Max. You’re quite capable of humiliating yourself without any assistance from others. You do it frequently here, in public, voluntarily. Nobody need shove you; you jump willingly into your role.

    “I have no opinion whatsoever on the “Medieval Acidification Period”, which you cited, but there are Google references to this, including this study from Sweden.”

    To be precise, I did not “cite” the “MAP”, I made it up, out of whole cloth. The “MAP” is a joke. Apparently desperate to maintain your hermetic detachment from reality, it seems you scurried away to Google without pausing to consider the absurdity of the term and found many spurious hits. The conflations included the usual scattering of crumbs allowing you to construct a superficially plausible reason why the MAP (if it had existed) was yet another comforting precedent for why we should not worry about AGW.

    The article you mention describes the historical pH record of lake sediments during a period spanning the Middle Ages and beyond. Careful reading reveals no actual “MAP” concept, of course.

    I should not really be surprised that “coincidence” is a foreign concept for folks who can’t discern the convergence of multiple independent streams of theory and observation into a single overarching conclusion. The mystery is how the same people can see all of that and yet come up with the more unlikely premise of a giant global conspiracy, a “hoax” of absurd proportions. It’s suggestive of some kind of sad pathology.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  780. re: 773

    If the energy from the increase of GHGs in the atmosphere didn’t do anything, where did the energy go? and how did it go there without doing anything? manacker is postulating at least one other energy source. What could those possibly be? One of them has to be big enough to swell the oceans by thermal expansion. An energy source that big and persistent would have to be noticed.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  781. re: 772

    “Completely Fed Up (765), and can I conclude this is why Congress routinely beats the hell out of the oil companies?”

    If this is torture, nail me to the wall.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:55 PM

  782. At the request of a couple of readers, I’ve taken a closer look at McIntyre’s ludicrous assertion that he has “discovered” the “context” for “hide the decline”.

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/11/mcintyre-provides-fodder-for-skeptics/

    This so-called Climategate is really getting out of hand, isn’t it?

    Steve McIntyre has published allegations – twice now – that an internal IPCC authors’ debate about the inclusion of Briffa’s tree-ring reconstruction in a key figure from the 2001 WG1 Third Assesement Report was driven by concern about the post-1960 “decline” in tree-ring widths, a decline that showed a marked divergence with the instrumental tempertaure record. McIntyre even claims that lead author Michael Mann worried that showing the series with this decline would give “fodder” to “skeptics”.

    But even a cursory examination of the emails in question shows that the discussion was really about other aspects of the reconstruction, specifically obvious discrepancies between Briffa’s reconstruction and the other two under consideration over the major part of the reconstruction’s length. Thus, once again, McIntyre’s speculations are shown to be utterly without foundation. Even worse, McIntyre left out intervening sentences within the actual proffered quotes in what appears to be an unsophisticated attempt to mislead.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  783. > the political left, always sympathetic to your larger-government means-ends, has control …

    Your politics doesn’t change the physics or the biology.
    You post endless PR and never seem to learn anything about the science.

    We’re trying to educate people across the whole range of political notions.
    Making political decisions without understanding what science can tell us got us to the current situation.

    Look at what happened to the codfish ; that’s what politics does by ignoring the science.

    You think the fisheries biologists were leftists? They wanted some fish left, that’s all.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  784. just wondering if the repeated call “we want the truth” in the emails
    is perhaps taken out of context. must agree though , having debated creationists for over 12 months to have their creation science crap removed from science sections of regional libraries {beat them} i find the current discourse oh so similar , what dont they understand about “start here”

    Comment by john byatt — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:40 PM

  785. Kevin McKinney (767)

    “If it’s honest work and analysis, no problem.”

    I agree.

    We just have to watch out that we do not assign moralistic “good and evil” labels to the various studies of all sorts and conclusions that are out there.

    We also have to watch for “agenda driven science” from both camps.

    Most of all, we have to avoid falling into the trap that Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd C. Blankfein fell into when he proclaimed, “we are doing God’s work”.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:42 PM

  786. Gavin (773)

    “So basically you are insisting that attribution is impossible, and therefore nothing can ever be done.”

    No, Gavin. Definitive attribution may not be possible today, but that does not mean that it could not be so some day in the future, as there are scientific breakthroughs and/or we learn more.

    Just my take on this.

    Max

    [Response: Ok, so go through the steps that are sufficient to prove (to you) that Pinatubo caused two years of cooling - that was well within limits of internal variability, and you wouldn't want to be using some lame correlation/causation argument of course. This is a serious request. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:49 PM

  787. manacker (#773),

    If I understand you correctly, you say you don’t have to spell out what proof you require since it’s up to “supporters of the AGW premise” to come up with proof for their position. But enough such proof has already been provided, and passed scrutiny by an intergovernmental review panel, that this position is now the mainstream scientific consensus. You personally may not be satisfied, but frankly, noone is obliged to prove this to your personal satisfaction. If you would require people to make that effort, I think the onus is on you to first convince us that your standard of evidence is a reasonable one. I’m not convinced. At the very least, you need to state clearly what that standard is, so you cannot simply move the goalposts as we go along.

    It seems we have two issues: (1) attribution of observed climate change to man-made emissions (2) potentially serious nature of future man-made climate change. Let’s stick with attribution for now.

    To come at this from a slightly different angle than Gavin’s inline point (superfluous as it may be): I think you are making a false opposition between “empirical observations” and “climate model simulations”. Perhaps I misunderstand you, but you seem to claim that the IPCC attributes recent climate change to CO2 based on models, not observations. But attribution as discussed by the IPCC is about both: testing observed spatio-temporal patterns of climate change for consistency with modelled patterns. What is un-empirical about that?

    Comment by CM — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:05 PM

  788. John Mashey.
    Only 15 years i’m afraid but enough that I can recognise
    sloppy software when I see it. I never said agile
    was a new concept. Just like IOC and dependency injection
    it’s been around along time and wasn’t invented by Google.
    Perhaps you’re right and I don’t appreciate the
    difference between software development and code
    researchers write to analyse data. But it does sound and
    look somewhat cavalier and amateurish particularly in
    this case.

    I guess it was drilled into me to annotate code and
    use sensible naming conventions but then I
    started coding using strongly typed languages on Solaris boxes
    in medium sized teams.

    I would suggest that doing the simple things first
    makes doing the more difficult things easier.
    I automate as much as I can and start off every project
    thinking this way. Another important point is not to reinvent
    the wheel every time you start a new project.

    Surely at some point the guy who coded the stuff that has
    been leaked/stolen will have to hand the code over to
    somebody else or at least explain to his colleagues what it does?
    I gave a presentation this week to a large group of people
    at an international telecommunications company
    who are looking to implement a global solution using ROC.
    Part of the job involves communicating ideas and doing it
    in a clear and logical way. The presentation will end up
    as one of the artifacts in the delivery of the final solution.
    How would the hacker who put this code together do this? Okay I forgot…he would tell
    them to start from scratch in order to understand the algorithm….

    I think this is probably enough said on this issue. We’re
    neve going to agree.

    Comment by kevin king — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:07 PM

  789. Barton Paul Levenson

    The C.S. Lewis quotation:

    Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    apparently comes from “God in the Dock”, p. 292. See:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=I6xWiVDThpEC&pg=PA292&dq=robber+barons+than+under+omnipotent+moral+busybodies#v=onepage&q=robber%20barons%

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  790. RaymondT (778) — Read Peter Ward’s “Under a Green Sky”. That actually happened in the remote past and could happen again; the potential risk is indeed existential.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:53 PM

  791. manacker quoted C.S. Lewis: “It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”

    Yeah, that’s what the robber barons are always telling us. Funny thing about that.

    In any case, working to stop global warming has nothing whatever to do with being a “moral busybody”.

    It has to do with preventing human civilization from collapsing into ruin during the lifetimes of people now living.

    If that offends your “libertarian” sensibilities I don’t know what to say to you.

    “Give me liberty or give me death” was the cry of a patriot.

    “Give me liberty or give six billion people death” is the cry of a sociopathic idiot.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:59 PM

  792. David, on your (669)

    [The science supporting atmospheric CO2 == AGW is impeccable, thoroughly researched, and eseentially all done by 1979. Please read the summary of..

    Outcomes are already dismal in areas depending upon glacial meltwater. In addition, we are already seeing some of the 1 K predictions from Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”...]

    If I may point to the 1979 BASC Assessment post-analysis:

    Summary and Conclusions
    “…However, we have not examined anew the many uncertainties in these projections, such as their implicit assumptions with regard to the workings of the world economy and the role of the biosphere in the carbon cycle. These impose an uncertainty beyond that arising from our necessarily imperfect knowledge of the manifold and complex climatic system of the earth…”
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=1

    On the science, at least as of 1979 it appears to be not as thorough and fully baked as those at the cusp of controversial decisions would like to see. Difficult to defend weighting as the default, and thus not “impeccable” from an OR POV. OTOH, in a field rife with stellar simulations yet less than scintillating data provenance, the bar may need to be of another order epistemologically and IIRC this can be factored.

    On the onset of probable dismal outcomes, which are always of great political concern, if these can be risk-assessed as positively predicted (preferably of strong experimental domain) or at least highly correlated with converged analytical product derived from prior simulation output then you have a case defensible from a systems standpoint.

    So focus on the latter, if it does the trick for you. As I’m beginning to see compelling arguments for climate modelling when done competently, it would for me.

    Comment by JLS — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:20 PM

  793. > On the science, at least as of 1979

    Have you learned anything since 1979?
    Do you imagine the climate researchers have not?
    Pick your favorite 1979 study.
    Put its cite into Scholar and read what’s new.

    Meanwhile, watch for Manacker’s response to Gavin about Pinatubo, a comparable challenge.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  794. SecularAnimist,

    on your (675):
    [Wrong. Anthropogenic causation has been empirically confirmed...]

    At which point my old lament interjects – sadly we cannot expect a holistically-devised experiment at scale, whereas an uncontrolled one we already have…

    [...Outcomes are already “emerging dismally”... ...All of this is already happening, rapidly, as a result of the anthropogenic global warming.

    If it isn’t already too late to stop it, then if we wait for things to get any more “dismal” than they already are, it surely will be too late.]

    We can learn much reviewing the lessons of those who first encountered the need for analytic approaches to decision-making upon confronting existential threats in bounded conditions under great uncertainty. These were the think-tank fellows who had to “think the unthinkable” and deal with the possibility of unrestrained nuclear warfare. They had it much worse – the “data” sources were in opposed territory and enemy gatekeepers were motivated to mask and obfuscate their processes and undo the work of the “collectors” and back-end analysts through covert and propaganda means. But through systematic examination of the weaknesses in their premises, in the scenario fudges and questionable data, they were able to engender better-grounded decisions as a result.

    Comment by JLS — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:02 PM

  795. Ken,
    on your (664)

    [If you’re not familiar with Spencer Werts “The Discovery of Global Warming” page, I’d encourage you to spend some time reading it.]

    I’ve learning much, the theory section where much of the advanced physics is nicely explained is particularly useful. And the links appear updated. Thanks!

    Comment by JLS — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:39 PM

  796. Max,

    For Lewis’s apologetics, the best are probably Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and Miracles. For fiction, his best work is the practically unknown “Till We Have Faces,” but his Narnia and Outer Space series are also good. For his professional work, “The Allegory of Love” is tough but rewarding, as is “Literature in the 16th Century, Excluding Drama.” “The Discarded Image” is the best introduction to the scholarly medieval worldview I’ve ever read.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:09 PM

  797. Max: It takes a bit of a “leap of faith” to discern a direct correlation between this record and the record of atmospheric CO2

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:10 PM

  798. #786

    While manacker is busy with homework, can Real Climate prove that internal variability is unforced?

    Please note, you wouldn’t want to be using some lame ‘no cause, no effect’ argument of course.

    Comment by isotopious — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:26 PM

  799. Gavin (769), that’s true, of course. But a large crowd going insanely stupid is much more likely, even if no one individual in the crowd is otherwise sane and not stupid.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:12 PM

  800. Manacker your argument in 773 sounds very much like the arguments of the tobacco companies that there was no proof that smoking causes lung cancer. There as here, the argument carries the implicit assumption that “proof” means 100% certainty. That is a mathematical concept, not a scientific one.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:22 PM

  801. Lee A. Arnold (776), now you’re just plain silly. Is it fair that the corporations subsidize individuals by paying the taxes that the individuals would have paid had they not claimed exemptions (which corporations can’t BTW…)? Or is it just your fair tax rate (as opposed to the legal IRS fair rate that all corporations pay) not being paid that bothers you?

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:24 PM

  802. “While manacker is busy with homework, can Real Climate prove that internal variability is unforced?”

    If undorced is “without energy making the change” then none of it is.

    But variability is best defined as “what we can’t rely on happening”.

    We can’t rely on this winter 12th December being warmer than last 12th December, so the temps on 12th December are variable.

    But we CAN rely on Dec-Feb being cooler than Jul-Sep.

    And that’s “climate”

    Or near enough.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:41 PM

  803. ps to my 799 to Gavin: my negatives got all tied up in my jock, but you know what I mean… ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:42 PM

  804. “Only 15 years i’m afraid but enough that I can recognise
    sloppy software when I see it.’”

    Can you recognise software IN ERROR when you see it?

    ‘Cos it isn’t there, kid.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:42 PM

  805. JLS (#792),
    Hank (#793),

    The world economy is not withing the scope of climate models so the fact that future climates can not be predicted by climate models because of uncertainties regarding future emissions does not mean the models are lacking. Models have of course not improved since then in that respect and following citations will yield nothing this time.

    The interactions between the world economy and climate change are more within the scope of the Limits to Growth (Club of Rome) approach. I’m skeptical but there are people trying to work this out:
    http://www.inf.ethz.ch/personal/fcellier/AGS/AGSME_program.html

    JLS, please cut on the jargon and the irrelevant quotes and tell us in what way exactly you believe the science to be inadequate as a basis for the implementation of the sort of climate risk mitigatation policies that are being proposed today. The observed CO2 concentrations are still climbing briskly. Do you figure that unknown non-linear economic or biological negative feedacks are likely to kick in any time soon or something?

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  806. Rod B #746, is that worldwide? Because top U.S. corporate income tax rate is around 35%, isn’t it?

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:07 PM

  807. Secular Animist

    You opined (791):

    “Give me liberty or give six billion people death” is the cry of a sociopathic idiot.”

    Possibly. I have seen these guys on the street with cardboard signs over their bodies proclaiming “The End Is Near!”

    Maybe they are not “idiots” in the true sense of the word, but they may well be “sociopathic” (or at least psycho-neurotic or paranoid).

    But let’s leave out the hysterical hyperbole and have a rational discussion of the issues at stake (scientific, political, economic, environmental, etc.)

    We are not talking about the demise of “six billion people” here, SA.

    Max

    [Response: Max, please answer the Pinatubo attribution question. - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:26 PM

  808. isotopious says: 11 December 2009 at 8:26 PM

    “While manacker is busy with homework, can Real Climate prove that internal variability is unforced?”

    Oh, brother, another wingman, rehashing magical “unexplained forcing factors”, aka the joker in the deck, the get-out-of-jail-free-card, the handy cloud bank available for escape once discussion swerves ineluctably toward reality.

    Isotopious, you’ve already fired this round. Check the cartridge; it’s empty.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/comment-page-8/#comment-131623

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:40 PM

  809. isotopious – “can Real Climate prove that internal variability is unforced?”

    1. that’s actually a matter of definition. Internal variability is variability that occurs spontaneously or in a self-organized manner, with specific episodes/cycles/events having no causal linkage to a variation in external forcing on those timescales (of course, a change in external forcing can set the stage for shifts in the patterns of internal variability, but the internal variability would still continue to occur indefinitely while leaving the external forcing constant at a new value).

    2. Models produce internal variability (such as ENSO). There isn’t any reason to expect improvements in models to eliminate internal variability, although we can expect improvements in how well the model output matches reality.

    3. We see variability occur in the atmosphere that can be labelled as internal variability. The formation, growth, maturation and decay of a single thunderstorm happens over various minutes and hours at various locations without being directed to happen that way by topography and the diurnal cycle of solar heating (this is different than identifying statistical tendencies which are shaped by such things). It’s a similar picture for individual synoptic-scale eddies. Of course, there will proximate causes for these things – but these occur within the system, as part of an ongoing web of causality, hence the variability is internally driven.

    The QBO is a nice example of a multiyear-scale variation that is nearly cyclical and is not forced by anything external to the system – it is like an internal clock, self-organized, driven by acyclical Rossby-gravity and Kelvin waves that are themselves excited by spatial variations in tropical convection (? – right?) that have no such cycle or at least have no reason to have such a cycle except for the effects of the QBO itself (I’m unaware of a significant feedback from the QBO back to those tropospheric drivers of the QBO in so far as having importance to the QBO…)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:38 AM

  810. … Of course, the specific events ultimately would be traced back to external forcings, since the Earth has only existed for ~ 4.5 or 4.6 Gyrs; but it isn’t all that meaningful to try; in the real world it can’t practically be done; there is a butterfly effect.

    But the point is that whatever such external forcing occured to so as to make a single cumulus cloud start to grow in a specific way at 10:40 AM on Dec 12, 2009, at latitude x and longitude y, we could completely eliminate that forcing, and still see a similar pattern of cumulus cloud statistics.

    Perhaps most accurately, internal variability is that variability whose specific timing is not linked in any predictable way to external forcing, except if one has a computer model that is identical to the universe out to a radius of y light-years or whatever (imagine a laboratory that is another universe that is identical over some region of space-time), setting aside quantum uncertainty.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:48 AM

  811. Gavin

    Did some checking on the Pinatubo eruption, as you suggested (786).

    A 1997 USGS Survey Fact Sheet (Newhall et al.) estimates the impact:
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/1997/fs113-97/

    “Nearly 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide were injected into the stratosphere in Pinatubo’s 1991 eruptions, and dispersal of this gas cloud around the world caused global temperatures to drop temporarily (1991 through 1993) by about 1°F (0.5°C).”

    A 2003 NASA-funded study shows that the Pinatubo eruption caused winter warming over land areas in the high and middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere due to a strengthening of the Arctic Oscillation.
    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-99573125.html

    “For two years following the volcanic eruption, the Arctic Oscillation caused winter warming over land areas in the high and middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, despite a cooling effect from volcanic particles that blocked sunlight.”

    A 2008 study (Thomas et al.) uses a model to simulate the climate impact of the Pinatubo eruption.
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.org/9/757/2009/acp-9-757-2009.pdf

    “The model simulates the stratospheric temperature response to the volcanic aerosols correctly, but, the simulation of the dynamical response still remains a challenge. A recent study by (Stenchikov et al., 2006) showed that also 20th century simulations made for IPCC AR4 could not reproduce the surface winter anomalies after volcanic eruptions. Hence, further investigations are necessary to understand better the difficulties in modelling the surface warming pattern derived from the winters after major volcanic eruptions of the 20th century.”

    Interesting.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Dec 2009 @ 4:16 AM

  812. Isotopious, you seem to have a misunderstanding of what “unforced variability” is, but then it is not a term I much like in any case. I prefer to look at things in terms of short-term and long-term variations. There are many, many causes of short-term variation–volcanos, ENSO, perhaps cosmic ray fluctuations–but the thing about all of them is that they are short term. It’s not that they aren’t interesting. Climate scientists are studying them all the time.

    However on scales of multiple decades to millennia, these short-term variations are simply noise. On long timescales, the forcers are far fewer and we understand them pretty well. Changes in insolation (due to solar changes or orbital changes) and greenhouse forcing due to CO2 stand out in stark contrast here. Because there really isn’t anything that mimics these forcings on such long timescales, it is pretty easy to see their influence on climate. That’s why we are very sure of their effect–and coincidentally quite sure that we are causing the current warming epoch.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:16 AM

  813. Max, you’re not done yet. Next check out some of the citations and do some more searching on those authors and the term “Pinatubo”. I can think of one off the top of my head, but that would ruin the thrill of discovery.

    Comment by Deech56 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:32 AM

  814. Re 804 comletely fed up:

    “Can you recognise software IN ERROR when you see it?

    ‘Cos it isn’t there, kid.”

    That really doesn’t matter – what matters is that the software wouldn’t know if the DATA is in error, even in very obvious ways. Even if the homogenisation algorithms in this software are correct, if the raw data is corrupt (which at least one data value was) then the results will be wrong. So even if the algorithms are right, the output couuld be wrong and it’s that output that is relied on by an awful lot of research.

    None of that proves the science wrong overall, but it does alter the confidence levels that can be attributed to anything based on that data.

    Comment by Joe — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:00 AM

  815. > if the raw data is corrupt (which at least one data value was) then the results will be wrong.
    > …
    > it does alter the confidence levels that can be attributed to anything based on that data.

    But by how much? This isn’t a rhetorical question — it’s routine to make corrections and rerun analyses and comment on whether the change in the input data changes the confidence in the conclusions. Often enough it makes no difference at all.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:37 AM

  816. Joe, OK, what would you say the chances are that you would get 4 separate analyses using two very different types of data making mistakes sufficiently similar that they produce consistent trends? Wouldn’t a real skpetic think about that?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  817. Max (811),

    That NASA-funded study didn’t say that Pinatubo caused warming. It says that the Arctic Oscillation caused winter warming despite the cooling influence of Pinatubo.

    I think your confusion about this illustrates why Gavin asked you about attributing causes without using a model. How can you determine which phenomenon are responsible for specific outcomes in a dynamic system without using experiments? Observational data will include the influence of all the factors we know and do not know about.

    Comment by Paul Tonita — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:32 PM

  818. Re 816 Ray Ladbury:

    Yes, Ray, there is a big question there, which my statistical abilities are nowhere near strong enough to answer.

    It seems to me that all the “very different types of data” have to be calibrated against something. Otherwise they remain data about ice cores / mud / tree rings / whatever with no real meaning in terms of temperature.

    Now, the only thing that they can be calibrated against to have meaning for temperature is, err, temperature data. In this way, all the “independent” data that confirm the instrument record are dependent, at least to some extent, on the instrument record they’re confirming.

    So they’re not entirely independent, as we would be led to believe, any more than the various temperature sets datasets (generally from shared raw data) are.

    Given that the very nature of the science requires enormous extrapolations beyond the calibration period, a small error in the calibration data could, conceivably, produce quite meaningless results in the extrapolation itself.

    Comment by Joe — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:38 PM

  819. Has anyone got any comments on this article?:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html
    “Philipona 2004 finds that this is indeed the case – that downward longwave radiation is increasing due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Evans 2006 takes this analysis further. By analysing high resolution spectral data, the increase in downward radiation can be quantitatively attributed to each of several anthropogenic gases. The results lead the authors to conclude that “this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming.”

    So we have multiple lines of empirical evidence for CO2 warming. Lab tests show CO2 absorbing longwave radiation. Satellite measurements confirm that less longwave radiation is escaping to space. Surface measurements detect increased longwave radiation returning back to Earth at wavelengths matching increased CO2 warming. And of course the result of this energy imbalance is the accumulation of heat over the last 40 years.”

    Comment by JBowers — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:55 PM

  820. > they’re not entirely independent, as we would be led to believe

    Joe, there’s only one real world — behind all the different data sets.
    If you don’t have the statistical skill yourself, who are you going to rely on?

    http://www.google.com/search?q=correlation+data+sets+climate+paleo
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=correlation+data+sets+climate+paleo

    Look at how this kind of thing is handled.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  821. Lee A. Arnold (806), the taxes paid by E-M were Federal and State. My calculated tax rate comes from simply dividing the taxes by the sum of taxes and net income. It actually a bit more complex than that but the answer is a good estimate. The federal corporate tax rate is 34% for most with income over $75,000, 35% for over $18 million, with goofy variances of up to 39% in between; in any event we have the 2nd highest corporate rate of all industrialized countries. There are solid arguments of equity and economics for a very low, even zero, corporate tax rate.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  822. Dendrite wrote in 665:

    I have been shocked and appalled to read of the connections between the AGW deniers (I now feel justified in using the term) and other denial campaigns such as those associated with the health risks of tobacco and the environmental risks of acid rain. This may be old news to some in the US, but I suspect that many of us in Europe are not as clued up on these things and will be as outraged as I am.

    These connections:
    1) call into question the motives of the denialists, and
    2) call into question their scientific judgement and competence. At best, they have a history of backing the wrong side, at worst they have shown a total disregard for scientific evidence and the principles of scientific practice.

    To think that I have spent hours being preached at, in print and even on TV, about ‘standards’ and ‘how science should be conducted’ by people with this kind of pedigree.

    Thanks to Timothy Chase (posts 594, 602, 653) for the info.

    ‘Climategate’ has certainly been an eye-opener for me.

    I am glad you liked the posts. Sorry it took a while for me to get back to you.

    It took very little “research” on my part to uncover the 17 organizations I found that were involved in both the tobacco and AGW campaigns. Only a few minutes. But then of course so many people have already been digging into this for quite a while — and I am more or less just reporting their results and linking to it (i.e., SourceWatch.org). However, I also have some intimate familiarity with libertarianism — but that is another story.

    Anyway, I was Reading “Climate Cover-up” (a new book by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore) and happened on something that may be of considerable interest — from a memo regarding the proposed foundation of an organization to defend the tobacco industry called TASSC – The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. It seems that they thought that if TASSC was specifically devoted to just defending the tobacco industry and received all of its funding from Philip Morris they might be taken less seriously by the media. So to increase the sources of funding and make TASSC look more credible they started looking at other industries:

    As a starting point, we can identify key issues requiring sound scientific research and scientists that may have an interest in them. Some issues our European colleagues suggest include:

    * Global warming
    * Nuclear waste disposal
    * Diseases and pests in agricultural products for transborder trade
    * Biotechnology
    * Eco-labeling for EC products
    * Food processing and packaging

    pg 3 of Memorandum: Thoughts on Tassc Europe
    March 25, 1994
    To: Matt Winokur / From: Tom Hockaday, Neal Cohen
    http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2024233595-3602.html

    Actually there is a lot of information in there that would be of interest interest to people, how for example the tobacco industry knew that as long as the topic of tobacco were framed in scientific/medical terms the tobacco industry would be at a disadvantage. However, framing it in terms of “personal choice” (i.e., along libertarian lines) would work to its advantage.

    Likewise, they quote from the following paper:

    Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism CTTs are non-profit, public policy research and advocacy organisations that promote core conservative ideals such as ‘free enterprise’, ‘private property rights’, ‘limited government’ and ‘national defense’ (Schumaker et al. 1997). Unlike traditional think tanks that aimed to provide reasonably ‘objective’ policy analyses, CTTs are ‘advocacy’ organisations that unabashedly promote conservative goals (Weaver 1988; Fischer 1991). Launched in the 1970s in reaction to social activism and an expanding federal government, CTTs were an institutional answer from American business leaders who during this time ‘voiced fears of ‘creeping social-ism’” (Austin 2002, p. 79). The strategy was to create an activist counter-intelligentsia to conduct an effective ‘war of ideas’ against proponents of government programmes designed to ameliorate presumed social problems such as poverty (Blumenthal 1986; Fischer 1991). As Allen (1992, p. 90) puts it, CTTs ‘are professional social movement organisations that have been sponsored by economic elites as a means of influencing public opinion and the agendas of political elites’.

    Peter Jacques, Riley E. Dunlap and Mark Freeman (June 2008) The Organization of Denial: Conservative Think Tanks and Environmental Scepticism, Environmental Politics
    http://ucf.academia.edu/PeterJacques/Papers/71776/The-Organization-of-Denial–Conservative-Think-Tanks-and-Environmental-Scepticism

    … so basically what you are dealing with are advocacy groups that are concerned more with pushing economic interests and ideology – where the ideology serves both as a means to an end and as an end in itself.

    There is a great deal of research that went into “Climate Cover-up” — and much of the material it refers to is available on the web.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:34 PM

  823. JBowers wrote in 819:

    Has anyone got any comments on this article?:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html

    … then quotes in part,

    “Philipona 2004 finds that this is indeed the case – that downward longwave radiation is increasing due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Evans 2006 takes this analysis further. By analysing high resolution spectral data, the increase in downward radiation can be quantitatively attributed to each of several anthropogenic gases. The results lead the authors to conclude that this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming…”

    Lets see…

    Regarding the reduction in outgoing longwave (thermal) radiation and the CO2 signature, both Griggs 2004 and Chen 2007, the author of what you link to himself links to both papers. Regarding the downwelling thermal radiation (think heat lamp), he links directly to the Philipona 2004 and Evans 2006 can be found on the web.

    Comments…? Well, if you mean besides the fact that the papers are available on the web, I suppose with regard to bringing this to my attention, “Thank you!”

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:56 PM

  824. ““Can you recognise software IN ERROR when you see it?

    ‘Cos it isn’t there, kid.”

    That really doesn’t matter ”

    Your Jedi tricks don’t work on the internet, Joe.

    It does matter. It doesn’t matter HOW badly it’s written if it works. Just like you can edit a file by using “copy con” rather than, say, Notepad. If the right edit went in, the way you edited the file is irrelevant as to whether the file is correct.

    Same here: doesn’t matter if it uses GOTO statements up the wazoo if the code works. Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t bound check if the writer knows that the data given to it is within bounds.

    So have a look for how the code DOESN’T DO WHAT IT SHOULD (i.e. a BUG) and then you can go on about how it’s proof of any falsity in the output.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  825. manacker,

    Did any of the Pinatubo references you found, help you answer Gavin’s question (“how you would attribute the two year cooling event caused by Pinatubo without some kind of model”)? Because you haven’t, yet.

    Have you given any thought to my suggestion (at #787 or thereabouts) that you were mistakenly opposing climate model simulations to empirical observations, whereas the detection of anthropogenic climate change requires putting both together? Again, what is un-empirical about looking for consistency between observations and models?

    Comment by CM — 12 Dec 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  826. I ran across something else which may be of interest at DeSmog Blog — run by the same people who wrote the book “Climate Cover-Up”:

    The oily echo machine behind “climategate”
    3 December 09
    http://www.desmogblog.com/oily-echo-machine-behind-climategate

    They state, “Here’s a few of the groups I’m talking about and a very brief background on their previous activities, as well as funding sources: …” then lists the following organizations…

    Center for a Constructive Tomorrow, American Enterprise Institute, Media Research Center, Cato Institute, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, National Center for Policy Analysis, and Competitive Enterprise Institute,

    … gives some details regarding each one, then links to additional information.

    Now two of these organizations were not in the lists I gave of organizations involved in both the tobacco and AGW campaigns, so I decided to look them up.

    The SourceWatch on the National Center for Policy Analysis is here:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=National_Center_for_Policy_Analysis

    It does not mention tobacco, so I searched on the web for the name of the organization along with the word tobacco. There were hits and what was floating to the top was material on levying taxes on cigarettes.

    However, what caught my interest was another article at DeSmog Blog. It lists organizations and dollar amounts.

    Please see:


    National Center for Policy Analysis – $60,000

    Big Tobacco then, Global Warming Now
    14 November 07
    http://www.desmogblog.com/big-tobacco-then-global-warming-now

    They are from a Philip Morris draft document from 1995 titled “Public Policy Grants.” Actually if you go to the document itself:

    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/orw87d00

    … you will find more organizations listed, and after a cursory look I believe the good majority of organizations are in the list of denialist organizations in Exxon’s disinformation network — and weren’t on my list.

    You can check the list of organizations Exxon gives money to here:

    Organizations in Exxon Secrets Database
    http://www.exxonsecrets.com/html/listorganizations.php

    Same is true of the Philip Morris Public Policy Contributors (1998)
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/fwo83c00

    … which also lists organizations (a good many more) once you filter out the organizations devoted to agriculture.

    The Exxon Secrets database lets you map the individuals and organizations that are part of the Exxon disinformation network, who belongs to what, gives you quotes, dollar amounts, dates, pdfs of tax returns with lists of organizations and dollar amounts, etc..

    CFACT is the other organization that wasn’t on my lists of organizations in tobacco denial — but it got its start in propaganda/”public relations” devoted to nuclear power.

    Please see:

    Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Committee_for_a_Constructive_Tomorrow

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Dec 2009 @ 3:34 PM

  827. I have a challenge in the spirit of the Pinatubo study.

    What is the latest date, for the maximum temperature for any region in your country (state, providence, county, etc.) recorded as a high temperature?

    I have for the states; Danbury, Connecticut, 106F, July 15 1995.

    (Record Maximum (US): Greenland Ranch, California, 136F, July 10, 1913.)

    Comment by intrepid_wanders — 12 Dec 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  828. manacker says: 11 December 2009 at 3:30 AM

    “The globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature record is a bit of a mess, with all the possible UHI distortions, ex post facto corrections, variance adjustments, etc., but it’s what we have, so I cannot argue with that.”

    What do you find messy? Which particular “ex post facto” corrections do you have a problem with? Laconically dropping vague innuendo about the validity of records is not an effective argument. How about some references, hm?

    “It takes a bit of a “leap of faith” to discern a direct correlation between this [temperature] record and the record of atmospheric CO2, which began in the late 1950s, and has shown a steady increase.”

    Except, of course, that if you overlay the two signals you find an increasingly tight correlation, something that must be explained somehow. What’s your explanation? How about some cites?

    “One side effect of increased atmospheric CO2 seems to be an increase in the growth rate of certain crops and trees, which is probably not a bad thing.”

    Oh, so you actually agree that we’re modifying the environment with C02? Excellent, we’ve established that you’re in concurrence with one of the fundamental drivers of climate change. Your apparent faith in the selectively positive nature of the changes you say we’re driving is a bit disturbing, though. I doubt you really believe it.

    “Ocean acidification (technically a misnomer, since the ocean is alkaline and it is actually a miniscule reduction of oceanic alkalinity we are talking about…”

    I’m sure you can do better than quibble over the exact terminology used to describe a forced change in pH in the direction of acidity. A picayune and desperate tactic.

    “…some studies have shown that stabilizing feedback processes may have acted to reduce the ocean-alkalinity and carbon dioxide fluctuations in the geological past.”

    So in sum you agree that we’re changing the pH of the ocean, but you’ve found some shred of comfort in the literature to make this ok, at least for rhetorical purposes.

    Your final paragraph appears to be purely your own opinion, without support. Vapid, and you’ve done way better in the past.

    What about Arctic ice thinning/retreat? What about species population distribution changes? What about calendrical changes in botanical reproduction? I could go on, but I suspect you’ll take my point. As I suggested, you ought to make a comprehensive list of features and observations related to climate change and then reassess your position.

    Actually, come to think of it, I’ve noticed that your basic repertoire is rather narrow. More, it’s becoming relatively even more narrow as you are forced to ignore an steady increase in threads of evidence supporting AGW. You’re in a tough spot because you’re being forced to produce ever more contorted and perilously stretched arguments against the concept.

    Consider, there’s no real cost in just saying “Hey, guess what, I’ve defended my position to the best of my ability but this is becoming ridiculous and I don’t want to make myself look foolish.” It’s tough to admit failure, sure. Yet you’re sufficiently self-confident to use your real name in public, you’ve demonstrated an admirably dogged ability to defend an untenable position so nobody’s going to laugh at you if you fold. Quite the contrary.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 12 Dec 2009 @ 3:38 PM

  829. Thanks again to Timothy Chase (#822 and #826) for more important and deeply unsettling information on the links between the AGW denial movement and previous, discredited denial campaigns.

    I think that many people are not sufficiently aware of these connections, and I am amazed that they have not been given more attention. Is there any chance that any of the more neutral mainstream media organizations (perhaps in Europe) would give this stuff a good airing?

    Many people in Europe still believe that most deniers are serious, open-minded individuals who genuinely disagree with aspects of the science. A wider appreciation of the context of the denial movement might open many eyes to the true nature of the campaign (as it has mine).

    As an aside, it’s possible that the respectful and educative tone of (most of!) the responses from Gavin and co. at RC has contributed to the impression that the deniers are more serious about the science than many of them really are – a sort of innocence by association.

    Comment by Dendrite — 12 Dec 2009 @ 5:37 PM

  830. A shadow was cast over CRU and Nasa when the emails were published. The scientists have lost some of their integrity. There is no question about this.

    On the other hand, clearly the hack was illegal, and pubslihing the emails was unfair.

    What is one supposed to think about this? Well, I for one, think, that fair or not, this will place greater demands on hte scientific community. You are not in the clear anymore. From now on you will be considered both scientists and politicians, and not scientists only

    Comment by Joe — 12 Dec 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  831. Rod B #821,

    If you take all U.S. federal, state, and local taxes together, then the total tax rate is FLAT — from the top of the income distribution, all the way down to the top of the bottom quintile (i.e. individuals making about $18,500 a year.)

    You are correct to note that the U.S. has high corporate income tax rate — but most of them don’t pay the full rate, and some of them pay nothing at all.

    You can’t compare countries without incorporating their entire tax structures into your argument. And you have to compare even more things than that: the U.S. is unique for example due to the enormous extent of its markets, and its intellectual culture of technological innovation. I haven’t read any arguments for a low corporate rate that stand up to much scrutiny.

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 12 Dec 2009 @ 6:44 PM

  832. Re: 830
    “A shadow was cast over CRU and Nasa when the emails were published. The scientists have lost some of their integrity. There is no question about this.”

    Buzz, you’re wrong. There is definitely a question about any shadow or lost integrity. The denialist can continue to put all the spin they want on these e-mails, but anyone (without an anti-AGW or anti-scientist bias) willing to spend a little time understanding the context and subject matter being discussed will quickly realize the e-mails are nothing but a tempest in a teapot.

    “From now on you will be considered both scientists and politicians, and not scientists only”

    Are you including every single climate scientist in the world in your “you”? Or only those intellectually honest enough to express concern about the danger of AGW?

    Of course, it’s better to be a real scientist accused of politicizing things, than to be a political ideologue pretending to be a scientist (which is what makes up the vast majority of AGW “doubters”).

    Comment by Ken W — 12 Dec 2009 @ 6:46 PM

  833. Doug Bostrom

    You asked me of the temperature record:

    “Which particular “ex post facto” corrections do you have a problem with?”

    I have personally noticed two in the HadCRUT series (although I believe there may have been others): one was a “correction” of the annual record made in 2008, “tweaking” the 1998 through 2004 values downward, changing a 1998-2008 trend of slight cooling to one of slight warming. The original data are no longer on the site (I downloaded them before the correction in 2007). I did plot the initial and adjusted values for comparison: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3106/3089974324_634ce5dc43_b.jpg

    Another correction was made in summer 2008 to the first four months of 2008. This was a sharp upward adjustment averaging 0.08°C, which made the early 2008 cooling look less significant. I also plotted this with a comparison with the other three records, which all showed a much greater 2008 cooling than Hadley after the correction. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3074/2720385677_7af5ccfd90_b.jpg

    See my exchange with “Phil” plus other bloggers (including Steve McIntyre) on how and why the Hadley record was adjusted (July 20-31). Many possible reasons were mentioned, but the cause for the adjustment was not identified.
    http://climateaudit.org/2008/04/06/rewriting-history-time-and-time-again/#more-2964

    (The lead article above “Rewriting History, Time and Again” by John Goetz refers to the GISS record.) The article below points to similar “ex post facto” adjustments in the NASA record since 2000; these all apparently cause the warming to look more extreme: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/05/goddard_nasa_thermometer/print.html

    Another CA report points out:
    http://climateaudit.org/2008/02/09/how-much-estimation-is-too-much-estimation/#more-2703

    (1) the number of stations / records has been dropping dramatically in recent years and (2) with that drop the quality of the record-keeping has also dropped dramatically because we are seeing a corresponding rise in estimated annual temperatures and/or insufficient data to calculate an annual temperature. Using this data, GISS is showing that the temperature anomaly in recent years is the highest recorded in the historical record.

    There is more, but that should do it.

    As far as the temperature correlation with atmospheric CO2, I would suggest you go to the CO2 record according to Mauna Loa (after 1958) and IPCC (from ice core data, prior to 1958) as well as the HadCRUT temperature record, to convince yourself that the correlation is weak, making the case for causation quite dicey.

    I explained to you already why our ability to even measure global ocean pH is limited, why the measured changes have been miniscule and why studies of past periods show that natural processes tend to balance out changes.

    But hey, Doug, it is not up to me to disprove your premise that AGW is (a) caused largely by human CO2 emissions and (b) represents a serious potential threat.

    It is up to you to provide empirical data based on actual physical observations, which support your premise. And so far you have only provided rhetoric.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:11 PM

  834. CM (825)

    The Pinatubo case showed that climate models were able to simulate the observed 2-year cooling but could not simulate the observed Arctic warming that resulted indirectly from the Pinatubo eruption.

    I have nothing against climate models, CM, as long as one realizes that they are just multi-million dollar upgrades of the slide rules of bygone days.

    And as the Pinatubo example showed, they can do some things (if fed the correct input data) but cannot yet do others, since our climate is extremely complex and the models are still too rudimentary.

    Max

    [Response: You've completely misunderstood my question. I want you to tell me how you would be convinced that Pinatubo caused the two year cooling that was seen without using a model of some sort. I'm well aware that the models do a good job on this already (and check out Shindell et al (2004)) . - gavin]

    Comment by manacker — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:22 PM

  835. Paul Tonita (817)

    I am not going to get into a “cause and effect” discussion with you on the Arctic warming that followed the Pinatubo eruption, but the report states:

    A recent NASA-funded study has linked the 1991 eruption of the Mount Pinatubo to a strengthening of a climate pattern called the Arctic Oscillation.

    Gavin simply asked me to look at the value of climate models in being able to simulate actually observed events, such as the cooling that ensued after Pinatubo, which I have done.

    And, as I have pointed out, I have no objection to climate models, per se, as long as one recognizes their limitations.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:35 PM

  836. Re manacker (quotations by way of Doug Bostrom)

    “One side effect of increased atmospheric CO2 seems to be an increase in the growth rate of certain crops and trees, which is probably not a bad thing.”

    How can you know this without a model/theory? Otherwise you’ve just got changes in CO2, some changes in plant growth, and no reason to connect them besides correlation.

    “…some studies have shown that stabilizing feedback processes may have acted to reduce the ocean-alkalinity and carbon dioxide fluctuations in the geological past.”

    It takes time for dissolution of carbonate minerals, and more time for ion fluxes from chemical weathering of various silicate minerals, to buffer such pH changes, so a quick dump of CO2 into the atmosphere-ocean can cause a larger change in pH, even though it will eventually be buffered.

    Anyway, how would you know any of this without some model/theory?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:47 PM

  837. > http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html
    Thanks for the reminder; that’s gotten better since I last looked at it, pulling together a lot of references and summarizing quite clearly.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 8:55 PM

  838. Joe @818 says “Now, the only thing that they can be calibrated against to have meaning for temperature is, err, temperature data. In this way, all the “independent” data that confirm the instrument record are dependent, at least to some extent, on the instrument record they’re confirming.”

    Uh, Joe, how are adjustments made from one satellite instrument to another in any way correlated to adjustments made to terrestrial temperature data series? It would seem to me that you are questioning the very ability of scientists to measure temperature at all–and we know that is a spurious argument. You seem to be contending that somehow, some way, 4 separate analyses of very different data sets all are wrong and still manage to get the same trend. Now just how likely do you think that is? Have you ever done any data analysis yourself? Because if you have you ought to know better.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:14 PM

  839. Joe @830 says “You are not in the clear anymore. From now on you will be considered both scientists and politicians, and not scientists only”

    Uh Dude, the only folks who think this will be those ignoramuses who had and still have no idea how science works. The emails reveal zero evidence of significant wrongdoing–peevishness, yes, pettiness, sometimes and perhaps even ill considered counsel, but no suggestion (at least to anyone not already in the anti-science camp) of wrongdoing. Scientists are human. Big news there, huh? However, science is designed to work despite human frailties, and only an absolute moron would dispute its success.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:32 PM

  840. Dendrite wrote in 829:

    Thanks again to Timothy Chase (#822 and #826) for more important and deeply unsettling information on the links between the AGW denial movement and previous, discredited denial campaigns.

    I think that many people are not sufficiently aware of these connections, and I am amazed that they have not been given more attention. Is there any chance that any of the more neutral mainstream media organizations (perhaps in Europe) would give this stuff a good airing?

    I think Europe might stand the best chance, currently.

    I believe the following might help us to understand why the media hasn’t been that interested in the details regarding the “think tanks” in North America (both the US and Canada). It is from a speech by Tom Harris (a Canadian) delivered at a strategy session at “2008 International Climate Science Coalition” as quoted on pg. 58 of the paperback edition of “Climate Cover-Up”, and I have bolded where I believe the most relevant section begins:

    We need regular high-impact media coverage of the findings of leading scientists–not just one or two publications, but we need to have hundreds all over the world. We need to have a high degree of information sharing and cooperation betweeen groups, so that when [the well-known New Zealand climate change denier] Vincent Gray, for example, has an article published in New Zealnad, we can take the same piece and we can submit it to newspapers all over North America and Europe.

    Then we have a nicely well-coordinated response, where letters to the editor and phone calls are made. “Congratulations on publishing that article!” You know, it’s interesting because I’ve had many of my articles opposed so strongly, by environmentalists through phone calls and letters to the editor, that they just simply dry up, they just won’t publish us again. So this does have feedback, I mean, these are people that run these newspapers, and they’re scared, and impressed and encouraged, depending on the feedback they get.

    We have to have grassroots organizations doing exactly that kind of thing: coordinated local activism.

    And finally, as I said, we need unbiased polling and good press coverage.

    [beginning at 15:50 in the mp3]
    http://www.heartland.org/bin/media/newyork08/audio/Monday/harris.mp3

    Now I have bolded a section that I believe has been part of the strategy in the United States for a while — which explains why the media over here has tended to treat these organizations with kit gloves: the news organizations know that such an investigation would be unpopular with the readers that are writing in, and that on the otherhand the propaganda being put out by the “think tanks” is popular. If they deal with these issues honestly they will be accused of liberal bias.

    But the pressure itself isn’t genuine grass roots. It is the product of industry seeding, nurturing and financing organizations that are committed to the views that industry finds useful. And now at an international conference devoted to AGW denialism and cooperation between denialist organizations across the globe, one of our denialists has recommended applying the same strategy in other countries.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:38 PM

  841. Oh, well.

    Guilt by association is valid only if guilt is clear. That the masses in their orgasmic frenzy support some hypothesis does not make it valid. There is fairly good evidence that tobacco can be a factor in lung cancer. There are also indications that it affects other health issues like coughing spasms, maybe emphysema, and other things. There is zero evidence, other than bellowing from the mountaintop, that it is indicated in all of and the degree of the maladies that spring up and grow ala John Lovett’s bit. Have they got to a million US deaths a year directly caused by tobacco yet? If not they must be getting tired. In any case, the point at hand is that just because someone refutes the totality of the mass circle jerk associated with tobacco doesn’t mean he/she is incompetent to weigh in on AGW.

    This attack on the dogma will certainly bring on the rabid hounds (or the squealing pigs — choose your metaphor)…

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:47 PM

  842. Doug Bostrom (828) says in part, “…I’m sure you can do better than quibble over the exact terminology used to describe a forced change in pH in the direction of acidity. A picayune and desperate tactic.”

    I guess it’s not fair holding you (all?) to precise terminology since your heart must be in the right place, scientific rules not withstanding.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:56 PM

  843. Lee A. Arnold (831), all corporations pay exactly the same rate of income tax on the same realized income, which is what income tax is designed to do. True, corps with no realized income pay no income tax. How much tax should they pay on their loss? How about an individual who has no reportable income?

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:06 PM

  844. Rod B (#842) admits that there’s “fairly good evidence that tobacco can be a factor in lung cancer” as a prelude to playing apologist for tobacco denialists.

    When such people are called to account, Rod calls it a “mass circle jerk.”

    Got shame?

    Comment by tamino — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:18 AM

  845. Rod B says 12 December 2009 at 10:56 PM:

    I’m glad you see my point.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Dec 2009 @ 2:41 AM

  846. manacker says:2 December 2009 at 7:11 PM

    In support of your “ex post facto” theory, you cite a shambling string of putative interlocking, coordinated misconduct by researchers widely separated in space and time, all perceived by you but amazingly enough unnoticed by the entire rather enormous population of researchers actually engaged in the field. Long story short, you present the archetypal appearance of a crank.

    Especially weird is “I have personally noticed two [“ex post facto” corrections] in the HadCRUT series (although I believe there may have been others)…”

    You “believe” there might be others? Why? How would you “believe” this without actually being able to cite cases?

    Meanwhile, even if your “ex post facto” theory was not crazy on its evidentiary face, why would I visit any of the links you mention, when you just recently sent me scurrying to view the thousands of hits on the “MAP” you imagined you found, although the “MAP” is a crude fiction and was only intended as a joke? Especially, why would I travel to your fellow conspiracy theorist and crank McIntyre’s site?

    “There is more, but that should do it.”

    I’ll say. What you say has definitely shifted my perception of you away from that of somebody performing cynical cognitive vandalism and more in the direction of a someone less in control of himself.

    “I explained to you already why our ability to even measure global ocean pH is limited, why the measured changes have been miniscule and why studies of past periods show that natural processes tend to balance out changes.”

    Actually, you didn’t, though in you own mind perhaps you think you did. Where did you explain that our ability to measure global pH is limited? How do you justify the generality that “natural processes tend to balance out changes” in pH?

    “It is up to you to provide empirical data based on actual physical observations, which support your premise.”

    Hey, don’t take it personally. It’s not -my- premise, far from it. It’s a whole framework of mutually supportive theory and observation spanning an astounding number of disciplines, all pointing in the same general direction. Nothing to do with me at all, Max, or you. You might think you’re playing some important role here, but you’re not. It’s worth thinking hard about to what purpose you’re sacrificing your dignity by striving so.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Dec 2009 @ 3:25 AM

  847. Ken W@832 “Of course, it’s better to be a real scientist accused of politicizing things, than to be a political ideologue pretending to be a scientist (which is what makes up the vast majority of AGW “doubters”).”

    Whatever you want.. But you completely missed the point. There is a great deal of difference between being asked to spend money against climate change by

    1- scientists w/o political agenda
    2- scientists with political agenda

    Not everyone wants to be a “useful idiot” for your purposes.

    I do not categorize myself either denialist or alarmist. Your thinking is too simple. There is more variation in people’s attitudes toward climate change than you realize.

    Comment by Joe — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:10 AM

  848. Apologies if this is off-topic.

    To debate with the deniers is like fighting a Hydra – cut off one head, and another three pop up somewhere else in the media. We need a battlefield where we can meet and defeat them face to face. They have now presented us with such a battlefield.

    On December 9th the “Climate Realist” website carries a letter to Ban Ki Moon, with a challenge to us, and the usual list of signatories.
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4603&linkbox=true

    They will have given this letter their best shot, presenting their full and definitive case, so we should make an effort to rebut all their points fully, and put it out to the media.

    Specifically, they challenge supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change to demonstrate that:

    “1 Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries;

    2 Humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate;

    3 Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate;

    4 Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities;

    5 The incidence of malaria is increasing due to recent climate changes;

    6 Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past;

    7 Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in Polar Regions , is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions;

    8 Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes;

    9 Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency;

    10 Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of surface temperature trends.

    They add that
    It is not the responsibility of ‘climate realist’ scientists to prove that dangerous human-caused climate change is not happening. Rather, it is those who propose that it is, and promote the allocation of massive investments to solve the supposed ‘problem’, who have the obligation to convincingly demonstrate that recent climate change is not of mostly natural origin and, if we do nothing, catastrophic change will ensue. To date, this they have utterly failed to do so”.

    On this last point they are wrong, since the projected damages from climate change are so serious that there is a clear onus on the business as usual lobby, if their case is scientific, to present their case in a way that is capable of refutation.

    With the other points, I will be blogging my own response as a scientifically – trained Green party member, but there is a need for the community of climate scientists to issue an authoritative and definitive rebuttal that can be a standard reference point for media commentators on the ongoing debate.

    Comment by Richard Lawson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:46 AM

  849. Dendrite (#829),

    This is new to you because the mainstream media is not neutral. The mainstream media is owned by the same people who own Exxon-Mobil or Philip Morris. How far are you willing to follow the money trail?

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:49 AM

  850. Ray,

    on your (681)

    [CO2 was identified as a greenhouse gas in 1824 by Joseph Fourier. Global warming due to anthropogenic CO2 has been predicted at various times going back to around the turn of the last Century (Svante Arhennius).

    Warming was observed unmistakably from 1975 through the present, thus confirming the prediction. We have both correlation AND a mechanism, not to mention that the warming has an unmistakable greenhouse signature (e.g. simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling).]

    Yes, there are correlated recent warming and rising CO2 trends which for now are not easily accounted for except by majority-view AGW. Most physical processes supporting the underlying statements such as the localized Greenhouse effect you’ve described are well-understood from previous critical experimentation in labs, isolated field tests, etc. What cannot be easily assumed is that this orthodox schema derived from aggregations of coupled observations and modelled behaviors, however nicely summed up as offering a holistic case for AGW, can substitute for a decisive holistic experimental test of the same. Lamentably so, but there it is.

    Comment by JLS — 13 Dec 2009 @ 6:18 AM

  851. manacker,

    > climate models … are just multi-million dollar upgrades of the
    > slide rules of bygone days.

    No, the models are not, the computers they run on are (sort of). Climate models are representations of the climate system. Slide rules are calculation aids.

    Anyway, my question was not what you “have against” models, it was about your misrepresentation of the roles played by models and observations in the attribution of climate change to man-made emissions. Just as Gavin’s question was not the one you chose to answer, but about how attribution would be at all possible without comparing observations with a model of some sort. Are you evading the questions, or don’t you understand them?

    (PS. Thanks to Heinlein, I grew up thinking of slide rules as essential kit, especially for when you’re kidnapped by bug-eyed space aliens, but I’m too young to have ever actually used one.)

    Comment by CM — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:29 AM

  852. JLS says: 13 December 2009 at 6:18 AM
    “Most physical processes supporting the underlying statements such as the localized Greenhouse effect you’ve described are well-understood from previous critical experimentation in labs, isolated field tests, etc. What cannot be easily assumed is that this orthodox schema derived from aggregations of coupled observations and modelled behaviors, however nicely summed up as offering a holistic case for AGW, can substitute for a decisive holistic experimental test of the same. Lamentably so, but there it is.”

    This may be worth a read?:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html
    >>”Measurements of downward longwave radiation

    What happens to longwave radiation that gets absorbed by greenhouse gases? The energy heats the atmosphere which in turn re-radiates longwave radiation. This re-radiated energy goes in all directions. Some of it makes its way back to the surface of the earth. Hence we expect to find increasing downward longwave radiation as CO2 levels increase.

    Philipona 2004 finds that this is indeed the case – that downward longwave radiation is increasing due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Evans 2006 takes this analysis further. By analysing high resolution spectral data, the increase in downward radiation can be quantitatively attributed to each of several anthropogenic gases. The results lead the authors to conclude that “this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming.”

    So we have multiple lines of empirical evidence for CO2 warming. Lab tests show CO2 absorbing longwave radiation. Satellite measurements confirm that less longwave radiation is escaping to space. Surface measurements detect increased longwave radiation returning back to Earth at wavelengths matching increased CO2 warming. And of course the result of this energy imbalance is the accumulation of heat over the last 40 years.”<<

    Comment by JBowers — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:40 AM

  853. Richard Lawson, Re: “Copenhagen Climate Challenge” 10 demands for proof,
    note that point 5 (malaria) is a bit of a strawman. The IPCC (AR4 WG2 section 8.2.8.2) discusses various regional studies and draws no such general conclusion. Nor is it clear why anyone needs to prove this very specific point in order to justify action against global warming.

    Comment by CM — 13 Dec 2009 @ 8:35 AM

  854. JBowers,

    Thanks for posting that! I’ve just looked over the Evans and Puckrin 2006 poster, and it is a stunning piece of work. There’s our smoking gun for AGW–as if we needed another one!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:00 AM

  855. Rod B: The federal corporate tax rate is 34% for most with income over $75,000, 35% for over $18 million, with goofy variances of up to 39% in between; in any event we have the 2nd highest corporate rate of all industrialized countries. There are solid arguments of equity and economics for a very low, even zero, corporate tax rate.

    BPL: That’s the nominal rate. The effective rate is way, WAY under that, due to the vast panoply of tax breaks corporations can qualify for for this, that and the other thing. And, BTW, multiple regression analysis by myself and others show that the economy responds positively to HIGHER corporate income taxes. They’ve been calling that “cointerintuitive” since the ’70s, but the same result keeps coming up.

    The actual collections declined from a peak of 6% of GDP in the early ’50s to about 1.5% in 2003. The chart against time is stunning:

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1321

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:05 AM

  856. Max: go to the CO2 record according to Mauna Loa (after 1958) and IPCC (from ice core data, prior to 1958) as well as the HadCRUT temperature record, to convince yourself that the correlation is weak,

    BPL: Not true.

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  857. @ BPL. Glad to be of help ;) I’ve been referring to your website as well, so thank you also.

    Comment by JBowers — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:18 AM

  858. Rod B (#841) says:
    ‘just because someone refutes the totality of the mass circle jerk associated with tobacco doesn’t mean he/she is incompetent to weigh in on AGW.’

    I’m not a climate scientist, but epidemiological research into the health risks of tobacco is right up my street. The evidence is absolutely overwhelming. As in any area of science, new data are continually emerging and the details change over time. However, the basics are very well established. There is no ‘mass circle jerk’ – just a steady accumulation of scientific evidence that demands a response.

    In fact, I’d say that anyone who rejects the mass of evidence on tobacco probably is incompetent to weigh in on AGW.
    Especially if they’ve got links with the tobacco industry.

    Comment by Dendrite — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:45 AM

  859. Ray Ladbury wrote in 681:

    CO2 was identified as a greenhouse gas in 1824 by Joseph Fourier.

    Global warming due to anthropogenic CO2 has been predicted at various times going back to around the turn of the last Century (Svante Arhennius).

    Warming was observed unmistakably from 1975 through the present, thus confirming the prediction. We have both correlation AND a mechanism, not to mention that the warming has an unmistakable greenhouse signature (e.g. simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling).

    JLS responded in 850 four days later:

    Yes, there are correlated recent warming and rising CO2 trends which for now are not easily accounted for except by majority-view AGW. Most physical processes supporting the underlying statements such as the localized Greenhouse effect you’ve described are well-understood from previous critical experimentation in labs, isolated field tests, etc. What cannot be easily assumed is that this orthodox schema derived from aggregations of coupled observations and modelled behaviors, however nicely summed up as offering a holistic case for AGW, can substitute for a decisive holistic experimental test of the same. Lamentably so, but there it is.

    Cummulative nature of scientific knowledge, JLS.

    For example, when making measurements of starlight being bent by the gravitational field of the sun it isn’t up to scientists to test the principles of optics as they apply to the instruments they are using. Science could never move forward if they did.

    Likewise, Newton’s gravitational theory stands in for and economically summarizes a vast body of experimentation in weak gravitational fields. As such we are able to apply a principle of correspondence in which it is not necessary to test Einstein’s gravitational theory under the conditions under which we already know Newton’s gravitational theory applies. It is only necessary to mathematically demonstrate that Einstein’s gravitational theory arrive at the same results as Newton’s over the domain over which we already know Newton’s theory applies.

    Same thing with quantum mechanics and classical mechanics. Same thing with special relativity and classical mechanics.

    The physical principles that climatology is based upon a