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  1. Good post. Hopefully, people might be able to actually stick to this topic, this time.

    Comment by John Mashey — 26 May 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  2. I haven’t read further, but have an early question. While statistics can’t prove/disprove attribution, does it never-the-less provide supporting clues one way or the other? If so to what degree of credibility? Barton Paul Levenson among others has shown considerable work here; doesn’t it have some value more than zero?

    Comment by Rod B — 26 May 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  3. This is a very good blog article. Indeed, since you are outside of the lab and with all of the variables mentioned, can anything really be said with 90% confidence, or stated as “very very likely”?

    [Response: It depends on the size of the signal compared to the noise, and to the distinctiveness of the fingerprint. These things can be characterised, and so, yes, you can make Bayesian statements about the likelihood. - gavin]

    How is inertia of the sytem accounted for in these models? Only as negative feedbacks? I.E. I conced that we have perhaps reached the second blade on the “stick” with the last few months temps, but still looking at IPCC AR4 model scenario A1B(21) model runs which are based on current emissions and approaches, I don’t see how these can not already be discounted. I don’t want to rehash the Ten-year no temp change stuff, but it is assumed that there is a baseline/human caused temp change of 0.07 deg C per decade inherent in our last century temp record. The IPCC AR$ A1B models show that this trend will increase by 100% up to 700% in order to reach low- and high-end model predictions by the 2090-2100 decade. O.K. – but with each decade of “inertia” as we may(?) characterize the last one 2000-2010 (?) it will take an enormous frog-leap to get back on track with the models. This is where perhaps “suspension of belief” takes place, as what we would need to witness in the climate would be much more drastic/frightening than anything imagined over such a short period of time, but alas more and more improbable from a physical stance. You may believe this can happen. But i’m not so sure – and I don’t think you could place a confidence of anywhere over 50% of even reaching the low-end model predicitons (of 100% increase in the inherent decadal temp change).

    [Response: Your characterisation of the model trends over the last ten years is not accurate. - gavin]

    Comment by thomas hine — 26 May 2010 @ 10:26 AM

  4. Thanks, Gavin. Unfortunately, those that think “models, shmodels” will not change their minds but perhaps those with an open mind can learn from the discussion. I will now add this as a link on my Climate Models & Accuracy page. :)

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 26 May 2010 @ 10:27 AM

  5. Gavin, well explained from my perspective.

    Comment by Rod B — 26 May 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  6. John Mashey, dream on! ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 26 May 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  7. Well Gavin understood.

    Thanks.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 May 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  8. Thanks Gavin for presenting superb analysis of science. It is a brave and necessary lecture to give in the middle of a crisis. Although we brandish science and engineering tools, we face the political reality of feeble and failed political will. Our political and economic models of living no longer sync up with the science models.

    As you say, models must be predictive. So once we introduce anthropogenesis, then we have to examine the social traits, scientific capacity and history of human behavior – and all the emotional and political interactions with our environment. Quite a messy calculation. When we feel painful catastrophic events directly predicted – such as continued sea level rise, heat waves, etc – then our predictions prove correct for the human model. So combine the human unwillingness to change and our infinite capacity for stupidity (Einstein) it is easy to hypothesize that AWG will be so excessive as to doom our species. The operation a success, the patient dies. I don’t want to reach that conclusion. Unfortunately, all our denials and contorted science cannot seem to break such a consideration.

    I must call attention to the great new book “Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes and Conway. Just received it: http://www.amazon.com/Merchants-Doubt-Handful-Scientists-Obscured/dp/1596916109/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274887404&sr=1-1

    Comment by richard pauli — 26 May 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  9. Gavin

    I’ve been on a few roller coasters and this one was one of the best. You can actually feel the ratcheting of the chain as you go up the hill, the level off with the panoramic views and the swooping feel as you drop into the next reality of the drop and subsequent turns. . . then up the again, another high hill and plateau, more drops and fast turns. Then at the end, the brakes get hold of the car and you feel it bringing you to a stop just as you hit the GCM’s, whew.

    Great ride!!!


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 May 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  10. A note about the lab work, if you’ve read Feynman’s (second?) autobiography “Surely you’re joking, Mr Feynman”, there’s the story about how he did an experiment that shows what rats used to remember routes around a maze.

    Without that, your experiment could be checking how well rats remembered the last trip, not what you think you’re testing.

    Even labs have their sources of “noise”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 May 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  11. Cross posted because it was in response to another thread comment, but places well here:

    “It isn’t a question of “natural vs anthropogenic”, it’s a question of “how much” of each, i.e., it’s an attribution problem ”

    I wonder since attribution often gets used as an absolute (X is attributed to Y, therefore X was caused solely by Y), could we use “apportioned” instead?

    It’s pretty hard to turn that into an absolute.

    Or at least assert clearly that this attribution is an apportioning of effects. Something like that.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 May 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  12. Gavin linked above to Ch. 9 of the fourth IPCC report and to the two Santer et al papers as basic reading (agreed!). The second paper says: “… an anthropogenic water vapor fingerprint …. is both robust to current model uncertainties and dissimilar to the dominant noise patterns.”

    That’s the kind of foundation needed to begin formal attribution, I think?

    In the last Report Summary for Policymakers, table SPM2 summarized then recent trends; footnote “f” there flags a few of those as “…. Attribution for these phenomena based on expert judgement rather than formal attribution studies.” (This is a summary table in a summary document–each item is extensively discussed in the actual Report.)

    In which areas is attribution improved since the last Report? What issues are new for which attribution will be discussed? (There are some answers on this published already.)
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+attribution+AR5

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  13. Rod B., The statistics come in when you consider errors, and your error model tells you how likely you are to be wrong.

    Thomas Hine,
    You most certainly can attribute cause with 90-95% or even 99.9% confidence. It all depends on how strong the signature of the cause is in the evidence and how the errors make things fuzzy. CO2, as a well mixed, long-lived greenhouse gas, sticks out like a sore thumb.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 May 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  14. PS, Gavin, the AR5 outline here (brief 2 pages) separates the three Working Groups; that might be helpful here. I’m assuming your topic here is about WG1 issues primarily? These three get very muddled by people who don’t understand the difference between WG1, 2, and 3:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/ar5-leaflet.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  15. What defindes a robust finger print is not very specific here. Would have been nice to have some more specifics on that instead of just general ideas and theory.

    Comment by David Davidovics — 26 May 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  16. great post Gavin.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 26 May 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  17. Gavin, I have a question about factors thought to be playing a role in the current warming resurgence of the past 4 to 12 months.

    The two factors that are most cited are the moderate El Nino, now waning, and the tardy but now building solar cycle 24.

    I’m wondering about a possible third factor: a significant decrease in industrial aerosols due to the prolonged global recession, which would mean a drop in aerosol damping, unmasking part of the greenhouse forcing that was there all along, similar to what happened after clean air legislation came into force in the 1970s, or to what happened as stratospheric aerosols from Pinatubo declined naturally.

    Is anyone looking at this as a serious factor?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 26 May 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  18. Marvelous “exploded view” of attribution. Huzzah!

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 May 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  19. Once again, thanks for an illuminating post!

    I’ve bookmarked the Hansen ’92 abstract–BPL might want that one for his “model predictions” collection, if it’s not already in there.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 May 2010 @ 12:59 PM

  20. What an excellent and concise summary of many aspects also applied in other than climate sciences. Thank you.

    Comment by jyyh — 26 May 2010 @ 1:01 PM

  21. Okay, you inspired me to finish my attribution page:

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

    As always, if anyone finds a relevant mistake, please let me know and I will clean it up if applicable.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 May 2010 @ 1:27 PM

  22. In the real world we attribute singular events all the time – in court cases for instance – and so we do have practical experience of this.

    I am glad that you brought up this argument because I have been thinking about it for a long time. I heard a lawyer discussion the O.J. Simpson trial – before the verdict – say that “circumstantial” cases were often more powerful than those based on direct testimony by witnesses. That’s because the prosecuter constructs a logical narrative that ties together the bits of evidence into a coherent whole that is convincing and probable.

    This is certainly a good way to understand the world, at least some of the time, but it seems that in your post it simply gets you off the hook. This is because of the nature of your argument about models and prosecutorial narratives.

    The difference between what goes on in a court and what goes on in science, I believe, is that in court, we all start from a belief that we basically understand the ‘system.’ We understand how the minds of people work [not guilty by reason of insanity is a way out here...] what motivates them, how they act, and the basic limits imposed on them by the plain facts of reality, e.g., you can’t be in two places at once. You can try to argue that the same exists in science, e.g. we all accept Newton’s laws, the Conservation of Matter, etc. etc., but I don’t think that is at all analogous.

    AGW posits small and precisely calibrated changes as the result of very complex interactions. The ‘narrative’ tries to tie up the mounds of circumstantial evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis into an explanation that presents logical necessity. That is, it tries to show that not only are the supposed bits of evidence [some are controversial in themselves] consistent with the hypothesis, but that that they demonstrate the superior plausibility of the hypothesis.

    Unfortunately, given the scale of the system, and the sensitivity of it, we cannot claim to have the same understanding of Nature as we claim for human motivation. Murder trials are not very abstract. White collar prosecutions are, and herein lies their weakness… Your analogy is pretty weak.

    This is why the endless statements about consilience, convergence, etc. leave me cold. The degree to which models have predicted events that came to pass is always open to discussion – the tests are never yes/no, on/off. They don’t pass muster as predictive tools, only as aids to understanding system dynamics.

    Comment by Lichanos — 26 May 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  23. Gavin great post. Thanks for clearing up some confusion.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 May 2010 @ 1:32 PM

  24. #17 Jim Eager

    I am also curious about that. I asked a few friends about it at the very beginning of the event back in late 2008.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/greenhouse-gases/globalco2emission.png/view

    An quantifiable reduction in aerosols could add to attribution confirmation.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 May 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  25. Lichanos:

    Start here: Spencer Weart’s Discovery of Global Warming.

    Once you’ve digested Weart’s enjoyable, information-packed and duly critical narrative you’ll better be able to perceive the difference between televised helicopter chases and climate research.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 May 2010 @ 1:58 PM

  26. Gavin:

    As great as your post is, I’m troubled by a few of your comments – and what they probably ‘hide’:

    One of the biggest problems with the ‘inappropriate’ influence of good science on public policy, is the general lack of appreciation that, at best, science can only provide increasing confidence in ‘models’ – but never ‘absolute’ confidence.

    This is compounded by the large MINORITY of scientist who are “Platonists” – who believe that science can achieve absolute truths about reality – like that of
    much of mathematics (despite Godel); and by the very poor distinction that’s made, in the education of the public, between the “truths’ of deductive reason vs inductive reason.

    So when careful scientist couch conclusions with weasel words, many simply dismiss them as spineless dweebs, who deserve little attention!

    When you seem to ‘disparage’ statistics – especially as if Bayesian statistics is all there is – you SEEM to imply that things like confidence intervals are unnecessary baggage for scientific prediction/projection – even though that certainly misrepresents your position ;-)

    Science/Statistics still lack robust procedures for combining joint levels of confidence in multiple, only slightly related data sets – to provide measures of increased confidence. So the joint judgement of those who best understand the data sets (experts) presently must serve as our ‘best’ measure for guiding public policy.

    This lesson is poorly understood by the public and most of their leaders.

    Unfortunately, by default, you haven’t helped clarify this issue with this post.

    [Response: I don't see how I am disparaging statistics and dismissing confidence intervals simply by pointing out that putting a linear trend through some data does not - in itself - prove that the trend is caused by something. The pattern matching that attribution is based on obviously involves statistics *in combination* with physically plausible models. - gavin]

    Comment by Len Ornstein — 26 May 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  27. @Doug Bostrom:

    Thanks for the pointer, Doug, and I won’t take it amiss that you obviously assume I am brain dead. I have already read a good deal of Weart’s book, and I think he does a marvelous job of presenting the history of the scientific investigation of AGW. He is also very dismissive of critiques of the theory, tending to deal with them by saying, “this was resolved,” or “experts now agree…” Similarly, he has very strange views on the IPCC, which, for reasons he doesn’t make clear, he seems to regard as almost messianic in its ability to resolve nagging issues of attribution.

    Comment by Lichanos — 26 May 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  28. #22–Maybe it’s just my lack of street smarts, but I actually don’t agree that our understanding of human motivation is better than our understanding of Nature. I’d argue that human motivations are often not obviously subject to “forcing” and seem to display very large “internal variability.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 May 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  29. OMG, CFU (#11) and I are in complete agreement!

    There is hope for peace in our time.

    :)

    Comment by Frank Giger — 26 May 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  30. #15

    “Would have been nice to have some more specifics on that instead of just general ideas and theory.”

    That’s what the scientific literature is all about.
    Dig into it and you’ll find all the specifics you could possible want!
    (You might start with the three references Gavin gave.)

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 26 May 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  31. @28 Kevin McKinney:

    Well, when you are put on a jury, the assumption is that you can think reasonably, and that reasonable people know why people do things, what is a likely motivation for a crime, etc. If a prosecuter tries to convict you of murder, saying you were enraged because your lottery ticket didn’t win, that would be a tough sell, right?

    I don’t think law functions the way science does, the standards of proof are way different, the assumptions about the need for control, to which Gavin alludes, are not at all alike. That was my point.

    Comment by Lichanos — 26 May 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  32. Lichanos says: 26 May 2010 at 2:18 PM

    I don’t think you’re brain dead, not at all since you’re not bad with writing, but your perception of slant or bias in Weart’s writing leads me to believe you’ve bringing a bias of your own that’s not helping you. But we can’t resolve that here so I’ll drop it since otherwise I’ll help commit yet another thread to pointless destruction. Last word goes to you.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 May 2010 @ 2:36 PM

  33. There are 3 kinds of models: physical mechanisms, theoretical [mathematical] models and computer simulations. We have all 3 for the climate. They all agree. The mechanisms have been tested an enormous number of times by many people. There is no problem with the science. The problem is with the several kinds of people we are dealing with: The untrained, the ignorant, the not quite bright, the paranoid, those who have a financial reason for denial, those who actually believe in something unscientific or delusional and I may have missed some. That covers 99% of all people. Overcoming all of these problems should not be in the jurisdiction of scientists because it is a way-beyond-Herculean task. An absolute dictator could just ignore 99% of the people. We don’t have that authority.
    So don’t blame yourself. It is not RC that failed, it is the species Homo “Sapiens” that is not ready to handle the situation. But we can’t give up. We have to find another strategy. The other obvious strategies also require authority or money or power that we don’t have. So we have to find a way to get money or power or authority that will change the situation. A change in mode of thought is called for.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 May 2010 @ 2:40 PM

  34. Lichanos, you’re misreading misinterpreting one phrase Weart uses twice. THe other one you quote isn’t found.

    Look at the two places in his site where he wrote “experts now agree” — these words are not what you think:

    http://www.aip.org/servlet/SearchClimate?collection=CLIMATE&queryText=experts+now+agree

    That’s found twice; neither one meaning what you say it does.

    Look for “this was resolved” –
    http://www.aip.org/servlet/SearchClimate?collection=CLIMATE&queryText=this+was+resolved

    How much have you read first hand, and how much are you relying on someone else’s opinion about what Weart wrote? Remember the value of citing sources and searching for what someone actually says, read it in context, and read the footnotes cited.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  35. Interestingly, the graph that Easterbrook faked was an attempt to show that modern warming is not unprecedented, and therefore can’t be caused by CO2.

    So not only did he have to fake the graph (by moving modern temperatures lower to make past temperatures look higher), but it was a pointless exercise in any case.

    It will be interesting to see how Easterbrook’s fellow Heartland presenters react to his fraud. Do they stand by him, and become complicit in his fraud, or do they dump him and try to pretend they still have some integrity?

    Anyway, excellent post, Gavin. The difference between real science and the garbage that the skeptics produce has never been clearer.

    Comment by CTG — 26 May 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  36. @32 Doug Bostrom:

    Last word goes to you.

    Very gracious of you, thanks.

    I don’t deny having my own point of view, bias, and so does Weart. The title of his book makes that clear; it’s a bit triumphalist.

    Your comment that my bias “is not helping me,” is sort of amusing. Calls to mind a lot of sci-fi and Twilight Zone plots. My favorite is H.G.Wells’ story about the sighted man in the valley of the blind. Eventually, locals decided to subject him to an operation to remove his eyeballs since they were obviously not helping him, but were causing him to believe in all sorts of crazy things.

    This is just a starting point, probably best not to try and finish here. I will close by saying that one must be ever on guard against one’s own biases and passions, not only those of others.

    Comment by Lichanos — 26 May 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  37. #22 Lichanos

    au contraire; models can be wonderfully predictive tools. The predictive quality can vary of course but perfection in modeling is not possible but that does not mean they are not useful.

    And not just climate models!!! Aircraft models, Models of bridges, models of buildings, economic models including resource economics that examine demand in various sectors verses availability and distribution capacity with things like iron, copper, uranium, oil, wheat, barley, corn et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

    Don’t get caught in the trap that because not everything is knowable with perfect accuracy, the human race has no capacity to predict or understand.

    Let not the lack of perspicacity in the world in general preclude your own capability of understanding what is truly and easily understandable such as the predictive ability of a well constructed model.

    #27 Lichanos

    Context is key. Many things are highly resolved and scientifically that translates to resolved in common speak; as in relatively certain, or virtually certain. Or pretty darn certain.

    When you have achieved understanding of the relevant contexts you will understand what that means.

    As an example: It is safe to say that the change in the climate path is certainly human caused. You can throw virtually certain on that if you wish, but it’s a good bet at 99.99% odds, though scientifically, I don’t think we are beyond around 95% at this time.

    The path change is pretty clear:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/attribution/image/image_view_fullscreen

    [I just added the image to the page. If you get a 502 error, the site will reboot itself in 5 minutes]


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 May 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  38. @34 Hank Roberts:

    I quoted from memory. Obviously, I was imprecise. I was giving my opinion, not submitting a review for publication. I have read his book carefully. Your response is really quite ill suited to the nature of my comment, which was in itself simply a response to another comment. Perhaps I will post at my blog and list detailed citations there, but that takes time, and I have other things to do.

    Why not just review what Weart says in response to critical arguments yourself and try and see it from the point of view of someone who needs to be convinced? That would be more constructive.

    Comment by Lichanos — 26 May 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  39. Lichanos, It would appear that you have not been looking very hard at the evidence. A reasonable place to start is here:

    http://www.bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    At least 6-7 of the trends cited by BPL provide very strong evidence that the models are on the right track.

    Another place you should look is here:

    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/papers-on-climate-sensitivity-estimates/

    There are about a dozen independent lines of evidence all favor 3 degrees per doubling of CO2, and preclude less than 2 degrees per doubling. Now what do you think are the chances of all that agreement being spurious?

    Of course, all this presumes you are actually interested in understanding the science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 May 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  40. Frank Giger # 29 as I am in complete agreement with CFU in # 11:)

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 May 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  41. I would like to ask a question about attribution from the opposite direction from the Pinatubo example given in the article. Early in the article, one of the bullet points is:

    “Attribution has nothing to do with something being “unprecedented””

    Yet, it seems to me I have heard or read (sorry about the vagueness–I’ll try to track something specific down) climatologists say that the extreme and deadly European heat wave in ’03 could be at least partly attributable to the effects of GW, partly because it was so far out on the probability curve.

    Were they wrong? Am I missing something? Is this a different kind of accountability?

    OK, here’s a quote from an abstract:

    “It is an illposed
    question whether the 2003 heatwave was caused, in a simple deterministic sense, by a modification of
    the external influences on climate, for example increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the
    atmosphere, because almost any such weather event might have occurred by chance in an unmodified
    climate. However, it is possible to estimate by how much human activities may have increased the risk
    of the occurrence of such a heatwave”

    http://www-atm.physics.ox.ac.uk/main/Science/posters2005/2005ds.pdf

    Is this the proper distinction to be made. If so, I’m afraid most laymen will see this as just too hair-splitting of a distinction to bother thinking about.

    Comment by wili — 26 May 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  42. Weart summarizes. That’s a history, and ends somewhat before the present date. The material he describes isn’t contentious. You can look the sources up to see if anyone’s publishing anything new on each subject. He footnotes his sources, with clickable links. He invites further questions from readers. He participates in these online forums. It’s enough.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  43. Sorry to not add this in my earlier post–the concluding sentence of the abstract says:

    “Using a threshold for mean summer temperature that was exceeded in 2003, but in no other year since the start of the instrumental record in 1851, we estimate it is very likely (confidence level >90%) that
    human influence has at least doubled the risk of a heatwave exceeding this threshold magnitude.”

    [Response: My point was not to claim that nothing is ever unprecedented. Some things clearly are - the polar ozone hole for instance was caused by the breakdown of chemicals that prior to a century before had never existed on Earth. The KT impact had (perhaps) unprecedented impacts - and obviously, if something is a unique event and there is a unique cause that can have caused those impacts, attribution is easier. However, it isn't necessary for this to be the case for attribution to be made. You don't need to kill more people than Genghis Khan to be found guilty of a single murder. In the 2003 heatwave case, the authors are trying for something a little more subtle - a probabilistic partial attribution for singular events. If an event can be shown to be twice as common under a new circumstance than the previous, then it might make sense to attribute half of the blame to the new circumstance for a single occurrence, even while the 100% increase is attributable to the new circumstances. - gavin]

    Comment by wili — 26 May 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  44. #36 #38 Lichanos

    I’m always skeptical. But denialism and skepticism are two different animals.

    Science is not science fiction. So it really does not matter how many ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes you have watched. In a little place I like to refer to as ‘reality’, Weart is pretty spot on.

    Confirmation bias is an issue typically with a hypothesis. Take a look at Svensmark

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

    and his assertions regarding GCR’s.

    or Richard Lindzen

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

    and his assertions regarding the ‘Iris Effect’.

    Yes, confirmation bias can be a problem. But there is a difference between a hypothesis and well established science:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2010/2010-may-the-leading-edge


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 May 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  45. @ 37John P. Reisman:

    au contraire; models can be wonderfully predictive tools. The predictive quality can vary of course but perfection in modeling is not possible but that does not mean they are not useful. And not just climate models!!! … et cetera Don’t get caught in the trap that because not everything is knowable with perfect accuracy, the human race has no capacity to predict or understand.

    A wonderfully enthusiastic and vague rejoinder. I am an engineer, and I worked for many years with a firm that made its name doing computer simulations of very large natural waterbodies, e.g., the NY Bight. I am well aware of the uses of modeling.

    The predictive quality can vary of course…
    There’s the rub. This statement can hide a multitude of sins!

    …perfection in modeling is not possible but that does not mean they are not useful.
    Being useful does not entail that they are good predictors, or that they are always good predictors.

    …the trap that because not everything is knowable with perfect accuracy, the human race has no capacity to predict or understand.
    I have argued against this form of philosophical skepticism for years. The fact that we can’t ‘know’ with perfect ‘certainty’ (whatever those words mean!) doesn’t mean we know nothing. It also doesn’t mean we know what you seem to think we know about AGW.

    Comment by Lichanos — 26 May 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  46. Hank Roberts # 41: absolutely. Weart is highly esteemed by all of his colleagues due to his detailed historical accounts (well referenced) and knowledge of physics. Nothing he states in his work is controversial. Reading Weart dramatically helps to put many aspects of climate science in perspective.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 May 2010 @ 3:20 PM

  47. @39 Ray Ladbury:

    Now what do you think are the chances of all that agreement being spurious? Of course, all this presumes you are actually interested in understanding the science.

    Spurious? Or just not convincing? I’m not implying that there’s a hoax going on. Is that what you think I think?

    I imagine that followers of Ptolomey made similar remarks to Copernicus. After all, if one is not convinced, obviously one is not interested in addressing the facts…

    Comment by Lichanos — 26 May 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  48. Great post.

    It is clear that statistics by itself is not enough to make a statement on attribution. OTOH, statistics can help to verify whether a proposed relation is indeed present in the data, so it definitely has its place in the verification of proposed causal mechanisms / attribution.

    There was a long discussion on my blog about the use of statistics recently (e.g. http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/is-the-increase-in-global-average-temperature-just-a-random-walk/ and the preceding long thread). It is clear that when people leave all physics aside and go solely by statistics, they can reach erroneous conclusions quite easily. The reverse may also be the case. Both are needed to get to robust conclusions.

    [Response: Yes, and indeed that thread was a partial inspiration for this post. - gavin]

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 26 May 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  49. Dr. Ornstein suggests on his blog and at Piekle Sr.’s blog that “If the trunk of that tree were to be harvested, before decay, and were stored anoxically, or burned in place of coal, a net of about 2/3 of that amount of CO2 would be prevented from entering the atmosphere. If the ash-equivalent of each tree trunk (about 1% of dry mass) were recycled to the site of harvest, the process would be indefinitely sustainable and eco-neutral.”

    The same argument could be made that turning whales into fuel was more sustainable than leaving them in the ocean. The problem in both cases is reducing a biological organism in a complicated ecology to its value as fuel. A “living” tree is mostly dead wood; when the tree dies and its perimeter defenses fail, the entire dead core, the bulk of the mass of the tree, is rapidly turned into living material. http://assets.panda.org/downloads/deadwoodwithnotes.pdf
    Taking the tree away and returning the mineral ash to the forest removes all the life that would have grown using the fallen tree. Taking the whales for fuel removed most of the ecosystems that grew up around their carcasses in the ocean. http://www.google.com/search?q=whale+carcass+ocean+floor
    It’s called ‘trophic collapse’ in both cases.

    I think this fits with attribution; biology has to be considered.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  50. cite: http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/guest-weblog-by-len-ornstein-how-to-quickly-lower-climate-risks-at-tolerable-costs/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  51. Len Ornstein, I think you misunderstand Gavin’s terminology. When he says that no purely statistical model is going to be very useful in atrribution, he is in no way disparaging statistics. Stating it in the positive rather than the negative, I think Gavin is saying that we absolutely have to have models motivated by the science rather than just “fits” to the data.

    The models tell us what a warming world will look like if the warming is caused by different forcings. A well mixed, long-lived greenhouse mechanism has a very distinctive fingerprint, and those fingerprints are all over our current climate. This is precisely why it is important to look at all the evidence, not just global temperatures of temperatures for the continental US or of 3 stations near Athens.

    I think Gavin has done an excellent job of summarizing the case for anyone who is not scientifically illiterate.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 May 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  52. Thank you Hank for for your mentioning of relevant Biology.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 May 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  53. Ray Ladbury says: 26 May 2010 at 3:05 PM

    Of course, all this presumes you are actually interested in understanding the science.

    So often, the science is crowded out.

    Further to the matter of independently derived but mutually supporting lines of evidence, there’s also the opposite, as on exhibit at Skeptical Science’s Museum of Mutual Exclusion*.

    *Not John Cook’s title. The official name is “Global Warming Skeptic Contradictions” but my mind was a bit warped during the Bush era of Alluring Alliteration.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 May 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  54. Lichanos wrote: “It also doesn’t mean we know what you seem to think we know about AGW.”

    Exactly and specifically what is it about AGW that you think we think we know, that you think we don’t know?

    We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    We know that human activities over the last century and a half, principally the burning of fossil fuels, have released huge amounts of previously sequestered carbon into the atmosphere as CO2.

    We know that this anthropogenic excess of atmospheric CO2 is causing the Earth system to retain more of the Sun’s energy, causing rapid and extreme warming (and in addition is rapidly acidifying the oceans as they absorb the excess CO2, which may be an even worse problem than the warming itself).

    We know that this anthropogenic warming is already causing rapid and extreme changes in the Earth’s climate, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere.

    We know that there is even more warming in store from the CO2 that we have already emitted.

    We know that we are continuing to release more and more CO2 and that as a result CO2 concentrations are rising, at an accelerating rate, which guarantees even more rapid and extreme warming than we are already seeing.

    What exactly do you think we don’t know?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 May 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  55. > I worked for many years with a firm that made its name doing computer
    > simulations of very large natural waterbodies, e.g., the NY Bight.
    > I am well aware of the uses of modeling.

    What don’t you know about modeling, with that background?

    Are these typical of the work you’ve had experience with?
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=simulation+model+%2B%22New+York+bight%22&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=2008&as_vis=1
    Because there are a lot of different types of models, and expertise with one tradition does not assure awareness of all.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  56. As someone who spends a fair amount of time defending the the scientific realities on a couple of newspaper debate boards it does not help when you gift the deniers with a quoteable sound bite such as “There is of course still ‘noise’ – imprecision in measuring instruments etc. and so you need to do it many times under slightly different conditions to be sure that your cause really does give the effect you are looking for.”

    To the average climate change denier you said that you set out to find the result that you want – Confirmation Bias! I will bet you that this is the only quote that gets used (at least in part) beyond the rarified atmosphere of your inter-scientific chats. We work so hard to defend the balanced and sceptical acceptance of the scientific probability that we do indeed affect the environment that we all depend on, when you write without thinking of the way your words will be cut and pasted it just makes it that little bit harder to slap the grinning monkeys.

    [Response: Oh please. I appreciate the concern, and I also appreciate that the people are looking to misquote and misrepresent, but this really is not worth bothering with. I have no problem whatsoever with people doing more experiments to make sure - and neither should you. - gavin]

    Comment by Raymon Heath — 26 May 2010 @ 5:08 PM

  57. “The degree to which models have predicted events that came to pass is always open to discussion – the tests are never yes/no, on/off. They don’t pass muster as predictive tools, only as aids to understanding system dynamics.”

    There is something wrong with this statement. We use models to fly a rocket to mars – in fact we use models in every facet of engineering. Climate models surely have on/off/ yes/no. If the observations of real world differ from model prediction by more than can be accountable for in the modelled error estimates then the model is incorrect, pure and simple. Now where are the real world observations not matching the climate model predictions consistent with AGW or where are the observation more consistent with a different forcing?

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 26 May 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  58. “If the observations of real world differ from model prediction by more than can be accountable for in the modelled error estimates then the model is incorrect, pure and simple.”

    That would be true if the model worked off something that had no “noise” in the system – such as gravitational forces, thrust, and vector in planning a Mars shot. Even there they have a band of acceptable results.

    For example, they knew they would hit Mars with the last set of probes, and got that down to regions. However, they couldn’t predict precisely where they would land – no imaginary bullseye was drawn with two hundred yard score lines around it.

    Climate models, like all predictive models, work on probabilities within a range.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 26 May 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  59. Science is the application of inductive logic to determine generalities (laws) from evidence. Of course nothing is ever completely certain, so there is always some probability of incorect laws yet many laws are taken as causal; givens.

    For more uncertain situations, one begins by looking at some correlations which suggest the possiblity of causality. Then an early test is
    http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Granger_causality
    although there are other matters to test to help decide whether or not the correlation is merely accidental. If these tests are passed then when X G-causes Y one then suspects some method of actual causation exists. An example, although not orginally formulated in these modern terms, is the Arrhenius formula for the effect of CO2 change on temperature change. The matter is formulated in this statistical way in, e.g., Tol, R.S.J. and A.F. de Vos (1998), ‘A Bayesian Statistical Analysis of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’, Climatic Change, 38, 87-112.

    In is certainly more informative when it is possible to provide good evidence that both Y and Z depend (lawfully) upon X as this much more strongly restricts the choice of possible models.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 May 2010 @ 6:38 PM

  60. As to fossil fuel providing CO2 to the atmosphere – fossil fuel was at one time – CO2. These fuels were plants that fossilized into fossil hydrocarbons. So why the big concern about CO2 now? I don’t see the alarm.

    Comment by RalphieGM — 26 May 2010 @ 10:07 PM

  61. David, I there are some interesting papers/ textbooks on casual inference. One reference source I found helpful is the Berkeley Electronic Press. The articles I read there was from the International Journal of Biostatistics, but it was helpful and lead to other relevant articles on the Berkeley website and elsewhere.

    In regards to inductive logic, I would add there is a healthy helping of deductive reasoning as well.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 26 May 2010 @ 10:15 PM

  62. “As to fossil fuel providing CO2 to the atmosphere – fossil fuel was at one time – CO2. These fuels were plants that fossilized into fossil hydrocarbons. So why the big concern about CO2 now? I don’t see the alarm.”

    It all depends on the time scale. On geological times scales of hundreds of millions of years, it is probably not such a big deal. But on human time scales of a generation or two, it can make a very big difference. If we return the CO_2 to the atmosphere, that it took millions of years to deposit in the form of fossil fules, all in a hundred years or so, it will make a big difference to our children and grandchildren.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 26 May 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  63. RalphieGM says: 26 May 2010 at 10:07 PM

    Background of the fundamental problem is here.

    But in a nutshell…

    These fuels were plants that fossilized into fossil hydrocarbons. So why the big concern about CO2 now?

    Plants that grew, sucked C02 out of the air, died, were buried with w/that C02 over millions of years during which -more- C02 was made available by weathering of rock. We’re digging or pumping a significant fraction millions of years’ storage of C02 out of the ground and releasing it in the course of a couple of dozen decades. Peeling away layers of quibbles and parsing of decimal points, C02 does in fact help to control the amount of heat retained from sunlight striking the Earth. Too much C02 added to the atmosphere too fast and things go out of whack, to an extent that looks like being a disruptive matter. Not terribly complicated in its fundamentals but of course this is not only a fascinating matter for scientists to nail down to the last iota of detail but also is a serious problem for our industrialized society which is pretty much entirely leveraged on rapid extraction and combustion of fossil hydrocarbons.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 May 2010 @ 10:57 PM

  64. I should clarify my remark, it was sugars and cellulose and the like that were buried with those plants, not C02 per se. It comes back as gooey or runny or gassy or crumbly hydrocarbons which we burn thereby combining carbon w/oxygen to form C02. Sorry!

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 May 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  65. One thing about the triassic-jurassic i’ve never seen is the distribution of mammal fossils. Are there any of those from the (then) tropics? Having a constant temperature might be an asset in cooler climes but when i tried to keep track of the ground lizards in Cyprus (holiday) my eyes were too slow at temperature of 37 degrees in shade.

    Comment by jyyh — 26 May 2010 @ 11:06 PM

  66. “In fact, any statistical fit to the data is necessarily trying to match observations using a mathematical constraint (ie. trying to minimise the mean square residual, or the gradient, using sinusoids, or wavelets, etc.) and since there is no physical reason to assume that any of these constraints apply to the real world, no purely statistical approach is going to be that useful in attribution ”

    This is pretty general, and for example, nonparametric superefficient methods of estimation exist for which all of the claims are false. I expect I have to explain that a bit.

    If you really really want the best answer, and you are limited by not having enough data for conventional confidence bounds to settle your question, then you are pretty much right in the middle of the situation where superefficient estimators add the most value, and people who have to make decisions with insufficient data should use such methods when they can.

    One way to get at an understanding of how these methods work is to realize that methods that minimize sample error criteria also maximize the amount of actual system noise which is mis-attributed to the parameters. This includes the dreaded “overfit” but is not limited to it. You can set up a small multilinear regression and see – here is a MATLAB session that makes this clear (to the large number of people that understand MATLAB).

    >> A = randn(5,1); % true parameters
    >> X = randn(10,5); % true explanators
    >> e = randn(10,1); % true system noise
    >> y = X*A + e; % observations
    >> Ahat = X \ y; % least squares model
    >> ehat = y – X * Ahat; % residuals
    >> sum(e .^ 2) % actual noise sum of squares

    ans =

    17.7329

    >> sum(ehat .^ 2) % residual sum of squares

    ans =

    14.9373

    Now every time you run it, you get different numbers. But you can actually prove that the residual sum of squares will always be less than the actual system noise sum of squares. (Which is the point of “LEAST SQUARES”). When the estimation process removed that noise from the residuals, it had to put it somewhere, and the only place it can put it is the parameter estimates. This is why one of my colleagues thinks of least squares as “maximum parameter noise” estimation.

    Well, maximum parameter noise estimation doesn’t sound good, and, in a lot of cases it isn’t good. Similarly, any method that minimizes some residual norm is maximizing some measure of the noise mis-attributed to the parameter estimates.

    Well were you hoping to estimate the residuals? Or the parameters? A lot of the time people estimate parameters by minimizing residuals, or appealing to a similar method as described in the original comment. People should usually not do this, but, not everyone has the memo yet.

    One way to address this is to change from least squares to Wiener filtering, which in some sense is “the” right answer because it seeks to minimize the parameter estimation error. But Wiener filtering requires knowledge of true statistics which are not normally known. One can prove if you use the same data to estimate the preliminary least squares model and the process statistics with conventional (e.g. maximum likelihood) estimates, then the Wiener filter always is WORSE than the original least squares. By re-using the same data, you allow the possibility of correlations between the different use of the sample data to persist, where if you used independent data you would have none of these spurious correlations. If you split your data into independently used sets, you avoid the spurious correlations but you lose from the bigger error bars.

    It turns out that one way out of the dilemma is the aforementioned superefficient estimation. It is a way to get away with re-using the data by using the data “badly” enough. If your re-use of the data is with a dull enough estimator, then it damps the spurious correlations between the original data use and the re-use. How it does this and how “dull” it needs to be depends critically on the exact form of the estimator. But the practical reality is that you end up using an estimator which trades off your control over it’s accuracy with the risk of these internal correlations.

    It turns out that the values of the parameters you are estimating affect what is the best trade off between accuracy and risk. In other words, when you pick the estimator, it will work better for some parameter values than others. If you do it right, it works better than unbiased estimation for all possible parameter values.

    So this choice – a choice between infinitely many possibilities for which there can be no advance guidance (and as opposed to Bayesian estimation, usually no posterior guidance either).

    It is a bit of a philosophical issue whether this use of information geometry has a connection to laws of physics or not (e.g. Leon Brillouin’s physical information theory); however it is clear that you don’t need any physical “basis” for this.

    Do scientists often use superefficient estimation? I don’t know. It was used in some cosmic background radiation work.

    I assume a lot of climate scientists are aware of this technology, and would want to use these techniques, except in a highly policy-laden environment, you would open the door for someone who believes climate science is a hoax intentionally choosing estimators which are superefficient near the parameter values they believe. These estimators make sense when you really want to know the answer, not when you want to fight over it.

    However, the point I want to make about the original comment is that no, it is not generally true that purely statistical estimators are necessarily as described in that comment, and what’s more, I would expect that purely statistical techniques are available which would be useful in estimation applied to climate attribution. I think it is only the problem of how these techniques would interact with interested parties, not how they would inform us about climate.

    [Response: Thanks - this isn't a methodology I was familiar with. But it does not rebut the point I was making in the slightest. As in any multiple regression, the choice of predictors will be important and without a physical understanding of which to use and why, you can end up with 'highly significant' nonsense - a recent attempt came to the conclusion that methane was an anti-greenhouse gas for instance. Statistical techniques on their own are not useful, not because of their ability to reduce residuals or the confidence interval on the parameters or projections, but because they don't have any constraints based on the physics, and thus are prone to giving unphysical (and spurious) conclusions - for instance in McKitrick's recent papers. It might well be that the techniques you discuss would be valuable in some contexts and I'd be happy to discuss specifics, but you are not going to be able to distinguish natural and anthropogenic variability, or the contribution of solar and GHGs without a physical basis. - gavin]

    Comment by Andrew — 26 May 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  67. #54 SecularAnimist asks “What exactly do you think we don’t know?”

    We do not know if humans can unify in rational acts to reach species survival.

    The biggest unknowns and confusion are not chemical, they are social and psychological.

    Comment by richard pauli — 27 May 2010 @ 12:04 AM

  68. David @59,

    Good points. IMHO, Granger causality has been under-utilized in climate research.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 27 May 2010 @ 12:07 AM

  69. RalphieGM asks what the big deal with returning carbon to the atmosphere is.

    The big deal is that we’re taking carbon that was stored over millions of years – very slowly removed from the atmosphere – and dumping it back into the atmosphere in a couple hundred. That drives CO2 levels, and temperatures, up.

    If we released it over a million years it would be no problem at all.

    Comment by David Miller — 27 May 2010 @ 12:55 AM

  70. Re RalphieGM (60): Poe’s law applies?

    Comment by GFW — 27 May 2010 @ 2:07 AM

  71. .
    excellent post with a rich element of positive inquiry

    One should mention the insights obtained from the observation of errors ,
    particularly model errors .
    It give a quantitative indication for further inquiries ,
    if the errors are constant , only few further factors or ratios have to be found , if the errors are wildly variable , then either there is a lot of work ahead or a similarly fluctuation can point out the missing parameter
    Usually the worst case can be assumed ,
    sometimes , like for the volcanoes effect , things turn out quite straightforward , other times it is useful to eliminate possible culprits

    The effect of the pollutants is fascinating , there was a lot of SO2 and NO2 released by the old economies until pollution controls and the collapse of the communists economies , then India, China and others ramped up their emissions of heavy pollutants ,
    There is a paper to write on a possible (or not!) correlation ;-)
    .

    Comment by jeannick — 27 May 2010 @ 2:22 AM

  72. “So why the big concern about CO2 now? I don’t see the alarm.”

    The alarm is that most people are living where the ocean used to be when that CO2 was in the atmosphere.

    Maybe you’re an alien from a waterworld, but most humans don’t breathe too well underwater.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 2:30 AM

  73. “If the observations of real world differ from model prediction by more than can be accountable for in the modelled error estimates then the model is incorrect, pure and simple.”

    Really?

    So when your car gets 45mpg rather than the 50mpg the spec sheet says, your car isn’t working.

    Hmmm.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  74. “29
    Frank Giger says:
    26 May 2010 at 2:27 PM

    OMG, CFU (#11) and I are in complete agreement!

    There is hope for peace in our time.”

    Frank, just agree.

    I use your past statements to work out whether I will read your posts or whether I will pay especial attention to the wording, but I either agree with something you say or don’t agree.

    I don’t find surprise in agreeing with someone when I think they’re right, no matter who they are.

    I do find disappointment in how infrequently I can agree with someone because they have things wrong in trivial ways.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 2:39 AM

  75. On statistical modelling, try this:

    Take the first half of the dataset.

    Statistically model the data you have.

    Project that statistical or curve fit to the other datapoints.

    See how well they match.

    Something that the proponents of fourier analysis as the be-all/end-all of temperature reconstructions haven’t ever looked into.

    Mostly because to prove them wrong if they fit ALL the data, you have to wait for ~15 years.

    Delay, delay, delay. Just let them get to retirement and sell their annuity on the uptick.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 2:57 AM

  76. Would all this dicussions ever happen, if (instead of CO2) the Sun activity would have been proven to be “the highest during tha last 15 millions years”?
    Would all that attribution talk be needed?

    My guess is – no. I think this has something to do with “anthropo-blindness”, or so…

    Comment by Alexander Ač — 27 May 2010 @ 2:59 AM

  77. #45 Lichanos

    Why don’t you use your real name in your posts? As you can see many/most people here use their real and full names. Why not you? I ask, knowing that some have due cause that is not merely hiding for fear of being actually known for ones words. Do you have the integrity to post your full name? Or some less interesting excuse?

    Boy, if I had a nickel for every time a guy that doesn’t understand AGW said “I am an engineer” and then said or inferred that models can be wrong, or the science is not as good as the science indicates???

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    I did a couple years engineering too, so what? That actually has nothing to do with brain surgery, economics, biology, or climate science.

    If you are too focused on who is hiding sins, your can easily miss a good portion of reality. And while on the subject, in climate, what sins are being hidden??? Are you going to bring up EAU/CRU? hmmmm. . .

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

    You are correct in your assertion that “Being useful does not entail they are good predictors” but what does that have to do with climate science and climate models?

    As to what ‘know with perfect certainty’ i.e. what those words mean:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/know
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/with
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfect
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/certainty

    But of course you could have looked that up, you being an engineer and all.

    The attribution and signal to noise shows that this global warming event is largely human caused. Or do you have an alternate hypothesis or theory that can overturn the well established science?

    Re. your post #47

    As to your statement “Spurious? Or just not convincing? I’m not implying that there’s a hoax going on. Is that what you think I think?”

    If your not implying a hoax, just what are you implying? your posts imply your doubt in the relevance and certainty levels of the science. That in itself implies via the open door that you think there is a degree of hoax.

    hoax: to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous

    “How do we know Robock doesn’t lie to us?”

    This implies a degree of hoax via the possibility of the lie.

    You can of course say you meant only that the science is unsure, but that does not remove the implication.

    http://iamyouasheisme.wordpress.com/tag/agw/

    - I asked him a question about how the average global temperature was computed and what was his opinion on the issue of bias in the surface temperature record due to station locations.  His answer was remarkably lame.
    - he said the problems with the urban heat island are “well understood” and that each station is paired with a rural station, and if a bias in an urban station is clear, they “throw out that record.”  That’s news to me.
    - She mentioned Lindzen, a prominent critic from his alma mater, MIT, and he said, “Lindzen lies to you.  He should know better.  I could talk a long time about Dick Lindzen.”  How do we know Robock doesn’t lie to us? 
    - If these computer models are shown to be off target in fifteen or twenty years, there’ll be hell to pay – the standing of science with the public will be seriously damaged.
    - Antropogenic global warming (AGW) is a plausible scientific hypothesis that has, I think, a very weak supporting body of evidence.
    - The sceptical view on AGW is not a theory or competing hypothesis:  It is simply a recognition that one should not be convinced by the AGW case.  The null hypothesis, that our climate system is very complex and shows many historical examples of rather wide variation remains in force.  In addition I would say that humans probably do have a noticeable impact on regional climate, but not necessarily or principally as a result of CO2 discharges.  This is a long-standing view of many climatologists and geographers.
    - The British Parliament has begun an investigation into the meaning of the East Anglia CRU e-mails, and part of that process is a form of peer review, in a sense.  Their Science and Technology committee has welcomed commentary from the scientific community, and among those members is the non-profit charity, the Institute of Physics.  In their submission, the IoP says that the UEA CRU e-mails don’t just indict East Anglia, but the entire AGW industry — and that “science” wasn’t what they were doing at all (via Watts Up With That and Mike Ross, emphases mine):
    - In other words, the claims made by AGW advocates didn’t match the data available elsewhere.  When challenged on this, the AGW advocates refused to release the data to other scientists, and finally refused to release it under a Freedom of Information demand.  When it looked as though the government would get their hands on the data anyway, the CRU conspired to destroy the data, along with other AGW advocates around the world.
    - One of the things I have persistently wondered about in the debate about climate change, is the role of the urban heat island (UHI) in all the models and calculations.

    Generally speaking, you’re looking at the argument, not the science.

    Okay, rather than beating around the bush, what do you think? From what you have written, you don’t seem to have confidence in the science or degree of certainty. Is that true, and if so to what degree?

    Specifically, what percentage of this global warming event do you think is human caused?

    I’m assuming that you will come back with we really don’t know. But that is only because I , and others here have heard this argument before.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 4:58 AM

  78. Lichanos:

    You insist on talking about climate models in abstract terms, and take exception to the view that they can be good predictors.

    Instead of spending time debating abstractions, and perhaps allowing your perception of climate models to be coloured by the reputations of other, less successful models, I think you should turn your attention to the actual output and testing of real climate models.

    Also, learn about the concept of skill. If a climate model has skill, then (in certain limited circumstances) it is a good predictor. Climate models are complex, and only a tiny fraction of your experience with other models will transfer.

    Climate models have now had 30 years to prove themselves against completely fresh data. So far, they have proved exceptionally accurate. And that’s with models from 30 years ago! Hopefully, today’s models are even better. They take more processes into account, and they are calculated at finer resolution.

    So, forget the abstractions and broad dismissals of millions of man-hours of scientific work. If you want to debate the usefulness of models, it is not enough to crow about the well-known limitations of models, you have to find fault with the specific interpretations of the results of every single model out there. Better qualified people have failed to do this, but please don’t let that stop you.

    Comment by Didactylos — 27 May 2010 @ 5:41 AM

  79. Ralphie 60: As to fossil fuel providing CO2 to the atmosphere – fossil fuel was at one time – CO2. These fuels were plants that fossilized into fossil hydrocarbons. So why the big concern about CO2 now? I don’t see the alarm.

    BPL: CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Putting more of it in the air heats the ground. Human agriculture and civilization all developed in a time (the last 10,000 years) when the temperature was unusually stable.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 May 2010 @ 5:44 AM

  80. I still can’t track down a prediction and a confirmation for the statement, “GCMs predicted an expanded range for hurricanes and cyclones.” If I can’t find something soon I’m going to have to take it off my list. I’ve found cites for everything else.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 May 2010 @ 6:05 AM

  81. Raphie (#60),
    CO2 is constantly absorbed in sediments and released by volcanoes. Since the absorbption of CO2 is partly a function of its concentration and of temperatures, it is thought to act a bit like a thermostat. But the process is very slow. Quickly releasing large amounts of carbon which had been sequestered is a bit like tampering with the thermostat. It should heal itself but that might take millions of years.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 27 May 2010 @ 6:17 AM

  82. #62–Elaborating via analogy: you can transit from a building’s 4th floor to the ground floor via the stairs in a couple of minutes (a most mundane occurrence), or you can transit from 4th floor to ground floor via the window in a couple of seconds. (This method will tend to draw a crowd.)

    Timescale can be absolutely crucial.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 May 2010 @ 7:03 AM

  83. A fantastic post. I’ve been really interested in attribution ever since I saw Peter Sinclair’s Solar Schmolar video a year or so ago and first learned about thermodynamic fingerprints. A detailed, reliable post like this is wonderful. I will be passing it around!

    Comment by Kate — 27 May 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  84. Ralphie @60, the concern is due to the fact that the carbon in fossil fuels has been locked out of the atmosphere and out of the active carbon cycle for millions of years. By rapidly injecting large quantities of that fossil carbon back into the atmosphere as CO2 we are recreating an atmosphere that has not existed for millions of years, while retaining the terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks adapted to a world with a much lower CO2 atmosphere. As a result those sinks are not capable of absorbing that CO2 as fast as we are emitting it, which is why CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere.

    Why is that a problem? Since CO2 is a greenhouse gas we know that adding more of it to the atmosphere will make surface and air temperatures higher than they are now, and potentially much higher they have been during all of human evolution. We also know that warming will melt a lot of the ice currently locked in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, thus raising sea level by several meters. And finally we know that changing Earth’s climate will change local weather patterns. Places where we now dependably grow large quantities of cereal crops may be come too dry or too wet to do so reliably.

    In other words, all of human infrastructure and technology, including agriculture, has been developed and built to deal with the climate that we have now. Change the atmosphere and climate to the one that existed when CO2 was much higher and much of that infrastructure may be useless or worse.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 27 May 2010 @ 8:25 AM

  85. > expanded range for hurricanes and cyclones
    Perhaps you’re thinking of an expanded range (in time and space) of ocean surface temperature conditions, those in which they begin?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2010 @ 9:02 AM

  86. CFU @ 74:
    “I do find disappointment in how infrequently I can agree with someone because they have things wrong in trivial ways.”

    That’s hard to parse, but I’m not sure you should be disappointed.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 27 May 2010 @ 9:50 AM

  87. Lichanos, hang in there. Nothing like going against the grain to bring out bias elements.

    Considering the comments, one has to wonder how many of your critics, have experience in thermodynamic modeling.

    Comment by J. Bob — 27 May 2010 @ 10:02 AM

  88. Gavin on the risk of quotation abuse:
    “I appreciate the concern, and I also appreciate that the people are looking to misquote and misrepresent, but this really is not worth bothering with.”

    Unfortunately this is a serious problem, and in climatology it extends to graph abuse. One view is “Just speak correctly. The quotation abusers are going to do it anyway. And if all else fails they will make stuff up.” But there have been times during the emailhack affair that I have been instantly aggravated by what seemed unnecessarily heedless language. In general, if not in the specific case Gavin referred to, I hope the need for care is agreed. Think of it as part of proof reading.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 27 May 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  89. “Lichanos, hang in there. Nothing like going against the grain to bring out bias elements.”

    Says RC’s own bias element…

    Yup, any complaints MUST be a bias. CANNOT be because he’s wrong. Nosiree.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  90. Lichanos says:
    26 May 2010 at 2:55 PM
    The title of his book makes that clear; it’s a bit triumphalist.

    If you are unwilling to take a man’s work for what it is, what reason do we have to converse with you at all? None, I say. As a teacher of language, I am quite sensitive to the use of it; I have to be to decipher what L2 students are trying to say. Where you see triumphalism in the use of “discovery” is beyond me. Warming was discovered. God didn’t announce it from on high, it was teased out of data – and at a time when the tools were far cruder than today, which is quite impressive.

    What your language tells us in calling a descriptive title “triumphalist,” is that you have little control of your own bias. Your refusal of the conclusions the data point to causes you to interpret Weart as you do. You simply don’t accept the premise of AGW, thus, any declarative statement to the contrary is “triumphalist.” It’s your own bias showing, not Weart’s.

    I will close by saying that one must be ever on guard against one’s own biases and passions, not only those of others.

    Indeed.

    Lichanos says:
    26 May 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Why not just review what Weart says in response to critical arguments yourself and try and see it from the point of view of someone who needs to be convinced? That would be more constructive.

    Lichanos, if the huge mass of data, all of it reinforcing the obvious conclusion, doesn’t convince you, how can we? Time after time we have been shown there is no data, there are no studies that support anything other than the obvious: anthropogenic forcings are changing the planet. Period. This is not something you can argue, because there is nothing to support a counter argument.

    It is not legitimate to say that because knowledge is imperfect it is unreliable or wrong. You actually have to show that some other cause is present. Occam’s razor applies: if over 100 years of science all points to anthropogenic warming, then we can be darned sure that’s the case.

    Time after time we have seen the denialists’ arguments fully attributed to an intentional dis-/misinformation campaign and ideological constraints on comprehension and interpretation. See Oreskes, et al.

    You don’t “need” to be convinced, you only need to remove the blinders you have placed over your own eyes. There is no other plausible attribution for climate changes, thus it is unreasonable to deny their attribution to human actions.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 27 May 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  91. J. Bob says: 27 May 2010 at 10:02 AM

    Nothing like going against the grain to bring out bias elements.

    On the other hand, “I doubt it” is not really an argument. Cutting across the grain with a toothless saw is not productive.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 May 2010 @ 11:10 AM

  92. @77 John Reisman

    –Why don’t you use your real name in your posts?

    I comment under my own name at sites like the New York Times or National Public Radio, but on blogs, I use my blog name. I wouldn’t hesitate to say face to face anything I say on my blog, but that doesn’t mean I want other people saying it for me anywhere across the Web. I don’t see it as an integrity issue – just deal with my arguments, and leave my person out of it. But just in case it matters, although it shouldn’t, I voted for Al Gore and Obama. I’m not a lunatic from the right, as Alan Robock would have it. Nor am I paid by fossil fuel multi-nationals.

    –If you are too focused on who is hiding sins, your can easily miss a good portion of reality

    Quite true, but I don’t know why it applies to me. I’m just arguing about hypotheses.

    –I did a couple years engineering too, so what?

    I don’t claim that my profession gives me extraordinary insight to these issues. I raised because a commenter suggested I feel computer models are useless. I certainly do not feel that way. Others have commented that my experience with hydrodynamic and water quality models is not ‘transferrable’ to GCMs. That would be relevant if I were applying for a job as a GCM modeler, but I’m not. The general question of how to evaluate models and when to rely on them, and for what, remains.

    –As to what ‘know with perfect certainty’ … mean[s]:… you could have looked that up, you being an engineer and all.

    You are extremely vehement, seem to lack a sense of humor or irony, and certainly have no knowledge of philosophy. If you think you can settle the meaning of ‘to know’ and ‘certainty’ by consulting Webster, you are either the greatest philosopher the West has seen since Aristotle or completely ignorant of the intellectual issues they raise. I was simply alluding to them in a jocular manner: I didn’t intend to divert the discussion into academic epistemology.

    –If your not implying a hoax, just what are you implying? your posts
    imply your doubt in the relevance and certainty levels of the science.

    I don’t believe that the AGW crowd is guilty of a hoax. I have said this on my blog in many places. Is this the choice we have: AGW is true; AGW is a hoax? That’s how conspiracy theorists think, and I am not one. How about: AGW is plausible, but I think it’s not sufficiently demonstrated, so I think those scientists are wrong. I give them the benefit of the doubt regarding honesty. I do think they are dangerously biased at times, and may have done some shoddy work at others. I don’t think there’s a world-wide conspiracy of one-state liberals trying to impose eco-orthodoxy on the masses.

    What is scientifically insupportable with doubting the relevance and claimed certainty of individual scientific claims? If that is not acceptable, we’re back in the age of truth-by-decree.

    –“How do we know Robock doesn’t lie to us?” This implies a degree of hoax via the possibility of the lie.

    You quote my blog post on Robock’s talk and completely misunderstand it, probably because you interpret everything literally. Robock said “Lindzen lies to you.” End quote. I find it disturbing that a scientist would accuse another professional scientist of outright lying, without giving any evidence, without any qualification at all. Simply character assasination. So, it’s logical for me to wonder aloud, how do I know that the accuser isn’t lying to me? Because he’s a nice guy? I’m not saying either of them are liars. I’m sure that Robock believes Lindzen is a liar, though he shouldn’t say it in that forum in that way.

    –Generally speaking, you’re looking at the argument, not the science.

    What the heck does this mean??

    –Okay, rather than beating around the bush, what do you think? From what you have written, you don’t seem to have confidence in the science or degree of certainty. Is that true, and if so to what degree? Specifically, what percentage of this global warming event do you think is human caused?

    Here’s my point of view, boiled down for you:

    I find the AGW argument unconvincing. It is based on two foundations: the temperature record and the GCMs. I think the temperature record is extremely problematic. I think use of proxies is very problematic. I think the urban heat island effect has not be properly considered. I think many arguments presented to the general public to support AGW are utter garbage, e.g., glaciers are melting and migration patterns are changing, ergo, AGW is true.

    I think there is a mass of observation and evidence that is consistent with the AGW view, but that does not prove it in any way because it is consitent with other views as well. Reliance on GCMs is a degradation of the scientific method. Falsification is honored mostly in the breach.
    Many AGW proponents are shrill and intolerant – I’m talking about scientists here, forget about the politicos and environmentalists – and resort to ad hominem attacks whenever possible. (I won’t deny that skeptics are often the same, but that’s politics for you.)

    Human beings certainly change local and regional climate. This idea has been around at least since George Perkins Marsh published Man and Nature in the 19th century. Land use patterns are very significant.

    The IPCC states that it is highly likely that most of the temperature rise of the earth over the last century is due to AGW. If “highly likely” means 90% certainty, and “most” means more than 50%, what are we left with? Around half of the climate warming in the last century is do to AGW? (You can correct my figures a bit if you like, but the point is unchanged.) So then, what is that temperature increase? The historical record becomes critical! If my concerns about the data record and proxies are only partly correct, then the part of the rise that is AGW is not very big at all.

    So what about the future? The entire AGW argument is based on positive feedbacks that will take this small increase and run with it, making the globe much warmer. After all, it’s “basic physics” as you folks like to say, that without the positive feedbacks, the warming effect would be naturally limited. Here is where the GCMs come into play. They are the crystal ball. Why do we rely on them? Should we really have confidence that they can predict the future to such a degree of precision over such a time scale when such positive feedbacks have never been observed before on this scale? When we have so little knowledge about many of the physical systems involved? When the models are calibrated against the historical record which is itself in doubt?

    I remain unconvinced. I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think it’s a fad. We’ll know for sure in fifteen or twenty years.

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  93. “this isn’t a methodology I was familiar with. But it does not rebut the point I was making in the slightest. As in any multiple regression, the choice of predictors will be important and without a physical understanding of which to use and why, you can end up with ‘highly significant’ nonsense”

    People doing things with statistics can end up with highly “significant” nonsense, but this is not one of the things in statistics that can have that result.

    There are several reasons for this; but one of the more important reasons is that because of the essential role of the choice involved, these types of estimates do not have conventional significance associated with them; you can arrange the choice to be non-measurable, etc. So it’s hard to imagine someone believing they have anything “highly significant” in this sort of exercise.

    If, as you say, you are not familiar with superefficient estimation, it can take a bit of head scratching before you get a feel for what it can and cannot do. When it was first discovered, it was a counterexample to the robust belief of middle twentieth century statisticians (like LeCam, etc.) that such a thing was impossible. It was considered a bizzare curiosity that was not expected to be of practical utility (other than on statistics Ph. D. oral exams) for decades (they actually called the first example “Stein’s Paradox”). Even now, most trained statisticians do not work in areas where a one relies heavily on these effects – most trained statisticians are trained to say you don’t have good enough data in these situations, or that you should design a different experiment. In observational sciences, we don’t get to just ‘get more data’, usually we have to wait. And we don’t get to design a better experiment, because we have to live the one we have. Most people who depend critically on this sort of estimation are in industries where publication is an afterthought, or even discouraged, so there is a lot more of this going on than you can see in the open literature.

    There is a bit of an interesting interaction with “physics” too. In my field, beliefs about “laws” are generally false (in approximately the same sense that Aristotelean physics isn’t particular good at predicting enzyme catalysis reaction rates) so we usually ignore the “laws” that are on the books; however sometimes you do have good physics – the question here is what does the superefficient estimation do with that information? It tends to respect such information scrupulously if that information has a highly determinative effect on the observations, but it pays little attention to that information as part of the mechanism to reduce the uncertainty. This can be interpreted as the physics takes you so far, but the estimation heavy lifting starts where we have already used all the “known knowns” – they tend to have “high codimension”, and the superefficient estimator effect tends to be strongest in high dimensional estimates. One can casually think of this as the superefficiency effects as being concentrated where you are the most ignorant.

    So you actually can throw this sort of estimation fairly blithely at problems that have ‘physics’ (whether you think you know the physics or not) and to first order, you can’t really screw things up – as long as you understand the estimation theory fairly closely.

    So (in dire contrast to traditional Bayesian estimation) you have a situation where your estimation performance doesn’t depend strongly on the state of your understanding of the “physics”.

    I’m not aiming to turn the thread into an estimation theory seminar, it’s just that statistics is a really big place, and there are a lot of interesting things going on in there. Superefficient estimation is sort of like how to do estimation with much too little data. There are even weirder things that are actually still practical – like what you can do with no data at all, or only data about the wrong things, etc. Of course, each time you descend to a more dire predicament of data, your results degrade, but you can descend pretty far before you are left with no information theoretic tools at all.

    Comment by Andrew — 27 May 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  94. Lichanos: I find the AGW argument unconvincing.

    Probably should have stopped there, certainly before I think the urban heat island effect has not be properly considered.

    The matter of UHI has been teased, parsed, analyzed, turned upside down, scrutinized in a way that could fairly exhaust the English language. I have to say that if that’s one of the first things that comes your mind as a rebuttal to the entire suite of research in play here, you’re way behind the curve. If you were not, you’d pick something more challenging, such as clouds. Instead, you move on to talk about “crystal balls” and the like because you’re seemingly not able to specifically identify flaws w/GCMs and the like where you may be able to make a positive contribution.

    In short, your argument reduces to “I doubt it.”

    Here’s an opportunity for clarification, or maybe a retrieval of a slice of the rapidly fading reputation of the pseudonym you’re using here. When you say researchers “…resort to ad hominem attacks whenever possible”, can you produce some evidence for that? Failing that, how about a retraction? It costs you nothing for after all you’re not a personality here, simply a mask.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 May 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  95. “I find the AGW argument unconvincing. It is based on two foundations: the temperature record and the GCMs.”

    It’s based solely on the reports of companies like Texaco, Exxon, et al.

    We know how much CO2 humans are producing.

    The rest of it is climate science, which isn’t AGW (AGW is a consequence of us burning fossil fuels):

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/05/what-we-can-learn-from-studying-the-last-millennium-or-so/comment-page-11/#comment-175797

    And that science works on planets not earth, it works on the earth in the dim and unknowable past. It is damn solid.

    And that solid science means the inevitable consequence of our burning of fossil fuels is AGW.

    This was known BEFORE any computer model and BEFORE any measurement.

    You didn’t seem to know this, so how do you know you know anything?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  96. “I think there is a mass of observation and evidence that is consistent with the AGW view, but that does not prove it in any way because it is consitent with other views as well.”

    Such as…?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 1:10 PM

  97. “After all, it’s “basic physics” as you folks like to say, that without the positive feedbacks, the warming effect would be naturally limited.”

    And another example of what you don’t know.

    The warming effect is naturally limited WITH the feedbacks.

    And if there are no feedbacks, I take it you refute the statement that H2O is a more powerful greenhouse gas? And you refute that clouds have an effect.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  98. “When the models are calibrated against the historical record which is itself in doubt?”

    Hmmm. Yet more anti-knowledge:

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

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  99. @90 CCPO

    Time after time we have seen the denialists’ arguments fully attributed to an intentional dis-/misinformation campaign and ideological constraints on comprehension and interpretation. See Oreskes, et al.

    Which publication of Oreskes are you citing here? I have read her discussion of the “consensus” and find it to be awful, simiply awful. I have commented on it at length at my blog.

    The arguments of yours and people like you seem to amount to: There is lots of evidence for our view- you don’t accept it- you’re wrong- Why should we argue with you if you won’t be convinced by our evidence?

    To which I would reply, you evidence is not convincing. Here we go again.

    Regarding Weart, his title is, shall we say, celebratory. To someone who is not convinced, that seems like triumphalism. Each of us has his point of view. Shall we leave it at that and eschew the word ‘bias?’ It sounds pejorative, but it’s part of life.

    …You actually have to show that some other cause is present. Occam’s razor applies: if over 100 years of science all points to anthropogenic warming, then we can be darned sure that’s the case.

    This is not what Occam’s Razor leads to at all. His venerable argument was that if a simpler explanation exists as opposed to a convoluted one, the simpler one will and should prevail. Assuming it is supported. One can see it as a medieval formulation of the value of the Do Nothing scenario or the Null Hypothesis. That is, the null hypothesis is that the earth has warmed a little, and that it is from natural causes that we do not fully understand. No unprecedented trend. YOU must prove the reverse. That’s what AGW is. It posits a human forcing mechanism. Plausible, but…

    Your assertion about 100 years of evidence is merely circular logic.

    Time after time we have seen the denialists’ arguments fully attributed to an intentional dis-/misinformation campaign …

    Such campaigns did certainly exist when AGW was first proposed in the 1980s. If they are still going on, I certainly am not seeing their material. Most of my doubts about AGW developed by listening to scientists from GISS present their point of view and reading IPCC reports.

    There is no other plausible attribution for climate changes, thus it is unreasonable to deny their attribution to human actions.

    I hear this trope all the time. “You can’t get the warming without the increase in CO2.” “It’s the only plausible explanation…” Other possibilities exist:

    1) The warming is not as severe as AGW folks say it is – that historical record again…

    2) Even if it is, we don’t know it will continue…

    3) Just because we can’t prove another explanation for the alleged warming doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and is no reason to accept a weak explanation, except as a temporary aid to further investigation, perhaps.

    4) Adopt the null hypothesis…

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  100. @94 Doug B.

    When you say researchers “…resort to ad hominem attacks whenever possible”, can you produce some evidence for that?

    I should not have said “whenever possible.” I should have said “often.”

    Is Robock calling Lindzen a liar in a public forum not a decent example? Many commenters here claim that skeptics are simply paid shills for the oil companies. Maybe they don’t count, but perhaps some of them are scientists making those charges. I won’t have to look very far for evidence, really.

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  101. “The arguments of yours and people like you seem to amount to: There is lots of evidence for our view- you don’t accept it- you’re wrong-”

    Your argument seems to be “I have no evidence, but I don’t believe you, therefore you’re wrong”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  102. “1) The warming is not as severe as AGW folks say it is – that historical record again…”

    But you said these other hypotheses fitted the evidence. Now you’re saying that you have to change the evidence first…?

    “2) Even if it is, we don’t know it will continue…”

    Yes we do: CO2 will retain it’s IR absorption characteristics until the atom is torn apart.

    “3) Just because we can’t prove another explanation for the alleged warming doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and is no reason to accept a weak explanation, except as a temporary aid to further investigation, perhaps.”

    Begging the question “Climate science is a weak theory”…

    It isn’t. So #3 doesn’t exist.

    “4) Adopt the null hypothesis…”

    The null hypothesis is that since we’re adding a lot of CO2 and that CO2 retains IR radiation which comes mostly from the earth rather than the sun, we will be warming the earth because of our actions.

    AGW IS the null hypothesis.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 1:37 PM

  103. “Such campaigns did certainly exist when AGW was first proposed in the 1980s.”

    Don’t you mean the 1880′s?

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/#L000

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  104. Ok, let’s skip over Dr. Weart and try something else. How about the National Research Council of the U.S.?

    Lichanos, try reading <a href="http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12782&page=R1"this just-released NRC report, commissioned by Pres. Bush, and then assess if you still disagree w/the NRC’s conclusion regarding uncertainty about climate change research:

    Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.

    Ask yourself, “At what point does my personal opinion bow to the weight of scientifically derived knowledge?”

    Or seize on “very likely” and put that phrase through dynamic range expansion so as to maintain your set of beliefs. The probability of your core beliefs changing is probably very slight.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 May 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  105. #87 J. Bob

    Re. Lichanos

    Hang in there with what? Non relevant hypothesis about how climate models are not good predictors.

    Rather don’t you think he should bring some relevance to the discussion?

    Lichanos has of course revealed bias in his statements that have not scientific foundation. From my view that translates to a lack of reasonability.

    I do have a bias. Maybe you can point out how my bias is incorrect? I tend to go with the most robust conclusions based on the physical evidence and models that achieve relevance based on the evidence.

    The radiative went form the thermal equilibrium average of the Holocene to 3.6 W/m2 all since we started changing dramatically how humans do things with energy and in larger and larger amounts, not to mention land use changes, etc.

    So my bias is toward evidence, observations, models that describe the situation well and are robust as well as reasonable based on the quantifiable changes and the coincident changes along with the presented maths and physics, and yes I even include the scientific consensus of a body of scientists and collected works that all point the finger at an anthropogenic origin, that works through the scientific method to reduce bias, not to mention that this all came form multiple fields of science (biology, sediment cores, geology, atmosphere, etc.).

    Can you actually find a hole here? I meant the only two opposing theories are unable to find ground (from Lindzen and Svensmark) because they are not supported by the body of the science, maths or physics when weighed in with the rest of the system/evidence?

    Where are the undue or uncalled for ‘bias elements’ from the science? How is the body of evidence refutable to produce doubt or point the finger elsewhere? Please do enlighten all.

    Besides, one does not need to have an in depth understanding of thermodynamic modeling to see the many holes in the presented arguments by Lichanos, especially since his arguments revolve around opinion rather than thermodynamic modeling.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  106. @104 Doug B:

    I have read many similar statements. It’s important to attend to what they actually say.

    This one begins with a general statement regarding scientific hypotheses and their establishment as accepted explanations. Okay.

    It then asserts that AGW fits this bill. Now, does the fact that this statement exists prove anything? No. Does it reflect the views of all scientists? No. Do we know how many would accept this statement? No.

    What is this then? It’s simply an editorial. Maybe you know the people at the NRC who wrote it, and you respect them, and you defer to their opinion, but that’s all it is. I don’t dismiss it as trivial, but it doesn’t prove anything.

    Consider the last sentence:

    The earth is warming. Since when? How much? How fast? I am willing to accept that the earth is warming – does that mean I agree with the NRC?

    Will it continue? For how long? At what rate?

    Much of this warming is due to human activities. I’ve already stated that whatever climatic warming exists is due, in part, to human activities. I will also state that CO2 in the air may very well contribute to that. What about the part that doesn’t fall under “Much of..?” And of course, if this means anythig significant, we’re back to the question of “How much?”

    So all these statements that get trumpeted about as evidence of a rock solid consensus don’t amount to much, especially since I would have no trouble agreeing with a lot of what many of them say! In context, of course…

    You should worry less about my internal coginitive processes and think more about how to construct logical arguments.

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  107. #90 ccpo

    Full agreement. Lichanos is showing definitive bias of the media hype type in the contrarian vein, based on his opinion rather than reason.

    The work of Spencer Weart is solid and steeped in well understood history and scientific discovery. I find it hard to read into his work any egregious sensationalism.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 2:02 PM

  108. Gavin, can you confirm that GISS’ dataset is in fact not just CRU’s re-hased? Ie- is it independent, compiled etc by yourselves?

    [Response: Yes of course. The code and URLs for the raw data (GHCN mostly) are all provided on the GISTEMP page. There is no connection to CRU's analysis at all - any statement to the contrary is simply not true (except perhaps in Chris Horner's fevered imagination). - gavin]

    Comment by John — 27 May 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  109. Lichanos says: 27 May 2010 at 1:59 PM

    …think more about how to construct logical arguments.

    As opposed to “I doubt it” which is your “argument.” As a logician, would you say an almost perfect absence of logic is impervious to attacks on logic?

    I’m all done w/you, Lichanos, but you’ve served nicely as an example of neurotic intractability bordering (since as a pseudonymous non-person an ad hominem attack on you is essentially impossible) on psychosis.

    Just for the record, here’s Lichanos’ original objection:

    “AGW posits small and precisely calibrated changes as the result of very complex interactions. The ‘narrative’ tries to tie up the mounds of circumstantial evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis into an explanation that presents logical necessity. That is, it tries to show that not only are the supposed bits of evidence [some are controversial in themselves] consistent with the hypothesis, but that that they demonstrate the superior plausibility of the hypothesis.

    Lichanos has the opportunity but refuses to read the NRC report I mention, instead (predictably) remaining all tangled up on personal metrics of reliability useless for addressing his stated concern or for that matter consistent with numerous analogous examples of the human condition improving in the face of similar levels of uncertainty. I am quite certain Lichanos does not arrange his entire life and work around such mental pitfalls, which is what leads me to think of the word “psychosis”; intractable erroneous belief flying in the face of obvious controverting evidence commonly accepted as part of our reality is a diagnostic of psychosis.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 May 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  110. > CO2 in the air may very well contribute

    Attribution should inform you better than that; “very well” is an understatement; the forcing from CO2 is calculated using the same physics behind the lasers you use every day, as you know from Weart’s book.

    Why choose such vague language about something so well understood?

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/fig/faq-9-2-figure-1.jpeg (“Red indicates simulations that include natural and human factors, while blue indicates simulations that include only natural factors”)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2010 @ 2:50 PM

  111. 54
    SecularAnimist says:
    26 May 2010 at 4:03 PM

    Lichanos wrote: “It also doesn’t mean we know what you seem to think we know about AGW.”

    Exactly and specifically what is it about AGW that you think we think we know, that you think we don’t know?

    We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
    -YES AGREED. BUT HOW EFFICIENT ETC IT IS AT ITS CURRENT AND PROJECTED LEVELS IN OUR CLIMATE SYSTEM IS STILL NOT ACTUALLY KNOWN IS IT.

    We know that human activities over the last century and a half, principally the burning of fossil fuels, have released huge amounts of previously sequestered carbon into the atmosphere as CO2.
    -DEFINE “HUGE” FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF YOUR STATEMENT. IS OUR OUTPUT HUGE WITHIN THE CONTEXT?

    We know that this anthropogenic excess of atmospheric CO2 is causing the Earth system to retain more of the Sun’s energy, causing rapid and extreme warming (and in addition is rapidly acidifying the oceans as they absorb the excess CO2, which may be an even worse problem than the warming itself).
    -RAPID AND EXTREME WARMING? AGAIN DEFINE THIS. HOW IS IT RAPID AND EXTREME WITHIN THE LONG TERM RECORD – I WOULD SUGGEST IT ACTUALLY IS NOT.

    We know that this anthropogenic warming is already causing rapid and extreme changes in the Earth’s climate, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere.

    IS IT? NAME THESE “EXTREME”, DEFINITELY BEYOND NATURAL VARIATION, EXTREMITIES.

    We know that there is even more warming in store from the CO2 that we have already emitted.
    DO WE? EVEN IF KATLA GOES UP WHILE WE HAVE NEGATIVE AO, LA NINA, AND OF COURSE ACCEPTING THAT ANY EFFECT WE ARE HAVING IS ENOUGH TO STOP THE JERK BACK INTO THE NEXT ICE AGE – WHICH HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.

    We know that we are continuing to release more and more CO2 and that as a result CO2 concentrations are rising, at an accelerating rate, which guarantees even more rapid and extreme warming than we are already seeing.
    YOU MEAN THE MASSIVE SHORT TERM EXTREME OF LESS THAN A DEGREE?

    What exactly do you think we don’t know?

    Comment by John — 27 May 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  112. “Pinatubo showed a slight cooling.”
    With an El Niño that lasted from end 1991 to mid 1995?
    Wouldn’t the global temperatures have been (at least) flat or higher from 1990 to 1995 without the Pinatubo?

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/pinatubo/self/index.html

    Hansen in 1992: “The simulations indicate that Pinatubo occurred too late in the year to prevent 1991 from becoming one of the warmest years in instrumental records”

    from http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1992/91GL02788.shtml

    Comment by Ibrahim — 27 May 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  113. I am quite certain Lichanos does not arrange his entire life and work around such mental pitfalls, which is what leads me to think of the word “psychosis”…

    This reminds me of a class I took in Theory of Knowledge in which we discussed a book presenting a radical argument for skepticism, Ignorance, by Peter Unger, Oxford Univ. Press. (I was unconvinced…) Anyway, my professor remarked that despite the fact that Unger argued that we didn’t know anything, couldn’t know anything, and had no logical reason to accept any theory of ethics or knowledge, he was still a pleasant dinner guest, and you didn’t even have to count your silverware after he left!

    Uhh…we operate by different standards in day-to-day life, science, and philosophical disputation.

    Similarly, this bit, numerous analogous examples of the human condition improving in the face of similar levels of uncertainty, is totally irrelevant. I don’t dispute it, it’s just not germane. I thought we were trying to resolve a dispute about a scientific hypothesis. If we are trying to develop a policies to improve the human condition, there’s plenty we can do before we even have to consider scientific controversy. Distributing mosquito nets and building lots of latrines would be a good start.

    Anyway, policy is driven by a different standard of proof than science. Unfortunately, despite my initial opinion to the contrary, I now think it doesn’t even met the relaxed standards for policy making. I’m sure it will surprise you, however, that I support all sorts of AGW-favoried energy policies, but for other reasons, of course.

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  114. #92 Lichanos

    “just deal with my arguments, and leave my person out of it.”

    Then why do you use your real name at the New York Times and on National Public Radio? I would like to know it because I would like to see what you are writing at the New York Times. Don’t be so coy and show some mettle here. Also, I don’t care who you vote for, that has nothing to do with your understanding capacity on this issue. I’m a conservative. Does that mean I don’t understand climate?

    So that I may look at your writing on NYT, what is the name I should look for, since you have nothing to hide.

    “Quite true, but I don’t know why it applies to me. I’m just arguing about hypotheses.”

    Because you said “This statement can hide a multitude of sins!”

    “The general question of how to evaluate models and when to rely on them, and for what, remains.”

    Maybe you should reread the article above again. And then start digging deeper into the RC index page re. models http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/models
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    “You are extremely vehement, seem to lack a sense of humor or irony, and certainly have no knowledge of philosophy”

    Truly an arrogant statement on your part. Your concern of the nuance of meaning is duly noted. But to claim I have no knowledge or a sense of humor or irony is quite ironic. As to “greatest philosopher” vs. “completely ignorant”, what happened to your sense of nuance you were bragging about above? BTW, you might want to look into Zoroaster for some truly brilliant philosophy.

    “How about: AGW is plausible, but I think it’s not sufficiently demonstrated,”

    Just because you can’t figure it out does not overturn the well established science. It just means you are obviously myopic on this issue, sufficiently so as to preclude your ability to see clearly the reality that the science reveals.

    “so I think those scientists are wrong”

    Is this based on something more than your naive opinion?

    “What is scientifically insupportable with doubting the relevance and claimed certainty of individual scientific claims?”

    The mistake here on your part it it is not done by individual scientific claims, it is done by the body of science and evidence that has passed muster through the scientific method to arrive at reasonable conclusions.

    –Generally speaking, you’re looking at the argument, not the science.
    “What the heck does this mean??”

    This is an interesting example of you contradicting yourself and specifically the ‘pot calling the kettle black’; As per above “If you think you can settle the meaning of ‘to know’ and ‘certainty’ by consulting Webster,”. You mean you can’t parse the nuance of the usage id est argument (opinion) vs. science?

    “I think the temperature record is extremely problematic.”

    Problems are dealt with methodologically with the scientific method produce results and error bars.

    I think use of proxies is very problematic.”

    Problems are dealt with methodologically with the scientific method produce results and error bars.

    “I think many arguments presented to the general public to support AGW are utter garbage, e.g., glaciers are melting and migration patterns are changing, ergo, AGW is true.”

    Add to that ‘Attribution’ (see above article and http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/attribution and http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability and especially:

    http://www.ncar.ucar.edu/research/climate/now.php

    Evidence, plus attribution = plausibility conclusions. Or do you have another theory to explain why the global glacial ice mass is dropping so rapidly?

    “but that does not prove it in any way because it is consistent with other views as well.”

    What other views? Are the peer reviewed and peer responded. Are they based on or have achieved the status of well established science? Or some guys opinion on a blog because he says so and uses equations that the public does not understand?

    “Human beings certainly change local and regional climate. This idea has been around at least since George Perkins Marsh published Man and Nature in the 19th century.”

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/climate-science-history

    “If “highly likely” means 90% certainty, and “most” means more than 50%, what are we left with?”

    From what i’ve seen, the science has advanced in relevant areas of understand ing to 95% to 99.99% virtual certainty on the change in radiative forcing that is causing the global temperature to rise.

    “If my concerns about the data record and proxies are only partly correct, then the part of the rise that is AGW is not very big at all.”

    The only thing that leads you to believe your concerns are valid is your own opinion. To achieve that, you have to actually ignore the relevant science ant the contexts. That implies you choose ignorance over understanding.

    “crystal ball”

    You don’t need a crystal ball. More GHG’s means more warming. More warming means warmer oceans. Warmer oceans means more evaporation. More evaporation means more GHG”s. . . or are you implying that warmer oceans will not evaporate more moisture?

    “Should we really have confidence that they can predict the future to such a degree of precision over such a time scale when such positive feedbacks have never been observed before on this scale? When we have so little knowledge about many of the physical systems involved? When the models are calibrated against the historical record which is itself in doubt?
    I remain unconvinced. I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think it’s a fad. We’ll know for sure in fifteen or twenty years.”

    Your confirmation bias is showing. “fad”, “know for sure in . . .

    Ignoring science to favor your opinion is both naive and ignorant. Or do you just prefer ‘cautious consideration without proper consideration of the evidence at hand in context’. Would you bet your life on your opinion on this matter, that being it is not human caused and merely a “fad”?

    You’re reliance on ambiguity in your argument is quite telling. Try science instead.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 2:59 PM

  115. It’s nice to see the plaudits here for Weart’s fine historical work. Naomi Oreskes’ work is equally uncontroversial. Her primary thrust seems to be that the best oceanographers in the world were raising the red flag way back in the 50′s. Where in that you can find anything questionable, with regard to the historian’s craft, is beyond me.

    When smears such as “triumphant” or “celebratory” are attached to painstaking work such as Weart’s, it’s clear that a game-playing mindset – my side versus your side – is engaged.

    On the other hand, RC would be a lot less interesting without the irritants to generate so many pearls!

    Comment by Daniel Goodwin — 27 May 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  116. http://www.pik-potsdam.de/ateam/ateam_final_report_sections_5_to_6.pdf

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 27 May 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  117. #106 Lichanos the anonymous

    “It then asserts that AGW fits this bill. Now, does the fact that this statement exists prove anything?”

    If your assumptions are correct it actually indicates or even proves something very frightening!

    Since we know that CO2 absorbs IR. And since we know that adding more GHG’s will increase the effect (CH4, N2O and the resultant H2O), it rather clearly shows an entirely new conclusion. That being:

    If current warming is natural, and not AGW, then the AGW effect has still yet to kick in.

    Now there is a scary proposition.

    Thanks for that one, even if you didn’t mean to sound so alarming!!!

    But I have to call foul. I don’t approve of you being so unduly alarming. It is not scientifically appropriate without evidence.

    Got any?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 3:17 PM

  118. Re Lichanos @92: “[AGW] is based on two foundations: the temperature record and the GCMs.”

    Oh, look, yet another engineer shows up to tell us that the scientists have got it all wrong but ends up just showing us how much he thinks he knows just isn’t so.

    Lets take this one step at a time.

    The number of people that have shown up here at RC to assert that one of the foundations of AGW is GCMs is not measured in dozens, but in hundreds, perhaps thousands. And every single one of them has been as flat out wrong as engineer Lichanos.

    No, dear engineer Lichanos, the foundation of the greenhouse theory, AGW being just a specific example of that theory, is based on the radiative physics of the so-called greenhouse gases, a phenomenon that has been observed and measured in both the lab and the atmosphere for 150 years now.

    There simply is no escaping the physical reality that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, by what ever means — natural or anthropogenic, will cause more outgoing radiated long wave energy to be absorbed and emitted back down towards the surface, thus retaining more energy within the surface-atmosphere system, thereby warming it.

    Having warmed the ocean surface, more water will be evaporated, and having warmed the atmosphere, it will then be capable of holding more of that evaporated water vapour, which also being a greenhouse gas, will add still more warming as an amplifying feed back.

    There is nothing at all controversial about this, except in the minds of those simply without the education needed to understand it, and those suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect, which prevents them from understanding much of anything.

    The only thing anthropogenic about AGW is the source of the additional CO2, that mainly being humans turning fossil carbon into CO2 by burning fossil carbon fuels.

    Do we have a problem with any of this so far before we move on to your assertions about the temperature record?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 27 May 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  119. @114 JPR & 115 DG:

    Would you bet your life on your opinion on this matter, that being it is not human caused and merely a “fad”?

    I wouldn’t bet my life on anything. Would you?

    I would, however, bet money on it. Not with you, but with people I know personally. Actually, I’ve been looking for someone who will take me up on it. $2500 says AGW will be generally regarded as a fad in twenty years. Under my rules, the other guy gets to decide who wins! See, that’s why I will only do it with people I know and trust. No takers yet.

    When smears such as “triumphant” or “celebratory” are attached…

    Whoaa! If you think that’s a smear, you must lead a pretty sheltered life!

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 3:36 PM

  120. And I see John has joined in with his caps key locked.

    John: “BUT HOW EFFICIENT ETC IT IS…”

    Actually, we have a pretty good idea from lab benchmarks and from the paleo record for times when CO2 has been at or near 392 ppmv how efficient CO2 is at causing energy to be retained in the atmosphere: between 2.5C and 4.5C, or around 3C per doubling.

    John: “DEFINE “HUGE”

    Around 320 Gt of carbon, enough to increase CO2 in the atmosphere by 38%, even with roughly half of that 320Gt being absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.

    John: “RAPID AND EXTREME WARMING? AGAIN DEFINE THIS.”

    Simple: compare the current rate of temperature increase with rates demonstrated in the long term paleorecord.

    John: “EVEN IF KATLA GOES UP…”

    Even if Katla goes up, it’s effect will largely be limited to the northern hemisphere since it’s so far from the equator, and its effects will last for only a few years at most. After it’s effects are gone elevated CO2 will still be there.

    John: “DO WE?”

    Why yes, we do, because CO2 is not going down and so far most of the warming has gone into heating the surface of the ocean. There’s a lot of ocean to warm before it reaches equilibrium with the atmosphere.

    John: “STOP THE JERK BACK INTO THE NEXT ICE AGE”

    Which isn’t due for another 40,000 years or so, because it has happened before, John. Look at the Milankovitch cycle insolation matrix and the interglacial of 425,000 to 400,000 years ago compared to present.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 27 May 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  121. #105 John, have you ever figured out the difference between confidence levels and accuracy yet? Anyway here is a item for you on a legal twist on relying to much on math modeling and no enough on physical models.

    http://machinedesign.com/article/toys-aid-accident-investigation-0520

    That’s why they still test cars and trucks in wind tunnels, besides A/C. If you have ever worked with fluids and thermal systems, you would understand.

    Comment by J. Bob — 27 May 2010 @ 3:52 PM

  122. Lichanos – you claim AGW is based on temperature record and GCMs and find both unconvincing. Then claim that UHI is insuffuciently accounted for etc.

    I think it would make for a better conversation if you were more informed about the science that you are criticizing. Please at least browse the IPCC AR4 WG1 – it would obviously present no barriers to someone with your background. No one is asking you to believe it – but then points of disagreement like the basis of the argument, UHI, reliability of GCMs can start from a informed base.

    For starters, how about the energy imbalance as measured at TOA? AGW is rested in physics not paleoclimate.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 27 May 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  123. A correction to my reply above to this post:
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2348#comment-175757
    Dr. Ornstein has a website, not a blog; he has published other interesting ideas he mentions there, worth a look:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/55436u2122u77525/
    Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming
    Climatic Change Volume 97, Numbers 3-4 / December, 2009
    DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9626-y
    – Leonard Ornstein, Igor Aleinov and David Rind

    Rereading his post, perhaps the key point about statistics isn’t that people don’t understand that a trend isn’t proof of causation, but rather that when combining work done with different statistical tests the combined result is hard to weigh, statistics doesn’t answer that problem very well. I think Gavin’s answer is that statistics doesn’t perhaps bring in the solid physical mechanisms we know are operating either, and knowing the physics adds some assurance, if not some statistical strength, to evaluating what’s going on.

    On taking dead old growth as fuel and returning the ashes, I’ve still got severe doubts; in the Western European forests, people have harvested every stick that falls for centuries and that’s suspect in the overall decline there. Besides we’d see industry sending sewage sludge to dump in the old growth forest as “equivalent” material rather than returning only the clean ash from burning old growth trees — which probably would be valuable because it has little natural or anthropogenic heavy metal or fallout contamination in it, ya know? Probably clean wood ash would be diverted to rich people’s secure shelters for hydroponics if they could get it. Or maybe I’m too cynical?

    On comparing that to taking the whales, well, they were already mostly before science had a baseline
    http://www.pnas.org/content/100/21/12223.full
    but those remaining plankton harvesters are still getting a lot of study along the edge of the Arctic sea ice for example as it changes:
    http://www.onr.navy.mil/en/Science-Technology/Departments/Code-32/All-Programs/Atmosphere-Research-322/~/media/3EB2D1066E954AE8972609637D8BF351.ashx

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  124. There simply is no escaping the physical reality that increasing the amount of CO2 …more outgoing radiated long wave energy to be absorbed and emitted back down … thus retaining more energy within the surface-atmosphere system, thereby warming it.

    Absolutely agree, assuming that over the long-term nothing compensates by removing the CO2 from the atmosphere, like rampant kudzu growth, or something like that…

    Of course, your statement implies a very simple model of the earth-atmosphere system, sort of like an inert billiard ball surrounded by air, perfect for a lab experiment!!

    Having warmed the ocean surface, more water will be evaporated, and having warmed the atmosphere, it will then be capable of holding more of that evaporated water vapour, which also being a greenhouse gas, will add still more warming as an amplifying feed back.

    This second part is certainly plausible, but how do we know it will really happen that way? Because it couldn’t happen another way, obviously, is that it? How much will it happen? Might anything slow down or negate this process? Everyone here seems to agree that the processes by which clouds are formed and unformed is one of the more mysterious elements of the system. And, as you point out, water vapor is a GHG, the most important one of course, so this is quite an important area of uncertainty. And, again, when we are considering relatively small physical changes of state to the system – remember that Kelvin scale – my dear James this uncertainty is rather troubling.

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  125. #119 Lichanos the anonymous

    “I wouldn’t bet my life on anything. Would you?”

    I would bet my life on many things and in fact have taken various degrees of risk for the sake of justice and truth. I am confident enough in the evidence right now (re. AGW) to bet my life that the major shift in radiative forcing since the beginning of the industrial age is human caused.

    Not unlike the soldiers of our armed forces that take that risk for the freedom of our country and others to maintain relative global stability when able (politics aside). Or those that felt freedom was so worthwhile in the Revolutionary war. Or that the United States was more important in the Civil war. I would have sided with the North to protect the union.

    I’ll bet you $10,000. And let’s say we don’t decide, but let the well established body of evidence and science speak for the reality of AGW, rather than anyone’s opinion. Also, if I make more money and can afford to add to the bet in the future, let’s say we up it to $100,000.

    How about if confidence is still above, or between, 90% and 99.99% and it’s fad status has not faded do to countervailing established science, you pay me $10k. If not, I pay you. Agreed?

    As to:

    When smears such as “triumphant” or “celebratory” are attached…
    Whoaa! If you think that’s a smear, you must lead a pretty sheltered life!

    As in all such things, context is key! In your usage, in the context of the demeanor of Spencer Weart and your inferred bias confirmation upon his work, yes, that is pretty much a smear. You don’t know enough about Spencer or the Science to understand just how much of a smear it is though.

    But I’d suppose that is why you tend to rely on ambiguity rather than specificity based on the evidence. It gives you room to say, ‘I didn’t mean what you think I mean’. But what you don’t realize is that most people in here are not left handed when it comes to the science of global warming.

    Oops, I’m sorry. I forgot I’m supposed to have a sense of humor.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 4:11 PM

  126. #121 J. Bob

    I have some very interesting material from Jim Maslanik, that I have unfortunately not had time to digest yet. I hope to get to it soon.

    I’m terribly behind on my analysis lately.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  127. Lichanos displays his ignorance …

    Re Lichanos @92: “[AGW] is based on two foundations: the temperature record and the GCMs.”

    Jim Eager gave you a detailed answer, but really, people are wasting far too much time on you.

    Neither the temperature record nor GCMs (or the computers on which they run) were around when the foundations of greenhouse gas warming of the climate were laid down. Nor were the huge increase in CO2 emissions of the last century being imagined by those doing the work.

    If you’re this ignorant of climate science, why should anyone pay any attention to anything you say?

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 May 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  128. #119 Lichanos

    “I wouldn’t bet my life on anything. Would you?”

    I bet my life on science and technology every time I step on an airplane.

    I must admit that I very, very rarely bet my life on ignoring science and technology, particularly a scientific field that goes back 150 years and which has roots in physics going back much longer.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 May 2010 @ 4:31 PM

  129. “I wouldn’t bet my life on anything. Would you?”

    You’re betting your life on thousands of experts who studied the climate for nearly two centuries are wrong and that you’re right.

    You’re also betting OUR lives.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 4:32 PM

  130. I reckon lychanos is running over here to make dumb statements so he can go back to the herd and tell them that “those AGW believers” are sooooo closed minded.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 4:38 PM

  131. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) says:
    27 May 2010 at 4:11 PM

    I’ll bet [Lichanos] $10,000.

    Oh, boy. It’s about time something like this happened. Twang, plonk. Will the strings break?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 May 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  132. “This second part is certainly plausible, but how do we know it will really happen that way?”

    Because we’ve been able to do the experiments for hundreds of years.

    “Because it couldn’t happen another way, obviously, is that it?”

    What other way could it happen? Freeze when you warm the ocean???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 May 2010 @ 4:48 PM

  133. Lichanos,
    Your entire position is based on ignorance of the scientific method. As you show no inclination to actually learn how science is done, I see no point in discussing things with you.

    Should you decide at some point that you actually want to learn the science, I and many others here would be more than happy to help, but when all is said and done, a man cannot be reasoned out of an opinion he did not arrive at by reason to begin with.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 May 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  134. Lichanos: Absolutely agree, assuming that over the long-term nothing compensates by removing the CO2 from the atmosphere, like rampant kudzu growth, or something like that…

    It’d take an awful lot of Kudzu, don’t you think? Moreover, kudzu that wouldn’t just die and rot and thus return its carbon to the atmosphere.
    Got anything more substantive?

    Over the long term we won’t have to worry about it, though, since eventually enough calcium carbonate shells will rain down to the ocean floor, assuming ocean pH doesn’t fall faster than carbonate shelled marine life can adapt, and enough silicate rock will weather by absorbing CO2, but take a look at how long it took after the Indian subcontinent collided with Asia and uplifted the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau 50 mya to geologically draw down enough CO2 to cause temperature to fall enough for Antarctica to form a permanent ice cap 34 mya.

    True, we’re no where near CO2 levels of the Eocene peak, but the last time atmospheric CO2 was at 392 ppmv was at least 3 mya, before the start of the Quaternary glacial-interglacial cycles, and probably 10-15 mya during the mid-late Miocene, while CO2 was close to 450 ppmv when Antarctica stared to freeze, a level we’ll reach around 2030-2035 at the current rate of emissions.

    Pointing to the long term tends to accentuate the time factor we’re up against, not downplay it.

    Lichanos: This second part is certainly plausible, but how do we know it will really happen that way?

    Ummm, because it has happened that way in the past? Because if the iris effect is as powerful as Lindzen keeps insisting it is he can’t explain how an interglacial comes to be, let alone past long term periods of high temperature.

    Lichanos: remember that Kelvin scale

    Oh, please tell us you are not trying to run the “show the entire scale” argument du jour up the flagpole.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 27 May 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  135. How do we determine that a predicted effect of AGW has actually happened?

    Consider loss of Arctic sea ice (ASI). When we started building GCM, ASI provided high albedo in the Arctic, helped keep the atmosphere dry so heat could be radiated into space, and provided a breeding platform for marine mammals. Then, ASI was a smooth, fast surface for dog sleds to take seal hunters out the hunting grounds. Moving through the multi-year ice was a job for Class A ice breaking ships.

    Today, ASI is porous and perforated for much of the year so that water vapor from the sea enters the Arctic Atmosphere. During the melt season, a film of water on the surface of the remaining ice reduces albedo. And, both walrus and polar bears have experienced significant loss of young when the ice broke up early. Now, travel over the ice is hampered by cracks and open water. Last summer, a small Class C research vessel was able to cruise through thick ice at speeds near its normal cruise speed for open water.

    Certainly, there is lots of ice left in the Arctic. However, it does not function the same way that ASI functioned 40 or even 10 years ago. Do we say the Arctic Sea Ice gone when it stops acting like Arctic Sea Ice, or when the last bit of slush is gone?

    How, and when do we know that global warming has taken the ASI?

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 27 May 2010 @ 5:28 PM

  136. Lichanos (92) — We knew enough over 30 years ago.

    Charney et al. 1979 NRC/NAS report:
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=R1

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 May 2010 @ 5:45 PM

  137. Very funny.

    >>You always need a model of some sort

    I suppose you do. Einstein and Bohr both had models.
    But of course they could verify hypothesis against reality
    very easily. It’s called empirical data.

    If you have to explain your results by hand waving and postulating
    the question

    How do we know what caused climate to change – or even if anything did?

    you have a fundamental problem with your approach. You don’t have to
    have a phd in physics to grasp this very simple(emphasis simple) point.

    [Response: Please, at least try to pretend you are paying attention. - gavin]

    Comment by kevin king — 27 May 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  138. It’s remarkable how someone can get regulars here wound up with versions of the Argument From Personal Incredulity and sundry sly smarting off. I take it most of you have not been through the sameo-sameo for ten years with creationists.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 27 May 2010 @ 6:07 PM

  139. from my point of view as a biologist, taking “microbiology” as THE example for a lab science gets it pretty bad: the science you are talking of should better be called “molecular microbiology”, biochemistry or the like; whereas the rising sciences of “microbial ecology” and “environmental microbiology” show exactly where the problem is: humans and their means to “observe” are (still!) extremely limited. therefore you have to admit: all the datasets we’re working with are more or less imperfect. scientists may reduce this imperfectness by appropriate statistics and reasonable modelling. but although they try this all the time, they sometimes fail.

    Comment by wurstendbinder — 27 May 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  140. #125 As in all such things, context is key! In your usage … that is pretty much a smear.

    But calling a man a liar and diagnosing me as subject to psychosis is…polite?

    #127 Neither the temperature record nor GCMs (or the computers on which they run) were around when the foundations of greenhouse gas warming of the climate were laid down

    A lot of people make arguments like this. Oreskes proposes a similar non sequitur. In the 19th century, Arrhenius proposed the “green house” effect deriving from burning fossil fuel. This was based on knowledge of the physical characteristics of CO2. Nobody disputes the nature of CO2. That’s not what’s at issue. If it were all so simple and straightforward, why the heck would you need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on computer models? Obviously, the system is complicated.

    #128 I bet my life on science and technology every time I step on an airplane.

    That’s like saying you take a bet everytime you flush the toilet that the water will go down and not up. Some odds! Just for laughs let me ask you, would you bet your life on something that actually makes for a wager as it’s usually understood, like whether or not the BP “top kill” will work…today…this week?

    #130 I reckon lychanos is running over here … so he can go … tell them that “those AGW believers” are sooooo closed minded.

    You sure give me plenty of evidence for that!

    #132 What other way could it happen?

    Your lack of imagination in the face of nature is astonishing.

    #138 …sameo-sameo for ten years with creationists.

    I’ve been through the “same old” with creationists. The dispiriting thing is, you supporters of AGW sound like THEM. To compare climate science to Darwinian Theory is ridiculous. Just reading Darwin, and how he deals with objections to his theory would make that clear.

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 6:32 PM

  141. > It then asserts that AGW fits this bill. Now, does the
    > fact that this statement exists prove anything? No.

    > Nobody disputes the nature of CO2.

    What exactly about the subject of attribution do you want to discuss?
    Attribution. That’s what the topic is for.

    You realize proof isn’t available in science, this isn’t mathematics.
    You’ve read Weart; you’ve read the IPCC material; you’ve read the Start Here links at the top of the page.

    Attribution. What do you want to know about it from the climate scientists?

    Ignore anyone who seems just to be anklebiting and eventually they’ll leave you alone. Don’t encourage the distractions from the topic.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2010 @ 6:42 PM

  142. Lichanos – I’d take your bet but only with the reassurance that you had read and understood WG1. Otherwise I would have some ethical issues.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 27 May 2010 @ 7:07 PM

  143. #141 Attribution. What do you want to know about it from the climate scientists?

    Hey, man. I posted a simple comment, way back when, on the argument that Gavin presented. Since then, I’ve just been responding to comments hurled at me by the running dogs. Who’s doing the ankle biting?

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 7:09 PM

  144. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/328/5982/1147

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2010 @ 7:11 PM

  145. #140 Lichanos the anonymous

    - Did I say you are psychotic? And I’m not calling you a liar, just so it’s clear, I’m saying you are using narrow-minded argument that is largely misguided that relies on opinion while ignoring science. If you are aware of it, then you are a liar. If your just not that bright in this particular area of science then you are merely ignorant and/or naive.
    - The basic science of CO2 is straight forward.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/
    - You’re comparing getting on board a complex aircraft that relies on a multitude of manmade systems, repair schedules and complex technology, to gravity. You are kidding, right?
    - If you have evidence that the regular posters here are closed minded, I would love to see it.
    - you highlight lack of imagination, again forgetting that it’s not about opinions, it’s about evidence and science. You can imagine that aliens are heating up the planet, but how is that relevant?
    - then you compare those that look at evidence in science to creationists. Geez, no wonder you are too chicken to tell us your name. Your logic is not merely confused, it’s embarrassing.

    You have successfully managed to answer all not relevant points with your opinion and you have not answered any of the relevant questions I gave you.

    hmmm . . .


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 7:12 PM

  146. Lichanos: Nobody disputes the nature of CO2.

    On the contrary, plenty of half-wits do, they make drive-by comments here all the time.

    Not that I’m saying you do or that you’re a half wit, mind.

    Lichanos: You sure give me plenty of evidence for that!

    Speaking of which, I just reviewed all of your comments in this thread and you have yet to provide a shred of evidence to support your arguments, straw man and otherwise, assertions, hand waving and dismissal of the science and multiple lines evidence.

    Not one single piece.

    You know what they say about glass houses.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 27 May 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  147. #140 Lichanos the anonymous

    Climate science is much more well established that the Top Kill solution for a multitude of reasons. I would not bet on Top Kill. In fact I have serious doubts about it. I have proposed a different solution that I think has a better chance of working though.

    We will have to wait and see their next move.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 7:20 PM

  148. Attribution. What do you want to know about it from the climate scientists?

    Ignore anyone who seems just to be anklebiting and eventually they’ll leave you alone. Don’t encourage the distractions from the topic.

    You assume he’s serious about learning. It’s hard to anklebite an anklebiter …

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 May 2010 @ 7:22 PM

  149. Re: Lichanos & similar sorts

    To paraphrase Eldridge Cleaver, when it comes to the subject of Anthropogenic Global Warming, one can be part of the solution by becoming familiar with the fundamentals of the subject matter (cf. Weart, IPCC WG1, RC Start Here) or one becomes part of the problem, which is the denial of testably verifiable science (i.e., “Denialism”).

    Or you can be as Lichanos, which is to claim to be educated enough in the science, but apparently not well enough to understand it. It is in in his denying of the science (without any furnished citations) despite his proclaimed understanding of it (cf. Dunning-Kruger) that I stay on-topic & Attribute him as a troll.

    Despite the valiant efforts of Doug Bostrom, John Reisman, Hank Roberts & many others, Lichanos is undeterred in his mission to cause conflict & argument, and to continue to sow the seeds of discord among the sway-able masses reading but not yet commenting on these threads. If Lichanos has substantive, verifiable concerns supported by source citations (cf. virtually any post by any regular commentator here on RC) that can be shown to override over a century of research into atmospheric physics, let him provide them for peer review.

    Until that (far removed future) time, Hank’s suggestion in comment 141 at 27 May 2010 at 6:42 PM would be a wise one to follow:
    “Ignore anyone who seems just to be anklebiting and eventually they’ll leave you alone. Don’t encourage the distractions from the topic.”

    Cheers,

    Daniel the Yooper

    Comment by Daniel the Yooper — 27 May 2010 @ 7:23 PM

  150. #143 Lichanos the anonymous

    Your simple comment (#22) was largely naive and/or ignorant in the context of the well established climate science.

    Or do you have evidence, other than your opinion, to the contrary? I mean ‘hey man’, opinions don’t count here.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 May 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  151. Lichanos:

    #127 Neither the temperature record nor GCMs (or the computers on which they run) were around when the foundations of greenhouse gas warming of the climate were laid down

    A lot of people make arguments like this. Oreskes proposes a similar non sequitur. In the 19th century, Arrhenius proposed the “green house” effect deriving from burning fossil fuel. This was based on knowledge of the physical characteristics of CO2. Nobody disputes the nature of CO2.

    You’ve correctly identified the foundation, and it’s nice to see that you agree that GCMs and the temperature record aren’t the “foundations of AGW”.

    That’s not what’s at issue. If it were all so simple and straightforward, why the heck would you need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on computer models? Obviously, the system is complicated.

    Don’t break your back moving those goalposts, dude.

    And this is the kind of dishonest debating technique that leads to people saying unkind things about you.

    #128 I bet my life on science and technology every time I step on an airplane.

    That’s like saying you take a bet everytime you flush the toilet that the water will go down and not up. Some odds! Just for laughs let me ask you, would you bet your life on something that actually makes for a wager as it’s usually understood, like whether or not the BP “top kill” will work…today…this week?

    No, I wouldn’t bet my life on something that BP itself has only a 60%-70% probability of success.

    Would you bet your life on a 30%-40% probability of failure?

    Are you going to bet your life on the exceedingly small chance that most of what we know about atmospheric physics, planetary atmospheric physics, paleoclimate, etc etc are wrong?

    Remember, for climate science to be wrong about the effect of injecting massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere today to be wrong, it also has to be wrong about the other 99% of what has been learned about atmospheric physics that deals with the past on earth, why Venus is so hot, etc etc etc.

    Denialists like yourself seem to have little or no understanding of how much science has to collapse for their denialist hopes to come true.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 May 2010 @ 7:32 PM

  152. 140: Lichanos sez: “Nobody disputes the nature of CO2.”

    You’re either ignorant or you’re lying which is it. denialists dispute the nature of CO2 on this site and many others everyday. We’re been treated to gobs and gobs of nonsense. Some lawyer somewhere is explaining the climate of Venus based on his ignorance of the ideal gas law and adiabatic processes. So. Which is it. Are you lying or are you unaware of the vast amount of pure bull shit spewed by blog “scientists”?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 27 May 2010 @ 7:33 PM

  153. John E. Pearson says: 27 May 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Some lawyer somewhere is explaining the climate of Venus based on his ignorance of the ideal gas law and adiabatic processes…

    Goddard explains, meanwhile CEI’s Senior Fellow of Sewer Inspections Chris Horner is trying to have a subpoena served on the Venera 9 lander. The robot’s stubborn silence is taken as an admission of guilt.

    [Response: Cue press release on Venusian 'stalling' on 1, 2, 3.... - gavin]

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 May 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  154. > assume he’s serious about learning.

    That’s what we’re here to do.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2010 @ 8:05 PM

  155. Lichanos,
    Have you noticed which side has the evidence in this “debate”? I will give you a hint. It is not pudknockers like you.

    You say that nobody disputes the nature of CO2–from which I presume you acknowledge that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Do you dispute that CO2 sensitivity is around 3 degrees per doubling–a value supported by about a dozen seperate lines of evidence. If so, where is your evidence. Put up or shut up time.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 May 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  156. Kevin King: “You don’t have to
    have a phd in physics to grasp this very simple(emphasis simple) point.”

    Yet, isn’t it funny that the vast majority of PhDs in physics (myself included) do see that the evidence is quite strong–as well as PhDs in chemistry, metorology… Indeed, no professional society or honorific society of scientists that has looked at the issue dissents from the consensus.

    No, the dissenters are mostly proud ignoramuses like you. Odd, that, isn’t?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 May 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  157. #151 dhogaza:

    Remember, for climate science to be wrong about the effect of injecting massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere today to be wrong, it also has to be wrong about the other 99% of what has been learned about atmospheric physics that deals with the past on earth, why Venus is so hot, etc etc etc.

    I don’t see why this is true at all! If it were, it would be a serious argument. Just try a thought experiment. It’s 2030. The global temperature anomaly, however it comes to be measured, has bopped around a bit and is only slightly higher than it is now, or was 15 years ago. Just imagine this happens. No volcanoes have gone off. Are you telling me that you would feel it necessary to jettison 99% of what is known? No. Scientists would say, “Hmmm…we were wrong. I guess we didn’t understand all the interactions probably. Our models were too sensitive to the biases of the input data…etc. etc.”

    I’m not certain this will happen, but that’s what I’m betting on. Is it really so improbable a scenario?

    Obviously, I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t, as look as I don’t toe the line. By recognizing the physics of CO2 I am somehow a liar because some kooks don’t. Also, by refusing to dispute it, I have somehow “moved the goal posts.” The physics of CO2 are not an issue for any skeptic that cares about science. If you think only the unconvinced have ignorant yahoos in their ranks, you haven’t been reading the stuff your own supporters put out on the web.

    Regarding the recent turn of the comments –
    One of the reasons I like to debate in threads like this, besides the chance that someone might actually deign to construct a rational argument, is that I enjoy the spectacle of seeing the professed high minded guardians of truth descend into a mob of insulting, yapping, schoolboys. Responding to my comments by calling me ignorant, psychotic, a liar, etc. seems to be preferred rejoinder now. Not a very fine reflection on the quality of your minds…

    [Response: While it is no doubt very satisfying to feel that everyone else is a fool and that people arguing with you automatically implies the correctness of your position, you might just want to consider that imagining futures that confirm your beliefs is not evidence of anything. What if it warmed twice as fast as ipcc expects? Surely that is just as likely? (see how unconvincing proof by imaginary assertion is?). This is a thread about attribution, and your contribution has been singularly devoid of anything resembling evidence, logic, or actual information content. A feeling that you are not convinced is not any kind if evidence. So, please either up your game (cites, refs, actual issues) or take it elsewhere. Thanks. -gavin]

    Comment by Lichanos — 27 May 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  158. Nice non ad hominem there (109) Doug Bostrom….

    Comment by Rod B — 27 May 2010 @ 9:49 PM

  159. Hank, thanks for the reference from Springer Link regarding reversing Global Warming. I will access the full article later in the week and try and find others like it. If you find similar ones, please post them here.

    Very much appreciated.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 27 May 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  160. “Lichanos, blah, blah, blah, Lichanos. . .”

    (Apologies to Gary Larson.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 May 2010 @ 10:58 PM

  161. 60 RalphieGM: “I don’t see the alarm.” I have listed the kill mechanisms of GW too many times already. Suffice to say that AGW has many way to make humans EXTINCT and the process isn’t pleasant. The first kill mechanism, disruption of agriculture, is already kicking in.

    Lichanos many: It all started in 1859 when John Tyndall measured the infrared optical properties of N2, O2 and CO2. N2 and O2 are transparent. CO2 is opaque in the infrared. That is the physical mechanism.
    “NRC?”: About [or is it at least?] 10 independent groups of climatologists have come to the same conclusions. NASA-GISS, NOAA, The British MET office and CRU to name 4.
    “You should” get a degree in physics and along the way study the optical properties of gasses. From your blog at http://iamyouasheisme.wordpress.com/
    you appear to be an humanitologist, untrained in science and math.
    And you seem to change your mind. “You should” not “should” those who “should” be your professors.

    111 John: “YOU MEAN THE MASSIVE SHORT TERM EXTREME OF LESS THAN A DEGREE?”
    No john. We mean the extreme hunger you are going to experience at at a few more degrees, if not sooner. The 1.4 degree F we already have is impacting agriculture here and around the world. I guess you will understand when you go to the grocery store and there is no food. We will surely be extinct by the time it gets to 11 degrees F.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 May 2010 @ 10:59 PM

  162. Thanks for the lesson, Gavin, I am rusty and needed the refresher course.

    It’s especially bracing to read something written by someone who is really smart, certainly a lot smarter than I am. We are really going to need you in the coming decades.

    Comment by mike roddy — 27 May 2010 @ 11:05 PM

  163. In other news, it’s most likely quantum all the way down:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=quantum-weirdnes-wins-again-entangl-2008-08-13

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2010 @ 11:19 PM

  164. “But calling a man a liar and diagnosing me as subject to psychosis is…polite?”

    It is, however, supported by the evidence.

    Would I bet my life on you NOT being nuts?

    No.

    As to the threat of closed-minds, your mind seems to be closed to the idea that the IPCC is pointing to solid and acceptable evidence and that AGW is a real effect of human activity on the ecosystem.

    You have no EVIDENCE that they are wrong, but you still say “it’s something else”.

    This is a closed mind.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 2:55 AM

  165. “all the datasets we’re working with are more or less imperfect. scientists may reduce this imperfectness by appropriate statistics and reasonable modelling. but although they try this all the time, they sometimes fail.”

    Well, there’s weak-sauce for you.

    Mind you, he’s right: the likes of McIntyre used datasets that are too imperfect to draw the conclusions they have done.

    Lomberg has failed in his modelling of the atmosphere.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 2:58 AM

  166. “#132 What other way could it happen?

    Your lack of imagination in the face of nature is astonishing.”

    Either

    1) He can’t think of one either

    or

    2) He wants YOU to do his work for him

    or

    3) All the above.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 3:00 AM

  167. Gavin, et al.,

    I would like to propose the following:

    1. Assertion: Repetition of a falsehood to explain that falsehood reinforces the falsehood. (Many articles/research on this effect)
    2. Assertion: Oreskes, et al., have demonstrated the following: A. The denial industry is just that, an organized business intended to spread doubt about things known to be true. B. Ideology trumps reason in decision-making. C. As of 2004, there was essentially zero scientific literature that could be construed to rebuke AGW. To my knowledge, none has emerged since.

    3. Given 1 and 2 above, repeating the denialist talking points here is self-destructive. It reinforces their claims, which we know to be without merit.

    4. I propose two approaches be taken to such as Lichanos in the future: 1. Unless their posts have any substantive data that challenges and refutes AGW, en toto, responses to them should be thus

    Ex.: Re: Lichanos – 27 May 2010 @ 11:35 PM

    Please see (link),(link) and (link). We will entertain legitimate, thoughtful questions if you require assistance parsing the information linked, however, further assertions that do not provide links to valid research to back them up will not be published. – gavin

    OR

    2. simply do not publish them at all.

    It’s time to get on to the business of dealing with AGW. We really cannot continue to reinforce dishonest/disingenuous assertions.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 28 May 2010 @ 3:07 AM

  168. Lichanos,

    You’ve asked us to read Weart as if we were AGW doubters requiring answers that would satisfy us. I ask you to read the science as if you want to know if scientists might have actually thought about and addressed the concerns you are ever so vaguely raising.

    On your (otherwise literate) blog, you say it was “news to you” that urban and rural stations are being paired to check for UHI bias. Well, now you know. What do you do with this news? Does it make you revise, ever so slightly, your impression UHI has not been adequately addressed? This is a fairly obvious control to do, really, when you think about it. Does it occur to you that if you missed this, maybe there’s some more work you ought to learn about before you pontificate?

    On your blog, you go on to talk about bad tree-ring data for recent decades being thrown out, and you speculate this is because it doesn’t match the “projected” uptick in temperatures. Uhm, no, the reason the data is not used is because it doesn’t match the observed uptick in the instrumental record. Isn’t that pretty obvious too? Does that make you think? Could any of your other doubts be similarly based on lazy wild guesses that you could easily have put to rest? (Several people here have given you pointers.)

    Come on, do like scientists do, don’t trust your reasoning, check it against the facts. Be a skeptic.

    (By the way, I enjoyed the pun of Didactylos [Two-Fingered] responding to Lichanos [Index Finger]… Next up: CFU changes his tag to Fákhlos [Middle Finger]?)

    Comment by CM — 28 May 2010 @ 3:57 AM

  169. Lichanos said: “$2500 says AGW will be generally regarded as a fad in twenty years.”

    Not enough. Not nearly enough. Do you know the cost of delaying that long? It will be astronomical.

    Of course, this whole discussion is a waste of time. In 20 years, you will say “there’s still not enough evidence. We need to wait longer. Maybe it has started cooling since 2027!”

    I thought you were merely in doubt about the science. Now, I see you are just another delayer.

    Comment by Didactylos — 28 May 2010 @ 4:00 AM

  170. A friend of mine is preparing a paper that matches the temperature curve since 1980 with the derivative of the curve for CO2 levels. When temperatures rise, the rate of CO2 increase rises, and when temperatures fall, the rate of CO2 increase falls. This would seem to suggest that temperature is driving CO2 levels (aside from or outside of the background CO2 level rise attributable to human sources). Are there any papers out there that have matched the curves in this way? Please comment on this comment!

    Comment by Mark — 28 May 2010 @ 4:43 AM

  171. With the limited amount of data that exists, you are never going to be able to “prove” much about future climate projections, or get much traction on hind-casts or attribution. A more interesting question is:

    –in the n-dimensional space of models that con be plausibly constructed to back-fit the data, what % of them predict dramatic (positive feedback) future warming? Or alternatively have a large role for CO2?

    –how honest is the selection of the size of the n-dimensional space of models used above? IE is it not polluted by confirmation bias? This is the real question I think, since I know what the RC answer to the first question is…

    With simpler problems like financial modeling, you can do monte-carlo simulations over the space of all possible models to give you an idea of whether a good back tested fit means anything or not. In other words whether or not the model is over-fit. You do this essentially by seeing if a given model will explain any type of simulated historical data.

    In addition, you will likely insist on bootstrapping the model so that the predictive accuracy is never calculated in-sample.

    The most difficult thing in this process is to avoid fooling yourself. With the more complex models of the climate, I wonder how this type of problem is approached?

    Comment by Mesa — 28 May 2010 @ 6:55 AM

  172. Responding to my comments by calling me ignorant, psychotic, a liar, etc. seems to be preferred rejoinder now. Not a very fine reflection on the quality of your minds…

    Ignorant people exist. Psychotic people exist. Liars exist. Regardless of the quality of my mind.

    CM has pointed out that you’ve made two assertions from ignorance, one regarding work to understand what effect the UHI might have on the instrumental record, and another regarding the handling of the divergence problem.

    What do assertions from ignorance tell us about the quality of your mind?

    I, too, looked at your blog. You appear to have no technical background whatsoever. You’re like a poet trying to tell a cardiac surgeon how to do her job.

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 May 2010 @ 8:28 AM

  173. Since Gavin has weighed in with his put up or shut up request for evidence, I feel I must simply explain my position again and sign off.

    #161 EG suggests that I am a “humanitologist” untrained in science and math.
    I do consider myself a “humanist” and I am trained in science and math. I also have a strong interest in the history, logic, and philosophy of scientific explanation. What strikes me about most of the attacks on me here, including Gavin’s, is the total lack of interest on your part in the logical structure of your explanationn. It seems to me that if the logic is bad, “evidence” is beside the point. An explanation must deal in a logically coherent way with the observations.

    So, one of my initial assertions was that the temperature record and GCMs are at the base of the AGW hypothesis. Many assumed that I therefore am a fantasist, uninterested in the characteristics of CO2. I ask you, if the temperature record were flat, would Weart have written his book? No. He would have written an essay speculating on why Arrhenius’ hypothesis didn’t work out as expected, despite the inputs of CO2. Without GCMs, there would be no long-rang predictions. Ergo, those two items are the crucial foundation blocks of evidence for AGW.

    [Response: But when told, and shown, that this is not true, you persist in your error. This might be a great debating tactic, but it's connection to logical thought is tenuous at best. Arrhenius made long term predictions, as did Callendar, and as did Plass - none of them used GCMs, and all did so without knowledge of temperature trends in the last 40 years. If you don't like GCMs for some personal reason, then the predictions are obviously going to be less quantitative, but the predictions are there none-the-less. And, as a point of logic, no prediction of the future is evidence of anything in the present. - gavin]

    Gavin S. remarks:
    While it is no doubt very satisfying to feel that everyone else is a fool and that people arguing with you automatically implies the correctness of your position, you might just want to consider that imagining futures that confirm your beliefs is not evidence of anything.
    Of course, that superior feeling is well in evidence in the comments here, that increasingly veer towards outraged character attack, but nevermind…
    If the imagined future he posits came to be, I would consider myself completely wrong. I don’t claim that my scenario proves anything. I proposed it as a ‘thought experiment’ to try and get through to one commenter. As for warming twice as fast as the IPCC predicts, why is that “surely just as likely?” Regardless, I wasn’t suggesting my scenario was likely, only possible, and useful to consider.

    [Response: How is it useful? If things come to pass that were not predicted obviously people will think about why that might have happened - is the data faulty, was the theory faulty or incomplete, is the comparison appropriate? These questions get asked all the time whenever there is an apparent mismatch. But you can't assume the answer, and so such storylines are absolutely useless in determining what the evidence shows now. Again, a logical fail. - gavin]

    Gavin S. asserts that my response has been devoid of logic. I think I have struggled mightilty to engage you with logic, and I have been given insults and ranting in return for the most part. It’s true that I have presented little evidence! Why should I? I’m questioning your LOGIC! Do you get that? If I can show that your own argument is incoherent, then I don’t need evidence to dismiss your hypothesis. That’s my game. You can claim I have failed, but you can’t claim I need to play by other rules than the ones of science and basic rationality.

    [Response: I don't imagine that many people want to play your game, being more interested in actually working out what is going on. However, your 'game' ' is one where you decide what the opposing theory is (with no support from your opposition) and you proceed to 'logically' show that your caricature is deficient in some way. This is simply a strawman argument, and it is not a valid logical point. Fail. - gavin]

    I just don’t “feel” unconvinced. I have gone from a cautious supporter of AGW to unconvinced by watching over a period of fifteen years how people like Gavin S. Jim Hansen, Oppenheim, et al. deal with critiques of their work. They don’t engage. They make assertions, collect more ‘evidence’, run more models, hurl insults, imply dark conspiracies and voodoo science and talk about ‘multiple lines of evidence’. Nope. Each bit has to be proven independently of the other. Not very convincing.

    [Response: And you respond by making fact-free assertions of your own? Not very convincing either. - gavin]

    #167 cpo and #168 cm made comments that nicely encapsulate this point of view:

    I propose two approaches be taken to such as Lichanos in the future: 1. Unless their posts have any substantive data that challenges and refutes AGW, en toto, responses to them should be thus…

    You’ve asked us to read Weart as if we were AGW doubters requiring answers that would satisfy us.

    Basically, unless you can totally disprove AGW outright, nothing you say matters. And…YOU decide on the results. Of course, the ultimate proof WILL come in a few decades. Perhaps you will be right and I will be wrong…

    And yes, I ask that you read Weart just as you have suggested. Isn’t that appropriate when reviewing a scientific hypothesis?

    Finally, this snippet is indicative of your approach to evidence:

    #168 cm: Uhm, no, the reason the data is not used is because it doesn’t match the observed uptick in the instrumental record. Isn’t that pretty obvious too?

    Sooo, it’s okay to use tree ring data that does appear to match instrumental records, and when it doesn’t match it, we throw it out, but we still have confidence in the vast proxy record of tree ring data because we know it’s basically good…because more recent data [mostly] matches recent instrumental data?

    Wouldn’t you worry, just a little, about that discrepancy between tree ring data and the instrument record? I sure would.

    [Response: Indeed, and perhaps people would write papers about it, and discuss it at conferences, and write more papers about it. Oh, look, they have... - gavin]

    Comment by Lichanos — 28 May 2010 @ 8:29 AM

  174. Lichanos (157),

    You say that a major reason you like debates like this is because you “enjoy the spectacle of seeing the professed high minded guardians of truth descend into a mob of insulting, yapping, schoolboys.”

    So it’s not constructive discourse you’re seeking, but rather you’re trying to provoke people into getting (overly) defensive, so that then you say, “See, they’re so mean to me! They must have something to hide!”. If you want to be a serious discussion partner, you should really abandon that rather unconstructive purpose.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 28 May 2010 @ 8:31 AM

  175. 171 (Mesa),

    The most difficult thing in this process is to avoid fooling yourself.

    An interesting comment. Ever consider applying it to your own reasoning process?

    A hint… man solves problems by making assumptions. It’s an invaluable and very dangerous art. Correct assumptions simplify a problem and lead to a quick and accurate solution. Incorrect assumptions lead to disaster. Too many assumptions (i.e. “thinking inside the box”) lead nowhere — to no solution at all, for lack of options. Too few assumptions similarly lead nowhere, but due to an overwhelming volume of noise.

    So what you have to ask yourself is “what in my post is an incorrect or missing assumption?” What do I fail to properly grasp, or where am I lead astray by complete ignorance, such that I think I can arrogantly proclaim to professional scientists that they are deluding themselves and seemingly have no idea what they are doing, while I myself am above such petty frailties and have a true grasp on the truth about life, the universe, and climate change?

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 28 May 2010 @ 8:41 AM

  176. “This would seem to suggest that temperature is driving CO2 levels”

    That’s an 11, Bob.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 8:45 AM

  177. Amphi-Fákhlos, please, CM..!

    ;-P

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  178. Let us deal with undeniable facts about the Earths climate.

    1. There is a greenhouse effect.

    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    3. The greenhouse effect is actualy an increase in radiative forcing on the Earths surface.

    3. Radiative forcing is the only significant energy input into the Earths climate.

    4. The Sun is the ultimate source of all direct radiative forcing on the Earth.

    5. The Sun has been increasing its output at 1% per 100 million years. (i.e. radiative forcing has increased by 5% over the last 500 million years for instance)

    6. A five percent increase in this direct radiative forcing is much larger than any hypothesised increase in radiative forcing due to increased CO2 for the forseeable future.

    6, There has been no increase in the Earths average temperature over the last 500 million years. (consensus actually states there has been a fall)

    [Response: Not at all clear - Snowball Earth and the Oridivician glaciation were very cold indeed. There has certainly not been a smooth cooling over that time period.- gavin]

    7. Therefore the Earth has exhibited a negative feedback to this increased radiative forcing over a period of at least half a billion years. (Not positive, not even neutral but negative!)

    [Response: No. You make the mistake of thinking every change on Earth other than the solar input must be a climate feedback. This is not true in the slightest. Tectonic changes (and associated changes in vulcanism and CO2 outgassing) for instance are not connected to the solar input at all and cannot be considered feedbacks. Evolutionary changes - the emergence of land plants, flowers and deciduous trees are not climate feebacks either and yet likely had dramatic effects on the reflectivity, water cycling and atmospheric composition. Climate changes associated with the KT impact are not feedbacks to a solar input change either. To actually do the calculation you are attempting you would need to know all of these things pretty exactly, as well as having a quantitative estimate of the temperature changes. Big decreases in greenhouse gases due to a slowdown in ocean sea floor spreading for instance would dramatically overturn your conclusion. - gavin]

    Now lets look at what the AGW believers hypothesise. They hypothesise that the Earths response to increased radiative forcing is a strongly positive one and what proof do they have?… GCMs!

    [Response: No. A thousand times no. How many times do you need telling this is not true? - gavin]

    So flying in the face of everything we know, about how the Earths climate has been reacting to increased radiative forcing, they prefer models to facts and observation!

    I would like an someone on here to explain, in detail, seeing as climate science is largely settled apparantly, what processes have prevented the Earth warming up over the last 500 million years in the face of the strong increase in radiative forcing. I don’t want hand waving or guesses, I want the actual processes involved and the changes in the various factors with the figures and percentage changes backing up the explanation. Should be no problem in a largely settled science after all.

    I would then like to know if these processes and factors are still present in the Eaths climate system and if not when and how did they disappear.

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 28 May 2010 @ 9:16 AM

  179. Mesa, First, you seem to not understand that the models are qualitatively different from the models you are evidently used to–they are physics-based, dynamical models. The way you avoid fooling yourself is by putting in the physics as best you can determine it and letting the model run.

    Having said this, all the models have a significant CO2 sensitivity. This is inevitable given the physics. You simply do not get anything that looks like Earth without a significant role for a long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gas. This is all documented in the resources the Start Here page vectors you to. Why not actually learn what the scientists are doing rather than speculate based on ignorance?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 May 2010 @ 9:18 AM

  180. mark 170 (appologies as it is only a partial answer).
    If one takes the rate of increase in CO2 as an indication od emission rate, it might be an imperfect proxy for aerosol emissions. A reasonable physics based simpl model would be that tempterature departure is a linear combination of CO2 concentration (actually the log, but for smallisg changes we can ignore that), and aerosols, which we can use as the derivative of CO2 concentration for. In such a simplistic model, with CO2 warming, and aerosol cooling there is an exponentially increasing rate of CO2 concentration which exactly balances out aerosol cooling. Of course if we were to follow such a curve, someday we would have to stop, as sources of fuel will someday run out, and then we would see the full effect of the increase.

    There is significant short term variation in atmospheric CO2, driven by vegetation growth and decay, which is seasonable, but also variable year to year. In short, taking the derivative of something amplifies the effect of noise.

    Comment by Thomas — 28 May 2010 @ 9:23 AM

  181. “So it’s not constructive discourse you’re seeking, but rather you’re trying to provoke people into getting (overly) defensive, ”

    Bart, there’s already a perfectly cromyulent way of explaining Lichanos:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  182. Lichanos: One of the reasons I like to debate in threads like this…

    At last Lichanos lets slip that he’s nothing more than a garden variety troll.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 28 May 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  183. That’s a very good article. The only problem is that the people who should understand its contents, don’t read articles this long. You would have to squeeze that into five sentences, without using commas or other nuisances. Good luck with that.

    Comment by Tom Pesch — 28 May 2010 @ 9:58 AM

  184. Mark #170, try Google Scholar with “temperature” and “interannual CO2″. Here’s one example: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.03.064. Following the references will get you more.

    CFU #174, I think you missed the time scale Mark was talking about, and his qualification “aside from or outside of the background CO2 level rise attributable to human sources.”

    Comment by CM — 28 May 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  185. “I would like an someone on here to explain, in detail, seeing as climate science is largely settled apparantly, what processes have prevented the Earth warming up over the last 500 million years in the face of the strong increase in radiative forcing. I don’t want hand waving or guesses, I want the actual processes involved and the changes in the various factors with the figures and percentage changes backing up the explanation. Should be no problem in a largely settled science after all.

    I would then like to know if these processes and factors are still present in the Eaths climate system and if not when and how did they disappear.”

    And you want all that in a blog comment?

    I’d like a million dollars and an end to the threat of climate change, while we’re wishing here.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 May 2010 @ 10:23 AM

  186. Gavin,

    It would have been much more educational had you used one of the many AGW attributions to explain “how might this work in practice” instead of
    the impact of the Pinatubo eruption.

    For instance how does “attribution in an observational science like climatology” work with Jane Lubchenco’s attributing Oregon’s Ocean Dead Zones to AGW?

    Perhaps her work falls short of attribution and she is merely making a suggestion of possible linkage?

    If that’s the case do you think it is acceptable to infer attribution?

    If so it really doesn’t matter how attribution works. Anyone can make any suggestion they dream up and it’s close enough.

    [Response: Pop attributions are rarely very useful and often wrong - doing it properly takes time and effort. However, I have no knowledge about the Oregon dead zones, not Lubchenco's discussion of the same, but the basic technique would be the same. You need to understand what is happening, you need to have a model of some sort of the system and you need to show that of the possible causes, one or more have fingerprints that fit the observations. Issues that might arise in this particular case, might be the change in stratification as upper waters warm in summer, changes in runoff timing, the addition of nitrate through the rivers causing algal blooms etc. This might well have been tackled in a study, and perhaps someone can point to it. But simply assuming that any attribution must be false because it comes from a politician, while perhaps a good guess, cannot be justified in general. - gavin]

    Comment by Howard — 28 May 2010 @ 10:26 AM

  187. I don’t think so CM because he goes on with this:

    “This would seem to suggest that temperature is driving CO2 levels”

    If Mark’s first language is not English, or he just got a little sloppy (this is a blog, not a Nature journal) then his confusion between:

    “When temperatures rise, the rate of CO2 increase rises”

    and

    “this would seem to suggest that temperature is driving CO2 levels”

    is merely confusion and he (well, his friend) needs to work out whether it’s levels or increase in levels in CO2 he’s considering being a driver.

    And before that, what he expects to know after having done the work, either in seeing a link or not seeing a link. Without that, you don’t know what the point was and the work is going nowhere.

    E.g. “if d(CO2)/dt2 ~ dT/dt, then this alludes to some temperature dependent sink being a pertinent factor, which we should be able to locate”. Thereby giving a purpose to the work: are there CO2 increase feedbacks that we can see in our data now?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 10:45 AM

  188. Rod B says: 27 May 2010 at 9:49 PM

    Nice non ad hominem there (109) Doug Bostrom….

    Honestly, to my regret sometimes I think there’s no other conclusion. If a fellow finds that his inner voice compels him to believe certain things regardless of all evidence to the contrary, no matter what, it really is about the person, not the ideas.

    Here’s a case where public ideas and factual knowledge don’t matter, are not even considered, instead are subordinated to a private belief system which trumps all, entire detachment.

    If it were really a matter of pure doubt I’d not use the term. But it’s not fundamentally about doubt as far as the evidence I see; in this case we see dogged adherence to failed concepts, positive assertions hinging on factual errors that have been demonstrated as incorrect.

    So how does one address ideas, how does one explain this without reference to the person? Any suggestions?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 May 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  189. > 170 Mark says: 28 May 2010 at 4:43 AM
    >… This would seem to suggest that temperature is driving CO2 levels

    (apart from the anthropogenic increasing trend). No surprise there.
    Mark (the URL linked to your name is bogus). Suggest your friend look up “primary productivity” and “photosynthesis” and “annual cycle” and “forcing and feedback”;

    This may help: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2007/10/common-climate-misconceptions-co2-as-a-feedback-and-forcing-in-the-climate-system/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 11:02 AM

  190. “It would have been much more educational had you used one of the many AGW attributions to explain “how might this work in practice” instead of the impact of the Pinatubo eruption.”

    Except that Pinatubo IS an “AGW attribution”. As Ray’s said before, the theory is Climate Theory and AGW is just the result of Climate Theory when humans are burning hydrocarbons. It is the same theory that has Pinatubo cause cooling. It is the “AGW models” as the denialerati put them that Hansen ran in the 1980′s that included a Pinatubo-like eruption and showed the effect. When Pinatubo erupted, the effect was concordant.

    Since that was the same GCM that showed AGW effects, showing Pinatubo effects shows the same model and the same theory: Climate Models and Climate Theories.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 11:03 AM

  191. Gavin 178

    “You make the mistake of thinking every change on Earth other than the solar input must be a climate feedback. This is not true in the slightest”

    I don’t make that mistake at all. My point is that the Earth is a dynamic system and ever since life emerged on the planet a billion years ago or so there has been no warming of the Earth. None, even though there has been a huge increase in radiative forcing during this time. Temperatures have changed significantly at times as the equlibrium is perturbed but the Earth eventually comes back into equilibrium and the overall response trend remains negative.

    Of course there are a huge number of factors other than radiative forcing but it is clearly a fact that when all these changes and processes are factored in, it has caused the Earths climate response to be a negative one over a period of a billion years or so.

    Now that is a heck of a significant trend!

    As for the future, well as far as I know all these factors and processes such as bio mass evolution, tectonics, etc etc, are still continuing and for a billion years they have, in combination with a huge increase in radiative forcing, resulted in a negative climate response.

    Now why should I start to believe that these combinations are now suddenly going to result in a positive response trend in the future.

    I need convincing since I see a billion year trend which says different. My request is for someone to explain why this is so and to back it up with figures.

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 28 May 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  192. Re Alan Millar @178: 6, There has been no increase in the Earths average temperature over the last 500 million years. (consensus actually states there has been a fall)

    Have you even bothered to look at the temperature record over the last 500 million years?

    Here, allow me to point it out to you:
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/2/28/Phanerozoic_Climate_Change_Rev.png

    Oh, look, not only have there been multiple long periods of increase in earths average temperature, but multiple long periods of decrease as well, making Alan’s number six a false assertion.

    Perhaps Alan meant to write 50 million years?
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/1/1b/65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

    Oh there it is, a 50 million year period of more or less sustained decrease, with minor upward excursions.

    Gee, I wonder what might have happened 50 mya to have caused that long decline?

    Could it have been the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia and the resulting uplift of the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau, which exposed massive amounts of silicate rock to weathering resulting in a long steady drawdown of atmospheric CO2?

    In other words, Alan has completely overlooked geology as a factor.

    Any surprise, given that his quest is to disprove the strawman that “warmists” assert that CO2 is the only driver of climate.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 28 May 2010 @ 11:12 AM

  193. Surely Gavin (inline to # 186) wasn’t referring to Jane Lubchenco, member of the NAS and former president of AAAS, when he used the term “politician.” Heck, she wasn’t even a political appointee when she (and her co-authors) suggested that climate change may have contributed to an expansion of oceanic dead Zones.

    Chan, F., Barth, J.A., Lubchenco, J., Kirincich, A., Weeks, H., Peterson, W.T., Menge, B.A. (2008). Emergence of Anoxia in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. Science, 319(5865), 920. | DOI: 10.1126/science.114901

    Comment by Rick Brown — 28 May 2010 @ 11:12 AM

  194. > I’m questioning your LOGIC! Do you get that? If I can show that
    > your own argument is incoherent, then I don’t need evidence to
    > dismiss your hypothesis. That’s my game.

    Just flagging that as cautionary. It’s very tempting bait. Eschew.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 11:17 AM

  195. Poor Lichanos. Here he has access to the latest information on Earth’s climate, presented by experts, eager to help us learn… and all he can think to do is “debate”. Pearls before swine.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 May 2010 @ 11:17 AM

  196. Rod B, I might add that the person in question did not actually offer any useful ideas to discuss, really instead directed the conversation to the topic of himself as a phenomenon, inadvertently.

    By the way, what happened to the bet? A wager was offered, though in a strangely qualified way, was accepted and in fact invited to be raised. Silence; are we not even to be treated to an explanation of why words are more powerful than deeds?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 May 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  197. Alan, look up: faint young sun oceans
    This has been better explained in the last year or so than before.
    This may also help, it’s mostly pictures:
    http://www.es.ucsc.edu/~pkoch/EART_110A/Lectures/L5_Radiation-FaintSun.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  198. Luboš Motl has posted an excellent analysis of Gavin’s “Attribution” at http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/05/gavin-schmidt-on-attribution.html#more. It is well worth a read.

    [Response: Sure, if you like fantasy. - gavin]

    Comment by snorbert zangox — 28 May 2010 @ 11:28 AM

  199. Gavin’s Response:
    …Arrhenius made long term predictions, as did Callendar, and as did Plass – none of them used GCMs, and all did so without knowledge of temperature trends in the last 40 years. – gavin]

    I get the feeling that you purposely misunderstand my argument. So, Newton did all his calculations of the tides by hand, on paper…does that prove they were correct? No. The tests of his predictions did. If computer models were required to make scientific predictions, we’d be in the days of Pythagoras – that’s absurd and I don’t believe that.

    What’s your point? The AGW view does not REQUIRE computer models? I agree, of course. Moreover, your claims would be far more circumspect if you didn’t have them. Perhaps the science would be better served if you abandoned them and got back to basics.

    Arrhenius didn’t have GCMs or the long temperature record – he didn’t need them to make long-term forecasts. If he were alive today, he would certainly need the temperature record to prove any points he might make about the future if he expected to be believed. Otherwise, where’s the proof?

    [Response: I love this. But one question first - how do you manage to type when you are spinning so fast? - gavin]

    Comment by Lichanos — 28 May 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  200. Quite a long time ago I identified a style of poster on climate denial that was exceedingly consistent from site to site, user name to user name. It was quite easy to identify denialists, even those attempting the wolf in sheep’s clothing technique, by the style of the argument, the argument itself, and the utter similarity of all the posts. Years of this sort of thing have gone on, which leads to the invariable conclusion that not only is the conspiracy at the higher levels, such as the well-known denialists and the think tanks, but down at the (snake-in-) the grass roots level.

    These people were organized, doubtless, many of them paid. This was revealed by such things as the revelation that Republicans had boiler rooms of people writing fake letters to newspapers to affect the political debate. I cannot conceive of the same not being true with AGW denialism.

    Lichanos is an exemplar of the incarnation that showed up about a year ago. It’s the, “I’m looking for honest debate, gosh, I really want to understand, but I’m so misunderstood” type. They always give themselves away with the accidental pejorative that not only reveals that they are lying their arses off about their intent, but make them hypocrites in the doing.

    Please, can we stop pretending these people are anything approaching honorable, or that allowing them space where real discussion is going on is in any way useful?

    Comment by ccpo — 28 May 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  201. Where’s the ad hom in #109?

    Or is this the eternal problem of denialist blindness to the meaning of ad hom?

    109 says, effectively, “your idea is dumb, therefore I conclude you are dumb” which is not an ad hom, it’s a conclusion based on evidence.

    It’s not a NICE conclusion, but the evidence doesn’t leave much room for anything else.

    If the conclusion is not liked, maybe Lichanos should try not showing evidence of narcissism and idiocy.

    Except it is someone appropriating victimhood so they can concern troll. And getting the victimisation wrong too…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  202. CFU #187, Hank #189, right.

    Mark #170, just in case you are laboring under the misapprehension that the relationship you referred to might show the rising trend in global temperatures, rather than human activities, to be driving the rise in CO2: no, it might not. You just need to keep in mind that we’re emitting roughly twice as much CO2 as is being added to the atmosphere. We’re the source, nature’s the (net) sink.

    Comment by CM — 28 May 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  203. But simply assuming that any attribution must be false because it comes from a politician, while perhaps a good guess, cannot be justified in general.

    Gavin, she wasn’t a politician when she first made such claims, she was still a working scientist.

    The upwelling stuff is part of her research, as indicated by her being on this abstract.

    I could google more, but she wasn’t simply speculating, I don’t know how much work OSU and UW have done on modeling the response of upwelling patterns to warming, but it’s certainly an area of concern out here.

    My memory of the press coverage of the event, and quotes of her and other researchers, was that uncertainty was certainly highlighted, and no positive attribution of that event to global warming was made.

    [Response: I should have also said that, assuming that a claim about an attribution on a blog comment without a cite is accurate, is also not a good idea. Thanks for the ref. - gavin]

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 May 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  204. ccpo, you seem to think that gathering the homogeneous student body around the bonfire at the pep rally and yelling out the cheers that everyone knows by heart is somehow “getting on to the business of dealing with AGW.” Curious. (Though I can maybe see some tangential help to your cause there…)

    Comment by Rod B — 28 May 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  205. #173 Lichanos the anonymous

    You have not been attacked. Your arguments have been attacked for lacking evidence. You think that because you think something, that makes your thoughts better than a body of evidence that is truly massive.

    That’s just pathetic.

    You say you are trained in science and math. That means nothing to me I’ve met PhD’s that had a hard time getting their brain past a particular line of study. Luckily, few. SO having training is not the holy grail either. Lindzen has training too. So does Svensmark. They still can’t quite open their eyes wide enough to see past their confirmation bias.

    If you were truly a humanist you would and should serious consider the ramifications of your mistake. A lot of people are going to die because you and many others are getting this all wrong. The UN estimates that the number will be around 1.8 billion dead and dying by 2080. I think on a BAU course, that is a low number. but there are many sociopolitical economies of thought that must also be considered.

    If you are trained in logic, then one of two things have happened. You were trained improperly, or you misunderstood and reinterpreted the information into your own construct that appears simply to be wholly illogical.

    Main Entry: log·ic
    Pronunciation: \ˈlä-jik\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English logik, from Anglo-French, from Latin logica, from Greek logikē, from feminine of logikos of reason, from logos reason — more at legend
    Date: 12th century
    1 a (1) : a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration : the science of the formal principles of reasoning (2) : a branch or variety of logic (3) : a branch of semiotic; especially : syntactics (4) : the formal principles of a branch of knowledge b (1) : a particular mode of reasoning viewed as valid or faulty (2) : relevance, propriety c : interrelation or sequence of facts or events when seen as inevitable or predictable d : the arrangement of circuit elements (as in a computer) needed for computation; also : the circuits themselves
2 : something that forces a decision apart from or in opposition to reason
    — lo·gi·cian \lō-ˈji-shən\ noun

    you have also demonstrated that you are illogical

    Main Entry: log·i·cal
    Pronunciation: \ˈlä-ji-kəl\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 15th century
    1 a (1) : of, relating to, involving, or being in accordance with logic (2) : skilled in logic b : formally true or valid : analytic, deductive
2 : capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion

    You are also have shown that you are not willing to put your real name on your words in this thread, which indicates you are a man of low integrity, at least in this thread.

    You’re great with red herring and straw-man arguments. You rely on imagination and ignore science. In this case, on this subject, you are performing the actions of stupidity.

    You should not find this conclusion as an attack however. It is merely the reasonable conclusion based on your assertions, claims, imaginations as clearly illustrated in your posts on the subject of anthropogenic global warming.

    To reiteration: You have clearly demonstrated that you have no clue about the science, but have actually determined by direct and indirect statement and inference as well as evidence in your own words that that you believe your imagination overrules the well established science.

    There is a word that describes this:

    Megalomanic.

    You have also clearly demonstrated that you are not very smart. Sure you can construct sentences that have words in them. But you’re not very good at making sense. This is evidenced in your ignoring the actual science.

    You are not being attacked here. Your ideas are. If you feel insulted then maybe you need to examine your feelings. Just because some says your arguments are illogical is not a personal attack on you. You just imagine it that way.

    And I must admit, you have quite an imagination. You stated above that you would explain your position and sign off. That sounds good. But if and or when you actually gain the capacity to bring logic to the table, please do come back.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  206. Since my previous comment regarding Jane Lubchenco (following Howard’s mis-attribution about what she’s had to say about dead zones) was probably missed by most due to the turn of the page, here’s the reference again, with a link.

    Chan, F., Barth, J.A., Lubchenco, J., Kirincich, A., Weeks, H., Peterson, W.T., Menge, B.A. (2008). Emergence of Anoxia in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. Science, 319(5865), 920. | DOI: 10.1126/science.114901

    http://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/Chanetal_anoxia_science2008_51503.pdf

    Comment by Rick Brown — 28 May 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  207. #173 Lichanos the anonymous

    Re: “I don’t need evidence to dismiss your hypothesis”

    You can’t show that the AGW argument is illogical if you ignore the science of climate.

    Gavin is right. You fail the logic. Straw-man arguments dont’ pass muster.

    Re. “Each bit has to be proven independently of the other”

    Each bit points to the “very likely” (interpreted scientifically as highly certain) reality that the global warming event is human caused. Multiple lines of evidence merely give3 you multiple support lines to aid in the confirmation of each line of evidence.

    Again, on logic, you fail.

    Re. “unless you can totally disprove AGW outright, nothing you say matters”

    Do you have one single line of scientifically sound reasoning, hypothesis, or theory that shows this global warming event is not human caused? And please don’t use the ‘it’s been warmer in the past’ argument. That’s just too lame. Example: If two people shoot you, they can both have have pulled the trigger for entirely different reasons. The dynamics of earths thermal equilibrium have been different at different times. We are referring to recent patterns:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels/overview/image/image_view_fullscreen

    Wow, every time I look at that picture, I think what a crazy ‘fad’ this global warming ‘hypothesis’ is. I know you think I have no sense of irony as you have stated, or humor for that matter, but isn’t that a humorous irony in my sentence structure :)

    Re. “when reviewing a scientific hypothesis”

    You continue to confuse hypothesis with theory. Human caused climate change is now well established theory, not hypothesis. Are you unable to parse the relevant connotative definitions?

    Re. “it’s okay to use tree ring data that does appear to match instrumental records, and when it doesn’t match it, we throw it out”

    I know you likely won’t understand this sentence due to your clear lack of understanding of the body of science but here goes. . . so, your saying that just because one set of trees in one region shows one thing, all sets of trees should show the same thing?

    To illuminate, we have to be at least open to the idea that a region, can have a different behavior that another region or multiple regions. The real ‘trick’ is to find out why. Such is the endeavor of science as Gavin pointed out.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  208. #174 Bart Verheggen

    Yes, ‘Lichanos the anonymous’ is using the old I brought the truth of my very own shiny logic to them and they all insulted me.

    Those people are meanies. And now I can prove it. I’m going to take this evidence that they are meanies and show it to my teachers and get them in trouble.

    They’re meanies (cry, cry, boohoo, blah, blah, blah)

    Of course, we have seen these guys come and go. And of course he will never step up to the plate and give us his real name. Honor and integrity seems to be a dying way of life.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  209. John, there’s an old Berkeley street saying — if you get in shouting matches with crazy people, nobody passing by will be able to tell which of you is crazy.

    Remember the audience and new readers here. You write:

    > megalomaniac … You are not being attacked here. Your ideas are.
    > If you feel insulted then maybe you need to examine your feelings.
    > … You just imagine it that way.

    Education is what matters. Not your pride. You may feel a personal victory writing that stuff. You’re up on a very high horse though.

    Please stop. The collateral damage to RC isn’t trivial when smart people with much to offer get into competing with trolls for excessive language. You get no credit because the other guy did it first.

    The real clue someone’s trolling effectively?
    You feel like yelling and calling names instead of reasoning and citing scientific sources for what you believe.

    Watch for it. I’m not immune, but when I’m not hooked I can see it more easily in others. I need you to keep me clear here. I hope I can help you when it starts getting muddy.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  210. 191 (Alan Millar),

    Now why should I start to believe that these combinations are now suddenly going to result in a positive response trend in the future.

    I need convincing since I see a billion year trend which says different. My request is for someone to explain why this is so and to back it up with figures.

    Others have pointed out major flaws in your numbered assumptions (not facts, but false assumptions), but even if you were right on those points…

    You are right in saying that the system will return to equilibrium. Either climate change will kill off a large portion of the human race, or we’ll smarten up and avoid causing too much damage, or we’ll just plain run out of oil, but one way or the other we’ll stop dumping CO2 into the atmosphere. So the human race will have caused itself a lot of short term suffering (short in a geologic time sense), and within a few hundred or a thousand years the CO2 will settle out and temperatures will return to normal.

    A billion years from now an alien scientist evaluating the climate history of our planet will see a nice, smooth cooling trend (or whatever else you want to believe), and probably won’t even be able to detect the climate event which proved to be disastrous for the members of the human race living at the end of this century and the next.

    Your entire assumption that a long term (billions of years) record demonstrates the existence of powerful, fast acting negative feedbacks is fatally flawed. Powerful, maybe, fast acting, definitely not. It is more than possible that the planet will heat dangerously in the short term, in response to a once-in-a-planet’s-lifetime event of a sentient species mining/burning/releasing carbon that has taken eons to sequester. Then, in a geologic blink, it will be over. No long term change to the trend.

    So yes, you are right. Very long term we see a nice, stable trend. Over a period short enough to cause havoc among the human race, we will see a very dangerous blip in the long term trend.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 28 May 2010 @ 12:30 PM

  211. #178 Alan Millar

    Unless you can demonstrate how the actual physics and maths are wrong on the radiative forcing increase and associated error bars, then your incorrect claims that, first, increased forcing is based on GCM’s, and that the forcing is positive, are unsubstantial i.e. unsupportable.

    If you ignore the evidence without any reasonable evidence to the contrary, then you are illogical and unreasonable.

    Feel free to prove me wrong.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  212. Lichanos, the point is that the computer models are not necessary for attribution–they merely allow you to refine the calculation. That is more important for bounding the temperature increase than it is for attribution. See for example:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/not-computer-models/

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 May 2010 @ 12:36 PM

  213. #191 Alan Millar

    Context is Key.

    You are using the last 500 million years, or billion years, as a measure. But the human reality is much more recent. And the modern human reality is just the last 10,000 years where agriculture and modern tools were developed leading to our even more recent industrial age.

    In context we need to understand human adaptive capacity to the changes we have imposed on the system.

    That is why understanding the cause and expected results of ‘this’ global warming event is very important.

    The ‘this climate is not so different from the past argument, to show how unimportant ‘this’ event is, is purely a red herring argument that is often used to confuse people on the real importance of ‘this’ event.

    Id est: “It’s the economy stupid”, to quote an oft used phrase.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  214. CFU, against my better judgment: “your idea is dumb” is not an ad hominem as you say; “you are dumb” is; ‘you are dumb, neurotic, psychotic, NUTS’ really is.

    Comment by Rod B — 28 May 2010 @ 1:07 PM

  215. #211 John ReismannUnless you can demonstrate how the actual physics and maths are wrong on the radiative forcing increase and associated error bars, then your incorrect claims that, first, increased forcing is based on GCM’s, and that the forcing is positive, are unsubstantial i.e. unsupportable.

    If you ignore the evidence without any reasonable evidence to the contrary, then you are illogical and unreasonable.

    Feel free to prove me wrong.”

    Mr Reismann

    I am not ‘denying’ Physics.

    It is you who does not have an understanding of the import of my comments.

    If the Earth was a closed non-dynamic system then the effect of an increase of radiative forcing would be easy to calculate. The Earth is a dynamic system however.

    As an example of dynamic and non dynamic systems put one end of an iron bar in a bowl of hot water together with your feet and wait for your head to warm up just like the iron bar. Same physics, different effect!

    The fact is that taking all factors into account the Earth has not warmed in the last billion years not withstanding a huge increase in direct radiative forcing.

    My point is that climate science is far from settled there are a huge number of uncertainties.

    For instance the consensus is that in the next billion years the Suns 10% increased output will make the Earth uninhabitable. However the Earth was hotter than now a billion years ago and since that time the Sun indeed has increased its output by 10% and yet it is cooler, not uninhabitable!

    Perhaps you can explain how this happened and why it wont happen in the next billion years!

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 28 May 2010 @ 1:14 PM

  216. #209 Hank Roberts

    Thanks Hank. Point taken. I was just pointing out that his adherence to the argument to authority claiming that ‘his’ logic and ‘his’ imagination were enough to falsify the body of evidence is in dead indicative of a megalomaniacal perspective, if not the actual disorder.

    megalomaniac
    1 : a mania for great or grandiose performance
    2 : a delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

    I don’t think it is fair to call it a high horse though, but that’s just my opinion. My intention is to pick away at his straw-men. Behavioral science and human behavior and psychology are a part of this argument though. As long as Gavin et al let’s them post, due responses are in order. I don’t think we should let them just spew without attacking the actual argument as well as the construct. I’m not saying I don’t push the edge once in a while to test the fence either. I am perfectly comfortable with RC editing or even declining my posts as they deem appropriate.

    I’m not confident it hurts RC, though I may be wrong? There are many ways to attack an argument that is in base fallacious. I do my best to address reasonability, but am human after all. I do believe you are quite correct about the feeling of yelling. But a lot of the denialism seen in RC fits the bill for trolling then. You and I and others have often extended the olive branch when the truth later is revealed that it was a trolling string of posts, not sincere questions re. logic and science.

    Once in a while we do see a sincere question that is interested in learning though. Refreshing and rare.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 1:17 PM

  217. “[Response: I love this. But one question first - how do you manage to type when you are spinning so fast? - gavin]”

    I can answer that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_wheel_printer

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 May 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  218. Bob(Sphaerica)@210,
    I understood that return to pre-industrial levels of CO2 would take on the order of tens of thousands of years, and would occur because both higher CO2 levels and higher temperatures (and hence rainfall) speed up erosion, increasing the rate at which CO2 leaves the atmosphere. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can confirm or deny this – wikipedia on the carbonate-silicate cycle suggests a longer timescale.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 28 May 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  219. #211 John P. Reisman

    Re. #178 Alan Millar

    My mistake. I meant that middle sentence to read: If you ignore the evidence without any reasonable evidence to the contrary, then you being are illogical and unreasonable on this subject.

    Sometimes I don’t reread what I wrote before posting.

    Such as my mistake in #214 para. 1, where I wrote ‘in dead’, meaning ‘indeed’.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  220. #214 JPR

    Behavioral science and human behavior and psychology are a part of this argument though…

    Ah, beware the sword of the Dunning–Kruger effect, for it cuts both ways!

    Comment by Lichanos — 28 May 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  221. - of course, my previous comment assumes we don’t push the system past a really nasty threshold and get runaway warming, as Hansen believes we would if we burned all recoverable fossil fuels.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 28 May 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  222. Thanks John, good calm reply, appreciated. And I remind myself that one of the victories trolls aim for is, uh, exactly what I did: getting people in their target group to criticize each other’s replies to the trolling.

    Um, does anyone have a ladder? I need to get down off my horse now.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 2:16 PM

  223. #219 Hank Roberts

    Most welcome. Please know I have great respect for your perspectives.

    I must admit also that I have ridden high horses in the past and hope to again in the future (I’m thinking Montana these days ;). I remember one in particular. His name was Jake. Quite a thrill going down a steep grade. From the saddle it looked like going over a cliff.

    For the record, I’m rarely actually angry, though my words might assume that appearance. My goal is to shoot at the foundations of such false arguments to illustrate that they truly are built with straw and/or herring.

    I fully admit to frustration though.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  224. Mark (#170) has asked for papers and I don’t see any answers (I’ve not read every posts). I’m mostly ignorant of the litterature so I can’t give a good answer but here’s a starting point for Mark: google “Frank carbon cycle” (without the quotes). It’s not exactly what Mark wants but it adresses the general issue and there may be something more relevant in the papers it cites.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 28 May 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  225. #216 Nick Gotts

    David Archer did a nice paper on the subject of recovery times, though I don’t recall if it addressed that specific issue.

    I think it was: “Millennial Atmospheric Lifetime of Anthropogenic CO2″

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~victor/archer.subm.clim.change.pdf


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  226. Alan Millar — You need to learn some geology. For example, there is evidence of lifeforms as early as 3.4 billion years ago with definite evidence from somewhat later. Please go learn about it.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 May 2010 @ 3:09 PM

  227. Lichanos #173,

    > And yes, I ask that you read Weart just as you have suggested. Isn’t
    > that appropriate when reviewing a scientific hypothesis?

    Did I say it wasn’t? If you mean we should read Weart with the attitude “Show me the evidence”, sure, that’s the scientific approach.

    If you mean we should try to get into the heads of people who are shown the evidence and just continually shift to some new sloppy excuse for denying reality, without so much as an “oops” when their bloopers are pointed out to them… that’s hard to do. The irrationality I can handle, it’s the lack of shame I don’t get.

    Comment by CM — 28 May 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  228. A general cry for help!

    I’m looking for a specific image from a PDF file that I recall was from Jim Hansen. I have searched all my documents from Hansen and can not find this image. I checked with the source that originally sent it to me and he suggested it may have been the ‘Target CO2′ paper. It was not there though.

    I have inquired with several obvious sources, no one seems to recall where it is? It may have been from 2004 or 2005 but I’m not sure? Could be earlier?

    Here is the link to the image:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/changes-current/SeaLevelGHGPaleoTempSiddall.gif/view

    My goal is to use it in my next video but I really need a HiRes shot to make it look good. If anyone can help or recalls this image, please let me know here, or through oss site

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/contact-info


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  229. Re #183

    The only problem is that the people who should understand its contents, don’t read articles this long.

    Some of the people who need to understand such articles are perfectly capapable of reading and following them.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10178124.stm

    43 out of 1314 Fellows of the Royal Society may have succeeded in their campaign to have a rewrite of the Society’s pages on global warming. Their real goal is a bit unclear, as is their knowledge of the subject. We just don’t know from this report. It is not always the case that strongly held opinions of an FRS are supported by deep reading.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 May 2010 @ 3:36 PM

  230. Oh boy, I sure like this earth energy budget analysis a lot more than I like Dr. Trenberth’s.

    http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/images/Erb/components2.gif

    Comment by Ken Coffman — 28 May 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  231. AC # 221 there are discussions here at RC regarding that very topic as well as on Google Scholar. There are some misconceptions regarding temperature and C02 that be remedied through careful reading of the literature and here at RC.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 28 May 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  232. So, bluster but no bet. A disappointment. I guess that’s one of the benefits of adopting a disposable persona.

    Not to criticize everybody using a pseudonym or otherwise trying to maintain anonymity, mind, which can happen for good reason. Surprisingly few so doing make embarrassing asses of themselves by being hermetically and conspicuously ignorant; I suppose our egos normally invade even our pseudonyms, don’t enjoy taking even a proxy beating.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 May 2010 @ 3:50 PM

  233. Doug Bostrom: “We’re digging or pumping a significant fraction millions of years’ storage of C02 out of the ground and releasing it in the course of a couple of dozen decades.”

    If it took a billion years to accumulate fossil hydrocarbons how is it possible to release the CO2 in that mass in “a couple of dozen decades”? You’re just guessing at the rate of re-entrance.

    But in terms of a mass balance – we are only returning to the atmosphere what was here before – regardless of the speed at which it is reflowed. It seems to me we are just re-distributing CO2 rather than creating it – and I can’t see cause for alarm.

    [Response: Well, I'm glad that the prospect of re-establishing early Cretaceous levels of CO2 in the atmosphere on timescales of a century or two (rather than, say, 100 million years), causes you no loss of sleep. Oddly enough, some other people do worry about that. -- mike]

    Comment by ralphieGM — 28 May 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  234. I find it interesting that so many “skeptics” imagine that the use of models is some kind of a weakness of climate theory. From my perspective, modeling is a scientific discipline, like statistics or “blinding” of data, that scientists use to avoid self-deception, because everybody is subject to bias. The main source of bias in science is not grant funding (as some clearly would like to believe) but merely the fact that everybody likes to be right. It is natural to favor your own hypotheses over others. As Feynman famously said, “Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

    Mathematical modeling is a way of testing your ideas, of verifying that your theory actually does what you think it does, so that you don’t fool yourself. This becomes particularly crucial in dealing with theories that involve feedback mechanisms, because intuition is notoriously fallible when it comes to such theories. Often, a hypothesis can be rejected simply on the basis of modeling, when it can be shown to be inconsistent with data. It seems to be an article of faith among critics that mathematical models are infinitely malleable, that they contain adjustable parameters be tweaked to accomodate any kind of observation. This may be true for arbitrary equations, and to some extent for statistical models, but a scientific model has to accomodate itself to physical reality. It cannot violate conservation of energy, for example. Real scientific models tend to be highly constrained, and it is not uncommon to discover that there is no way that a model with a particular structure can be made consistent with observation, even allowing for statistical uncertainty and measurement error.

    A model is a strength, not a weakness–if an idea has survived the process of mathematical modeling and testing against observational data, it has already passed one hurdle. What I see as a weakness is the lack of a model. As a scientist, I will place more weight on the opinion of the guy with the model than the guy whose ideas are still in the hand-waving stage. It is very easy to wave your hands about and assert that there might be some mechanism that will kick in to prevent the rise in temperature due to CO2 from being as large as expected, or that the parameters of existing models can be “tweaked” to achieve this. Fine–show me a model in which this is the case, and which still manages to be consistent with the rather large mass of known information related climate, and I will begin to take you seriously. If you don’t trust the standard models, then show me a better one! Publish the code, let me take it for a spin. Until then, I’m unlikely to take you seriously.

    Comment by trrll — 28 May 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  235. Classic troll, someone crippled with low self-esteem and armed with a boat load of down-scale sophistry seeking cheap thrills from negative attention.

    They’d be more pathetic than loathsome if it weren’t for the sneaking suspicion that sooner or later they’re going to exploit weaknesses in the political system and wind up in positions of power.

    One thing you can try is to give way to women who are willing to argue with them. As trolls are typically stunted males who have issues which prevent them from responding to women, gender can sometimes have a deterrent effect on such septic behavior.

    Politically, anger may in fact be a valid and effective response, but it’s a tricky thing. Personally I love the concise dry wit of Gavin et al., the hilarious bursts of blistering (but thoughtfully aimed) fire from CFU, not to mention the beautifully written passages of Ray Ladbury, Doug Bostrom, and others.

    Have to admit though, I’m pretty angry myself, and if you can cut away at the foundations of trolldom, more power to ya.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 28 May 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  236. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) (255) — I would be interested in the sources for the lower figures. Here is the paper for the first graph:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6942/fig_tab/nature01690_F2.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 May 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  237. John, I tried Google Image Search using phrases and words from your image. Got ten pages of results, most clearly wrong
    http://www.google.com/images?as_q=red+sea+analysis+Siddall
    but this looks possible:
    http://journalofcosmology.com/images/GliksonFigure5.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 4:59 PM

  238. #220 Lichanos the anonymous

    How obtuse. But weak unsubstantial arguments are apparently your modus operandi, no surprise there.

    Do you have any evidence for any one of the claims you have made? Evidence, other than you opinion I mean?

    #232 Doug Bostrom

    He won’t take the bet. In fact he can’t take the bet, because he wont’ use his real name. I can’t make a bet with a finger, no matter how many times it points spuriously into the ether of ones own argument to self indulgent authority.

    #233 ralphieGM

    “I can’t see cause for alarm”

    Could you provide some context for this claim? Obviously you are not considering modern infrastructure supporting a large population all built around the approximate thermal equilibrium of the Holocene, of which we have now largely departed from.

    Do you have any idea what the latitudinal shift will do that infrastructure?

    I remind you of the obvious: “It’s the economy stupid”.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  239. ralphieGM says: 28 May 2010 at 4:06 PM

    [yet another fake question]

    Boring.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 May 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  240. Oops. Here is the paper with that Figure:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6942/full/nature01690.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 May 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  241. Lichanos 92: How about: AGW is plausible, but I think it’s not sufficiently demonstrated, so I think those scientists are wrong.

    BPL: Here is the argument for AGW.

    1. Increasing the level of a greenhouse gas in a planet’s atmosphere, all else being equal, will raise that planet’s surface temperature.
    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
    3. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958, 1960, etc.).
    4. Therefore Earth should be warming.
    5. Earth is warming (NASA GISS, Hadley Centre CRU, UAH MSU, RSS TLT, borehole results, melting glaciers and ice caps, etc., etc., etc.).
    6. The warming is moving in close correlation with the carbon dioxide (r = 0.874 for ln CO2 and dT 1880-2008).
    7. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955, Revelle and Suess, 1958).
    8. Therefore the global warming currently occurring is anthropogenic.

    Q.E.D.

    Which of the above points do you dispute, and on what basis?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 May 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  242. Alan Millar said: “Perhaps you can explain how this happened and why it wont happen in the next billion years!”

    Good grief.

    Just….

    good grief.

    You really think such timescales are relevant here? A clue: they are not. Right now, we are concerned with the century and decadal timescales. We can also glean useful knowledge and make projections for millennial timescales. Trying to go beyond that is a not very clever attempt to distract attention from our very immediate problems, here, now, in this century.

    Comment by Didactylos — 28 May 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  243. Lichanos 106: What about the part that doesn’t fall under “Much of..?” And of course, if this means anythig significant, we’re back to the question of “How much?”

    BPL: 76% of the variance of dT 1880-2008.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 May 2010 @ 6:16 PM

  244. Didactylos says: 28 May 2010 at 6:10 PM

    …good grief.

    You may as well argue with your cat.

    I’ve said it before, these discussions remind me of nothing so much as the process of giving my cats their medication for hyperthyroidism. Every day, twice a day, it’s the same boring yet aggravating routine: Pick up the cat, squeeze its jaws open, struggle to get the pill down while the cat gnashes its teeth, does the amazing trick of reversing its upper alimentary tract and causes the pill to mysteriously appear somewhere else, the cat struggling with all its tiny, furry, writhing capacity to escape swallowing the pill it needs to remain living.

    Can’t the the little creature just eat the pill itself? No, the cat won’t eat the pill even if it’s inserted into something tasty, the same way some folks won’t read Spencer Weart’s enjoyable book because the taste of the ideas therein is repugnant to them.

    Does the cat know that without the pill, it will die? No, it does not have the intellectual capacity. And there lies the difference; the people who show up here to argue against reality -do- have the capacity to understand. There’s where my analogy fails miserably.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 May 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  245. Lichanos 119: I’ve been looking for someone who will take me up on it. $2500 says AGW will be generally regarded as a fad in twenty years.

    BPL: I’ll take that bet, with the slight change, “will be regarded as a fad by the scientific consensus.” Regarded as a fad by the public doesn’t count. We can use as a measurement a positive response to “anthropogenic global warming is well-established” by any nationally known polling organization, polling professional climatologists in the year 2030. Not “scientists,” and certainly not “engineers.” Not even “meteorologists.” Climatologists only. Oh, you can add “planetary astronomers,” too, if you like, since we were discussing the greenhouse effect in planetary atmospheres for decades before it became a hot-button political issue.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 May 2010 @ 6:38 PM

  246. Lichanos 124: “Having warmed the ocean surface, more water will be evaporated, and having warmed the atmosphere, it will then be capable of holding more of that evaporated water vapour, which also being a greenhouse gas, will add still more warming as an amplifying feed back.

    This second part is certainly plausible, but how do we know it will really happen that way?

    BPL: Google “Clausius-Clapeyron relation.” Then read these articles:

    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 — 28 May 2010 @ 6:43 PM

  247. Mark 170,

    The Granger causality runs from CO2 to dT, not the other way around. I have the numbers if you want them.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 May 2010 @ 6:54 PM

  248. > 230 Ken Coffman says: 28 May 2010 at 3:44 PM
    > Oh boy, I sure like this earth energy budget analysis a lot
    > more than I like Dr. Trenberth’s.
    > http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/images/Erb/components2.gif
    Why?

    It’s numbered in percentages. It shows 100 percent in equals 100 percent out. The numbers are confusing. It shows some energy going into the atmosphere (missing an orange arrowhead for ground-to-air) and into clouds, but none apparently remaining in earth and ocean. People might mistake that as meaning there’s no warming happening. I think it’s confusing. I’d stick with
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/TFK_bams09.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 6:57 PM

  249. Alan 191,

    Here’s your explanation: Continents moved, the albedo changed, the rise of vascular plants increased the rate of CO2 weathering, and the continued fall in mantle temperatures slowed the outgassing of CO2.

    Does that help? If you want a quantitative, mathematical model, try GEOCARB III (Google it).

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 May 2010 @ 7:03 PM

  250. Barton Paul Levenson says: 28 May 2010 at 6:38 PM

    I’ll take that bet…

    Forget it, BPL. John Reisman already stepped forward to take him up on it, offered to up the sum to $10K. No dice; apparently the strength of L.’s conviction is subject to a great degree of natural variability.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 May 2010 @ 7:06 PM

  251. ralphieGM 233: If it took a billion years to accumulate fossil hydrocarbons how is it possible to release the CO2 in that mass in “a couple of dozen decades”?

    BPL: The coal is mined, then shipped to power and industrial plants where it is burned. The reaction is

    C + O2 => CO2

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 May 2010 @ 7:14 PM

  252. ROFL, Doug.

    May I steal (with attribution) your line about subpoenaing Venera 9? It would make a great Tweet.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 May 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  253. #249 Barton Paul Levenson

    “Here’s your explanation: Continents moved, the albedo changed, the rise of vascular plants increased the rate of CO2 weathering, and the continued fall in mantle temperatures slowed the outgassing of CO2.”

    Barton

    Those factors may indeed have contributed to the billion year negative climate response.

    My point is that such or similar and combination of factors continue today.

    What evidence is there that todays combination of such factors leads to a positive climate response rather than the negative one we have seen for the last billion years?

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 28 May 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  254. Barton Paul Levenson says: 28 May 2010 at 7:19 PM

    May I steal (with attribution) your line…

    Be my guest and if there’s a space(!) problem forget the attribution.

    CEI’s Senior Fellow of Honeybucket Cleaning Chris Horner loves the limelight.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 May 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  255. > water vapor feedback
    Wishful thinking has gone on for a long time, but it’s failing to hold up.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=climate+water+vapor+feedback
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=climate+water+vapor+feedback&as_sdt=2000&as_ylo=2007&as_vis=0
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/Dessler2008b.pdf
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L20704,
    doi:10.1029/2008GL035333, 2008
    http://www.grist.org/article/Negative-climate-feedback-is-as-real-as-the-Easter-Bunny

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2010 @ 7:36 PM

  256. I hope that the British find the hacker/s soon.

    Here is the latest about the investigation.

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2010/04/norfolk-constabulary-continues-its.html

    “Climategate” made me read about global warming, and it was not hard to see that the denialists are very dishonest. They don’t argue with what the scientists really say. I always read what the scientists say, not just what the denialist claim they say. Once I realized that denialists deliberately lie, I stopped reading them to try to understand scientific arguments. Their articles are only useful as examples of propaganda and sophistry.

    Climategate brought me into the AGW camp, but it doesn’t seem to have had that effect on other people. I still hope a successful criminal investigation will change that.

    The British investigators described what the alleged hackers did as “criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia.”

    According to the Financial Times:

    “There have been indications that the hackers could have been based in Russia, and some experts believe they may have been hired by sceptics based in the US.”—The Financial Times (4-15-10)

    I hate to think Americans did this to the British.

    I just delete denialists because they are crude arrogant bullies. They imagine that they are smarter than every scientific organization–NAS, NASA, etc. Really, I think they are not very successful or accomplished people if they think they can understand climate science from some e-mails.

    Comment by Snapple — 28 May 2010 @ 7:59 PM

  257. Doug, I developed a system to get my cat to take his prednisone: use a bit of butter, or even better anti-hairball creme, and bury the pill in that. Worked every time.

    [Response: I was going to say OT--but then the anti-hairball comment brought it right back in line--Jiim]

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 28 May 2010 @ 8:07 PM

  258. #236/240 David B. Benson #237 Hank Roberts

    Thank you both. I tried and failed so far. It’s not in Siddall et al 2003 “Sea-level fluctuations during the last glacial cycle”. The Glickson image is pixelated.

    My problem is pixilation because I need to zoom in on the lower image where the break is. Usually in a PDF they insert the full resolution images which can be 2000 pixels wide or more, so zooming in does not pixilate as much.

    But you did give me an idea to search the sources.

    For example on page 1927 of rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1856/1925.full.pdf I see the ref. (c) palaeoclimate temperature change: calculated and observed temperature. Calculated temperature is the product of forcing (b) and climate sensitivity (3/48C (W mK2)K1). Observed temperature is Vostok temperature (figure 1) divided by 2.

    It’s good HiRes and can be enlarged, but it does not have the hook at the end. I will keep looking though the references to the original data or the PDF


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 8:31 PM

  259. I don’t think the goal is “understand science.” I think the goal is “delay any action so I can keep making money/not be inconvenienced for the duration of my lifetime.” Then humanity can go to Hell for all they care.

    Comment by Antiquated Tory — 28 May 2010 @ 8:38 PM

  260. Lichanos says, “Ah, beware the sword of the Dunning–Kruger effect, for it cuts both ways!”

    Well, given the way you fell on it, I believe it is safely sheathed inside you.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 May 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  261. “BPL: The coal is mined, then shipped to power and industrial plants where it is burned. The reaction is

    C + O2 => CO2″

    Sir: CO2=> C + O2 also.

    You are worried that ALL the ancient CO2 used to created fossil hydrocarbons are being released back to the atmosphere in a brief spurt of human productivity these past few decades. If we burn fossil hydrocarbons we will merely return the CO2 to the atmosphere where it will be dissolved in the oceans or used up by plants (see the reaction above). This worry about CO2 is premature. I think CO2 may be good for the globe and plant life – so not to worry.

    [Response: Think again--jim]

    Comment by ralphieGM — 28 May 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  262. #220 Lichanos the anonymous

    Re. your concern with the Dunning-Kruger effect. You said it cuts both ways? But there are a couple problems with your assessment. To paraphrase the words of a character from ‘The Princess Bride’ I don’t think that effect means what you think it means.

    In fact I think you have exemplified the effect while inferring it is I who do. Let me break it down for you. First, the description of the effect:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which “people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”[1] The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than in actuality; by contrast, the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to a perverse result where less competent people will rate their own ability higher than more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence because competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. “Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”

    Here’s the primary problem. You are exemplifying the following in your posts “The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than in actuality”

    All I do is say look at the well established science, and have on several occasions inferred that I can and do make mistakes. So I sort of fit the “by contrast, the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority”, description.

    Said another way, you have presented your claim to have superior logic as a proof, while I have only claimed that your opinion can’t overturn the well established science and the understanding that derives from that.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  263. 255 (John)

    Is this it? Can We Still Avoid Dangerous Human-Made Climate Change? (2006) J. Hansen

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 28 May 2010 @ 9:09 PM

  264. 255: Snapple said “denialists … are crude arrogant bullies. … I think they are not very successful or accomplished people if they think they can understand climate science from some e-mails.”

    Snapple: Blog “scientists” bear the same resemblance to scientists that pole cats do to mountain lions.

    http://itech.pjc.edu/sctag/marbled_polecat/pic4.jpg

    http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c245/johnepearson/lion.png

    http://www.inquisitr.com/wp-content/rush-limbaugh.jpg

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/uploads/465/cv_hansen.jpg

    See?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 28 May 2010 @ 9:13 PM

  265. ralphieGM says: “I think:

    You haven’t shown any evidence of that.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 28 May 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  266. Alan Millar says #253: “What evidence is there that todays combination of such factors leads to a positive climate response rather than the negative one we have seen for the last billion years?”

    Not “for” but “over” the last billion years. There were indeed some very tough periods for today’s fragile humans during that billion years, such as the Cretaceous, for one example. What we are concerned about is the next few hundred years. What happens 20,000 years from now might be fine for the few people still around to enjoy it. But for the next few hundred years the evidence points to a very unfortunate positive response.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 28 May 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  267. Alan, 191. You could find this answer with some digging, but I’ll give you the gist of how homostasis on a geological timescale is thought to work. Essentially CO2 and some other greenhouse gases moderate temperature. Volcanic activity associated with plate tectonics recyles CO2 that had once been buried in the form of carbonates and subducted into the mantle. The weathering of silcate rocks absorbs CO2 forming carbonates. The rate of weathering increases with higher temperatures, so fortunately for the lifeforms on this planet there is a sort of thermostat that acts on a geological timescale. Of course these processes, volcanism, and weathering are not entirely constant (assuming no change in global temps to normalize the meaning of weathering suscepibility), and that means some geologic ages are hotter than present, and some are colder. There is evidence that the planet probably had snowball earth episodes (essentially total glaciations), and has been quite a bit hotter than present as well. But on the whole the carbonate/silicate weathering has tended to keep the planet mostly within a reasonable temperature range. If CO2 didn’t act as a greenhouse gas and allow this crude thermostat to work, advanced lifeforms would not have developed!

    Mark @170. There is some coupling of temperature and CO2 as well. Higher temperatures over centenial/millenial timescales do tend to increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Fortunately the strength of this effect isn’t very high, otherwise the climate of our planet would be highly unstable. The issue has been discussed here.

    Hank Roberts. Thanks. I think that is excellent advice. I know people get pretty frustrated, what with the same tired trollish attacks again and again. But we need to be reminded that allowing ourselves to get riled up is counterproductive. I hope people will ask themselves the question “I could post XXX, but is that wise? Will I regret it later on?”. Its easier for me (I think) because I am more of a part-timer here than many. Getting away from the sniping, and the trolls helps you to avoid getting overly frustrated.

    Comment by Thomas — 28 May 2010 @ 9:35 PM

  268. #261 ralphieGM

    I’ll make you a deal. Show me why there is no reason to worry, environmentally, economically and biologically, using actual science (peer reviewed and peer responded) in the context of the mean values of the consensus view pertaining to the effects of CO2, in the context of human existence, and I will send you a check for $1000.

    And just to make it more fun, if you are wrong, and there is something to worry about, you send me $1000.

    Cool with you?

    But first you have to post your real name. I don’t deal with fake people.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 9:38 PM

  269. ralphie wrote @261: If we burn fossil hydrocarbons we will merely return the CO2 to the atmosphere where it will be dissolved in the oceans or used up by plants

    How’s that hypothesis working out for you so far, ralphie?

    Oh, look, the amount of CO2 has already increased in the atmosphere by 38% since we started burning fossil carbon on an industrial scale, and continues to increase by 2.2 to 2.9 ppmv each and every year.

    Reality is already telling you that you’re wrong. All you have to do is take your blinders off and take your fingers out of your ears.

    Come on, you can do it, ralphie.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 28 May 2010 @ 9:38 PM

  270. Alan Millar wrote @253: What evidence is there that todays combination of such factors leads to a positive climate response rather than the negative one we have seen for the last billion years?

    Oh, I don’t know, maybe the parts of the last billion years were temperature went not just up, but way, WAY up?

    Damn, but you’re obtuse.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 28 May 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  271. Barton, did you miss the post where the extended digit (Lichanos) came right out and admitted he was here to troll?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 28 May 2010 @ 9:47 PM

  272. Mind if I take a stab at this, since I’m the conservative in the crowd?

    First, the science isn’t claiming the climate – which is always changing – is primarily driven my man. This is the most common misperception and disconnect between activists of all stripes.

    What the science is showing is that the climate rate of change is, with more than ninety percent certainty, being affected by man-made emissions.

    Laid out on a long scale, we are past the “hump” of the inter-glacial pause, with the peak being the hot part, and starting down the cooling trend. However, we’re looking at a “double peak” bucking what is the expected curve.

    Like every investigator, the question is “what is different now from the past where this didn’t happen?” Some of it is tectonics, sure, but that’s a really slow grind. The factor that stands out is the greenhouse gasses we’re pouring into the atmosphere. Ice cores and other records bear this out, from the isotope variety of CO2 in the air to fossils.

    In many respects I’m disinterested in whether the present climate change track is caused by the early 1900′s or those dasterdly SUV’s because in large measure the die has already been cast and we’re going to have to adjust to it.

    That is different from saying we shouldn’t work to lower emissions of all types. If we’re nudging the current climate course by ten percent why wouldn’t we seek to mitigate this? It’s the old saw of when one finds one’s self in a hole the first course of action is to stop digging.

    This is also way different from agreement with the proposed political actions to mitigate our effect on the current climate trend. I can’t think of a single agenda item at the UN climate summits that makes any sense to me other than as a means to shake down the “developed” world for money with little actual progress – or as a feel good “greenwashing” effort to provide political cover to keep doing what we’re doing, as an example.

    I also try to ignore the fatalists. Activists always work with worse case scenarios in order to use fear to further their agenda. “We’ll all be dead in a mass extinction event in twenty years if cap and trade (or a carbon tax or some government market control measure) isn’t passed this Congressional Session!”

    Really?

    I’m not reading any of that in the IPCC reports.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 28 May 2010 @ 9:54 PM

  273. #263 Bob (Sphaerica)

    On page 20 of that paper is what looks like the same data set, but it does not have the break and elongated period for the last 150 years.

    It is the break and elongation of time period that makes it the right image for the video.

    I really appreciate your trying to help though. I’ve been trying to locate it for about a month and a half now.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 May 2010 @ 9:58 PM

  274. 24
    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) says:
    26 May 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Minor grammar correction:

    “An quantifiable reduction in”

    should read:

    A quantifiable reduction in

    You yanks seem to put an in front of everything. “An” is generally reserved for words that start with vowels (e.g. a, e, i, o, and sometimes h as in hotel, u is the vowel with the exception to this rule).

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 28 May 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  275. Jim Eager:”Oh, look, the amount of CO2 has already increased in the atmosphere by 38% since we started burning fossil carbon on an industrial scale, and continues to increase by 2.2 to 2.9 ppmv each and every year.

    Reality is already telling you that you’re wrong. All you have to do is take your blinders off and take your fingers out of your ears.”

    Come on, you can do it, ralphie.”

    I can. But increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is not necessarily a bad thing. Unless you think the extra CO2 will make the sky fall – which would be a bad thing. But it is also possible that increased solar radiation has raised ocean temperatures, thereby releasing a bit of that ancient CO2 into the atmosphere. My guess is as good as yours on this – I haven’t seen the higher CO2 levels you refer to linked to a single environmental problem.

    Ralph is my real name and I registered with my real email address. And I used my initials to save typing. Not trying to hide anything here.

    Comment by RalphieGM — 28 May 2010 @ 10:41 PM

  276. The Competitive Enterprise Institute lawsuit includes allegations regarding Gavin Schmidt and Real Climate. They’re attributing a lack of timeliness to NASA responses to provide climate and related data. I thought we were assured this was taken care of.

    CEI sues NASA for temperature data, ‘Climategate’ documents
    http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/2010/05/27/9/
    (05/27/2010) subscription
    Robin Bravender, E&E reporter

    A free-market advocacy group sued NASA today to obtain documents relating to errors in temperature data and a scientist involved in the “Climategate” controversy.

    The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s lawsuit,filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asks the court to require NASA to produce records the group tried to obtain under the Freedom of Information Act.

    http://www.eenews.net/features/documents/2010/05/27/document_pm_01.pdf

    CEI is requesting documents relating to corrections that were made to NASA’s temperature records and the agency’s response to FOIA requests. CEI has also asked for documents relating to the content or propriety of e-mails by NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt.

    Schmidt was among scientists whose e-mails were hacked last year from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. The publication of the e-mails sparked suspicions that the scientists were trying to manipulate and suppress climate data. Scientists involved in the controversy have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

    CEI said its FOIA requests were filed in 2007 and 2008, but NASA has objected to producing the requested information.

    “This lawsuit calls NASA to account for a nearly three-year stonewalling of internal documents on the most important regulatory issue of our time,” said CEI senior fellow Christopher Horner.

    A NASA spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 28 May 2010 @ 10:57 PM

  277. The UVA law professors are sticking up for Dr. Mann. Don’t let this all get to you Dr. Mann!

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2010/05/university-of-virginia-defies-comrade.html

    Comment by Snapple — 28 May 2010 @ 11:33 PM

  278. 244 Doug Bostrom: “people who show up here to argue against reality -do- have the capacity to understand.”
    Don’t be so sure of that. Rethink.
    ******Self edited.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 May 2010 @ 11:46 PM

  279. Rattus Norvegicus says: 28 May 2010 at 8:07 PM

    …use a bit of butter, or even better anti-hairball creme, and bury the pill in that.

    There’s no butter sweet enough, no flavor sufficiently delicious to mask the bitter taste of being forced to admit one has been duped by a smooth-talking huckster selling home meteorological stations, or a living caricature of a bloviating aristocratic buffoon straight out of Punch, or a mercenary litigator mantled with the ridiculous title of “Senior Fellow.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 May 2010 @ 1:10 AM

  280. Now that we’re actually doing some citation, I realized this is the right place to see if anyone can help me find a paper I swear I saw …

    IIRC, there’s a paper from the early 1990s where the GCM the authors were using predicted increasing antarctic ice, which puzzled them, and they found it was the increased precipitation (lowering surface salinity) that was doing it (in the model). Now that increase is happening in reality and it’s really quite a coup to have both predicted it and to have attributed it to one of the mechanisms now believed to underlie the observed increase.

    Does anyone know what paper I saw? It’s driving me nuts.

    Comment by GFW — 29 May 2010 @ 3:03 AM

  281. “214
    Rod B says:
    28 May 2010 at 1:07 PM

    CFU, against my better judgment: “your idea is dumb” is not an ad hominem as you say; “you are dumb” is; ‘you are dumb, neurotic, psychotic, NUTS’ really is.”

    No, “you are dumb” is an INSULT, you idiot.

    (see what I did there? I insulted you. However, I didn’t ad hom you because that idiocy claim is not being used to say your’re wrong).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 May 2010 @ 4:36 AM

  282. Alan, it only takes 15 minutes to kill a human. Why does a billion years matter?

    It takes less than 200 years to turn a town into a strange ruin oddity. Why does a billion years matter?

    It takes less than 1000 years to turn a town into geology and strange magnetic disturbances for The Time Team to investigate. Why does a billion years matter?

    If we ruin the ecosystem, it won’t take a billion years to kill all humans.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 May 2010 @ 4:39 AM

  283. Alan 253,

    Different time scales. The silicate-carbonate cycle takes millions of years to work.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 May 2010 @ 4:41 AM

  284. ralphie 261,

    Time scales, ralphie. Time scales. The CO2 is building up faster than the natural sinks can absorb it. That’s WHY it’s building up and not remaining level.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 May 2010 @ 4:46 AM

  285. RalphieGM, Ah yes, there is never any need to worry when one remains unconstrained by knowledge of the facts. Dude, you know, under normal circumstances, I might try to educate you, but somehow I think that would be fruitless. Or I might try to correct the howling misinformation in your post so it did not infect anyone else’s thinking, but your missive is so pathetic that I suspect you make the few quasi-intelligent denialists blush. No, better to let your post stand on its own–a towering monument to ignorance.

    “Never teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work, and it annoys the pig.”–Mark Twain.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 May 2010 @ 7:07 AM

  286. Re #230, Ken Coffman.

    Ah, so Easterbrook’s trained attack puppy Coffman shows up here to try and distract attention from the fact that its master lied about present day temperatures.

    Coffman would like us all to believe that Don just made an innocent little mistake, and that the world really has been warmer for the last 10,000 years.

    Oh, and yes, the MWP actually happened in the 4th century AD. That’s where Don labelled it, so that’s where it must have happened – and if not, it was just a mistake, honest.

    Comment by CTG — 29 May 2010 @ 8:01 AM

  287. According to RalphieGM,
    “But it is also possible that increased solar radiation has raised ocean temperatures, thereby releasing a bit of that ancient CO2 into the atmosphere. My guess is as good as yours on this”
    Your guess is not as good as the established science as indicated in peer review published papers. That the increased carbon comes from human activities is well established. Among other things, it can be identified by isotopic analysis.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 29 May 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  288. RalphieGM says
    “But in terms of a mass balance – we are only returning to the atmosphere what was here before – regardless of the speed at which it is reflowed. It seems to me we are just re-distributing CO2 rather than creating it – and I can’t see cause for alarm.”

    Let me ask you some questions. What are the reservoirs of Carbon in th Earth? How much Carbon, approximately, is in each reservoir? Where can I see your model of how Carbon moves from one reservoir to another on different time scales?

    If you find the answers to these questions, you may discover that you model for the Carbon cycle is hopelessly naive and no basis for for understanding it.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 29 May 2010 @ 10:18 AM

  289. Jim Eager wrote:

    Barton, did you miss the post where the extended digit (Lichanos) came right out and admitted he was here to troll?

    Sure. There are those who wholeheartedly support anything posted by RealClimate as “gospel truth” since it reinforces their own opinions and beliefs (i.e. the “AGW-faithful”) and then there are those who may be skeptical of some of the claims regarding potentially serious AGW.

    The first category is called (by itself) the “scientific consensus” or “mainstream” and the second group is called “deniers” or “trolls”

    The same two groups are called (by the second group) the “AGW-groupies” and the “rational skeptics of the dangerous AGW premise”.

    Pick a name – it doesn’t make much difference.

    If you shut out different opinions and viewpoints you end up with a pretty sterile thread, with everyone just patting each other on the back with “good work”, “yeah, man”, “jes’ fine”, etc. comments.

    You need a “troll” or two to keep the thread from becoming a “yawner”, right? You should thank Lichanos for bringing some life to this thread.

    Max

    Comment by manacker — 29 May 2010 @ 10:21 AM

  290. I am really proud of the University of Virginia today. They aren’t going to knuckle under to the unscrupulous and demagogic Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s judicial persecution of the climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, allegedly for defrauding Virginia’s taxpayers.

    I’m a Virginian who sent children to U.Va., and the only fraud I see is Attorney General Cuccinelli, a shameless lickspittle who wastes my taxdollars defending the unscientific canards of the fossil fuel interests and persecuting global warming scientists under the color of law.

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2010/05/uva-refuses-to-roll-over-for-commissar.html

    That barbarian Cuccinelli could read Dr. Mann’s scientific papers, but he wants to twist the e-mails into some conspiracy theory just like the thieves who stole the CRU e-mails.

    Comment by Snapple — 29 May 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  291. Ken Coffman (230), Though the diagram you reference (from NASA) shows the correct net results, I think it is misleading. It shows the radiation emanating from the earth surface as net 21% of the base; not showing the actual gross radiation of 116% of the base skips over some important physics. IMHO.

    Comment by Rod B — 29 May 2010 @ 11:24 AM

  292. #282 Ray Ladbury said “I might try to educate you, but somehow I think that would be fruitless.”

    Ray I am highly educated already. But if you can point to a single environmental problem linked to the rise in CO2 over the past 50 years I may change my relaxed attitude towards the problem and I will worry along with you.

    Comment by ralphieGM — 29 May 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  293. trrll (234), as a skeptic I agree with the thrust and most of the specifics of your post. Calling models a “weakness” is silly. But I think you come close to taking one too many steps. While models are extremely helpful and supportive, especially in multi-parameter analyses as climate, they are still built by the scientists and contain no independent cognitive process separate from what they are given and told to do. While indicative, they are not a nail-in-the-coffin proof/validation of any process as you come near to implying.

    Comment by Rod B — 29 May 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  294. #274 RalphieGM

    Where are you getting your information? Which scientific source?

    ‘possible solar’ – Based on what?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/its-the-sun
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/solar

    “I haven’t seen the higher CO2 levels you refer to linked to a single environmental problem.”

    Increasing droughts due to latitudinal shift is not an environmental problem?
    During the FACE experiments some had the foresight to examine the effect of higher CO2 concentrations on food crops. Crops that do not fix nitrogen dropped proteins. That’s not something to worry about? You see, just because the plant stalk gets bigger, does not mean that we get more, or better food.

    How do you come to these notions?

    As to your real name. I’m asking what is your last name? And will you take me up on my $1000 challenge (#268)?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 May 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  295. #278 GFW can’t help you there but remember seeing something similar, likely had something about incorprating glacier modelling into GCMs.

    Comment by jyyh — 29 May 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  296. “show up here to argue against reality -do- have the capacity to understand.”
    Don’t be so sure of that. Rethink.”

    They have the capacity.

    What they lack is the will.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 May 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  297. GFW says: 29 May 2010 at 3:03 AM

    You might try beavering the cites in papers mentioned here, in the section “Antarctic Sea Ice is increasing”:

    Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 May 2010 @ 12:45 PM

  298. #241 Barton Paul Levenson says:

    [I posted a comment on this before, but it didn't show up. So here's another try...L]

    Here is the argument for AGW.

    1. Increasing the level of a greenhouse gas in a planet’s atmosphere, all else being equal, will raise that planet’s surface temperature.
    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
    3. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958, 1960, etc.).
    4. Therefore Earth should be warming.
    5. Earth is warming (NASA GISS, Hadley Centre CRU, UAH MSU, RSS TLT, borehole results, melting glaciers and ice caps, etc., etc., etc.).
    6. The warming is moving in close correlation with the carbon dioxide (r = 0.874 for ln CO2 and dT 1880-2008).
    7. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955, Revelle and Suess, 1958).
    8. Therefore the global warming currently occurring is anthropogenic.
    Q.E.D.
    Which of the above points do you dispute, and on what basis?

    1. I agree. “All else being equal” is a very important phrase here. Lindzen puts it just this way. The earth is not this type of a system -
    it is a dynamic system. More CO2 will tend, however, to raise temperature to a point.

    2. I agree totally.

    3. I agree completely.

    4. This is a reasonable deduction. In that sense, I agree. I agree that AGW is a plausible scientific hypothesis. I have never said otherwise.

    5. Very vague. Earth has warmed? Since when? Last 200 years? Since the Little Ice Age? Since Industrialization? How much has it warmed? If it has warmed, is the increase more than we have ever seen in the past? (I don’t think anyone says this, only that the RATE is greater than ever in the past.) Ice caps go up and down. Much of northern ice cap ice free in 18th century (historical literature) and north pole ice free in and early 1960s (see Navy photos of nuclear submarines at th pole). Questions of the validity of the temperature record are important – we are dealing with increases of relatively small magnitudes.

    6. If No. 5 is demonstrated, then No. 6 is true. They are linked. You must pass 5 before you get to assert 6.

    7. Completely agree. Seems indubitable.

    8. Non sequitur. I would say, “plausible that AGW is part of the warming observed, whatever magnitude we decide on in No. 5.” IPCC says highly likely that MOST of the warming in the last 150 years is AGW. They do not say ALL. And, again, this is only if No. 5 is demonstrated. Note, I only say plausible, because correlation does not prove causation at all. You are probably aware that the paleo record shows CO2 rise lagging temperature rise. I know there is an explanation offered for this, but it highlights that correlation does NOT prove causation. Plausible…valid hypothesis. But without the temperature record, you are nowhere. This
    is why I said the record is one of the two foundations of AGW.

    It is important to note what you have left out of your summary of the AGW view:

    9. The warming trend (alleged to be of significant magnitude) that is (plausibly) caused by human injections of CO2 to the atmosphere, will continue into the indefinite future, as long as the CO2 concentration continues to rise or remains at its higher level, and the rate of warming will accelerate the global mean temperature to beyond what it would be if “all things were kept equal.” That is, warmer earth, more vapor, more clouds, more H20 GHG effect – the most powerful one – more warming, etc.

    This is not a necessary conclusion following any of the above. Again, it’s a plausible hypothesis, but it’s support is weak, and I believe comes principally from GCM runs. Model runs, in turn, assume some of the points above are proven, and that the model properly treats the necessary system dynamics – a big assumption.

    That’s all there is to my point of view.

    Comment by Lichanos — 29 May 2010 @ 12:48 PM

  299. “they are still built by the scientists and contain no independent cognitive process separate from what they are given and told to do.”

    Yeah, now unless you’re on Star Trek, you can’t say “Computer, please model a global warming climate caused by human CO2 production” and expect it to do so.

    It’s hard enough to get the model realistic, never mind make it lie.

    Humans on the other hand lie like billy-o.

    Don’t you.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 May 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  300. Edward Greisch says: 28 May 2010 at 11:46 PM

    244 Doug Bostrom: “people who show up here to argue against reality -do- have the capacity to understand.”
    Don’t be so sure of that. Rethink.

    I mean technically speaking, compared to a cat. Bigger neocortex; sort of like the difference between a four-function calculator and a reasonable laptop computer.

    But of course it’s the running code that really counts…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 May 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  301. Off topic, but has anybody else noticed that BP’s video feed now shows a big crater with oil streaming out, seemingly where the riser used to be? I’m wondering if anyone here has heard about an intentional removal of the riser, a new seafloor leak or the like?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 May 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  302. Also Off Topic, but lots of americans seem to have forgotten that BP is the name of a corporation that is the merger of British Petroleum and Amoco http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amoco

    Not that BP don’t deserve ransacking to pay for the mistake, but just noting that it was a lot harder when it was an American firm spilling oil.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 May 2010 @ 1:21 PM

  303. Off topic but highly important to the whole environmental scheme of things. I am speaking of the BP disaster going on as we watch. The ongoing failure to deal with this could well undo our energy based economy.

    I viewed the “live spill stream” available on the Wall Street Journal page this morning and see that the brownish flow has turned dark black. I would interpret this as meaning that the mud has been fully disgorged by oil pressure upward and the disaster is completely unabated.

    I am beginning to think more harshly about the ability of our government to take appropriate action in a national emergency.

    The way things are going, I am afraid this is like allowing all air flights to continue throughout the day of 9-11 and for a month after, while limiting response to digging up bodies. It was true then that Al Qaeda had much expertise in the technology needed to stop the flow of terror. Just like BP has the expertise to stop the leak.

    But I am suggesting, maybe BP is not really acting with stopping the leak as their highest priority, instead they are acting to stop the leak while preserving the oil well as an assett.

    I am more and more convinced that BP is trying hardest to salvage this as a working well. Perhaps the potential here is so great that they are planning to tough it out with the environmental damage, and apparently there is a $75 million cap that can be used, if necessary, to keep the cost of damages charged to BP down. I say that because there seems to be much that could be done with a heavy handed approach that would leave the well useless. A leak that is allowed to go unplugged should be considered differently from a single quick spill when it comes to limits on damages charged to the drilling operator. The $75 Million cap on damages was put in place by Congress in 1990. So though BP has reportedly said they will waive that limit, this seems to be something that is their option. That must be a serious gulp when clean-up operations on the scale needed are ordered by government officials.

    For a heavy handed but reasonably cheap example of how to stop the leak, putting the “Top Hat” back on and pumping concrete, yes ready-mix, downward should build up a containment block. As it filled to the top, there should be enough pressure to block flow. Yes, put a hatch on top of the “Top Hat” to allow oil to escape until enough concrete was in place to hold the “Hat” down. Then close that hatch. That should end it. Maybe it needs to be a much bigger top hat to cover both leaks. This would render the existing bore hole useless, though the resource would still be available to a new drilling operation.

    I am not sure if the actions to stop the leak are understood to be different from actions to clean up the mess.

    Though I think Pres. Obama has a steady hand on the controls of government for many kinds of crises, the frightening thing is that our government seems not capable of understanding the differenec between the kind of operations needed to save the environment versus the kind of operations needed to stop flow from the leak. Thus, choice of leak stopping actions may be limited to those that retain the ability to re-establish the well as a hugely profitable operation.

    Not able to deal with the problem directly, we now have a broad moratorium on oil and gas production in ocean locations. This will seriously impact natural gas supplies. Then add the climate bill and get ready for our energy based economy to fail. Well, maybe that will be the solution for global warming.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 29 May 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  304. J. Bob: “That’s why they still test cars and trucks in wind tunnels, besides A/C.”

    Actually that sort of thing isn’t even remotely close to as important as it was years ago. When I was studying fluid dynamics in graduate school (1980-1984) we heard about how various aircraft were so well modeled that there test flights agreed to predictions to three digits (that one was about the Vought F-8 – first flight in 1955). Not too long after I graduated, Boeing flew the 777 with almost no physical models (http://www.autofieldguide.com/articles/100309.html):
    “Nowadays, aerodynamics analysis at Boeing is almost all done from internally developed programs. Virtually all of the company’s aerodynamic modeling is done without a wind tunnel. “Physical models have gone down in significance,” continues Smith. “We produce a number of aerodynamic test cycles digitally, and one cycle physically. The physical model [measuring three to four feet in wingspan] validates the simulation, to see if the simulation is giving us the right answers.” That’s a huge difference compared to 30 years ago. Back then, Boeing engineers used the wind tunnel model to create new and working designs.”

    So even then, (pre-1994 which was the first flight of the 777), one was quite sure of what the physics involved were and how to simulate them. And that was 16 years ago. A lot of the work back in the twentieth century was figuring out how to cram the problem onto those miniature old school computers. I’m making this comment using a laptop which has a processor orders of magnitude faster than the CDC 6600 supercomputer I used for my thesis. You don’t need to be anywhere as hard core to get the science onto machines these days as then. However, the people doing the science have not lost their ability to use machines in proportion to the increase in machine capacity – on the contrary the fact that more money depends on such computations now means that many more people are involved in such computations, and from that expanded population, the best of the computational people are that much better. And the software has improved at about the same rate as the hardware (Jon Bentley did an article measuring this back in the 1980s). So modern computations are vastly superior to for example, the computations which designed the 777.

    Techniques of using physical models – especially models with many different important physics flavors (measured by the how many ‘dimensionless numbers’ are involved) – are not greatly improved by the same factors that improve computations. They are limited by the difficulty of achieving “dynamic similitude” – a problem which in the case of climate I would say is intractable from the start. To build a physical model climate you would need to have global ocean and atmosphere models, and offhand I can’t think of any way to get whatever model fluids you use for air and water to stick to a sphere (it has to be a rotating sphere because of well known effects of geophysical fluid dynamics – check your copy of Pedlosky). But to go faster than real time (otherwise what’s the point) you need the sphere to be smaller than the real Earth. (Besides, where are you going to put a full scale one? At a Lagrange point?) But then you need the model ocean and atmosphere to have dynamic similitude over this scale reduction of many orders of magnitude. I can’t think of any fluids that would do this. Physical modeling in climate dynamics is pretty much a non-starter for these reasons.

    Holding out for the importance physical models is really way past the objective sell-by date. The utility of such models is largely for demonstration as opposed to inquiry; (e.g. Feynmann’s famous O-ring, which was based on a lot of information left in his path by people who really knew what was going on, as opposed to him discovering the effect anything using that model). When you have as many different physical effects as we have in climate, physical modeling is a fool’s errand.

    People once had to get comfortable with the idea using telescopes to do astronomy. When telescopes started to reveal disturbing facts (sunspots, the rotation of the sun) some scholars denied the observations and refused to look through the telescope themselves.

    Well maybe people need to get comfortable with the use of computations on large scale systems of known physics. There are lots of questions where computation is the only hope.

    Comment by Andrew — 29 May 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  305. Doug, MT’s got BP spill links; try this recent one http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/05/aardvark-and-no-play.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 May 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  306. Ah, I found the NASA host page for the energy budget graphic I mentioned above. This is interesting…I read this page twice and I don’t see anything I disagree with. I’m not sure who is primarily responsible for this analysis (is it Paul Stackhouse?), but I’d trust this person to balance my energy checkbook, no problem.

    http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/radiation_facts.html

    Comment by Ken Coffman — 29 May 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  307. RalphieGM:

    But if you can point to a single environmental problem linked to the rise in CO2 over the past 50 years I may change my relaxed attitude towards the problem and I will worry along with you.

    Shorter Ralphie: Show me the evidence!

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 29 May 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  308. Apparently the riser and BOP were sawed off earlier today. BP of course is still saying they’re trying the top-kill, don’t know if it will work.

    With the available casing now -below- the seafloor, they’re still trying the same method?

    Ask yourself: If you were renting a building to a tenant and the tenant set your building on fire, would you be ok with the tenant insisting you remain blocks away from your building, with the tenant occasionally letting you know how firefighting efforts were going, your only direct knowledge of the situation coming via a video camera controlled by the tenant? If the tenant said water was being poured on the fire yet the video showed no such thing, would that be acceptable?

    This is an indescribably twisted and absurd scenario. As far as I know, we did not cede sovereignty of our economic exclusion zone to BP. Nowhere is there a deed describing the seafloor in question as BP’s exclusive property. Yes, BP and the industry are the only folks with the technical savvy to get us into this trouble and then get us out, but this does not mean we have to simply wait for messages from them on progress and take their broken word for what’s happening.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 May 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  309. ralphieGM: Somebody on a previous article posted the comment that deserts have increased from 12% to 30 % of land area.
    I commented before that where I am, corn farmers are in trouble from excess rain.

    Here it is ralphieGM: You will understand GW when you go to the grocery store and there is no food there. Maybe you will begin to notice when the price of bread hits $10/slice. You, ralphieGM, are going to die of starvation because of GW. It won’t be possible to fix it by the time you notice.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 29 May 2010 @ 2:31 PM

  310. 296 Doug Bostrom: It isn’ just the running code, but that counts. The average wetware machine has some real limitations.
    We are dealing with people who “think” with emotions. We are also dealing with people who have psychiatric problems. The conspiracy theorists may have paranoid personality disorder. See http://www.newscientist.com/special/living-in-denial

    Remember, average IQ is only 100.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 29 May 2010 @ 2:35 PM

  311. “But in terms of a mass balance – we are only returning to the atmosphere what was here before – regardless of the speed at which it is reflowed. It seems to me we are just re-distributing CO2 rather than creating it – and I can’t see cause for alarm.”

    Now apply your argument about the changing solar luminosity. If we return the atmosphere to the same state as it was a few hundred million years ago, but now the sun has brightened due to stellar evolution, what do you think is going to be the result?

    Comment by Thomas — 29 May 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  312. > we are just re-distributing CO2 rather than creating it

    Same argument can be made for water, of course: There’s no important difference between ice a mile or two thick across the northern part of North America, Europe and Asia, versus deeper water around the coastlines. You’re just redistributing the water. Ask any Minnesota or North Dakota farmer if it’d make a difference where the water is.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 May 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  313. Ralphie 275: But it is also possible that increased solar radiation has raised ocean temperatures, thereby releasing a bit of that ancient CO2 into the atmosphere.

    BPL: No, it isn’t. We can tell from the radioisotope signature that the new CO2 is coming mainly from burning fossil fuels:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Lag.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 May 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  314. #288 manaker (Max Anaker)

    Your aiming at the argument, which distracts from concentration on the science.

    The point is it’s not about views aka opinions. It’s about the science.

    The moderators are obviously not shutting anyone deniers. All I and others want to see is that they bring evidence to support their assumptions based on science rather than opinions and blogs.

    Where’s the evidence that this is not serious?
    Where’s the evidence that this is nothing to worry about?
    Where’s the evidence that it’s not human caused?

    Opinions just don’t cut it in reality.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 May 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  315. max 288,

    Thanks, but there is plenty of life in threads about scientific issues without the idiot squad showing up to annoy everybody. If there’s an astronomy blog discussing celestial mechanics, it doesn’t “need” a Velikovsky freak to show up and “add life to it.” If archaeologists are discussing the pyramids on a blog, they don’t “need” fans of Erich von Daniken to challenge them with the idea that aliens actually built the things. Etc.

    AGW denial is in exactly the same category of thought–ignorant pseudoscience idiocy.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 May 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  316. RGM 291,

    Ask the Australians.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 May 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  317. Rod B.ys:
    “While models are extremely helpful and supportive, especially in multi-parameter analyses as climate, they are still built by the scientists and contain no independent cognitive process separate from what they are given and told to do. While indicative, they are not a nail-in-the-coffin proof/validation of any process as you come near to implying.”

    I am having a hard time parsing these statements. Just what does “independent cognitive process” mean in this context? Are you saysing that models used in climate science don’t think independently for themselves? Without getting into controversies about the possibility of artificial intelligence, I think we will all agree with that. Or are you simply saying that they can’t draw conclusions except those already inherent in the theory and data that are used to build them. I, at least, will agree with that. But the same can be send for any application of theory in science, and we use scientific theories all to time to guide our behavior.

    Climate models are based, for the most part, on classical physics, which has been shown to work extremely well for phenomena on the relevant scales.. (Some of the radiation physics requires quantum mechanics.) If we were able to solve the equations exactly and specify initial conditions with sufficient accuracy, we should expect the results to be definitive. But in reality, modelers have to make approximations and rely on uncertain data. Hence there are uncertainties about the results obtained. But a lot can be done to estimate those uncertainties and hence tell how much certainty we may place on the gross outlines of the results. And that is in fact how they are used. No one attempts to predict exactly what things will be like in 2100 or thereafter, but they do attempt to project the range of possiblities in matters such as global temperature, sea rise, drought, etc. These projections raise concerns even at the lower limits of what is likely, but they suggest a dire future for humanity at the upper limits.

    The serious argument is about how to change our current behavior to deal with the various likelihoods of these outcomes, not with any specious arguments about the nature of scientific theories. If we wait until the arguments are so absolutely airtight that no one can possibly object, then it will be much to late to take effective action.

    This situation is no different than how we use science in other areas. If we can’t use models to conclude things about climate for the reason you give, there is precious little we can use science for.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 29 May 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  318. Thanks Hank and aardvark’s discussion of formation pressure and hydrostatic balance here http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6524#comment-633178 is good.

    They’ve removed the riser so the bad scenario aardvark describes of unchoking the full 21″ of pipe is reality. I read that BP is going to attach a “lower marine riser cap” to that; the delay between cutting off the riser and putting that on is presumably a matter of logistics and manipulation. Obviously they’re not going to be able to have the cap hovering in place right before chopping the riser. I guess that’s obvious; there’s a limited amount of people and gear capable of doing this work.

    Then just cross fingers, hope nothing goes up the outside of the casing.

    Anyway, all off topic so that’s the last on this subject from me here.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 May 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  319. #302 Andrew, no one said you rely exclusively on one or another, but it’s a general practice to cross check. I notice you said “almost” as far as Boeing using wind tunnels. Can you imagine the liability Boeing would have if they didn’t cross check with wind tunnel data. However the point of the Machine Design article was that in this case the physical model trumped math model because the math model didn’t reflect reality. Did you know they still use the old wind tunnel at Langley. It’s cheaper to drive a car up there, put it on a tilt table. With the automated sensors ( we had to manually read monometers when I was in grad school) in a few hours they not only have data at various speeds as well as different sideslip angles. Unless one has a system to transform the vehicle outline (CAD data) seamlessly to a flow program, one can spend a week just doing that. Doesn’t the Navy still use tanks to check their ship design?

    But coming back to the main point. The math models have to reflect reality and test results. If they don’t, one has to find out why. As far as math models go I have personally been using them for over 50 years, since the X-15 days, and have no problem with them, as long as they reflect reality, which I’m not sure the current climate models reflect.

    P.S. Solar motion of sun spots were observed long before the telescope. They used the “camera obscura”.

    Comment by J. Bob — 29 May 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  320. JimBullis: I am more and more convinced that BP is trying hardest to salvage this as a working well

    Yes they are, by frantically drilling 2 “relief wells” – there isn’t likely to be any way to ever use that blown out well for production, and I would bet they’re hoping to get it capped aoon so they don’t loose even more of that deposit than they already have before the other wells are done.

    Comment by flxible — 29 May 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  321. Re BP. Here in NZ, the various service stations link up with supermarkets to give discounts on petrol (gas). The normal rate is a 4 cent per litre discount, but from time to time they have specials (e.g. spend over $250 at the supermarket and you get 20c per litre discount, this weekend only).

    A few days ago we got a discount at the supermarket that is linked to BP – for 30c per litre, easily the largest discount I have seen in the 3-odd years this promotion has been running. (Petrol costs about $1.80 per litre, so 30c is a *big* discount).

    Coincidental timing? I think not. Just goes to show how much money BP are prepared to throw at PR.

    Comment by CTG — 29 May 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  322. Same argument can be made for water, of course: There’s no important difference between ice a mile or two thick across the northern part of North America, Europe and Asia, versus deeper water around the coastlines. You’re just redistributing the water. Ask any Minnesota or North Dakota farmer if it’d make a difference where the water is.

    Or New Orleans. All Katrina did, after all, is transport a lot of water from the sea to the city.

    Comment by dhogaza — 29 May 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  323. #261 RalphieGM

    “Sir: CO2=> C + O2 also.”

    In the short-term carbon cycle, this describes what photosynthesis does.
    However, this is almost exactly balanced by respiration and decay.
    By burning fossil fuels, we have created a new flux of CO2 into the atmosphere — one that is NOT balanced by anything. The result: atmospheric CO2 has been rising rapidly.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 29 May 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  324. “Here it is ralphieGM: You will understand GW when you go to the grocery store and there is no food there. Maybe you will begin to notice when the price of bread hits $10/slice. You, ralphieGM, are going to die of starvation because of GW. It won’t be possible to fix it by the time you notice.”

    Oh, B.S.

    Show me the model that predicts that within his lifetime he will starve to death because nothing – not even wheat (or any number of grains) – will be able to grow due to global warming.

    That’s utter nonsense and not supported by the science.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 May 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  325. Max says, “You need a “troll” or two to keep the thread from becoming a “yawner”, right?”

    Actually, Max, no. Most people are here to learn about Earth’s climate. We find the science more interesting than playing whack-a-zombie-argument with the same lame arguments we’ve slain many times before. I come to RC because I learn things here. I don’t frequent the denialist blogs because they don’t teach me anything. Pretty simple, really.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 May 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  326. On top of that, we’ve been measuring the isotope ratio of carbon 13 to carbon 12, and it’s been going up in both the atmosphere and in ocean surface water, which means the CO2 is not coming from the ocean, as some people have suggested.

    You’re not on thin ice here, Ralph, you’ve fallen right through and are up to your neck in delusion.

    Ralph @233: we are just re-distributing CO2 rather than creating it – and I can’t see cause for alarm.

    You might want to take a look at what earth was like the last time atmospheric CO2 was at 392 ppmv, which was at least 3 million years ago and perhaps as long as 10-15 mya, before the current cycle of glaciation and interglacials began, that is to say before the Greenland ice cap formed, which means global sea level was at least 6 meters higher than it is today.

    Care to hazard a guess how many human beings live within 6 meters of current sea level? How much urban area lies within 6 meters of current sea level? How much rice is currently grown within 6 meters of current sea level?

    You might also want to find out what global average surface temperature was the last time CO2 was at 392 ppmv, and then consider that in some parts of southern Asia night time temperatures are already at or higher than the tolerance limit for the germination of rice. Care to hazard a guess how many human beings depend on rice grown in southern Asia?

    You might also want to find about how absorbing all that CO2 out of the atmospheric is lowering the pH of the ocean surface water layer, and what that impact will have on carbonate shelled sea live, which forms the basis of the marine food chain. Now consider how many human beings get most of their protein from marine life.

    That you can’t see cause for alarm does not mean that there is not cause for alarm.

    Ralph @261: If we burn fossil hydrocarbons we will merely return the CO2 to the atmosphere where it will be dissolved in the oceans or used up by plants

    Having had this nugget shown to be a non starter Ralph then moves the goal posts:

    Ralph @291: But if you can point to a single environmental problem linked to the rise in CO2 over the past 50 years

    I just did. I’m now inclined to agree with Ray Ladbury.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 29 May 2010 @ 8:05 PM

  327. “I am more and more convinced that BP is trying hardest to salvage this as a working well. …” -Jim Bullis

    I am in the oil biz. You will never meet anybody on the face of the earth who hates and distrusts BP more than I do, and I can assure you the oil well became unsalvageable as an oil production vehicle the second the accident happened. It was rendered useless, and there is no viable way to fix it. BP has known from that second forward that the well would have to be plugged and abandoned, and every day that passes with that unaccomplished is an enormously costly one for BP, and for the industry.

    I was hopeful Top Kill would succeed. It was a sincere attempt, though the odds BP placed upon its likelihood of success were preposterous. It was a long shot that was either going to work or not, but, IMO, a long shot worth taking.

    Comment by JCH — 29 May 2010 @ 8:34 PM

  328. In #241, the great BPL posted thusly:

    1. Increasing the level of a greenhouse gas in a planet’s atmosphere, all else being equal, will raise that planet’s surface temperature.
    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
    3. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958, 1960, etc.).
    4. Therefore Earth should be warming.
    5. Earth is warming (NASA GISS, Hadley Centre CRU, UAH MSU, RSS TLT, borehole results, melting glaciers and ice caps, etc., etc., etc.).
    6. The warming is moving in close correlation with the carbon dioxide (r = 0.874 for ln CO2 and dT 1880-2008).
    7. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955, Revelle and Suess, 1958).
    8. Therefore the global warming currently occurring is anthropogenic.

    First of all, that is absolutely beautiful; you can fit it on a 3 x 5 card! BPL goes on to inquire which of these eight points our logical troll takes exception to. When a case is phrased with such perfect concision, note the response of a coward: none.

    Comment by Daniel Goodwin — 29 May 2010 @ 8:36 PM

  329. 310: Hank quoted: “we are just re-distributing CO2 rather than creating it”
    and then replied “Same argument can be made for water”.

    While your reply is essentially correct, (we’re not creating any water to speak of) the original poster’s claim that we’re not creating CO2 is false. We are creating it via the combustion of coal which combines solid carbon with O2 to make CO2.
    The original poster’s claim is pure nonsense.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 29 May 2010 @ 8:50 PM

  330. Meanwhile, back on the original thread, I’ve been wondering about this statement:

    Attribution has nothing to do with something being “unprecedented”.

    There seems to be something paradoxical in this. If I downgrade “unprecedented” to “unusual” the same paradox is thrown into greater relief: If there weren’t something anomalous for which to seek an explanation, there wouldn’t be any motivation for attribution. Indeed, if phenomena in general were perfectly regular and continuous, they wouldn’t even be recognized as phenomena.

    The substance of an attribution per se may have nothing to do with anything surprising, but there probably was some surprise at the origin of the investigation.

    Comment by Daniel Goodwin — 29 May 2010 @ 8:58 PM

  331. ralphieGM: “If it took a billion years to accumulate fossil hydrocarbons how is it possible to release the CO2 in that mass in “a couple of dozen decades”?”

    So if it took a tree 150 years to pull it’s carbon out of the atmosphere it has to take something like another 150 years to burn it back into the atmosphere? Quick someone tell the forest service.

    Or maybe, different chemical reactions under different conditions could proceed at different rates?

    Comment by Andrew — 29 May 2010 @ 9:13 PM

  332. @Lichanos: “I would, however, bet money on it.”

    Well jump on over to http://www.intrade.com and get a contract set up. Make the contract for say, 2.5 ounces of gold (to avoid inflation or currency effects). Try and promote the idea with any skeptical friends you can find. It will be nice to have at least a financial hedge against the effects of AGW. You would be surprised to find how deep the other side of your trade is.

    Comment by Andrew — 29 May 2010 @ 9:33 PM

  333. John Pearson “While your reply is essentially correct, (we’re not creating any water to speak of) the original poster’s claim that we’re not creating CO2 is false. We are creating it via the combustion of coal which combines solid carbon with O2 to make CO2.
    The original poster’s claim is pure nonsense.”

    Nonsense? The coal you refer to was originally plant material which once converted CO2 to C (carbon coal). So – burning coal returns the original CO2 to the atmosphere from whence it came. Simple conservation principle – we are not really creating CO2 – just re-animating it.

    Comment by ralphieGM — 29 May 2010 @ 9:39 PM

  334. BPL: “No, it isn’t. We can tell from the radioisotope signature that the new CO2 is coming mainly from burning fossil fuels”

    All carbon isotopes may be dissolved in the ocean – you can’t tell whether the isotope emanated from burning or vaporization from the ocean.

    [Response: Complete nonsense. Plants discriminate against C13. It's atmospheric decline, combined with well quantified estimates of fuel emissions make this one of the most solid pieces of knowledge we have. If you're questioning this then you really have issues with denial.--Jim]

    Comment by ralphieGM — 29 May 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  335. …if phenomena in general were perfectly regular and continuous, they wouldn’t even be recognized as phenomena.

    Such as, the sun rising regularly, predictably? That’s not a phenomenon?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 May 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  336. OT, but at ScepticalScience Riccardo has done a graph on correlation between temperature and CO2 in Antarctic. The divergence between current conditions and glacial cycles during the last 420000 years is very notable. http://www.skepticalscience.com/On-temperature-and-CO2-in-the-past.html

    Comment by jyyh — 29 May 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  337. I am agreement with those that have already posted on this issue; this site is about education. I learn a great deal from the RC posts.

    It would be great if these threads were not infiltrated with ridiculous unfounded questions and assertions by people that are either naive, ignorant or actually just trying to show how smart they are by claiming their opinions can override well established science.

    It would be great not to have to refute the garbage that is posted here by those that haven’t a clue. It would be wonderful if people asked sincere questions, not to confuse the issue. but actually to learn. Yes, that would be wonderful.

    And it would not be boring, it would be more informative and easier to read.

    [Response: Couldn't say it any better John. Excellent way to close the day.--Jim]


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 May 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  338. #279 GFW

    I know how you feel ;)

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 May 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  339. #324 DG:

    … note the response of a coward: none.

    I have responded twice, but in both cases, it failed to appear on this post.

    Comment by Lichanos — 29 May 2010 @ 10:51 PM

  340. 326 Daniel Goodwin: I’m with gavin. There are lots of things we have been familiar with for a long time that have had wrong attributions. For example: Weather. People used to think that weather was caused by gods.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 29 May 2010 @ 10:55 PM

  341. He says he presents two graphs from the paywalled (Etkin 2010) and (Masson-Delmotte et al. 2010), and I still do not know how to cite paywalled articles. Should it be (Etkin 2010, as presented by Riccardo@SkepticalScience.html)? Of course I should somehow check the article myself were I to use that, but that’d require 200 miles of travel…

    Comment by jyyh — 29 May 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  342. ccpo, you seem to think that gathering the homogeneous student body around the bonfire at the pep rally and yelling out the cheers that everyone knows by heart is somehow “getting on to the business of dealing with AGW.” Curious. (Though I can maybe see some tangential help to your cause there…)

    Comment by Rod B — 28 May 2010 @ 11:53 AM

    Oh, Rod, my dear little debater. While in high school, we can win a debate based on the structure of the argument alone, the merits be damned. (Because the point of the class is to learn debate techniques, not solve social ills.) In real life, while we are generally wired to favor emotion over logic and ideology over reality, it’s not an acceptable method of discourse among the more pragmatic, objective set.

    In other words, your implication there is something to debate is a joke and an offense to thinking people everywhere. You are suggesting, e.g., we should still be discussing whether penicillin is worth producing and making available to the public, or whether the lift created by wings can be made to work on a machine.

    While we can debate the extent to which we should use antibiotics and we can learn more about aerodynamics, discussing whether the two exist and are useful is… idiotic. Ditto AGW.

    Those of us who know this – and that includes most denialists, imo – have no business, nor responsibility, wasting time on people who are either married to their ignorance or lying.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 29 May 2010 @ 11:58 PM

  343. “There have been indications that the hackers could have been based in Russia, and some experts believe they may have been hired by sceptics based in the US.”—The Financial Times (4-15-10)

    I hate to think Americans did this to the British.

    This would no surprise me at all. Last winter there were trolls all over here and, well, everyhwere, talking about how 2009 would be the year AGW was proven a fraud. It was freaky because they were 1. adamant, 2. posting everywhere, 3. under many different names.

    And, viola!, hacked e-mails.

    What’s equally eerie is the dearth of them over the last few months. Nothing at all like in the months leading up to and just after the hacks became known.

    One gets the sense they are 1. hiding to avoid leaving a trail and 2. letting the damage sink in.

    Yeah, I know this sounds tin hat-ish, but all I’ve done is describe their actions.

    Odd.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 30 May 2010 @ 12:12 AM

  344. At the risk of being a broken record, please get something like “shadow threads” I’ve mentioned here before, i.e., a simple way to move posts to alternate thread, so they can exist without degrading the SNR of the main thread. This was an importnat topic, but relatively few posts actually discussed it in any useful fashion.

    PLEASE do not go the way of once-useful USENET newsgroups whose SNR degraded from terrific to awful over time. At least in USENET, we had comprehensive Killfiles, but good moderators could add a lot of value to a blog if they can do this.

    Comment by John Mashey — 30 May 2010 @ 1:55 AM

  345. On my calculations the bp oil spill in the gulf is already the world’s worst crude oil accident ever (discounting the gulf war in ’91). Based on 3.53 million gallons of oil/day it would have only taken 39.66 days to exclipse the ixtoc offshore rig in the mexican gulf which stands at 140mil gallons before it was finally capped in 1980 after gushing for a year.
    I read that vaste amounts of methane gas has also been released in the accident..probably insignificent in the global scheme of things but still one more nail.
    My hope is that this latest event in gross global vandalism acts as a wake up call or catylist for concerned citizens everywhere that fossil fuels just ain’t the way to go..that we must embrace clean/sustainable energies ASAP. Liquified hydrogen for the automotive industy (see Honda Clarity) must be the way to go. What do you think?

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 30 May 2010 @ 4:41 AM

  346. “There seems to be something paradoxical in this. If I downgrade “unprecedented” to “unusual” the same paradox is thrown into greater relief:”

    Except it doesn’t.

    You don’t have to have killed 10 people to be a killer, even though there are many people who have done so, therefore 10 deaths is not unusual.

    Yet you can attribute a death to the killer who did it.

    MegaCorp may post hints of a good quarterly report and its stock may go up a couple of points on the news. This is not unusual a change in a day for a MegaCorp stock trade.

    Yet we can attribute the stock increase to the rumours.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 May 2010 @ 5:29 AM

  347. Frank runs back to the hay bale:

    “Show me the model that predicts that within his lifetime he will starve to death because nothing – not even wheat (or any number of grains) – will be able to grow due to global warming.”

    Frankie, it’s not that there will be NOTHING growing (though you’re nicking all the straw), but that there won’t be enough for a nobody like ralphie to buy ENOUGH food to keep from starving.

    Remember, even Etheopia were growing SOME food.

    Just not enough to feed everyone.

    Remember, the starving people were eating SOMETHING.

    Just not enough to stop from starving.

    Now please put that straw back where you found it, it’s needed for winter feed.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 May 2010 @ 5:34 AM

  348. “As far as math models go I have personally been using them for over 50 years, since the X-15 days, and have no problem with them, as long as they reflect reality, which I’m not sure the current climate models reflect.”

    Yah, reelly?

    I’ve googled but found no J Bob and X-15 related.

    Your postings also designate either a fairly extreme DK or a complete lack of science.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 May 2010 @ 5:37 AM

  349. DG 327,

    In fairness to Lichanos, he emailed me claiming he tried to post in response twice but couldn’t get his post accepted. I don’t know what the content was.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 May 2010 @ 5:41 AM

  350. “As far as I know, we did not cede sovereignty of our economic exclusion zone to BP. Nowhere is there a deed describing the seafloor in question as BP’s exclusive property.”

    Yes there is:

    1) The US have extended *their* territorial waters to 200 miles offshore.
    2) The US government have sold rights to drill in that area to BP

    Your complaint is similar to complaining about Mall Security on land that belongs to the US (the shopping mall).

    “Drill, baby, drill” crowd won’t let Obama NOT expand offshore drilling, he has “advisors” who get paid by lobby firms to advise him (Obama is smart enough to avoid DK, but not smart enough to notice BS when peddled) and his political power is harmed by refusing. And, lets face it, he likes the money and the country needs the money too.

    So as a *political* animal, Obama sold rights to BP and part of that agreement was to give BP rights and aid in enforcement.

    As a human being with power, he should have refused.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 May 2010 @ 5:59 AM

  351. “Deeper water around the coastlines”!!!???

    Makes it sound like the latter wouldn’t change under “deeper water” conditions. Surely the commenter can’t have been that obtuse–?

    The problem of sea level rise is a tough one, politically, because it is such a slow-mo issue by regular standards. If someone can muster worry about 2100, they are already in the minority.

    According to Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars,” though, there’s very good reason to worry about other effects first: a *much* dryer Mediterranean basin & Middle East is a robust prediction across the model ensemble. Famine in Iran, anyone? (Remember, they might have nukes a decade or two hence.)

    Speaking of drying, although the Himalayan glacier timeline got botched in the WG 2 report, the fact remains that we’re seeing stream flow problems in Nepal *now.* (Not sure how firm the attribution is from a scientific point of view.) India and Pakistan are both highly dependent on Himalayan glacial streamflows, and both populations are growing rapidly. And they both have nuclear weapons and a history of mutual bellicosity.

    Drying in Mexico over the next few decades looks highly probable, too. What will the Arizona border look like then? (Dyer thinks there may be a transition from chain link to automated machine guns and landmines. Sounds melodramatic, perhaps, but given the climate (sorry!) of opinion today, it also doesn’t sound crazy if you extrapolate.)

    Precipitation pattern graphics aren’t as easy to parse as mean temperature anomalies, but maybe we need to learn. Fast.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 May 2010 @ 6:44 AM

  352. RalphieGM says, “The coal you refer to was originally plant material which once converted CO2 to C (carbon coal). So – burning coal returns the original CO2 to the atmosphere from whence it came. Simple conservation principle – we are not really creating CO2 – just re-animating it.”

    I am sure the dinosaurs will be very happy about this development. The humans…not so much. Ralphie, work with me dude. How long have humans been on the planet? When did we develop all the infrastructure for human civilization? See the problem

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 May 2010 @ 7:35 AM

  353. Gavin,

    Quick note …off topic sort of… an interesting article on results of research with results indicating a direct relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Paper to be in June 11 edition of Nature. Short blurb at communique from Concordia University. http://news.concordia.ca/main_story/014941.shtml
    Lucien

    Comment by Lucien Locke — 30 May 2010 @ 7:36 AM

  354. “Off topic, but has anybody else noticed that BP’s video feed now shows a big crater with oil streaming out, seemingly where the riser used to be? I’m wondering if anyone here has heard about an intentional removal of the riser, a new seafloor leak or the like? …” – DB

    OT response:

    It’s the same, far-end the of the riser shot they’ve been showing, from different angles, all along. It’s not in a crater. During Top Kill they pumped something like 31,000 barrels of heavy mud into the BOP. 90% of that squished out the top of the BOP and down the riser, and there it plumed out into the open ocean. Eventually some of it settled back to the seabed around the broken end of the riser and formed a large mound around it, which makes it look like it sank into a crater.

    There are no seabed leaks. Gavin can have his buddies at NASA verify this fact. It would show up on the ocean surface like a teenager with two monster zits on his nose instead of just one.

    Comment by JCH — 30 May 2010 @ 8:23 AM

  355. OT:

    I just sent letters to the Western Washington University President, Provost, Dept. Chair and several staff at each office to notify them about Don Easterbrook’s “Hide the Incline” fraud. If you are unaware of this fraud please see:

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/cooling-gate-easterbrook-fakes-his-figures-hides-the-incline/
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/cooling-gate-the-100-years-of-warming-easterbrook-wants-you-to-ignore/
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/cooling-gate-easterbrook-defends-the-indefensible/
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/whose-lie-is-it-anyway-easterbrook-caught-red-handed/
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/don_easterbrook_hides_the_incl.php

    If any of you wish to do the same, the contact info appears below:

    WWW: Office of the President Contacts: http://www.wwu.edu/president/Staff.shtml
    WWU: Office of the Provost Contacts: http://www.wwu.edu/provost/affairs/staff.shtml
    WWU Geology Dept. Chair: http://geology.wwu.edu/dept/faculty/babcock.html

    Sincerely,

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 30 May 2010 @ 9:01 AM

  356. #329 Daaniel Goodwin

    The substance of an attribution per se may have nothing to do with anything surprising, but there probably was some surprise at the origin of the investigation.

    That remark is highly debateable. The main uncertainty was whether the greenhouse gas signal would be strong eneough to break through the noise. Since the experts such as Hansen had been forecasting it, why should there have been so much surprise?

    In other areas of science the ability to predict a novel observation is regarded as a triumph, just on its own. Have climatologists been triumphalist about that success? It seems not. They set to work on the attribution problem to check up whether the predicted outcome had really corroborated the science.

    It seems like a stroke of luck for the solution of the attribution problem that the finger-prints have been discovered. Think counterfactually for a moment. What if they had not been discovered? Rising greenhouse gases would still have been a major cause of worry.

    Attribution may be very important but it is only a part of this story.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 May 2010 @ 9:08 AM

  357. ralphieGM #332 said:
    > we are not really creating CO2 – just re-animating it.

    In a Lovecraftian sense, that’s kind of apt.
    :(

    Comment by CM — 30 May 2010 @ 9:14 AM

  358. Lucien@353,
    From the press release, the favored value for CO2 sensitivity in the work seems to be ~2.5 degrees per doubling. Well within the confidence interval favored by the evidence. At least it’s not another Schwartz.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 May 2010 @ 10:15 AM

  359. #348 CFU, do you seriously think that ALL the people involved on that program will be listed on Google? Back then I was a Jr. Engineer, however my immediate supervisor would go out to Edwards and had personally met with White, Walker & Armstrong.

    If you have ever used math modeling, you would know that they reflect what you DO KNOW, physical models will bring out what you do not know, so you can upgrade the math model. A case in point was the “hot shot” wind tunnel at McDonnell A/C. The relief cap on the tunnel was made of heavy steel plate, modeled to a safety factor of 2-3 expected max load. First full test of the tunnel blew the cap off and dumped it 1/4 mile away. Seems heating a gas to a virtual plasma produces strange and novel effects.

    If you have ever modeled fluids, you would understand the difficulty of trying to get it right.

    Comment by J. Bob — 30 May 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  360. #339 Lichanos the anonymous

    Did your posts have substance? Or more unsubstantial, or relevant, opinion than you have been issuing?

    I’ve had posts of mine not show up. Maybe I did not address the issue properly? Maybe I was saying something inappropriate to the thread. But I’m willing to admit that I can be too far off topic, or missing a point. Can you?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 30 May 2010 @ 10:35 AM

  361. re 349, well at least I get a reason. See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/05/what-we-can-learn-from-studying-the-last-millennium-or-so/comment-page-10/#comment-175638

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 May 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  362. 355 Scott A. Mandia: It looks like he made the Midieval times appear in the future as well. Quite a time travel trick! But Don Easterbrook, the retired geology professor is retired, which means there is nothing the Provost, Dept. Chair and so on can do, doesn’t it?
    Can you follow the money trail and find out who paid Don Easterbrook how much? After we know that, we need to attribute Don Easterbrook’s statement to money in the popular press. That could cost us money.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 30 May 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  363. #302 Andrew, no one said you rely exclusively on one or another, but it’s a general practice to cross check. I notice you said “almost” as far as Boeing using wind tunnels. Can you imagine the liability Boeing would have if they didn’t cross check with wind tunnel data.”

    Yeah it would be about the same as what they would have with it. This is because they also have flight testing to check the computations. It’s not about liability or risk of being wrong. The computations are trusted. Back in 1994 they still had a physical model possibly because the wind tunnel was a sunk cost?

    “However the point of the Machine Design article was that in this case the physical model trumped math model because the math model didn’t reflect reality. Did you know they still use the old wind tunnel at Langley. It’s cheaper to drive a car up there, put it on a tilt table. With the automated sensors ( we had to manually read monometers when I was in grad school) in a few hours they not only have data at various speeds as well as different sideslip angles. Unless one has a system to transform the vehicle outline (CAD data) seamlessly to a flow program, one can spend a week just doing that.”

    Uh, those programs have been around since before 1990. Google “CAD Aerodynamics Jamieson” for example.

    “Doesn’t the Navy still use tanks to check their ship design?”

    Nowhere near as much as previously. The investment in towing tanks is nowhere near what it is in computers. Engineers aren’t stupid; they are spending their design dollars on computation. Structural engineers design buildings against dynamic risks with computers, because models don’t do that job.

    “But coming back to the main point. The math models have to reflect reality and test results. If they don’t, one has to find out why. As far as math models go I have personally been using them for over 50 years, since the X-15 days, and have no problem with them, as long as they reflect reality, which I’m not sure the current climate models reflect.

    No, the models do not have to accurately reflect physics. There are several reasons for this.

    1. When you do climate, you average over a lot of “redistributive” effects which equilibrate over timescales shorter than of interest and preserve the “accumlative” effects. You can actually get a worse result by preserving effects which will average out (this is called “stiffness” of the system of differential equations – an effect well known to and well understood by engineers since before I was born). This also leads to a related effect called “sub grid scale parameterization” on which physics can (and should) be bent to avoid introduction of meaningless computational artifacts. Since you have an aero background, you are probably familiar with ‘artificial viscosity’ as an example of this sort of thing.

    2. We can get better answers by modifying the physics to suit the particular answer we are looking for. This overlaps a little with (1) but in fact goes further. Suppose you want to compute the lift and drag of an airfoil; you would think that you have to run a “flow code”. In fact, you do not. Wilcox’s work at MIT is an excellent example (Google: “wilcox unsteady airfoil balanced reduction”). In this approach, you actually project onto a submanifold which contains the information relevant to the answers to the questions you will ask, but throws out whatever isn’t – which includes physics which would be important on the time and length scales of interest were you to ask different questions. In other words, this methodology figures out a space which spans the answers to your questions and then only computes the physics which projects onto that space. There are also other approaches which have different motivations but have similar results (moment closure descriptions of statistical fluid mechanics, etc.) So no, you do NOT always have to use the relevant physics, unless you want to know “everything” about the trajectory through all time.

    3. Purely statistical reasons. You are usually computing an ensemble of trajectories, and there are ways to make the ensemble a more efficient sampling process at the expense of physical fidelity – for example you can put in a small repulsive force between the individual trajectories in such a way that the ensemble more efficiently samples the space of realizations. Clearly, these forces are non-physical for each individual realization, but they let you get a better answer for the ensemble.

    Now in fact, I don’t think climate scientists are using most of these opportunities, I think most of them are that hardcore about scientific computation since they spend a lot of time trying NOT to massacre the physics. However, that is a missed opportunity if you really want the best use of the computer.

    P.S. Solar motion of sun spots were observed long before the telescope. They used the “camera obscura”.

    Until the telescope, nobody knew that those were on the sun. Even in 1607, Kepler himself mistook a sunspot for a transit of Mercury. Just a few years later (1610, 1611, 1612) with the introduction of the telescope, at least three observers had seen sunspots for what they are – spots ON the sun, and one guy who was at that time still a holdout for planetary shadows (Scheiner) who had the best drawing.

    And the point was that when confronted with the telescope evidence that the Sun was not “perfect” and had “blemishes” there were people who refused to look through the telescope and see for themselves.

    It’s a little harder to explain how climate computation works compared to how a telescope works, but it’s not out of the question; and more people should confront just how serious the effort has been before wondering about whether the computation has been done to their satisfaction. These guys are not really fooling around – climate computation has been for decades, a serious effort on the part of many substantially capable groups of scientists. I’d like to see more climate skeptics try and pass Ph.D. orals in computation.

    Comment by Andrew — 30 May 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  364. 324 Frank Giger: I don’t need science to know that there is a problem with agriculture and GW. I live in the corn belt. We have had an extra 2 feet of rain in the past 2.5 years. Both planting and harvesting have become problematical because of the extra rain. Some fields are too muddy for a tractor or a combine to navigate. Seedlings washed away twice so fields have to be planted 3 times to get 1 crop in Mercer County. You should watch “Ag Day” to see the very strange checkerboard of flood and drought across the lower 48 states. It doesn’t look like what you theorists are predicting.

    Somebody commented on RC recently that China is loosing an area the size of Rhode Island to the Gobi desert annually. China was an exporter of corn. China now imports corn. How long do you think it will take the 1.3 billion people of China + the 1 billion people of India to eat up the US production? There is no longer a surplus anywhere. We are already down to days rather than years, like it was in the 50s, of available food. It won’t take much to push us over the edge.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 30 May 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  365. …nothing the Provost, Dept. Chair and so on can do, doesn’t it?

    Take away his library card? Nah, why? He’s talking his way over the cliff of crumbling credibility quite on his own.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 May 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  366. Barton Paul Levenson says: 30 May 2010 at 5:41 AM

    …he emailed me claiming he tried to post in response twice but couldn’t get his post accepted.

    Is he hiding his decline? With all the worthless dreck allowed on this site, he’s been singled out? I doubt it, and as far as comparing honesty goes what’s the data we have in hand?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 May 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  367. 347 Completely Fed Up: Thank you. That is indeed what I meant.

    350 CFU: Before Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney abolished the Mil Specs and Standards, we had something to hold the contractors to. When Dick Cheney became VP, he asked us to “trust” the contractors. As a level 3 Defense Acquisition official, I had learned long ago exactly how far contractors can be trusted. Then the W administration wanted us to ignore the differences between the drawings and the product and just sign the check. I accepted the early retirement because I couldn’t fight the president and the vice president.
    I suspect that the standards for oil well equipment were likewise abolished by the W administration. Since it takes about 4 years for an administration to be “felt” completely at the mid level, The O administration hasn’t had time to re-instate any abolished specs and standards. In fact, that is an issue that will take Mr. Obama some time yet to understand. Obama is smart, but it is a complex subject in a field that is not his own, and Obama is not an engineer.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 30 May 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  368. Re 362 Ed Greisch
    What is possibly more relevant is that Easterbrook gave his talk at the Heartland conference. This was attended by many current academics and serving politicians. So far, they have done nothing about Easterbrook’s fraud – the presentation is still there on the website. This makes the organisers and attendees of the conference complicit in the fraud. If any of your political representatives were at the conference, you may want to write to them and ask if they condone scientific fraud, and if not, ask them to publicly disassociate themselves from Easterbrook.

    Comment by CTG — 30 May 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  369. #298 Lichanos says

    “1. I agree. “All else being equal” is a very important phrase here. Lindzen puts it just this way. The earth is not this type of a system -it is a dynamic system. More CO2 will tend, however, to raise temperature to a point.”

    At this point, this is little more wishful thinking. Nobody has been able come up any kind of plausible temperature governor that would “kick in” to protect us from global warming, yet still be compatible with the climate record (it certainly has gotten very warm in the past). A pretty thin threat to hang you hopes upon.

    “5. Very vague. Earth has warmed? Since when? Last 200 years? ”

    Quibbling to dodge the question. The issue is the modern temperature increase that has accompanied the modern increase in CO2, not temperature rises in the distant past that likely had other causes–although it is certainly true that large temperature increases in the distant past argue against the “magic governor” hope.

    “8. Non sequitur. I would say, “plausible that AGW is part of the warming observed, whatever magnitude we decide on in No. 5.” IPCC says highly likely that MOST of the warming in the last 150 years is AGW. They do not say ALL. And, again, this is only if No. 5 is demonstrated. Note, I only say plausible, because correlation does not prove causation at all. ”

    However, correlation constitutes supporting evidence for a theory that predicts such a correlation. “Most” vs. “all” is standard cautious phrasing. Scientists never say “all,” because it is impossible to support–what if it’s 99.999%, that’s still not all.

    “This is not a necessary conclusion following any of the above. Again, it’s a plausible hypothesis, but it’s support is weak, and I believe comes principally from GCM runs. Model runs, in turn, assume some of the points above are proven, and that the model properly treats the necessary system dynamics – a big assumption.”

    I think that it has been pointed out to you before that the prediction that CO2 from human activities will warm the climate long predates GCM’s. One might hope that these more detailed models would identify a “magic governor” that will kick in to save us from the predicted temperature rise, but decades of model refinement have failed to identify any mechanism that could work this way. But of course, models can alway be better. So just as creationists keep believing in a “god of the gaps” who hides his miracles in those lacunae where physical and biological knowledge is incomplete, some people will doubtless continue to hang onto their faith in rescue by a “governor of the gaps” even as the coastal cities begin to flood.

    Comment by trrll — 30 May 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  370. Doug Bostrom @ 366

    “…he’s been singled out? I doubt it…”

    He may have gone over the top, but my guess is that if a key combination of letters buried in his text got blocked by the spam filter, he wouldn’t have the wherewithal or patience to set aside the b.s. and actually figure out how to correct the problem.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 30 May 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  371. @Ed 50% of U.S. corn production currently goes into factory farm or feedlot animal operations. The rest is split between ethanol production (~20%), exports abroad (~20%), and all other uses (high fructose corn syrup, tortillas and chips, and fresh corn).

    In 2005, the U.S. produced 4 billion gallons of corn ethanol and imported 15 billion gallons of refined fossil fuel products. In contrast, Brazil produces around 7 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol per year, accounting for 50% of their domestic transportation needs (In the U.S. biofuels account for only a few percent of the total). The U.S. however uses 10 times as much energy per capita as does Brazil. This is primarily due to inefficient vehicles and so on – using better technology, it’d likely be very easy to cut U.S. energy demand in half with no reduction in quality of life or economic health.

    This is interesting from the standpoint of energy, but for climate issues this is only half the story – the other involves how much fossil fuel is required to grow the corn or sugarcane and produce the ethanol. What is the barrels to bushels ratio? What about the fossil CO2 to biofuel ratio? In the optimal case, can fossil fuels be entirely eliminated from agriculture without losses in productivity?

    To answer that, you have to look at fossil fuel energy use in agriculture – tractors, trucks, refrigeration, and synthetic fertilizer production. It’s not too hard to show that farms can implement renewable energy strategies and eliminate the need for fossil fuels – devote a few acres to solar panels and rely on biofuels to operate tractors, for example. It’s also possible to generate hydrogen from solar or wind electricity, and then use that hydrogen to convert N2 to NH3, hence making nitrogen fertilizer. Now, you have carbon-neutral agriculture – a key requirement for stabilizing the global climate.

    Whether or not the rest of the biosphere and the oceans will remain carbon-neutral as the planet warms… it seems unlikely, doesn’t it? Warmer oceans hold less dissolved gas, and while the ocean is actually currently acting as a carbon-negative sink, absorbing several gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, that could change as warming progresses. The permafrost is a more certain source of new CO2 and CH4 emissions, and shallow Arctic seabed emissions are also possible as Arctic waters warm. The defrosting freezer tends to outgas.

    As far as the deepwater spill – that’s an inevitable result of going after oil in more remote locations. The industry has known that this situation could arise for years:

    (1997) Offshore – A sustained ultra-deepwater (300 meters) blowout has not been experienced by the global petroleum industry. Is a deepwater blowout possible? If so, what are the prevention steps? With sustained controlled oil flow rates of over 13,000 b/d and plans for individual well rates nearing 30,000 b/d, the consequences of a sustained deepwater blowout would be severe. Drilling is proceeding into ever deeper water worldwide. A major deepwater drilling boom is underway in the US Gulf of Mexico. Current exploration is underway in over 2,300 meters of water in taking place. ….Blowout control options in ultra-deepwater are very limited. Blowout prevention is of paramount importance.

    To get approval for these projects, BP had to downplay the risks of failure as well as the consequences of failure, and that required a hefty dose of pseudo-scientific rationalization – something that the U.S. government agencies that partnered up with BP were happy to supply. How else did this well get a rubber-stamped environmental waiver? It’s not just BP – similar ‘emergency plans’ for Shell in the Arctic were also approved in 2009. In reality, there’s no way to mitigate these risks, and hence the companies involved should bear the full costs – which will likely be well into the tens of billions.

    Accident liability caps should be removed from the energy industry, period – if investors aren’t willing to bear the risks, why should the public?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 30 May 2010 @ 3:47 PM

  372. > couldn’t get his post accepted.

    Make sure he knows to copy the text before trying, if his browser’s back-arrow doesn’t get him back to the text in the posting window.

    If he can’t figure the filter problem out from the message he gets, tell him to read the last line of it and follow the instructions and they’ll help him out by looking at it.

    They can’t list all the keywords the spam filter looks for or they’d just get worked around, but “speci alist” and “social ist” share a deadly string for example. So does most any mention of gam bling terms.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  373. Understanding climate is an example of system identification:
    http://www.eolss.net/EolssSampleChapters/C05/E6-43-12/E6-43-12-TXT-05.aspx#5.%20Selecting%20Model%20Structures
    Be sure to read the last sentence.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 30 May 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  374. ccpo (342) you missed my point. If all skeptics and deniers (using your word for clarity) were banned from RC whatever their credibility (from some to none) how would you describe RC other than how I did?

    Comment by Rod B — 30 May 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  375. Edward Greisch (364), I too grew up in the corn belt. When was the last three or four times it exceeded by two feet over 21/2 years the normal rainfall? Due to what?

    Comment by Rod B — 30 May 2010 @ 4:48 PM

  376. #333 RalphieGM

    “The coal you refer to was originally plant material which once converted CO2 to C (carbon coal). So – burning coal returns the original CO2 to the atmosphere from whence it came. Simple conservation principle – we are not really creating CO2 – just re-animating it.”

    It takes millions of years to convert a significant amount of CO2 into coal. In the long-term carbon cycle, CO2 is slowly put back into the atmosphere as coal deposits are exposed to the air by erosion and then oxidized. The time scale involved is the same as that of coal formation. By digging up the coal, we greatly accelerate the uncovering of the coal; by burning the coal, we greatly accelerate its oxidation. The result: a flux of CO2 into the atmosphere that is orders of magnitude greater than the natural flux.

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 30 May 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  377. Slightly OT: the WattsUpBots have invaded Grist and are talking rubbish about ice loss. Anyone interested in supporting me in countering this? On my blog my latest take on where we are at may be of interest to some.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 30 May 2010 @ 5:15 PM

  378. DG 327,

    In fairness to Lichanos, he emailed me claiming he tried to post in response twice but couldn’t get his post accepted. I don’t know what the content was.

    I remember one “Bob FJ” trying a similar tactic, a year or so back. I’d call it “back channel trolling,” myself. I think it’s intended to disrupt the thread, or even the blog. Wonder if there’s any connection between “BFJ” and “L.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 May 2010 @ 6:05 PM

  379. Andrew–you are so right; not for nothing does one of my frequent blog antagonists consistently refer to climate models as “playstations.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 May 2010 @ 6:14 PM

  380. I do not think Easterbrook is being paid for his fraud. He staked his claim on global cooling years ago and cannot let it go. I call this the Peter Duesberg Syndrome.

    Yes, WWU can do something about Easterbrook. Although he is retired he is using their name and they still host his faculty Website, which is a snakepit of denialist pseudo-science and misrepresentations. Are you aware that there has been global cooling since 1999?

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 30 May 2010 @ 6:52 PM

  381. Rod B asks: “If all skeptics and deniers (using your word for clarity) were banned from RC whatever their credibility (from some to none) how would you describe RC other than how I did?”

    A climate science education website?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 May 2010 @ 6:52 PM

  382. “359
    J. Bob says:
    30 May 2010 at 10:32 AM

    #348 CFU, do you seriously think that ALL the people involved on that program will be listed on Google?”

    Do you seriously believe we’ll take your word on your provenance on a blog forum?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 May 2010 @ 7:28 PM

  383. “If you have ever used math modeling, you would know that they reflect what you DO KNOW,”

    If you knew anything about computer models, you’d know what I mean when I say:

    Langton’s Ant.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 May 2010 @ 7:30 PM

  384. David B. Benson #373: “Understanding climate is an example of system identification:
    http://www.eolss.net/EolssSampleChapters/C05/E6-43-12/E6-43-12-TXT-05.aspx#5.%20Selecting%20Model%20Structures
    Be sure to read the last sentence.”

    Yes indeed, it SHOULD be considered as an application of system identification, but despite the dynamic meteorology crowd being relatively thick with Kalman filter wranglers, the climate community doesn’t seem to have taken this path.

    The point about getting enough information for decision without necessarily eliminating all the system uncertainty is also critically important. Climate change is maybe the ultimate example of a big risk penalty for decision latency.

    More to the point, one really wants to treat the CO2 problem as model adaptive robust control. This speaks to the original topic here of attribution. It might be heresy in climate science, but from the model adaptive control point of view, you really don’t care if you end up with accurate attribution (which corresponds to accurately assessing components in the cost of control in the model adaptive robust control picture). You care if you keep the system within bounds, and with the least cost – since you want robust control, you really want the solution to tolerate deviations from the plant model, as well as the control. It’s why autopilots do not know how the plane is supposed to fly, they just know how to measure what it’s doing, and what control outputs they have; they constantly learn how to fly as they fly the plane. This is why autopilots can work despite damage to the aircraft, etc. They work despite not knowing exactly what they are controlling because they never cared that much in the first place. Robust control is not about developing the finest possible understanding of the system, it’s about developing the least cost solution to controlling as wide a class of systems as possible (so you don’t really have to know which one you really are controlling).

    Since decision latency is thought to be critical in this problem (“alarm”) then people ought to really get serious about justifying decisions in the presence of system uncertainty as opposed to waiting until the last vote is in to call the election.

    Comment by Andrew — 30 May 2010 @ 7:39 PM

  385. So, why do you like this:
    http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/radiation_facts.html
    as a replacement for Trenberth’s more recent and more detailed picture in
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/TFK_bams09.pdf ?

    Is it because the EDDOCS picture is in percent (not clear of what) rather than in energy units? can’t resolve a difference of less than one percent between incoming and outgoing? doesn’t show where or how a warming could be happening? says “Heat energy is emitted into space, creating a balance” so it can be read to say the planet is in energy balance now?

    Or is there something else about it you like better than Trenberth’s?

    Just curious what’s so attractive about this. I think it’s a very simple picture that’s not meant to illustrate the same facts Trenberth published; it’s from an ‘educational’ section at NASA, from 2007.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2010 @ 8:22 PM

  386. #
    ccpo (342) you missed my point. If all skeptics and deniers (using your word for clarity) were banned from RC whatever their credibility (from some to none) how would you describe RC other than how I did?

    Comment by Rod B — 30 May 2010 @ 4:39 PM

    Skeptics? Every good scientist is a skeptic. Why would we ban them? Don’t put words in my mouth.

    Ditto what Ray said. Rod, it’s silly to claim eliminating dreck from useful dialogue is as you describe. You denialists just go around labeling things pejoratively because you know yout target audience is susceptible to dreck. We know it, too. It’s time we acted on that knowledge by simply not allowing dreck into legitimate discussions.

    This is what you are saying, dreck style:

    AGWer1: New study shows ice volume in the Arctic hit an all-time low last year, and every year for the last four years.

    AGWer2: I’m a little concerned about combining the various measurements, and the margin for error between them. I.e. using satellite, submarine and observational data to determine the decline.

    Denialista: They all have uncertainties, so collectively they must be a real mess, each error building on another. AGW is junk science!

    AGWer1: Actually, the uncertainties help us understand, and in a sense reinforce the validity, for even with the various uncertainties, the conclusions are all the same, and graphing them all together shows that the basic conclusion is definitely accurate.

    That’s right. My concern isn’t that the data is wrong, thus meaning the ice isn’t in decline, but that it’s declining faster than imagined, so we really need to get a handle on this.

    Denialista: No, error means you are wrong and really can’t prove anything at all. Science is junk.

    AGWer2: Err… so AGWer1, as we were discussing, the new data is startling. Have you seen the trends on ice extent? Below 2007 as we speak. Something like THREE standard deviations. 2013, indeed… yikes.

    Denialista: Oh, come on. It was normal just a month or two ago.

    AGWer1: Not exactly.

    Denialista: They’re probably counting water on the ice!

    AGWer2: Uh, so, as I was saying, I thing the physical observations from last Spring and the recent North Pole trek showing the ice is of very poor quality and far more broken up than the satellite imagery can see, is a very serious issue. I think we need to push the gov’t to use some of its hi-res satellites to get accurate readings.

    Denialista: See? Your data is always wrong, by your own admission. And now you want to bring in the government, and we’re supposed to trust that data more than the current data?

    AGWer1+2: Aargh…. Out. Now. Go.

    Denialista: See? It’s a conspiracy! You suppress the truth! Oh, the oppression!

    But, yeah, Rod, you’re probably right that we should continue to prove the proven instead of taking substantive steps toward dealing with what is already known.

    Comment by ccpo — 30 May 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  387. Lichanos, #298:
    “More CO2 will tend, however, to raise temperature to a point.”

    Wikipedia on the atmosphere of Venus:
    “The CO2-rich atmosphere, along with thick clouds of sulfur dioxide, generates the strongest greenhouse effect in the Solar System, creating surface temperatures of over 460 °C.”

    (BTW, I appreciate your detailed response, and apologize for my inflammatory rhetoric.)

    Comment by Daniel Goodwin — 30 May 2010 @ 8:43 PM

  388. #363, Andrew says “No, the models do not have to accurately reflect physics.”. This is a little different then what I said about the math models reflecting REALITY. That is the physical model, math model and test results on a actual system, must match. If not, you better have a good explanation, or know a good liability lawyer.

    In talking to a still working aero engineer, computational methods are still “weak” in the boundary layer – shock wave junctions, and in high turbulence areas.

    I hate to tell you this, but there were astronomers (observers) in other parts of the world, besides western Europe. They may not have understood everything but they could record them, which they did. Their observatories were every bit as good, or better then Brahe’s.

    And finally, be careful about putting Ph.D’s on to high a pedestal. I’ve seen them make some pretty dumb mistakes, for which they were shown the door.

    Comment by J. Bob — 30 May 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  389. “At the risk of being a broken record, please get something like “shadow threads” I’ve mentioned here before, i.e., a simple way to move posts to alternate thread, so they can exist without degrading the SNR of the main thread. This was an importnat topic, but relatively few posts actually discussed it in any useful fashion.” –John Mashey.

    THIS. Please, moderators, can you move all the BP talk and other stuff not related to the Gavin’s original article, elsewhere? And if someone starts a post with ‘off-topic, but…’, please, ask them to post it elsewhere?

    And as for Lichanos, his response to BPL’s list does appear on the thread — it’s #298. There’s already one response to that (#369).

    Comment by Steven Sullivan — 30 May 2010 @ 9:25 PM

  390. Oh, wait.

    > Much of northern ice cap ice free in 18th century (historical literature)
    “Ice cap”? What source are you relying on

    > and north pole ice free in and early 1960s (see Navy photos of nuclear submarines at th pole).

    Where are you getting your beliefs, and why do you consider your source reliable? Are you taking the time to check what you read?

    It’s easy to look this stuff up. If you’d bothered you might have posted more good information at http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2348#comment-176219 and fewer easily debunked errors.
    Look at the white stuff around the submarines in the pictures:
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08578.htm
    http://www.nautilus571.com/skate_surfaces_at_pole.htm
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/0857805.jpg
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/tn/0857805.gif
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/tn/0858411.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2010 @ 9:35 PM

  391. @ Mr. Greisch:

    I’m glad you’re in the corn belt. I suggest building your own silo – the biggest you can – as within your lifetime there will not be enough food for you and you will starve to death.

    I know this because I read it on RC.

    In a comment section on something written by a scientist that says we shouldn’t attribute too much in the weather patterns to climate change.

    Again, somebody show me in the IPCC reports where it predicts massive starvation within the USA because of AGW in the next 30 years.

    You can’t. Nobody can. Because it’s not there.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 30 May 2010 @ 9:54 PM

  392. J. Bob: #388: “#363, Andrew says “No, the models do not have to accurately reflect physics.”. This is a little different then what I said about the math models reflecting REALITY. That is the physical model, math model and test results on a actual system, must match. If not, you better have a good explanation, or know a good liability lawyer.”

    Frankly, the test on the model system shouldn’t match computations very well any more because the physical models can’t get enough digits right. That is probably as good an explanation as any for walking away from physical modeling.

    “In talking to a still working aero engineer, computational methods are still “weak” in the boundary layer – shock wave junctions, and in high turbulence areas.”

    Depends on exactly what you need to know. For example it’s very easy to point at supercritical airfoil design (e.g. Garabedian-Korn) which involves the effects you mention. Yes, you can make problems computationally inconvenient, but down the hall from me is a guy handing out time on this machine called ‘Blue Gene/L’ – (and I will use some of that, too). Kind of a big machine, that, and there’s more where that came from – even if Moore’s law is close to sputtering out. There are still hard problems in CFD, but a lot of things that were brutally difficult thirty years ago when I started out, are in the “been there, done that” bin.

    “I hate to tell you this, but there were astronomers (observers) in other parts of the world, besides western Europe. They may not have understood everything but they could record them, which they did. Their observatories were every bit as good, or better then Brahe’s.”

    Not news, this; Aristotle reported these observations, there are descriptions by Chinese astronomers, but the telescope was critical to the discovery of sunspots as solar features. (“Despite these early observations, it was only after the invention of the telescope, in 1609, that any real study of sunspots was possible.” – http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2875430)

    “And finally, be careful about putting Ph.D’s on to high a pedestal. I’ve seen them make some pretty dumb mistakes, for which they were shown the door.”

    In this case I know about a dozen of the Ph. D’s. in climate science whose work we are actually talking about from when I was in graduate school, (after I moved from the hard-aero CFD group to a climate dynamics group). And they have worked with most of the others in this picture. And I know quite a few engineers (having done my undergraduate at one of those small dedicated engineering schools). I would expect the work of my Ph.D. classmates to hold up as well as any of my engineering classmates. Frankly, most of the people who are reading this have flown on an airplane with a wing or turbine blade design based on work of my Ph. D. classmates, and driven over bridges designed, built, and maintained by my B.E. classmates. I actually have come across Ph.Ds. and engineers who couldn’t tie their shoes, but the ones we are talking about here, are not those ones.

    Comment by Andrew — 30 May 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  393. > please get something like “shadow threads” …
    > i.e., a simple way to move posts to alternate thread
    Hey John, know any programmers? Want to set up a fund to get it written?
    I’d gladly throw some of my small money at such a project. SMOP, right?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2010 @ 11:24 PM

  394. > “shadow threads”
    Much wished for.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=move+posts+to+another+thread+splitting+moderation
    Never written?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  395. Frankly, the test on the model system shouldn’t match computations very well any more because the physical models can’t get enough digits right. That is probably as good an explanation as any for walking away from physical modeling.

    This, to me, is a great point. The kind of physical modeling beloved of “anti-model denialist” types is, after all, scaled modeling. Some small thing dumped into a wind tunnel etc.

    Scaling up to the real thing … via …

    model.

    Full-scale testing is often on components, and how this fits into the completed product … models.

    You can’t escape them.

    I’m just a humble computer freak, but this reality, if I were in aerospace, would be exactly the only motivation needed to move to a fully-model result. Cut out the middle man, the windtunnel on a 1:10 model (or whatever) which is extrapolated via model. Just model.

    Comment by dhogaza — 30 May 2010 @ 11:28 PM

  396. #390 Hank Roberts

    In addition to your work. I called the Naval Historical Center and started collecting intel on that. The image that John Coleman and other have been using is most likely shot at the edge of the ice pack, not at the north pole.

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/0857806.jpg

    Coleman and that guy that was kissing up to O’Reilly last year were claiming that was at the north pole.

    While there is a history of meetings at the north pole. the likely hood of ice free on a large scale is much less there. Next time I’m in DC I was planning to go dig up the records and get the lat/long for that shot and others.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 30 May 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  397. 371 Ike Solem: Yes, I know we have a lot of extra corn as far as Americans in isolation going hungry now. We could quit eating meat and eat corn, etc. But there are only 300 million Americans out for almost 7 billion people. China has a trillion dollars saved up with which it could buy corn if it has to. Care to guess on grocery prices if they do? And yes, the farmers could get a lot of renewable energy, but they tried that before and then abandoned windmills for electric water pumps. They have long memories and aren’t likely to try it again soon.
    “Accident liability caps should be removed from the energy industry, period – if investors aren’t willing to bear the risks, why should the public?”
    That won’t change until the lower 99% get smart enough to realize who is lying to them. That is why I am so one-track with my senators. I concentrate on climate change and ignore most other fiascoes.

    Thanks to the other commenters who answered my questions.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 31 May 2010 @ 12:27 AM

  398. #390 Hank Roberts

    Just to give some more context to it. I looked for it about 3 or 4 years ago. When I cross referenced multiple sources/reports. It looked like the photo was actually taken closer to Greenland, on the way to the north pole. But I still have not been able to get confirmation.

    I could still be wrong, and i don’t know where my tracking info is for it. I just remember collecting a bunch of data and found that it probably was not actually at the north pole.

    Of course as others have pointed out, ice pack shifts and Arctic winds could clear the north pole of ice temporarily, but it would be nice to know just where it was shot.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 31 May 2010 @ 12:58 AM

  399. John, this is old, old stuff being rebunked. Read the _Nautilus_ on how thick the ice was when they passed under the Pole; read the _Skate_ on how they located a thin enough spot to break through using their sonar, for example. Kelly over at Tamino’s found someone who had debunked the same story a long while ago, with quotes: ““From the account of the USS Skate: … We surfaced near the North Pole in the winter through thin ice less than 2 feet thick…. The Ice at the polar ice cap is an average of 6-8 feet thick, [not anymore!!] but with the wind and tides the ice will crack and open into large polynyas (areas of open water), these areas will refreeze over with thin ice. We had sonar equipment that would find these open or thin areas to come up through … ”
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/arctic-stations/#comment-35391

    The information on the rate of change is also easy to find.
    —–
    ICESat Survey Reveals Dramatic Arctic Sea Ice Thinning
    Posted on: Tuesday, 7 July 2009, 14:20 CDT
    Arctic sea ice thinned dramatically between the winters of 2004 and 2008, with thin seasonal ice replacing thick older ice as the dominant type for the first time on record. The new results, based on data from a NASA Earth-orbiting spacecraft, provide further evidence for the rapid, ongoing transformation of the Arctic’s ice cover.
    http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/1717041/icesat_survey_reveals_dramatic_arctic_sea_ice_thinning/index.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2010 @ 2:02 AM

  400. Lichanos in #298: BPL’s summary of the case for AGW in #241 makes it “a plausible hypothesis, but it’s support is weak, and I believe comes principally from GCM runs. Model runs, in turn, assume some of the points above are proven, and that the model properly treats the necessary system dynamics – a big assumption.”

    Wrong. Jim Hansen notes that the case for AGW is based first on paleoclimate, second on observations, and only thirdly on the models. The first two are more than enough to know we’re headed for big trouble soon. The models tell us about the timing and other important details.

    Attacking the models as if they are the key is a fun hobby but doesn’t have much to do with the science.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 31 May 2010 @ 3:15 AM

  401. If Lichanos’s response to my argument was posted here, I ought to post my reply. From my email to him:

    “Point 5. The trend toward greater warming for the past 160 years is statistically significant at well beyond the 99.99% confidence level. That it may have warmed more in the past is completely irrelevant. Our economy and agriculture are exquisitely adapted to the unusually stable temperatures the globe has experienced for the last 10,000 years.

    The bit about the submarines doesn’t hold up. The famous photo of U.S.S. Skate at the North Pole wasn’t actually taken at the North Pole. Here’s detailed information:

    http://www.members.iinet.net.au/~johnroberthunter/www-swg/

    Point 8. Ln CO2 accounts for 76% of the variance of dT 1880-2008 (NASA GISS), and you get the same figure 1850-2008 with Hadley CRU dT. Want the numbers?

    Disputing the instrumental record is a failed tactic. That the Earth is warming is confirmed by land temperature stations records, sea surface temperature readings (there are no urban heat islands on the ocean), satellite temperature readings (both RSS and UAH), borehole temperature reconstructions, melting glaciers and ice caps, tree lines moving toward the poles and up mountains, increasing drought in continental interiors (as predicted, BTW, by the GCMs), earlier blooming dates for flowers and flowering trees (e,g, the day the cherry blossoms bloom in Kyoto, which the monks have kept track of since 832 AD), earlier hatching dates for eggs of insects, frogs, fish, and birds, etc., etc., etc. It’s beyond intelligent dispute.

    Point 9. It’s confirmed not just by GCM runs, but by observations over the last century and a half (see above). There’s no reason the Clausius-Clapeyron relation should suddenly stop working.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 May 2010 @ 4:57 AM

  402. And finally, be careful about putting Ph.D’s on to high a pedestal. I’ve seen them make some pretty dumb mistakes, for which they were shown the door.,/i> – J Bob

    *sniff, sniff*

    Do I detect a whiff of sublimated envy and insecurity?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 31 May 2010 @ 6:17 AM

  403. Good post.

    I think what confuses some folks (skeptics) is, since we don’t know everything (and since some would read this as saying we can’t know wnything about AGW theory with certainty), we shouldn’t be doing anything. This helps clarify ‘why’ we don’t / can’t know everything with certainty.

    But, to be effective in the public policy sphere, I do think the layperson’s narrative also has to include the fact that we do know somethings with certainty or relative certainty. This would include what the post refers to as ‘laboratory’ observation. For example, we KNOW with certainty that GHGs trap the longer waves of radiant energy. This physical property of GHGs can be and has been proven repeatedly in a laboratory. We KNOW to an acceptable degree of certainty that the avg land-ocean global temp is increasing. These are observations that do not depend on a causative analysis. Ditto as to our knowledge of certain paleoclimatic events. And I think the one that needs to be repeated is that we KNOW certain factors are NOT the cause of observed warming. Solar irradiance levels plus stratospheric temp observations allow us to rule out the sun as the ’cause’ of recent warming. Ditto, Milnkovich cycles, el Nino events, NAO cycles and volcanic activity. It looks like soon we’ll be able to place PDO cycles in that category of ruled-out causes as well. “Proving” the positive (that humans ARE causing GW) in this instance is a lot less certain than disproving the negative (that some natural phenomenon is NOT the causative forcing). Clouds seem to be the only potential natural forcing cause we cannot rule out with certainty at this time.

    I just think the narrative debate needs to be tinkered. We can admit what we don’t know with certainty (and indeed this will ultimately enhance the scientific community’s credibility), but we need to accompany that by pounding on those things that we do know.

    Comment by Buzz Belleville — 31 May 2010 @ 6:36 AM

  404. Hank, you’re talking to a self confessed troll. He loves seeing his name and claims repeated, and having people ask him to go on saying his stuff. You’re hooked, sir. Spit out the hook.

    Comment by Completely Fed — 31 May 2010 @ 7:23 AM

  405. Hank, you’re talking to a self confessed troll. trolls love seeing their name and claims repeated, and having people ask them to go on saying their stuff. You’re hooked, sir. Spit out the hook.

    Comment by Completely Fed — 31 May 2010 @ 7:23 AM

  406. “This is a little different then what I said about the math models reflecting REALITY.”

    But a physical model in a wind tunnel is not a model that reflects REALITY where the physical product is life size instead of scale and it’s in the real outside world, not limited to a wind tunnel.

    Comment by Completely Fed — 31 May 2010 @ 7:54 AM

  407. “Frankly, the test on the model system shouldn’t match computations very well any more because the physical models can’t get enough digits right.”

    This is an a priori argument:

    1) The computations are wrong,
    2) therefore they shouldn’t match the model
    3) This proves the computations are wrong

    without actually going anywhere toward showing that the computations can’t get enough digits right.

    Comment by Completely Fed — 31 May 2010 @ 7:56 AM

  408. “THIS. Please, moderators, can you move all the BP talk and other stuff not related to the Gavin’s original article, elsewhere?”

    Including, also, THIS.

    After all, not related to Gavin’s original article.

    Of course, you then get into the infinite regression problem and the eternal catch-22.

    Comment by Completely Fed — 31 May 2010 @ 7:58 AM

  409. Bayesian analysis or thinking would require the possibility that the application of data would lead to a posterior different from one’s prior– conditional on the model of course. There is little evidence of that here at RC. Dirac is more appropriate than Bayes. Gavin do you actually believe the “confidence” that AGW is real is about 90% or is more like 99.999999999%?

    Comment by neil pelkey — 31 May 2010 @ 8:36 AM

  410. Steve Bloom,
    I think it bears repeating that the models are even more essential in constraining the upper end of estimates of CO2 sensitivity. Throw out the models, and we can still rule out sensitivities below 1.5 degrees per doubling, but we cannot rule out values of 5.5 or even 6 degrees. And then, we’re really in the soup.

    That denialists always attack the models is the surest sign that they don’t understand the science or the risk calculus. The models are the best tools we have for bounding uncertainty.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 May 2010 @ 8:55 AM

  411. The self-proclaimed garden variety troll Lichanos sinks to reciting some of the usual septic canards:
    Much of northern ice cap ice free in 18th century (historical literature)

    The Arctic basin is a pretty large place. Although active exploration of the coastal waters north of Eurasia and North America began in the 16th century, most of the Arctic basin was in fact not explored until the 20th century, as is amply documented in that same historic literature. The Wiki capsule histories of the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage cover the highlights pretty well.

    The first successful multi-season transit of the Northern Sea Route was not until 1878-79, first single season transit not until 1932.
    First multi-season transit of the Northwest Passage was not until 1903-1906, first single season transit not until 1944.

    Note that both routes hug the coastlines of Eurasia and North America, respectively, circumventing most of the Arctic basin proper. There is nothing in the literature to document the assertion that “much of the northern ice cap ice free in 18th century” because no one had been there to document it.

    Troll Lichanos then continues another chestnut: north pole ice free in and early 1960s (see Navy photos of nuclear submarines at th pole)

    No one has yet pointed to a single documented instance of a submarine surfacing at an ice-free pole. Not one.
    Lots of pictures have been pointed to. Some of these show subs in open leads or polynyas surrounded by pack ice. These hardly fit the claim of an “ice free pole.” No photo of a sub shown in truly open water has been documented as being taken at the pole. Not one.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 31 May 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  412. On the original thread: its easier to focus on ‘attribution’ if we can define ‘change’ somewhat better. When do you consider the ‘change’ happened or became apparent ?

    Comment by Bill — 31 May 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  413. Hi Neil,
    I’ve looked at several ways of estimating confidence–some qualitative and some quantitative. I consistently get between 90 and 95% confidence that anthropogenic CO2 is the main culprit in the current warming epoch.

    I’m not quite sure how to quantify the confidence we gain by simultaneously warming troposphere and cooling stratosphere. That ought to be diagnostic for a greenhouse mechanism, but of course 100% confidence is never possible.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 May 2010 @ 11:14 AM

  414. Spit out the hook.

    You’re right, CFU, I’m done with the digit that roared.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 31 May 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  415. Yes, the Arctic is melting – that’s been known ever since the nuclear submarine data was released in the 1990s. See publications like Rothrock et. al (1999) “Thinning of the Arctic sea ice cover.”

    “Comparison of sea-ice draft data acquired on submarine cruises between 1993 and 1997 with similar data acquired between 1958 and 1976 indicates that the mean ice draft at the end of the melt season has decreased by about 1.3 m in most of the deep water portion of the Arctic Ocean, from 3.1 m in 1958–1976 to 1.8 m in the 1990s.”

    Since 1999 further submarine data has been released, and IceSat measurements of the ice cap have also been incorporated:

    Kwok & Rothrock (2009)”Decline in Arctic sea ice thickness from submarine and ICESat records: 1958–2008″
    http://rkwok.jpl.nasa.gov/publications/Kwok.2009.GRL.pdf

    “…the overall mean winter thickness of 3.64 m in 1980 can be compared to a 1.89 m mean during the last winter of the ICESat record – an astonishing decrease of 1.75 m in thickness.”

    That’s the long-term trend of decreasing ice thickness, well in line with climate model predictions – the collapse in ice extent in 2006 was however not predicted by climate models, but since a major factor was a shift in the wind field (which piled up the thin ice) – an unpredictable fluctuation, most likely – that doesn’t invalidate the climate models, any more than a volcanic eruption would.

    It’s odd that the fossil fuel lobby is claiming that ‘sea ice has returned to normal’ – by ‘normal’ they must mean the gradual thinning and shrinking of the ice cap under global warming, rather than the unusual steep drop in ice area in 2006.

    P.S. @Ed – since nuclear is safe, you must be a supporter of the removal of nuclear accident liability caps for utilities and investors – what is that called? The Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act? It’s similar in structure to the offshore oil spill liability cap – and was renewed in 2005 for a 20-year period. Interesting enough, no solar, wind or biofuel producer has ever asked for an accident liability cap for their industry.

    By the way, there should be an effort to get solar technology reclassified as nuclear technology in order to qualify solar plants for the $50 billion in nuclear guarantees that Congress and the White House are trying to push through (quietly, as a rider on the climate bill). Nuclear interests, after all, are trying to classify nuclear fission of uranium as a “renewable technology,” so why not?

    Technically, the notion is sound. Fusion of light elements in the Sun’s core is the ultimate source of the radiation bath that Earth orbits through, after all. Those photons are the product of nuclear reactions, so it’s just nuclear energy traveling through space – and if you use photovoltaic systems to capture that energy, then you’re running a nuclear-powered energy system, are you not?

    Think of how many gigawatt scale solar arrays you could build with $50 billion dollars – and it doesn’t take ten years to build one, as it does with a nuclear power plant:

    In far less time than it will take BP to drill the relief wells needed to permanently stop the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a community college has installed the largest concentrating solar array in the U.S. It took only two months of construction to install the six-acre array, which will generate about 2.6 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable, spill-free energy annually. The new solar array will supply about 30% of the electricity for Victor Valley College, which is part of the California community college system, and it will double as a learning center for new green jobs training programs.

    Imagine if all that government nuclear money was available for solar energy R&D as well? Write your politicians today and ask them to reclassify solar energy as nuclear energy!

    Comment by Ike Solem — 31 May 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  416. > shadow threads

    Technically possible and occasionally being done already (cf. Unforced Variations 3. Probably takes some time and effort on the moderators’ part.

    IMHO, doing this all the time would not be a solution, but a recipe for even more off-topic discussion. There would be more threads for the moderators to monitor, on topics they didn’t start and may not care or know about, and that would blur the focus of the site.

    One exception: It might perhaps be helpful to consign rebunkers a la Lichanos to a special “Whack-A-Mole” thread, where we can play that game without diluting threads on new research?

    Otherwise, the best technical upgrade for the moderators would be a big, pulsating “Kill” button. For the rest of us, self-restraint, and respect for our virtual commons.

    (Yep, I know I’m a fine one to talk. Do as I say, not as I do…)

    Comment by CM — 31 May 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  417. > Bill says: 31 May 2010 at 10:09 AM
    > … its easier to focus on ‘attribution’ if we can define ‘change’

    Use the standard definition from statistics. This is a good explanation at high school level: http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  418. ccpo (386), I assume you meant “they” instead of “you” in your comment, “This is what you are saying, dreck style:” since I personally have never said any that follows.

    The difficulty with the argument that skeptics are welcome but not denialists is that 99% of the time any skeptic asking questions or making contrary claims is defined as a denialist. So your distinction is moot.

    I should not have include 100% of RC in my question. With all of the banned skeptics and denialists gone some (I would say a small minority of the comments, though a large majority of the moderators’ lead posts) of RC would be scientific education as Ray asserts.

    Comment by Rod B — 31 May 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  419. re ~417, Hanks comment. Ive been there, read that. I’m not sure why the high school jibe.
    Maybe its my english but the question was about ‘change from when?’Is it 1840 , 1970 or something else?

    Comment by Bill — 31 May 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  420. Attribution vs. misattribution explained:
    http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/
    hat tip to:
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/monckton_is_wrong.php#more

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  421. Gavin wrote “How do we know what caused climate to change” in his article. When did it occur ? Simple question. Elsewhere one of you on RC talks about over the last 160 years, and another over the last 30 years….. ??

    Comment by Bill — 31 May 2010 @ 2:00 PM

  422. Amplifying 403 Buzz Belleville: Lawyers think that they can always trash anything a scientist or engineer says because we use confidence levels rather than being certain. The opposite is the truth. Certainty is the red flag of a charlatan. But just try explaining that to the average person or lawyer. The answer is unfortunately long term: everybody should have a degree in a hard science.

    415 Ike Solem: The The Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act doesn’t say what you think it says. And the rest of what you say is nonsense as well, but I am not going to take the bait today. Just go read “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 It is a truthful book about nuclear power. This book is very easy to read and understand. Even an innumerate humanitologist could understand it. Gwyneth Cravens is a former anti-nuclear activist.
    415 Ike Solem: I am quite sure you are not asking sincere questions.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 31 May 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  423. Hat tip to Greg Laden for a pointer to this attribution gem
    http://watchingtheworldwakeup.blogspot.com/2010/05/city-creek-part-3-rocks-global-warming.html

    —excerpt—
    Some “climate change skeptics” point to these ancient happenings as evidence that the Earth’s climate has always been variable, will continue to be so, and will do so regardless of the influence of mankind. But that’s obviously the wrong takeaway. The right takeaway is that relatively small changes in atmospheric chemistry appear to be capable of creating positive feedback loops which lead to dramatic and catastrophic climate changes in remarkably short periods of times ….

    Nested Tangent: I wonder, way back when people were starting to live in permanent settlements, and had to figure out basic sanitation engineering, were there Sanitation Skeptics? Imagine…

    CAVEMAN-SANITATION-SKEPTIC (CSS): There’s no evidence that pooping in the well is causing any harm.

    PE: Yes, but there’s more poop in our drinking water than ever before. And some people are starting to get sick. Maybe we should try pooping somewhere else while we figure out if more poop in the well is going to cause problems.

    CSS: Show me the evidence! People have always occasionally gotten sick from drinking water. There’s no evidence that drinking-water illnesses are poop- I mean human- caused.

    PE: Yes, but we know that ingesting poop makes people sick, and we know there’s more poop in our water than ever before. How about we just be a little conservative and try pooping a little less in the well.

    CSS: But think of the economic impact! Effort spent digging latrines and walking farther to poop will impede our critical economic development of cutting down forests and slaughtering Pleistocene megafauna!…

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  424. > Bill …. change from when?

    Ok, you’ve read Grumbine. No offense intended, couldn’t tell from how you asked the question how much statistics you’d done. As you’ve worked through his exercises, you know as much as I do. I’m not clear what you’re asking, it seems so obvious, let me try to get a better idea.

    The main post says “We can generalise this: what is a required is a model of some sort that makes predictions for what should and should not have happened depending on some specific cause ….”
    If it’s fossil fuel use, look at the time span involved. Aerosols? We know the various kinds and how they’ve changed over time. The “from when” is chosen “depending on some specific cause ….” And the time spans are determined by looking at the record as Grumbine explains.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2010 @ 2:16 PM

  425. J. Bob #388: “#363, Andrew says “No, the models do not have to accurately reflect physics.”. This is a little different then what I said about the math models reflecting REALITY.”

    I forgot to knock out the reality claim too. Most climate models are used for CONDITIONAL prediction:

    “Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,” said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?””

    For climate, it’s “may be, only” for most of the interesting computations. You compute the response to many forcing scenarios, only one of which might actually occur in reality. The rest of the computations are essentially fictional.

    Even the agreement between the one path that does occur, and reality, for the most useful plant model used to make decisions, need not be simple, and it need not support the obvious interpretations – it need not even be close. A huge part of this effect is that climate information tends to be confounded with other information on small time and space scales, but physics and physicality are not similarly concentrated with climate information time and space scales. Another big part is that the general “climate response” is what if you hit the climate with whatever forcing and watch it respond. You would have to hit the climate with things like “white noise” to require use of the full climate response as your plant model. In reality, the climate forcing is very far from arbitrary – the cost of control precludes this; so the control input lives in a much lower dimensional function space than would “fully excite” the climate. In a linear climate response, this makes things obvious – you would only care about the projection of the response onto that space of control inputs. Climate has a lot of nonlinear effects so it’s more complicated than the linear case, but qualitatively, the fact that the climate forcing isn’t arbitrary means that you don’t expect to fully identify the climate response.

    From a decision theory point of view, the parts of the climate response which are shielded from identification by costs and constraints on forcing are fair game for improving controller performance by various information theoretic hooks and crooks. You can and should shred that part of physics (and reality) in the cause of getting a better control policy.

    In some sense this is like when you change your driving on a blind curve in a night storm. Part of the change is because you know there are various risks associated with blind curves, night, and storms. Part of the change is because you do not know exactly which of those dangers are real in your situation. This second part is a reasonable reaction even if some of the risk combinations you might imagine cannot actually be real – yes you could have a huge tree trunk down on the other side of the curve fully obstructing traffic, or you might have an out of control car coming from the other side of the curve, but you can’t have both. Yet you can drive well even if you don’t bother to reduce the relative weight of those two dangers due to their exclusion of each other – policy based on unreal models do not have to be bad. In this case you can see why – similar optimal control responses to situations which are quite different means that the optimal policy does not need to distinguish the situations from each other, nor even from unreality. When you do the same things to avoid threats you cannot observe, you don’t have to care about which scenarios you avoid, even some which are unreal.

    I sort of covered this in the previous post where I pointed out the well understood benefits of “editing the physics” to remove artifacts and improve statistical performance. I could have, and probably should have, elaborated that the desirable deviations from physics could very well entail deviations from reality.

    If you want to make this feel less exotic, what is going on is that what you DO is highly influenced by how far apart things are in control space (the ‘cost of control’) and the limits of your partial knowledge as to where you are in control space (‘cost of information in control space’). Information about what you KNOW about physics and reality lives in a different metric (‘cost of observation’) and that’s a lot different. I suppose you can look at this as a microcosm of the fairly traditional separation between engineering (DO) and science (KNOW), but here I mean it in a precise technical sense. Only when the cost of observation is relatively proportional to the cost of control would you expect the information set your decision depends on to be relatively complete in your overall information set.

    By the way, the idea that physical models are useful as standards of reality is wrong, too. That idea is only tenable when a high degree of dynamic similitude is achieved (usually never in nontrivial modeling problems). Otherwise, physical models, analog computations, etc., all appeal to the same excuses for utility as digital computations. The reason digital computations usually win is that they are faster, cheaper, and more flexible.

    Comment by Andrew — 31 May 2010 @ 2:40 PM

  426. “Much of northern ice cap ice free in 18th century (historical literature)”

    I suspect we are going to see a lot of this argument if 2010 sets new record for low ice extent. However a much more telling question would surely be
    “When was the last time that there was evidence of open-sea plankton present at the north pole?”. I know there has been sediment coring near pole but couldnt find this answer. Anyone got some pointers?

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 31 May 2010 @ 4:55 PM

  427. #395 dhogaza, your comments about physical models, ship tanks & wind tunnels indicate you might want to take a course in Experimental engineering. Here are some dimensionless parameters you might want to read up on before you make to many comments:
    Ship hull design:Weber & Froude #’s
    Aero Design-Mach & Reynolds #’s
    Thermal uplift convection- Grashof
    Radiation Energy transfer-Shape or Form factors, albedo

    Comment by J. Bob — 31 May 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  428. This may be a bit off topic. But I’m wondering if to get a message across to the average people that scientists might want to use language common to more laypersons. For example, a doctor in a court of law is ask if his/her opinion within a reasonable degree of medical certainty. Instead of letting denialists distract the layperson with the use of uncertainty, which even in medicine there is uncertainty, get the message across that what is being observed and the science is within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. Just an observation, I do think that many more people should be educated in the sciences to understand the context of what the scientists are really saying when they speak of the uncertainties. Not just for this issue, but the sciences are in my opinion very important for the future and progress of the human race.

    Comment by JRC — 31 May 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  429. Re Lucien (and Ray). The paper is here. It was published in 2009.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 31 May 2010 @ 5:15 PM

  430. “Given these fingerprints for multiple hypothesised drivers (solar, aerosols, land-use/land cover change, greenhouse gases etc.)”

    *where is the internal variability? Is it ruled out as a driver?

    Rule it out for me.

    Comment by Toppy — 31 May 2010 @ 7:11 PM

  431. I wonder, way back when people were starting to live in permanent settlements, and had to figure out basic sanitation engineering, were there Sanitation Skeptics? Imagine…

    Envison…

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 31 May 2010 @ 8:02 PM

  432. Rod B says:
    31 May 2010 at 12:27 PM

    The difficulty with the argument that skeptics are welcome but not denialists is that 99% of the time any skeptic asking questions or making contrary claims is defined as a denialist. So your distinction is moot.

    Oh, please. 1. You’re engaging in hyperbole. You’ve never run the numbers. 2. People here, in particular, are quite patient with questions, even from trolls, as is exemplified in the treatment of Luchanos. 3. You are leaving out the obvious point that there is no legitimate contrarian claim. 3b. I know of no peer-reviewed, published paper that calls into question the essentials of what we call AGW, so these contrary claims are bull poo-poo, and should not be entertained.

    Anyone with a serious counter-claim is welcome to publish it and post here. Rhetorical question: why don’t they?

    All that is a long way of saying, there are no true skeptics in the denialist camp, by definition. After all, a skeptic has no reason to deny since any legitimate question is, again by definition, not denial, but legitimate questioning.

    Put another way, a true skeptic would not arrive here, or anywhere else, spouting any of the denialist talking points because they would have done the research already, come to understand the science as it stands, and would raise only legitimate questions.

    That’s how you tell a skepic from a denier, and it’s why denialists get jumped on so quickly; they’re very obvious.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 31 May 2010 @ 8:04 PM

  433. http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/multiple-regression/

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 31 May 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  434. Dear Ray L., Other than the necessary offhand reference to the quantum spin at RC, Dirac is relevant because a large series of pdf’s will converge to a Dirac “distribution” if thin tailed enough. That is, it is pretty much irrelevant if the confidence levels are 90% or 60% or what have you, if you have enough streams of evidence in the same direction you converge to a point distribution. Perhaps physicists do this in their heads without formalizing it–hence my comment on Gavin’s belief system. Normal people see a series of 60% likelihoods and think the outcome is less likely not more likely. You could also take the RA fisher approach of combining probabilities, 20 streams with 80% confidence make one 99.99999 percent sure of the direction. But again, normal people use additive heuristics not multiplicative or power functions to assess relative probabilities. The real issue for many of us skeptics out here is how to parametrize the Ladbury “soup” distribution, and, as you have pointed out, that is a wickedly difficult task.

    Comment by neil pelkey — 31 May 2010 @ 9:14 PM

  435. #392, et al. Andrew- I take it you like digital simulation, as do I. I’ve been using analog, digital and hybrid computers, since the late 50’s. My last major simulation was on a CRAY (late 90’s), simulating thermal control of a medical diagnostic system. To get steady state results, on a state of the art CF system, it took about 3-4 hours run. This was compared to a instrumented physical model and differences noted. The computer model provided a guide in placement of the modules, baffles etc. for very tight temperature tolerances.

    However I don’t what to make a long dissertation, as I think Gavin is getting bored with this discussion. I don’t know about your world, but in mine, lives could have been at stake. My point again is that one uses ANY tool available to solve a problem, efficiently and thoroughly as time and money constraints allow. And if there are concerns on shortcomings or problem areas, that also must be brought out.

    As with any model, not all conditions are evaluated, ONLY the ones envisioned by the user, including abnormal and failure situations. Since you mentioned robust adaptive control, consider the case of the #3 X-15 using the Honeywell Adaptive controller. During normal flight, the system worked well. Neil Armstrong commented that it took so much of the workload off him, he could enjoy the view. This was a analog system blending aero & reaction controls to provide almost a consistent A/C response over the flight envelope. On the last flight, an electrical failure caused the plane to yaw, coming down at almost a of 90 deg. sideslip. This caused a Mach 4 spin, “confusing” the auto pilot, dropping the loop gain, or reducing the effects of the control actuators. So when the pilot partially recovered control, the plane went into a oscillation and ultimately a crash.

    That sequence of events was never though of. So we might not have thought of all the possibilities as far as climate modeling. As to when we will know, Gen. Kutuzov’s reputed comment, after the battle of Moscow, “Time & patience, patience & time”, might be in order

    Another point I would like to make is, have you ever wondered how the Redstone, X-15, SR-79, Atlas, Titan and Saturn were designed virtually WITHOUT digital computers? Most of the calculations were done on John Napier’s bones (slide rules) or for high accuracy, Friedan calculators. In fact our Celestial Mechanics prof. J. Danby would not let us use a computer (it was down most of the time anyway). Later when we worked together, on orbital rendezvous, I asked him as to why no computers. He replied he wanted us to get the “feel” of the system, which it did, after many weekends of manual calculations. It did instill a understanding of how a system worked, that many times looking at a list of numbers does not.

    Some minor observations:
    Speaking of computational orals, do you wonder if Teddy von Karman would have passed them?

    How much would have science advanced if more knowledge had been shared by the Observers in China, India and western Europe?

    How many control systems have you designed that have actually been used, or gone into production? You can take your pick of sub-orbital, manned (orbit or re-entry), Earth IR Scanner, Atmospheric IR simulator, thermal, refinery process, or stand alone internet sensor systems, for starters.

    Comment by J. Bob — 31 May 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  436. > a true skeptic would not arrive here, or anywhere else, spouting
    > any of the denialist talking points because they would have done
    > the research already

    And the remainder — people who haven’t done the research already and arrive with a lot of wrong ideas — get sorted out over time.

    Some are kids. Some are emeritus. Some are recognized by people who know them as worth the time to get past the hot button words they come in using — this is really important.

    “You’d worry a lot less what people think of you if you knew how rarely they did.” That’s true for climate bloggers like anyone else. Lots of people never heard of any of this stuff, or heard a few sentences.

    Education — doesn’t happen everywhere overnight. Go out on the street and try asking a random dozen people what they know about climate change.

    Heh.

    So if someone makes it here we should treasure them til they prove they’re just here to waste time, not let our most impatient members run them off. YMMV. But as long as Gavin lets’em in, I figure they’re guests here just like the regulars are and we all owe it to our host.

    Some just heard something (or a lot of stuff) somewhere including some mention of RC as a place to go (and to learn? or to troll? or just being curious?).

    So we try to talk to them, to save the real scientists the trouble and time of dealing yet once another time again with the same stuff.

    We try to do it calmly and using cites so people can learn to look things up for themselves.

    And not to let the big red button get pushed, nor push it:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BerserkButton

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  437. Phil Scadden, Just in case the Vermeer masterpiece was a little outside your comfort zone, this piece by Matt Powell is excellent.
    The Latitudinal Diversity Gradient of Brachiopods over the Past 530 Million Years Matthew G. Powell
    The Journal of Geology 2009 117:6, 585-594

    http://faculty.juniata.edu/powell/

    As my six-year-old says, Dr. Powell knows more about the planet than anybody.

    Comment by neil pelkey — 31 May 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  438. Record heat wave URL is posted by a climateprogres commenter:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/30/india-heatwave-deaths

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 31 May 2010 @ 10:42 PM

  439. ccpo (430), your spin seems to have made you a bit dizzy. To my assertion that skeptics get defined as denialists thereby eliminating any distinction, you accuse my of hyperbole explaining how accepting you are of contrarian views — followed immediately with, and I quote, “…the obvious point that there is no legitimate contrarian claim…” You cite the treatment of Lichanos as a good example of your tolerance. There was a fair amount of discourse with Lichanos though it soon became nasty, and eventually there were calls to ostracize him, then ban him — even by you (167: “…don’t publish…”).

    You tried to refute my assertion by essentially repeating and confirming it!

    Comment by Rod B — 31 May 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  440. neil pelkey – I cannot see the relevance of your references either to Vermeer or a 530 my brachiopod record. The question I was looking for was when was the last time we had an ice-free pole in summer. When this happened, you would expect open-ocean plankton to be present in sediment core from pole. I have seen studies of this covering this for whole of Quaternary or earlier, but not much detail on Holocene. There has also been excellent stuff done on biomarkers for ice extent on the arctic margin. What about the pole? As ice extent shrinks, it is what people will ask and we are already seeing nonsense about 18th century historical records.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 31 May 2010 @ 11:53 PM

  441. #435: Self-directed ad hominem, positive in nature, genuinely entertaining, virtually devoid of relevance to the topic here.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 1 Jun 2010 @ 2:04 AM

  442. Hank, don’t you find it pretty obvious which are confused/yet ignorant and which are trolling/denialists? I think most of us do. The former ask questions and respond to shared info with a light bulb moment. The latter just keep banging away at the talking points. Easy to tell the difference. Also, exceedingly few fit into the former group.

    Try not to forget that denialism is largely an ideological, not logical, stance (Oreskes, e.g.), which means the person is largely unteachable.

    Comment by ccpo — 1 Jun 2010 @ 3:24 AM

  443. “And the remainder — people who haven’t done the research already and arrive with a lot of wrong ideas — get sorted out over time. ”

    And they can go to the Start Here button, if their first port of call is Realclimate.

    “Physician, heal thyself”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Jun 2010 @ 4:42 AM

  444. “As with any model, not all conditions are evaluated, ONLY the ones envisioned by the user, including abnormal and failure situations.”

    Incorrect. But irrelevant anyway. Even scale models are only put through tests that are envisioned by the user. In fact, even actual full scale prototypes are only put through tests that are envisioned by the user.

    But the fact that you can run a simulation means that you can enact a genetic model of your product and let it enact whatever it thinks.

    Again, Langton’s Ant.

    Funny how that really basic computer modelling example is missed by you, who profess such solid knowledge of the sphere.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Jun 2010 @ 4:45 AM

  445. “*where is the internal variability? Is it ruled out as a driver?”

    Internal variability cannot drive anything unless you’re in a conditionally stable system. There’s no energy source to drive.

    After all, molecules are variably moving, yet this doesn’t result in a cinder block moving across the floor.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Jun 2010 @ 4:48 AM

  446. JRC, 428, that’s been done by, among others, Al Gore in AIT.

    It has been perpetually pounced on as “alarmist” because it doesn’t talk about the uncertainties.

    Your proposition would work on the layman except we have liars, thieves and charlatans who are willing to manipulate the layman to ensure their comfort.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Jun 2010 @ 4:50 AM

  447. “#395 dhogaza, your comments about physical models, ship tanks & wind tunnels indicate you might want to take a course in Experimental engineering.”

    This seems to be a common thread of J Billy Beau J Bob’s arguments: when he hasn’t got anything to say, he accuses those who disagree of not knowing even the basics, thereby trying to ad-hom the argument by saying “you don’t know anything on this” rather than explain why he’s right.

    And, oddly enough, many of the concern trolls on RC (on both sides of the line) fail to bring him up on it.

    It’s all “How DARE you say that someone has to have a PhD before they can come on here!!!” yet when J Billy Beau Jim J Bob Junior uses the same argument, silence.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Jun 2010 @ 4:53 AM

  448. Neil Pelkey,
    Yes, I understand that enough distributions multiplied together will be very sharply peaked. The question is whether–and how–we can multiply them together. Not all the evidence is independent, and we do not know all the conditional probabilities. Even so, if you look at the climate models that have been realized so far–none of which works with a low CO2 sensitivity–or if you look at the different lines of evidence for CO2 sensitivity–all of which favor a sensitivity around 3 degrees per doubling–or if you just look at the characteristics of the warming and stratospheric cooling, it’s pretty hard to come up with anything less than 95% confidence.

    I would note that this is an issue not just for climate science. Scientific evidence is easiest to interpret comparatively–i.e. when you have more than one theory. However, once the alternative theories fall by the wayside, it is difficult to estimate the strength of support for the theory derived from ALL the evidence. And as we know, if your prior is nonzero everywhere except at +/- infinity, your posterior will also be nonzero unless your evidence is a Dirac distribution.

    Off topic: I’m reading a biography of Driac, right now, as it happens. It’s pretty good. He was an odd duck. What can you say about a man who won a Nobel Prize in physics before he discovered girls?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Jun 2010 @ 5:11 AM

  449. Eric: Done a little recearch on effects of glacial rebound and volcanic activity and found this site..http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=5966&method=full
    In a nutshell..in a large glacier the ice could have been 1km thick..and that’s slightly less than 1000tonnes/sqm holding the underlying rock in place..as you can visulaise that sort of pressure would do a pretty damn good job at that. When the glacier starts rebounding in eanest only a fraction of that weight remains on the underlying crust..allowing the once-eons back tectonically active region to be active once again. Another point that I didn’t pursue then was the fact that rising sea levels cause added weight and compression to the ocean floor once again destabilising the entire geological framework of the crust. I think I can visualise that this could probably proove more than “just the straw that broke the camels back”. That the ramifications of glacial rebound and rising sea levels could well cause cause greatly increased levels of tectoniic activity and or tsunamis in many parts of the globe.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 1 Jun 2010 @ 7:27 AM

  450. Dr. Schmidt, thank you for ontoher fine post. I tried to post the below comment on Lubos Motl´s blog pointing to the very simple fact that unprecedentedness is just no argument, but something in it must have stepped badly on his toes since he deleted it, blocked me immediately and called me a “liar”, “ideologically blinded idiot”, a “stalker of Svensmark” and, worst of all, being “insulting”. I am quite flattered to have provoked a response from Motl that appears to be over the top, even by his standard, and which made him complain about harsh language and forget his own complaints about Realclimate “censorship”. I hope it is okay that I post it here; hopefully, someone may get a chuckle out of it:

    Comment by Christoffer Bugge Harder — 1 Jun 2010 @ 7:43 AM

  451. Most honoured Mr. Motl,

    your claim:

    ….. if there were a threat, we would have to be doing something that is unusual

    .

    is simply a bizarre non sequitur. The conditions on Earth have been unsuitable for human life for hundreds of millions of years of the planet´s existence (and for perfectly natural reasons), as you well know. So why on Earth (sorry) should anything need to be “unusual” in Earth´s history to be able to be a threat? And your sudden distinction between “distant pasts” and recent pasts” makes even less sense considering the fact that you similarly claim that the climate sensitivity is likely a constant, and that most scientists would agree with you on that (they would not, but that is another discussion).

    Actually, Gavin Schmidt has a standard response to this claim “Your argument is like claiming that a fire caused by lightning proves that arson can never happen” which is all that needs to be said to you. Frankly, I doubt that you even believe this one yourself.

    The hockey stick was an argument that the temperatures and their rise in the 20th century were unprecedented – in the last millennium or so – but this argument was wrong

    .

    As you know, too, this is not true. I will not bother you or your readers with linking to e.g. Wahl & Ammann, Moberg et al., von Storch et al., Rutherford et al. or the most recent Mann in PNAS or others. The sad fact is that nobody have ever succeeded in finding a statistically validated medieval warm period which were likely warmer or just comparable to present time (and please do not drag out Loehle or McIntyre – you know well that none of these were significantly validated). I agree that there is a faint possibility that MWP might just be found to be equally warm with more proxies included, but certainly the balance of evidence patently indicates that this is not the case. On the other hand, there is evidence (though the uncertainty on a global scale is much greater going back several millenia) that it was indeed warmer than now 6-8.000 years ago, at least outside the tropics. Which leads to the next phrase:

    I also disagree that “everyone” agrees that temperatures were warmer 6-8 thousand years ago. You will probably find hired climatologists who will claim that the current era is warmer than before. But what’s more important is that they have said many things that deliberately led a majority of the AGW-believing public to think that the current era is warmer than what Earth experienced 6-8 thousand years ago

    .

    I regret to admit that I have failed ever to find any of your mentioned “hired climatologists” having claimed boldly that present times are clearly warmer than the Eemian, so if you can point me to any sources where e.g. the Realclimate team or the IPCC have done that, I will be very interested. Maybe they should write something about that in the IPCC report? Oh wait, they have a section with the heading:

    6.5.1.3 Was Any Part of the Current Interglacial Period Warmer than the Late 20th Century?

    in the AR4. Surely, your hired guns must be all over the place hiding declines – let us check this out:

    Extratropical centennial-resolution records therefore provide evidence for local multi-centennial periods warmer than the last decades by up to several degrees in the early to mid-Holocene.

    The warmest period in northern Europe and north-western North America occurs from 7 to 5 ka (Davis et al., 2003; Kaufman et al., 2004).

    WTF? Those hired guns freely admit that it may have been warmer by several degrees than now outside the tropics 5-7.000 years ago? They must have reedited the text after “Climategate”. Or after Schmidt´s essay. Or your reply here. Or something. Surely, barring the unlikely possibility that Mr. Motls claims are just flatly wrong, something must be very wrong and fishy somewhere.

    But again, whatever the facts here, unprecedentedness is just no argument, and there is absolutely nothing “sudden” about Realclimate´s arguments about unprecedentedness in Schmidt´s new essay. If you look at this 5 year old post “What if. the hockey stick were wrong”, you can find pretty much all your shopworn past (and likely present) arguments along the unprecedentedness being addressed.

    Other people may have a much better idea about the climate than yourself. It is a fundamentally chaotic system and the degree and precision of explanation you are asking is probably not possible. If you were doing science, you would at least consider this possibility

    .

    I am absolutely positive that many others have a much better idea about climate than I, a humble microbiologist; this is exactly why I rely on the scientific findings of climatologists rather than e.g. people pulling pseudoscientific factoids and wild accusations from whatever convenient opening (note that this is just a hypothetical example, one that I doubt you would ever encounter on any science blogs – especially not one full of sanctimonious claims about “true” science, logic, honesty, refuting dogmas and such).

    Actually, I initially thought that an intelligent and well-published physicist like yourself would also have a better idea than I, too, and I hope you believe me when I swear that I have been quite disappointed to gradually discover that all your arguments were deeply unoriginal repetitions of old howlers adressed by most simple textbooks on the subject, or by climate blog FAQs. I remain completely open to the possibility that numerical GCMs are fundamentally erroneous, but your classic about climate as a “fundamentally chaotic system” and therefore unpredictable is just not going to impress even me – at least, you could have bothered to trot out something a bit less cliché like e.g. “how GCMs perform poorly at estimating the attractor´s position in the phase space”.

    Comment by Christoffer Bugge Harder — 1 Jun 2010 @ 7:47 AM

  452. Phil, Both references, Vermeer’s View of the Delft and Powell’s brachiopod paper, are evidence that there is substantial latitudinal variation in marine biota. Looking for ‘non-evidence’ of ‘non-event’ misses the point. A search on Emeliana huxleyi and polar sediment core should get your started, but you are a serious scientist and you already know this. An open pole was 264k YBP or 14k YBP it would neither be evidence for or against AGW. If there is an open pole in the next five years, well then it might be. The evidence of “open ocean” plankton is polar sediment cores is only evidence that it settled there.

    Comment by neil pelkey — 1 Jun 2010 @ 8:16 AM

  453. I am sure that Svensmark has enjoyed much success on “The reference frame”; I was referring to its abject want of success in the realm of climate science, sorry if that was not clear. Being an “ideologically blinded idiot”, it sure looks to me that Svensmark is on the path of Pons&Fleischmann rather than Wegener, but as you know, this is mostly based on research carried out by the likes of Calogovic et al., Kritsjansson et al., Lockwood & Fröhlich, Harrisson et al., Damon & Laut and other equally small minds which have all failed to see that there was anything important to his theory.

    But I for one would like to see my countryman prevail, so it is really a pity that a truly unbiased and antiideological scientist like you will not try to help him out. And I must admit that I fail to see the logic of your last phrase about not doing what Svensmark does because you would not like to get attacked like him.

    In my opinion, doing some real scientific work and exposing yourself to loads of harsh, but real scientific criticism should, ceteris paribus, be more satisfying and enjoyable than simply running a more and more irrelevant blog with standard arguments and rantings so pitiful and boring that nobody in the climate blogosphere at present can even be bothered to attack them.

    But I prefer blogging about climate rather than doing climate science, too. I am also from a university in a smaller European country, my degree is outside of climatology and I have not done any research on climate either so it appears that we do have quite a few things in common after all. :)

    Comment by Christoffer Bugge Harder — 1 Jun 2010 @ 8:31 AM

  454. > The evidence of “open ocean” plankton is polar sediment
    > cores is only evidence that it settled there

    Can you cite that? Are you saying open ocean plankton can travel laterally under sea ice or ice shelves so evidence in sediment isn’t a marker for open ocean? The work out of ANDRILL and other observations using these markers is recent and extensive and claims they’re good. I’m an amateur reader, if I’ve missed something in the literature I’d appreciate a pointer.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 9:29 AM

  455. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=evidence+open+ocean+plankton+polar+sediment+cores+evidence+that+it+settled+there&btnG=Search&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=2005&as_vis=1

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 9:32 AM

  456. Actually there’s fascinating work being done. Just an example of what you can find by looking with Scholar. Access to sunlight is used by some kinds of plankton to control buoyancy. The old notion was that they were passive and relied on turbulence. Not entirely so.

    My amateur take is this strengthens the reliability of this proxy in paleo work as an indicator of open water and sunlight.

    It’d be great to be hearing more from the biologists about climate change both paleo and contemporary, as they get this kind of detail worked out.

    “… Diatoms shifted from a sinking pattern before the bloom, while their populations were not growing, to a neutrally buoyant pattern during bloom development, when calm conditions prevailed, light was abundant and phytoplankton were actively growing ….

    “… diatoms respond to environmental shifts with abrupt and rapid changes in their buoyancy properties, a fact that seems to pass unnoticed in modelling and theoretical studies. Indeed, turbulence brings nutrients and diatoms to the surface, where they become exposed to light, just like a plough turns up deeply buried nutrients and seeds to the surface of the earth. However, the existence of a buoyancy control mechanism implies that, once near the surface, diatoms will not require a minimum level of turbulence to remain in the euphotic layer, as implied in the theoretical analysis by Huisman & Sommeijer (2002). Instead, diatoms should float for as long as there are nutrients and light to sustain growth, as observed in microcosm experiments by Richardson & Cullen (1995). There is now sufficient evidence to con- firm Hutchinson’s (1967) early insight on the prevalence of strong selection pressures against sinking phytoplankton. Diatoms, the paradigm of sinking phytoplankton, manage to persist by floating oppor- tunistically….”
    http://www.unioviedo.es/JLAcuna/papers/acunaetal2010-diatom%20flotation%20at%20the%20onset%20of%20the%20spring%20phytoplankton%20bloom.pdf
    MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Vol. 400: 115–125, 2010
    doi: 10.3354/meps08405
    Diatom flotation at the onset of the spring phytoplankton bloom: an in situ experiment

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 10:29 AM

  457. Hank Roberts @423: I wonder, way back when people were starting to live in permanent settlements, and had to figure out basic sanitation engineering, were there Sanitation Skeptics?

    Hank, you might want to read up on the history of building the Paris sewer system. Indeed there were.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 1 Jun 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  458. One more recent paper that doesn’t support the idea that plankton known to grow in open water aren’t a good proxy in sediment for open water, again just from poking around with Scholar as an example:

    “… only a small percentage of subpolar specimens reach the interior
    Arctic Ocean as evidenced by living assemblages in the water column and late Holocene surface sediment samples from interior Arctic sites with excellent carbonate preservation. Even with an enhanced Atlantic Water boundary current system during the last interglacial period, it is unlikely that abundant subpolar specimens were advected several thousands kilometers to the interior Arctic Ocean.
    We therefore conclude that sea ice conditions near the GreenIce site must have been reduced during the last interglacial. Whether this was related to a polynya-type setting or reflects a generally reduced sea ice cover of the interior Arctic Ocean is not known at the present stage….”
    http://www.geus.eu/departments/quaternary-marine-geol/posters/2006pa001283.pdf
    Reduced sea ice concentrations in the Arctic Ocean
    during the last interglacial period revealed
    by sediment cores off northern Greenland
    PALEOCEANOGRAPHY, VOL. 22, PA1218, doi:10.1029/2006PA001283, 2007

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  459. Toppy @430, why don’t you try telling us how internal variability (ENSO, PDO, AMO, etc) can monotonically add warmth in the absence of some external forcing, rather than simply move heat around within the system.

    Oh look, but there is a known external forcing: Carbon Tracker

    Comment by Jim Eager — 1 Jun 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  460. Jim Eager says: 1 June 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Hank Roberts @423: I wonder, way back when people were starting to live in permanent settlements, and had to figure out basic sanitation engineering, were there Sanitation Skeptics?

    Hank, you might want to read up on the history of building the Paris sewer system. Indeed there were.

    London, too. A thriving industry centered on excavating cesspits, dumping spoil in the Thames was threatened, mounted vociferous opposition, was ultimately extinguished. Another noisome analogy with the present case…

    History repeats itself but never with exactitude. See the matter of the table salt industry sprinkling confusion on our intellectual diet to mask the sour taste of reality: Pushed to Lower Salt Use, Food Industry Pushes Back. Eerie similarities; basic science completed in late ’70s, industry-backed researchers sow doubt, “salt is natural and good for you”, blah-blah. Result: we’re stuck with anachronistic behavior.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 1 Jun 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  461. CFU, thanks for the reply. I didn’t realize it was tried. Honestly I haven’t seen the Al Gore movie. I do see from time to time a scientist on T.V. in a 30 second debate (which is really annoying that they will only spend a couple minutes on an important issue and spend days talking about Anna Nicole Smith) and on those few occasions it seems the denialist likes to play the uncertainty card and so ends the debate without the scientist being able to reply at all or without significant time to explain what degree of uncertainty there is. This in my opinion leaves the average viewer with the idea that the denialist won the debate. Just my observation, but again I appreciate your response.

    Comment by JRC — 1 Jun 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  462. > sanitation skeptics?

    “S**t is not pollution, s**t is plant food!”
    “They call it s**t, we call it life!”
    “Nature, not man, soils the pavement.”
    “The government wants to run a pipe into every home, right into the privacy of your john…”
    “Our life-style and prosperity depends on the free, unregulated emptying of chamber pots from balconies.”

    I think I’d better stop there.

    Comment by CM — 1 Jun 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  463. “This in my opinion leaves the average viewer with the idea that the denialist won the debate.”

    This is why denialists keep DEMANDING a head-to-head. And one where they don’t have to give questions beforehand.

    cf Monckton’s assinine “what is the sensitivity of the IPCC to two decimal places”.

    If you don’t have an accuracy of two decimals, to what extent can you say the figure of the mean to two decimals?

    Then again, I wouldn’t expect a classics major to know maths well enough (you do that in O level Maths of Physics).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Jun 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  464. For Ken Coffman, in reply to http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/05/on-attribution/comment-page-5/#comment-176104

    I asked the NASA folks about that energy balance picture you liked. They confirm it’s based on Trenberth and Kiehl’s more detailed chart.
    —-
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/10.1175_2008BAMS2634.1.pdf
    gives “estimated imbalance from the enhanced greenhouse effect of 0.9 W m-2.” (p.2) and “Figure 1. The global annual mean Earth’s energy budget for the March 2000 to May 2004 period in W m-2. The broad arrows indicate the schematic flow of energy in proportion to their importance.”
    shows incoming 341.3W/m-2, compared to outgoing 101.9 (reflected) plus 238.5 (longwave), which totals outgoing 430.4 W/m-2.

    The difference is the “estimated imbalance from the enhanced greenhouse effect of 0.9 W m-2.”

    That’s all the difference — temperature goes up, like a slowly dripping tap filling up a bathtub slightly faster than water drains out.
    _____________
    NASA rounded off the energy numbers in that simplified picture you prefer — to show 100 percent in and 100 percent out, in integers (no fractions).

    The imbalance causing global warming is less than one third of one percent of the total insolation. That fraction disappears in the simplified illustration.

    The simple picture isn’t meant to show that the Earth is in energy balance now.

    Kiehl and Trenberth is the source for the actual numbers.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 2:35 PM

  465. On the issue of troll vs. inquiry, generally, regular posters are reasonably fair and provide the new posters a chance to show their cards (evidence). But when asked to see their cards, some choose to hold their cards, and yet still claim to have a winning hand.

    If this played out in an old west card game in the 1800′s, say in Deadwood, Tombstone, Carson City, etc., they would see pistols drawn more often than not.

    It is easy to spot debunked, rebunked talking points, straw-mans, and red herrings, usually from anonymous posters.

    Give them a chance to show their cards (cite the ref., show evidence), if they choose not to, then draw your pistols and shoot em down like the mangy dogs they are. . .

    Sorry, could not resist the temptation to the colloquial slang :)


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Jun 2010 @ 2:59 PM

  466. “A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.” ~Robert Frost

    Gavin:
    As an attorney, former scientist, (and former juror on a noted homicide trial), I’m compelled to bring you to task for your comments.

    Your comments attempting to link legal proof and scientific proof are dangerous. It scares me to see over 450 comments without anybody questioning the propriety of an analogy between these contradictory systems. Science is a search for actual truth; the law artificially defines ‘truth’ in order to optimize social order (i.e. – it makes us feel good / safe). To the extent scientists mimic prosecutors and become advocates of a particular version of untestable truth, that is a trend to lament.

    There is a reason the Innocence Project is winning the release of hundreds of convicts from prisons after years of incarceration. These men were wrongfully “proven” to have committed violent felonies, and subsequently had their lives ruined.

    The fact that, as you eloquently noted, “prosecutors can get a conviction without the crimes needing to have been ‘unprecedented’, and without having to specifically prove that everyone else was innocent” may be convenient for the prosecutor and the rest of the criminal justice system, but does not inspire confidence in the truth of the result.

    As Mr. Frost alludes in the quote, above, success in the legal system relies on the advocate’s ability to convince a majority [i.e. – establish a ‘consensus’] that a number of ‘facts’ chosen by the attorney support the use of state power to deprive a person of life, liberty, and/or property – after the attorney “create(s) a narrative for what they think happened” (your words).

    Consider your examples of evidence. The imperfect evidence a jury is likely to hear is: 1) there is video of a man at the scene who was the same size as the defendant, and was wearing a similar jacket and cap as the ones the defendant was wearing when arrested, 2) the defendant’s DNA was found at the scene [of course, the defendant argues it’s from an earlier visit], 3) SOME money is found in the defendant’s freezer [the defendant would say that it’s his rainy day money, but his attorney advises him NOT to testify.].

    ‘Justice’ in the legal system is a commodity; it has a price. The amount of justice we’re willing to pay for is allocated by the Legislature. Police don’t investigate every possible defendant – they quickly find one likely suspect and focus their efforts. Few cases actually go to trial; the normal practice is to overcharge defendants and offer a deal for a plea bargain – in order to minimize the expense of millions of trials. Defendants do not receive unlimited court time to make their case. Defendants’ resources are insufficient; rarely do we see an O.J. case where the defendant has resources approaching those of the state.

    The justice system should not be confused with, nor compared to, a truth system. Prosecutors might get it right most of the time, but the PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE must keep us from gambling our future quality of life on such an obviously-flawed method for ascertaining ‘truth’.

    Where I agree with you completely is that, lacking a ‘control’ Earth to experiment upon, a sufficient means of scientific proof will be an adequately predictive global model. You could have made this point without contaminating the scientific process with the taint of the appeal to force and majoritarianism inherent in law.

    It shocked me that you would analogize to the justice system, as it accentuates all of the skeptics’ claims of bias by “alarmist” scientists.

    First, we have a government-paid investigating team [the police] who pick and choose who to investigate. Some skeptics argue that climatologists are on a multi-billion dollar government-paid gravy train – and have publicly charged that scientists cherry-pick data to use [e.g. – Yamal v. Polar Urals tree rings] based upon whether it reinforces their “narrative for what they think happened” [borrowing your words, again].

    The police don’t release the results of their official investigations, unless they are used by prosecutors to advocate guilt. Skeptics have long requested, and been denied access to, unpublished data [e.g. –bristle cone pine updates, Briffa’s Yamal data…]. Some skeptics assert that unpublished data is freely shared with like-minded scientists and suddenly becomes available if used to advocate for the ‘guilt’ of GHGs.

    The police get more funding if they find more drugs, drug-traffickers, and terrorists. Skeptics have claimed that climatologists have a financial interest in finding scare stories, and are not rewarded for finding a basis for calm.

    Prosecutors are advocates paid by the state to push a narrative based upon imperfect evidence. Some skeptics argue certain scientists [e.g. - You, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Phil Jones] are well-paid by the government, and have been advocating a position based upon incomplete / shaky evidence.

    Prosecutors don’t worry about proving the truth; they worry about convincing the right people [the jury]. When skeptics request a debate on the merits, a constant reply is that a “consensus” of scientists [majority] believes X.

    Prosecutors begin the case by selecting a jury, removing jurors who have the wrong views or background. Pro-AGW advocates assert that people who disagree must be on Exxon’s payroll. Non-affiliated scientists who disagree aren’t the right kind of scientists.

    Attorneys work the rules of evidence to determine which evidence may be presented to the jury. The masses are told that only peer-reviewed science counts; skeptics claim that advocate-scientists keep ‘inconvenient truths’ out of the peer-reviewed literature. Skeptics claim IPCC authors go to great efforts to include ‘helpful’ papers, while ignoring literature that undermines the official story (e.g. – Wahl and Amman v. the Wegman Report). “Grey literature” by environmental advocacy groups suddenly becomes relevant when it is convenient [see AR4]; “grey literature” by industry groups is never relevant.

    Police do not go out of the way to help defendants prove their innocence. Skeptics note that when advocates get the science dead-wrong, pro-AGW scientists don’t correct the public’s mistaken fear. [see, e.g. – Al Gore’s description of Michael Mann’s work as ‘Lonnie Thompson’s thermometer’]

    Once a prosecutor is able to secure a conviction, he moves on and never looks back. The Al Gores of the world are constantly telling us, “the science is settled.” [this absurd statement is not heard coming from the lips of scientists, but this distinction is lost on the public.]

    The prosecutor asks the court to use state power to involuntarily deprive a convict of life, liberty, and/ or property. Various legal schemes [treaties, cap-and-trade, etc.] involve taxes, forced retrofit, and the loss of the right to choose a less efficient lifestyle. Skeptics assert that bad policies will directly result in more death among the poor, or that misguided climate policies will be chosen instead of better policies that would have saved lives [Bjorn Lomberg’s argument].

    Gavin, why would you analogize to a model that plays into all of the skeptics’ stereotypes ? Do you actually believe the legal system is an appropriate model to use to help resolve climate science ?

    Tues 6-1-10, 1:08 pm PST

    [Response: The idea that my analogy was a defense of the current criminal justice system is.... let's just say it's bizarre. No human institution is perfect, but people are much more familiar with attribution in a legal setting than they are with the same concept in a scientific setting. Analogies are simply designed to allow people to transfer knowledge they have in one domain to another. They are not incisive critiques of the analogous system. If you don't like my analogy, suggest another one. - gavin]

    Comment by jim edwards — 1 Jun 2010 @ 3:09 PM

  467. And a last followup for Ken Coffman re that simplified picture of the radiation budget you prefer — it’s from old info.

    The NASA people followed up saying they did not create it. It’s from a NASA archive of stuff for teachers, grade school level, here:
    http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/Teacher_Notes/resources.html

    There, it’s called “Earth’s Energy Budget Diagram (image)”

    It’s linked from this page, last updated in 2005:
    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/erbe/ASDerbe.html — which describes results from the “ERBS (Earth Radiation Budget Satellite), NOAA-9, and NOAA-10 satellites over a 5-year period from November 1984 to February 1990″
    http://earth-www.larc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/erbelike/erbelike.pl

    Old, oversimplified, grade-school info. Stick with the new one, Fig. 1 on the final page (the final version is probably paywalled at the journal, but the chart is the same here): http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/10.1175_2008BAMS2634.1.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 3:58 PM

  468. Hank, the work that made me think somebody might be doing this stuff is:
    “Variability of sea-ice conditions in the Fram Strait over the past 30,000 years, Muller et al, 2009.

    Neil, the question of what such work might show is more related to question of very recent past. Ie was the pole clear in the 18th century? Was it clear in the MCA? Bronze age?. I agree it is weak evidence for AGW but if pole hasnt been clear since say 14ky from biomarker work, then it is counter evidence to idea that “nothing extraordinary” going on. Depending on what the data shows, it is evidence for or against the alternative hypothesis that all this is “just a natural cycle with an as yet undiscovered cause”.

    A close study on the top part of some the ACEX core should be interesting.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 1 Jun 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  469. > top part …. ACEX core
    http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/8035/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  470. [edit]

    [Response: Sorry, but this is off topic and we are not going to comment on pending litigation in comment thread. Responses to this are on-going, and patience is requested. - gavin]

    Comment by Tim Jones — 1 Jun 2010 @ 5:06 PM

  471. laurence at 449 wrote:

    “rising sea levels cause added weight and compression to the ocean floor once again destabilising the entire geological framework of the crust. I think I can visualise that this could probably proove more than “just the straw that broke the camels back”. That the ramifications of glacial rebound and rising sea levels could well cause cause greatly increased levels of tectoniic activity and or tsunamis in many parts of the globe.”

    I, too, have been wondering about this, in my totally amateur way. It does seem to me that all those tons of added pressure all along the coast line could easily be, as you say, the straw the pushes a delicately balanced tension into motion.

    I have not had much luck finding research on this. The best test case would be tsunamis, but they are generally triggered by tectonic events themselves, so any later quake could be as well triggered by the first quake as by the tsunami, I suppose. The tragic Chinese earthquake coming shortly after the even-more-tragic Indian Ocean tsunami comes to mind.

    Do post any further info on this that you find.

    Many otherwise sharp minds here seem willing to spend endless (mostly wasted, in my opinion) hours battling trolls, but go silent when the actual sincere, if perhaps naive, inquirers post a query.

    Comment by wili — 1 Jun 2010 @ 6:46 PM

  472. 466 jim edwards: I have to side with Gavin. We have a real problem in trying to explain anything to the innumerate illiterate masses. The police are bureaucrats. In the bureaucracy game, the object of the game is to get this piece of paper off of my desk and not let it ever come back.
    In science, the objective is to find the truth. It isn’t about pieces of paper. Issues are allowed to return.
    What we really need is a world where everybody is smart enough and educated enough in science to understand the physics and instantly reject the denialist opinion. In such a world, the coal industry would have been shut down long ago.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 Jun 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  473. CFU, I agree. Honestly anyone stupid enough to even think Monckton has a scientific bone in his body is just a [edit]. I’ve seen his “science” and “math” yet all I can do is laugh and I’m not a climatologist. I doubt he could pass a first year calculus, chemistry, or physics class. If there are denialists out there that would like to debate that, I’d love for them to speak up in Monckton’s defense.

    Comment by JRC — 1 Jun 2010 @ 9:28 PM

  474. Wili and Laurence, here are some places to start:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=earthquake+frequency+sea+level

    I skimmed through a few pages of those hits. There’s certainly nothing like what Lawrence is asking about in the past record. There are quite a few long earthquake series papers; there is some clustering and some association with sea level changes. Nothing from the past that looks like a worldwide pattern, no ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ pattern like you asked about for earthquakes. There’s some mention of more collapse of underwater slopes at very low sea level times

    You can find the notion you ask about in science fiction several places; Stephen Baxter’s two “Flood” novels recently might be an example of sorts.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 10:10 PM

  475. Hank & Phil,

    Darling et al.
    Global molecular phylogeography reveals persistent Arctic circumpolar isolation in a marine planktonic protist PNAS 2007 104 (12) 5002-5007; doi:10.1073/pnas.0700520104

    But so what? This only shows the Beaufort gyre and transpolar drift have been around a while. It was over 130 degrees F in Sindh in the 1870′s. Again, So what? That event was associated with an excessive ice pack and dryness not CO2ness. Gavin and gang are correct that the overwhelming evidence from multiple models and data are that CO2 is causing a problem. A simple analysis of Ray L.’s probabilities fed into RA Fisher’s fusion formula give significance beyond argument. You two grabbing a gotchas here and there discredits your crowd. You both have more talent than google scholar searches and “somebody show me” arguments.

    Comment by neil pelkey — 1 Jun 2010 @ 10:56 PM

  476. Gavin, Edward Greisch (471):

    Screw the analogies to non-scientific methods of ascertaining truth. Truth in one paradigm does not equate to truth in another.

    Non-scientific methods of ascertaining truth generally resort to faith [religious truth] or force / tyranny of the majority [political / legal 'truth']. Even adherents of political/ legal truth mechanisms don’t conceive of them as actually producing truth – but rather as good mechanisms for solving problems in a way that’s socially acceptable.

    That’s fine for a problem like: should we drive on the left or right side of the road ? It is totally inappropriate for a question like: should we trash an existing $30 trillion physical and intellectual infrastructure to prevent negative climate impacts ? The truth makes a real difference in correctly answering the latter question. It can’t be found through an application of force by the side that converts the greatest number of adherents.

    The only non-scientific paradigm for ascertaining actual truth is mathematics. It’s actually better for finding truth than science, in that in science we can only say, “this hasn’t been shown to be false yet, so I strongly believe it to be true.” In mathematics we can actually say, “this is true”, with authority.

    An appropriate mathematical method for gauging truth in climate science is statistics.

    Stick with predictive power, which is essentially the common man’s dead-reckoning in statistics. Climatologists should be clinging to statistics / probability, not seen to be running from it.

    The more detailed and unlikely one’s predictions of the future, the more likely the predicter knows what he’s talking about. Common people without advanced scientific training understand this.

    Tell the people:

    “Model A was released in 1997. 5% of monte carlo simulations run through this model were consistent with the actual temperature record over the subsequent 13 years. Initial accuracy of predictions was X, but capability reduced by Y per year. As a result, we modified our model.”

    “Model B was released in 2003. 28% of monte carlo simulations run through this model were consistent with the actual temperature record in the northern hemisphere over the next 7 years. 14% of monte carlo simulations run through this model were consistent with the actual temperature record in the southern hemisphere over the same period.”

    and so on… At some level of demonstrated accuracy and predicted risk, the objectively-evaluated ability of a model to forecast the future will click for people.

    [Response: Err... thanks, but if you think this has resonance in the public discourse, I predict you will be very disappointed if you ever try it out. - gavin]

    You can complain that the right result won’t be achieved fast enough, but until this methodology is begun, the public will never be on board for painful sacrifices based solely upon climate considerations.

    Pro-AGW advocates have already experienced the sting of relying upon the political method. [edit]

    Once the people figure out there will be real pain, that political decision is out the window – as the leaders end up following the electorate.

    Look at the economic crisis. Free-market economists like Peter Schiff, who publicly predicted the Who / What / When / Why / How / of the crisis in detail, years in advance, are ignored by politicians [but are popular with regular citizens who hear them...]. Dem. and Rep. ‘economists’ [Krugman, Bernanke, Paulson, Reich, Geithner...] who were completely blindsided by the crisis in all respects are the darlings of our political leaders [and ignored by the common people...]. The common political wisdom is moving away from stimulus [Krugman / Paulson, et Al] and toward fiscal restraint [Schiff, etc], as a result of public demand.

    Comment by jim edwards — 1 Jun 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  477. Actually, isostatic rebound – the crust bouncing back up after the weight of ice is removed – is still happening from the last great Ice Age. The clearest example of this I can think of is the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Superior. Seventeen inches of elevation gain every 100 years since the big ice pack moved off.

    http://www.schoolship.org/files/inlandseas/568.pdfhttp://www.schoolship.org/files/inlandseas/568.pdf

    However, one has to be careful about earthquake/tsunami predictions in relationship to isostatic rebound. It’s not enough to have the crust lifting up; you have to have the right conditions for big earthquakes.

    In the Great Lakes, we see that Lake Erie has already bounced all the way up (it remains unchanged) while not very far away the effect is quite clear. Why isn’t Michigan the Earthquake State? Because the crust is pretty homogenous there. There’s no additional stress of plates pushing together, and so it’s much like a memory foam matress moving back into shape after one gets up from laying on it.

    When we look at Greenland, we see it is firmly on the North American plate and so won’t spawn huge earthquakes or volcanoes as the glaciers melt off of it.

    We also see why Iceland doesn’t need to worry about isostatic rebound when we notice that the place is literally being ripped apart by two plates going in opposite directions. Rebound is spitting into the ocean where volcanism is concerned.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 1 Jun 2010 @ 11:23 PM

  478. Neil, I don’t know who you’re arguing with or against, nor about what idea. I just saw your assertions and looked for cites, and didn’t find them. Pointers welcome. Clearly I haven’t figured out what you’re saying.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2010 @ 11:51 PM

  479. #466 jim edwards

    First: the math is already showing where we are going, so I don’t understand your concentration on the argument as opposed to what is known and has been reasonably understood in climate science since 1824 when Fourier first discovered the greenhouse effect.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/climate-science-history

    The models were the afterthought and are really only used to help understand what the physics and the maths already showed.

    Second: I’m not confident you have a reasonable understanding of where the real pain is going to come from. You have not been entirely clear on what you actually think about global warming and it’s current cause (in relation to current change in forcing), or what you advocate in policy? Me, I advocate making sure the economy survives to the best of our ability, but I don’t know enough about your understanding to know if you can understand what that means?

    Third: Do you believe Bjorn Lomberg’s argument makes sense?

    Forth: For clarification, can you do me a favor and tell me if you believe this global warming event is human caused or not; and if so, what percentage of the change in forcing in the climate system is human vs. natural?


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Jun 2010 @ 11:52 PM

  480. Ps for Neil Pelkey, assuming this* is your work, you know far more than I about these subjects. Try simpler and more detailed comments? I haven’t been a student since 1975 and don’t keep up; I try tho’.

    I do rely on folks like you. And I often do ask for simpler, clearer explanations of things. I bug Gavin and other scientists often asking if I’m understanding them, trying for simpler clearer explanations.
    I post what little I know and await correction.
    ——-
    *http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Neil%2BPelkey%2Becology

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jun 2010 @ 12:03 AM

  481. Jim Edwards I agree even though Gavin is correct in terms of public discourse. Monte Carlo simulations are also used on quantum mechanics as well. they can be very useful in making quality simulations for complex and dynamic systems. Also statistics is actually defined in most stats books as a form of science which summarizes data. The physics and other real world processes are still summarized through statistical applications, analysis and error analysis based upon input data and mathematical equations in models and other modalities.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 2 Jun 2010 @ 12:40 AM

  482. OT but of interest:

    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/features/moving-by-degrees/
    June 9, 2010 | 8:00am – 5:30pm PT

    KPCC 89.3 | Southern California Public Radio

    * About: What is Moving By Degrees?
    * Agenda: Who, what, when?
    * Research: Climate change basics.
    * Questions: Submit a question to the moderator.
    * Contact us: Contact the Marketplace Sustaintability Desk.

    Climate and Sustainability: Moving by Degrees is a national, interactive, day-long symposium that brings the nation’s top scientists, policymakers and business leaders together with reporters from public radio and commercial stations from around the nation.

    June 9, 2010 | 8:00am – 5:30pm PT

    Crawford Family Forum at the Mohn Broadcast Center
    KPCC 89.3 | Southern California Public Radio

    Watch it live

    Join us live on the Web. Watch streaming video from the day-long symposium, and participate in interactive discussions with our special guests, experts, and journalists. No registration necessary.
    Participants include:

    * Dr. Michael E. Mann, Pennsylvania State University
    * Dr. Benjamin Santer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    * Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Review
    * Andrew Revkin, award-winning New York Times Dot Earth blogger
    * Joe Romm, Center for American Progress and ClimateProgress.org blogger
    * Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres
    * Naomi Oreskes, author of “Merchant of Doubt”
    * Dr. Stephen Schneider, Stanford University
    * Elizabeth Kolbert, award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker

    Comment by AlC — 2 Jun 2010 @ 1:46 AM

  483. “Even adherents of political/ legal truth mechanisms don’t conceive of them as actually producing truth – but rather as good mechanisms for solving problems in a way that’s socially acceptable.”

    Well, you’re wrong here so the rest of your doctoral thesis is based on an incorrect axiom.

    Therefore it is itself incorrect.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Jun 2010 @ 2:40 AM

  484. Wili, thanks for that. Most great discoveries or insights start with the question…what if? That cranck-starts the spatial part of the brain to visualise scenarios..thats’s fine. When you believe you can really see the wood for the trees..it’s time to find scientific evidence (from the highest quality sources) to back up your hunches..dont’ just find the supposed evidence that seems to corroborate your thoughts but try and find conflicting veiwpoints as well..make sure you understand each viewpoint and concept. For instance..we think that glacial rebound will place significant additional strains and forces on the bedrock and crust underneath (transverse and radial and combinations of the two) causing increased freq of earthquakes and volcanic activity. Time for us to do some paelio-geology to get a idea of an ice free iceland for instance..stay tuned!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 2 Jun 2010 @ 3:52 AM

  485. 473..Thanks Hank..maybe we were all just not asking the right questions? It will be interesting to see what Eyjafjallajokull’s big sister does.. Katla. These has been significant rebound thinning of the icesheet covering Katla during the past few decades..my bet is that katla will also soon erupt if Eyjafjallajokull hasn’t lessened the magma pressure too much.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 2 Jun 2010 @ 4:06 AM

  486. jim edwards 475: should we trash an existing $30 trillion physical and intellectual infrastructure to prevent negative climate impacts ?

    BPL: Who, precisely, is proposing doing that? Where did you get this denier propaganda line? As if I didn’t know.

    Energy infrastructure has to be replaced every year, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of investment. There’s no reason the new investment can’t be in renewables. And no “intellectual” infrastructure will be lost. This is typical AGW-denier alarmism.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Jun 2010 @ 4:53 AM

  487. Jim Edwards,
    First, Gavin was merely using the legal system as an illustration of a system where we reach conclusions beyond a reasonable doubt even in the face of uncertainty.

    Second, our energy infrastructure’s days are numbered even if we did not have to make changes to keep from cooking our goose. Ever heard of Peak Oil?

    Third, who do you think ran the model runs you cited? Hint: it wasn’t denialists or “auditors”. Perhaps it would be useful to do a little research on how the science is done before you engage in arm-chair quarterbacking.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:01 AM

  488. 475: jim edwards wrote: “[Krugman] was completely blindsided by the crisis in all respects ”

    Nonsense. Here is what Media Myths wrote about housing bubbles in 2005 “So who’s right about real estate – the media that have been predicting a crash for more than four years, or past and future Federal Reserve chairmen along with millions of Americans who have bought a piece of the American dream during this run-up? ”

    but they were harsh on Krugman:

    “The number of reports about the housing bubble that involved or were written by Paul Krugman increased to 17 in 2002. His August 2 column even suggested that the Fed should, or was planning to, create a bubble. He said that to fight recession, the Fed “needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. ”

    http://www.businessandmedia.org/specialreports/2005/mediamyths/mediamyths.asp

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:10 AM

  489. Jim Edwards says:
    ‘The only non-scientific paradigm for ascertaining actual truth is mathematics. It’s actually better for finding truth than science, in that in science we can only say, “this hasn’t been shown to be false yet, so I strongly believe it to be true.” In mathematics we can actually say, “this is true”, with authority.

    An appropriate mathematical method for gauging truth in climate science is statistics.’

    Mathematical statistics, being part of mathematics, has the kind of authority you attribute to meathematics. But, of course, in any mathematical deduction, you have to start with a set of assumptions, and then reason logically from them. When applying mathematics to the real world, you always have the problem of whether or not the underlying assumptions apply to the real world, and in the end you can’t prove that they do with certainty. You can only try to justify your belief that they do with the usual methods of science.

    Statistics has no special advantage in applications of mathematics to the real world, thus to climate in particular. There is no basis for ignoring all of theoretical climatology, which is based on known physical lawa and derivation from those laws of the consequences by mathematic methods. Indeed, I would say, if anything, the opposite is true. We don’t use purely statistical approaches to build bridges, design aircraft, etc., etc., etc. so it doesn’t make sense to single out the study of climate, and deny the applicability of applying physical principles, usually using mathematics, to it.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 2 Jun 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  490. > AlC says: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/features/moving-by-degrees/
    Great pointer, wonderful group of participants, many thanks. This is the way journalism ought to be done.

    > Jim Edwards
    > mathematical method for gauging truth … is statistics
    Chuckle. Good one. How’s the Truth Test statistic calculated? What assumptions are made? Never mind, I’m just kidding; figure you were too.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  491. jim edwards (#466) has a cause:

    > the right to choose a less efficient lifestyle

    Okay, so maybe it’s not much of a cause. But hey, it’s right up there with, say, the right to willful ignorance, or the liberty to recycle defamatory attacks on the scientists rather than get to grips with the issues.

    Comment by CM — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  492. Barton Paul Levenson says: 2 June 2010 at 4:53 AM

    jim edwards 475: should we trash an existing $30 trillion physical and intellectual infrastructure to prevent negative climate impacts ?

    BPL: Who, precisely, is proposing doing that? Where did you get this denier propaganda line? As if I didn’t know.

    But a reminder never hurts.

    GOP and industry messaging thought-leader Frank Luntz, way back when:

    Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate…

    Scientists can extrapolate all kinds of things from today’s data, but that doesn’t tell us anything about tomorrow’s world. You can’t look back a million years and say that proves that we’re heating the globe now hotter than its ever been. After all, just 20 years ago scientists were worried about a new Ice Age.

    Blah-blah. Amazingly cynical stuff, but that’s why Luntz gets the big bucks; his hangs his conscience on the coat rack when he arrives at work each day.

    Now Luntz is sophisticated; he suggests that instead of referring to incomprehensible sums of money such as Jim Edwards does, proponents of anachronism should refer to little old ladies being starved, children deprived of education, that sort of thing. We’ve seen a lot of that lately in the form of “we should be helping poor people instead of spending money on improving our energy infrastructure.”

    The whole sorry and completely familiar script can be read here, in a memo produced by Luntz in 2002:

    Scan of memo:
    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/LuntzResearch_environment.pdf

    Clean copy:
    http://www.aspenlawschool.com/books/plater_environmentallaw/updates/02.6.pdf

    Or you can read dribs and drabs here on RC and at other sites that pose a threat to the existing flow of money into a particular set of wallets, repeated by volunteer chumps doing unpaid advocacy for BP and Massey Energy.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  493. Neil, I fail completely to see the relevance of the cite. I am interested in the persistence of long term sea ice for which other papers have shown that a biomarker is in place. I failed to find any paper on high resolution late-Holocene sediments close to pole and wondered if the community knew of any.

    I also fully agree that climate scientists have nailed CO2 as cause of warming.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 2 Jun 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  494. Ray Ladbury — A low side climate sensitivity is most difficult to reconcile with the transient response to date:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 Jun 2010 @ 4:46 PM

  495. Circular and boring, Rod. You are playing games and not making any attempt to communicate.

    ccpo (430),…To my assertion that skeptics get defined as denialists thereby eliminating any distinction, you accuse my of hyperbole explaining how accepting you are of contrarian views

    False. 99% was the cause for the call on hyperbole. And what has being accepting of Lichanos to do with hyperbole?

    — followed immediately with, and I quote, “…the obvious point that there is no legitimate contrarian claim…” You cite the treatment of Lichanos as a good example of your tolerance.

    Are you daft? I never said a thing about *my* tolerance. And, given he was spouting nonsense and was not amenable to learning or accepting reality, posters here were more than generous with their time. I am repeating the same mistake here with you.

    There was a fair amount of discourse with Lichanos though it soon became nasty, and eventually there were calls to ostracize him, then ban him — even by you (167: “…don’t publish…”).

    And how is that inappropriate or nasty to call for his banning? Did he absorb any of the information given him? No. Did he demonstrate any interest in doing so? No. Try going to a lecture on, say, teaching methodology and constantly questioning whether teaching exists, and if it exists, whether it is at all useful given the variance in teaching techniques, methods and experience between teachers. Obviously any learning is purely serendipitous!

    Watch yourself get removed from the conversation forthwith. Or do you believe spouting a stream of non sequiturs to be appropriate conversational technique?

    You tried to refute my assertion by essentially repeating and confirming it!

    No, I refuted it by refuting it. You then engaged in an excellent example of GIGO. A sincere skeptic has no basis for arguing AGW doesn’t exist or isn’t anthropogenically forced. A sincere skeptic might choose to argue how long it will continue, how severe the effects will be, the exact interactions between various elements, etc., but until there is something startlingly new to add to the literature, there is no basis for questioning AGW. There is zero evidence to support an anti-AGW stance, thus, any who do are denialists, not skeptics.

    When the cloud issue was raised, it wasn’t immediately said by other scientists that those saying it were just being denialist. It is accepted that the question is open, even if most intuitively suspect it’s not going to amount to much in the long run. But if you raise the sun’s output, sun spots, just natural variation, undersea volcanoes, etc., as a primary cause and claim anthropogenic forcings are either minor or non-existent, then you are, in fact, a denialist and a troll.

    If you don’t understand these points, lord help you.

    Comment by ccpo — 2 Jun 2010 @ 6:57 PM

  496. I’m glad I could provide some fodder for discussion.

    My views are immaterial; at heart, I’m an educator. I think it’s best if everybody presents their views to the public in the most effective manner. Sunlight makes the best disinfectant, after all.

    I was recently reading about a famous case involving copyright infringement of a song. [The "Rum and Coca-Cola" case - song lyrics allegedly stolen by comedian Morey Amsterdam, from the Dick VanDyke Show, and a composer he worked with.] There are only seven notes, after all. One would expect a lot of overlap between songs. What’s the difference between theft and happy coincidence ?

    In Amsterdam’s version, the lyrics were altered so a few notes were apparently added. To prove infringement, the attorney had to have experts discuss musical theory that was well beyond the most educated jurors [resolution of musical phrases, etc]. The defense had their own experts, including one who had never lost a case.

    The evidence that the jury could understand involved probability. The plaintiff’s attorney color-coded the notes and compared the songs line-by-line. He had pianists play the songs with bars exchanged. It became clear to the jury that, even with their differences, the songs were the same.

    It seems to me, if a truly predictive global model exists, then it should be possible to ‘predict’ ten years ahead, make actual measurements for ten years, then show an actual comparison of data from the two sources to the electorate.

    If the match is 5%, you have no case.
    If the match is 30%, you need to adjust the model and rerun [you should figure this out before ten years run...].
    If the match is 80+%, given the complexity, you’ve got a case for action.

    Rather than throwing up your hands and complaining about the stupidity of the electorate, start thinking of new ways of presenting data, to get them to buy in.

    The Pied Pipers of the movement have to be reined in. Scientists make measured statements, but the public isn’t getting information from scientists. They’re hearing from activists, politicians, and actors.

    They’re hearing: earthquakes and everything bad is caused by AGW, the science is settled, the world will end, polar bears will go extinct, and transitioning our economy will be painless, or even create immediate economic prosperity.

    Every time they find they’ve been oversold in one area, you run the risk of losing them, entirely.

    #478,
    I understand how the economy works. One thing I would note is that history has shown that seemingly intractable problems often become easier to solve the longer you wait [as technology improves].

    Lomberg’s argument makes perfect sense, although I believe that many who parrot it would have zero intention of supporting the alternate proposals he claims are more meritorious. It’s hard to pre-judge who has the most giving heart, however. George W. Bush, who I did not vote for, probably saved more lives than anybody in the last fifty years by spending our tax dollars in Africa to combat AIDS.

    gotta go to soccer…

    Comment by jim edwards — 2 Jun 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  497. Actually Rod B. I believe Lichanos the Broken Ukulele left when his bet was accepted and offered to be raised. Perhaps I missed another post, though.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:11 PM

  498. > It seems to me, if a truly predictive global model exists

    You’re confusing climate and weather, a common assumption, but wrong.

    > Rather than throwing up your hands and complaining about the stupidity

    We don’t; we try to point people to the FAQs and urge them to read and think. Starting from the confusion you illustrated — assuming an “if” confusing climate and weather — how would you get them on board? How would you get yourself on board? Maybe by half an hour’s reading?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jun 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  499. Mr. Levenson, there are plenty of activists looking to completely upend the current financial and social system with AGW as their excuse. Indeed, the whole “social justice” Marxist song got a bar or two hummed in the IPCC reports. This was a huge mistake, IMHO, as it poisons the well politically; one shouldn’t have to put a hand on the pole that is raising the Red Banner High in order to support mitigating climate change effects caused by man.

    Talk to an environmentalist for any length of time and there is a 80% certainty that in fairly short order the blame for AGW is, at its root, Capitalism. Pretty funny stuff, considering how kind and altruisitic Communist countries have been in regards to Mother Earth.

    One must be careful to segregate the scientists from the activists, as they are mutually exclusive – a mistake far too many people make.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 2 Jun 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  500. #485, BPL

    The $30 Trillion number is a made-up hypothetical. I would hope you could recognize a rhetorical question in an academic argument about comparing paradigms for finding correct answers. I’ve never met or heard a “denier”, nor have I been fed my question by another, so I don’t know what you are implying.

    First, of course, whatever transition cost might occur, it will completely depend upon whether the transition is a natural outgrowth of free-market response to commodity prices and consumer preferences, or from government mandates imposed from DC / Brussels / Sacramento. Precisely what the mandate might be will make a difference. [No gasoline sales after 2013 vs CAFE standards increased 11% - huge difference] If a sufficiently draconian mandate were passed, you’d be a blind fool if you couldn’t recognize that costs would be significant.

    Then my question would be the same: How can we determine whether it makes sense to pass this particularly draconian policy at this time ?

    “My side has more votes” doesn’t answer that question.

    Anybody who believes an estimate of total transition costs [whether high or low] is a fool. There are many decisions made by consumers or businesses that were a function of the price of fuel. [How far am I willing to commute ? What size aircraft should I use in my fleet ?]

    Higher fuel prices might favor depopulation of communities distant from the metro areas that residents commute to. Do we abandon perfectly good houses and build new ones close to the city ? [Of course, maybe those distant communities never should have been built...] The consequences are not as simple as we might believe.

    #486, Ray
    Yes, I realize what Gavin was doing. He may be a good modeller, but it was a poor analogy – for the reasons I gave.

    I would be better to use an analogy from medicine. We give a tetanus shot, even though we don’t know if tetanus is present. We see high temp and vomiting, we presume flu, etc. [We don't transplant livers willy-nilly, however...]

    Heard of Peak Oil, also heard of tar sands and methane hydrates [not that I'm saying we should, just that we could]

    Nobody ran the model runs that I cited, because I made them up as an example of how an evolving series of models might eventually persuade the public. Gavin didn’t seem to get confused. Please read before criticizing.

    #490, CM

    You’re right, the right to choose a less efficient lifestyle is a cause.

    I used to love my Honda Civic 20 years ago. When I got older, my joints began to hurt. Now I wish I owned a Lincoln Town Car. Heavier cars can provide a smoother ride [Newton's first law in play]. Elderly people like big cars; guess why ?

    If you vacation in Yosemite, the Galapagos, or Costa Rica -
    If you buy imported cheese -
    If your kids belong to a travelling soccer team, instead of the local rec team -
    If you go to a concert or play [instead of watching it on tv] -
    If you decorate your home with art -
    If you buy jewelry or stylish clothes [before the old ones are worn...] -
    … Then you’re choosing a less efficient lifestyle.

    #497, Hank

    Yes, I understand the difference between climate and weather, thanks.

    I leave it to the scientists to propose metrics other than daily temp / precip to model / compare and report to the public. One might be the expected number of winter days with temp less than X degrees [important to people who expect to harvest fruit from their trees.]

    Before lecturing me about how I need to read for 30 minutes, please take 3 minutes to read what I actually write with an open mind.

    Comment by jim edwards — 3 Jun 2010 @ 2:21 AM

  501. Jim Edwards, your post @495 is a perfect example of someone proposing a solution before they’ve bothered to study the problem–as well as a masterpiece of logical inconsistency.

    An example of the latter: First you say, “My views are immaterial;…” and in the very next sentence, “I think it’s best if everybody presents their views to the public in the most effective manner.”

    Beautiful!

    You say, “One thing I would note is that history has shown that seemingly intractable problems often become easier to solve the longer you wait [as technology improves].”

    Great! Shall we let that oil well spew for another 20 years because we’ll have better techology then? How about letting highway bridges crumble for another decade because we’ll have better technology?

    What you and Lomborg fail to consider is that

    1)waiting makes the situation considerably worse,

    2)we are dealing with a system that has tipping points that will wrest away what little control we have,

    3)another decade just makes the vested interests that oppose action richer and stronger,

    4)the problems of energy infrastructure need to be resolved in any case,

    5)technology doesn’t just “happen,” but requires a concerted long-term development effort and

    6)we have already delayed action by over 20 years past the point where climate change became a verified scientific fact and now need to buy time to find solutions.

    I would urge you to spend some effort to understand the problem before you try to dictate a solution.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jun 2010 @ 5:00 AM

  502. re: #416 of
    Sorry, I guess I should have pointed back at one of the discussions, because a good implementation simply gives the moderator another option at approval/reject time, so need not take any more time, and clearly, if someone replies to a post placed in the shadow, it’s a hint that one may not have to read much of it to decide to leave it there.
    See this,
    for example.

    Hank & others: I’d throw some money in if that’s what it took.
    The features need to be designed by (RC moderators working with whoever implements this), i.e., the features have to be what the moderators would want&use, subject to implementation issues, and they have to be in the software that RC uses, not somewhere else), my opinions on desired features are irrelevant.

    Over the years, I have seen way too many once-useful newsgroups become useless from SNR decline….
    While bulletin boards have a long history, I do go back a ways 1982 USENET (or maybe earlier, I forget).

    re: a good candidate for shadows, as an example.
    I’m fond of the very nice Swiss glacier monitoring network website, as it presents well-illustrated summaries, nice charts, and carefully-collected data of their glaciers, starting ~1880.(The red-green-blue chart there is worth understanding.) The website lets you sort data and drill down for any details, so it’s a nice model. Of course, it’s stereotypical of the Swiss to be careful and meticulous – one Swiss ancestor of mine recorded every farm profit/expenditure to the penny for 50 years in a journal I still have.

    Anyone who lives in Switzerland can *see* the glaciers going up the mountains. Nevertheless, a few Swiss are unable to *see* any AGW problem and manage to ignore this obvious evidence, no matter how often it has been pointed out to them. Put another way, shadow(max).

    Comment by John Mashey — 3 Jun 2010 @ 8:46 AM

  503. FG 498: Mr. Levenson, there are plenty of activists looking to completely upend the current financial and social system with AGW as their excuse.

    BPL: No doubt. Does that mean AGW isn’t happening?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jun 2010 @ 8:59 AM

  504. je 499: I’ve never met or heard a “denier”

    BPL: Really…? And yet they make up about half of Americans. Do you live on a small desert island? Who’s hotter, Ginger or Mary Ann?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  505. No, sir, it does not. But one must also be aware that the politics of AGW is full of overblown rhetoric and denial of the science.

    Over attribution of weather events, mass extinction just around the corner, and mass starvation in the USA within thirty years are the staples of the typical activist that denies the science and just makes up whatever suits their cause.

    Sadly, no amount of showing them the science will dissuade from this. They’re stuck in an ideological worldview that will not let facts in.

    It makes it very difficult to get anything meaningful done when one group simply wants to have a people’s revolution.

    (Mary Ann FTW)

    Comment by Frank Giger — 3 Jun 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  506. Frank Giger @498 invokes the “water mellon” argument. You know, green on the outside, pink on the inside.

    Nice piece of work, that Frank.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Jun 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  507. Frank Giger,
    I agree that it is a mistake to oversell the science. Moreover, I think you will agree that I have at least tried to be scrupulous in that regard. That being said, the problem I have at this point is that I cannot bound with any confidence the damage arising from AGW in a BAU situation. There remains enough uncertainty in CO2 sensitivity on the high side and enough uncertainty about consequences of, say, 4 degrees or more temperature rise that I cannot rule out a possible collapse of civilization with any reasonable confidence.

    The extremes thus dominate the risk calculus, and the only appropriate strategy I know of in that case is risk avoidance while at the same time working to better refine bounding estimates of risk.

    Also, definitely a Mary Ann kinda guy, BTW.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  508. Sadly, it’s largely true.

    I remember when the folks that were most ardently for protecting the natural environment were hunters, farmers, and those that actually used the land. And they were’nt the least bit upset with Capitalism.

    Today they have largely been silenced.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 3 Jun 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  509. John Mashey #501, re: shadow threads,
    now I understand. Cool idea, hope some WordPress hacker will take it up (doesn’t look like it’s covered by existing plugins to move comments around, or style irrelevant ones “buried”).

    Comment by CM — 3 Jun 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  510. I just want to thank Dr. Jim Bouldin in public regarding his thoughtful off blog reply to the snafu I engendered regarding an off topic subject. I suspect RC mods and especially Gavin are sensitive and discouraged about a recent turn of events and I don’t want to aggravate the situation or act to turn useful conversation away from the designated topic. Such was my naive inquiry, though, and I apologize for the distraction.

    In future I’ll keep my remarks on point as many here have indicated is the way of these discussions.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 3 Jun 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  511. For the shadows, then:

    Frank Giger,
    get real. Mentioning “social justice” doesn’t make you a Marxist. And the IPCC doesn’t even mention it much. There’s some reference to social justice as an element of “sustainable development” in WG2 ch. 20. But the only sustained discussion is in WG3 ch. 2.6, “Distributional and equity aspects.” That section essentially notes three or four different approaches to what equity or social justice is, represented by thinkers like Rawls, Sen, and Nozick, and outlines possible implications for emission allocation rules. To the extent it concludes anything, it is that people disagree on this, and will probably have to find a practical compromise combining different criteria. Revolutionary it ain’t.

    Comment by CM — 3 Jun 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  512. Frank, the truth of the matter is that neither capitalism nor communism ever voluntarily did a single thing to protect the environment. Both have rapaciously exploit resources without regard to environmental impacts unless required to do so by legal mandate, and often not even then.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 3 Jun 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  513. #504, Barton Paul Levenson

    1) “Denial” is a choice. It just means saying no. In the perjorative sense that it is used in the AGW debate,it is a dishonest act similar to apostasy. It implies a person is first practically convinced of the truth of the matter, then chooses to believe otherwise, in spite of the evidence. Denial in this sense requires the “denier” actually be made aware of the evidence – not just informed by a rock star that “AGW is real and coming your way”. [Alternatively, perjorative denial of a different sense may occur when a person refuses to even consider inconvenient facts / ideas. The classic 'living in denial']

    Most people have never considered the evidence pro or con. They’ve just been told, “the debate is over.” The people who don’t agree with you are not deniers in the perjorative sense. They’re unconvinced.

    If you actually read anything I wrote, you’d see I’m trying to help you convince them.

    2) Tina Louise was way more sexy than Dawn Wells, but Ginger was a high-maintenance manipulater. Mary Ann was a sweetheart and I love coconut cream pie. Advantage Mary Ann.

    #501, Ray Ladbury

    I apologize for being vague. I meant to say my views on AGW are immaterial but that I want the pro / anti / don’t-know sides to make their best cases to the electorate. Whether my ideas have merit shouldn’t depend on which “team” I belong to.

    For the rest, you appear to be willfully choosing to miscomprehend simple English.

    The modifier “OFTEN” in the middle of the sentence means it makes sense to wait to attempt to solve some problems, but not others.

    I don’t recall Bjorn or me advocating letting oil wells gush into the Gulf of Mexico…

    A better analogy would be a case where a 24 year-old woman has a 100% chance of developing fatal ovarian cancer by age 40. Should we give her an immediate ovectomy ? [depriving her of the chance to have children] Or should we wait ten years to see if a gene therapy is developed ? [hopefully, we let her decide this one, after informed consent]

    Please find a single sentence where I “dictated”, or even proposed, a solution to climate change.

    I merely proposed a method to help the pro-AGW side turn more of the unconvinced into convinced.

    Ranting six unsupported statements at me, and publicly calling me out for my supposed ignorance, is not a good way to get me to see the light. You really need to work on your people skills.

    As far as your claims go:

    #1 may be true, but it may be only moderately worse during the short wait and / or not irreversibly so

    #4 is correct, but it really begs the question. Africa needs more energy infrastructure – but what kind ? The US could happily rely on Canadian tar sands for a very long time – so long as our dollar is still accepted.

    #3 appears to be contrary to experience. Corporations are very good at getting on the subsidy gravy train. [see Richard Branson, BP and UK biofuel subsidies] Coal continues to have political legs, but the major energy players will probably figure out how to sacrifice coal to take larger market share at higher margins under a goverment control scheme.

    #6 is at least disingenuous, in that even the most recent IPCC report only claims a 90% probability that over half of the RECENT warming is due to man [only some from CO2, land-use also a culprit]. Assessment Reports one through three expressed far less certainty. I never heard an actual scientist in 1990 state that ANTHROPOGENIC global warming was a “verified scientific fact.” “Climate change” has been generally accepted as true for a lot longer than twenty years.

    #5 is part-right / mostly-wrong. Technological improvements DO just happen, in a free market system, because smart people are interested in solving problems – and others are looking for ways to profit. Some technological development occurs through long-term development. Many developments are serendipitous. 17 year-old Philo Farnsworth developed the idea for electronic television while ploughing a field in Idaho.

    #2 is a fear-mongering statement without evidence provided to back the claim. Most complex natural control systems involve negative feedbacks, not positive feedbacks with cascading tipping points.

    Comment by jim edwards — 3 Jun 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  514. #512, Jim Eagar,

    It sounds like you’ve never worked in manufacturing.

    Consider the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

    I’m sure you know that the benefit to the environment diminishes drastically as one moves from reduction [large benefit] toward recycling [zero to moderate benefit].

    Not using resources in the first place is far superior to using them, shipping them, collecting them, re-shipping them, and re-processing them.

    California schools seem to obsess about recycling, which often has no real benefit – other than to make us feel better about ourselves.

    Margins are very thin in manufacturing. In manufacturing, bosses are obsessed with reducing costs, in order to maximize profits.

    They reduce defects / maximize yields, to REDUCE wasted materials.
    They find lighter packaging, to REDUCE shipping costs [fuel].
    They choose the location of distribution centers, and the size of vehicles, in order to maximize efficiency.

    When I worked in Silicon Valley, they retrained operators to work in the clean room without generating so many particles, thus REDUCING the required air flow through HEPA filters. All that filtered air must be warmed / cooled to 72 degrees; the retraining was designed to REDUCE energy costs.

    Note that capitalism supports recycling programs in gold, silver, copper, and even iron, without any direction from the government.

    Capitalism does NOT naturally support a recycling program for aluminum beverage containers, absent government intervention.

    Aluminum is a fairly common element with very high processing costs [electricity]. The majority of the resource savings has already been achieved by the capitalist beverage companies. [Do you remember how thick the Coke cans were thirty years ago ?]

    Is it really better to have an entire distribution system set up in reverse for a tremendous number of lightweight cans, rather than just floating a barge of bauxite to the refinery. Is all the trucking of crushed cans offset by the slight reduction in electricty savings ? If it made sense to do it that way, somebody would have been doing it for profit – like they do with iron.

    Comment by jim edwards — 3 Jun 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  515. Jim Edwards,
    Again, it is clear you haven’t bothered to look at the evidence. Had you done so, you would realize that

    1)that the effects of CO2 persist for thousands of years and so, on any scale relevant to human civilization, are irreversible

    2)there are tipping points (e.g. when the Arctic becomes ice-free, when the oceans become a source rather than a sink of CO2, when the permafrost starts to outgas CH4 and CO2…), and that we don’t know how near we are to them. As to negative feedbacks–yes, the main negative feedback is increased thermal radiation as the planet heats up. We understand that. It doesn’t save our sorry butts.

    3)that Exx-Mob is hauling in about $30 Billion a year in profit. Massey Energy owns the W. VA Supreme Court. These guys won’t back down and they won’t play nice, and their interests only become more entrenched.

    4)And yes, tar sands and oil shale could last us a few decades, but then, we’d have new entrenched interests opposing needed changes, and we’d be no closer to where we really need to be–a sustainable economy. As to Africa and the developing world–they do not need a dirty 20th century energy infrastructure. I’ve lived there. I know.

    5)NO. Technology does NOT just happen. It requires research–basic research into the underlying science long before someone can stumble across the new invention. Where would Farnsworth have been without Maxwell and Faraday or Marconi. And dealing with climate change is going to demand developments in areas where we haven’t begun to do research yet.

    6)No. A 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% probability of being wrong. Don’t believe me? Tell you what. Let’s consider a little wager. Let’s say we have some opaque jars full of marbles. I tell you that all the marbles are either black or white. I then proceed to draw 22 marbles out and replace them. All 22 are white. Now, according to binomial statistics, which is the appropriate statistics here, I can conclude with 90% confidence that at least 90% of the marbles are white. I now offer you a bet: 10:1 odds–you win if the next ball is black. Do you take the bet?

    Confidence has to do with the level at which you have demonstrated a proposition, not the probability that it is true or not. It has to do with how much evidence you have so far.

    Now, Jim, I would suggest that if you would like to profit from this website, you would do well to take advantage of what it has to offer–namely the best resources for learning the science. You will find plenty of people here who have learned the material before you who would be happy to help you out with sincere queries (myself included). If all you want to do is “debate” or “vent” there are plenty of places on the intertubes where you can do that.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jun 2010 @ 7:52 PM

  516. Heard of Peak Oil, also heard of tar sands and methane hydrates [not that I'm saying we should, just that we could]

    If you think tar sands and/or methane hydrates are going to save the day, then you don’t understand peak oil. Since you claim to know what you’re talking about, can you please explain why I say this?

    Before lecturing me about how I need to read for 30 minutes, please take 3 minutes to read what I actually write with an open mind.

    Comment by jim edwards — 3 June 2010 @ 2:21 AM#

    I did. It’s way off. What should I do next?

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 3 Jun 2010 @ 11:52 PM

  517. at heart, I’m an educator.

    I, actually being an educator, beg to differ. An educator does not accept false answers to questions. They will encourage discussion by facilitating a student’s discovery that what they offered was incorrect, but they will not say, “Yes, blue is yellow.”

    I think it’s best if everybody presents their views to the public in the most effective manner. Sunlight makes the best disinfectant, after all.

    Who cares about views? Their evidence is what is in question. But I note you are interested in opinions, not science. Basically, you are fully in favor of promoting false equivalencies.

    They’re hearing: earthquakes and everything bad is caused by AGW

    Why lie? I am on the computer far too much reading and researching, and what you are saying here is a huge distortion. You are taking, for example, that melting ice in Greenland leads to tremors, which is true, and twisting it into a lie that all tremors are. Why lie?

    the science is settled

    It is. Why not say so? (See multiple explanations on this site.)

    the world will end

    False. Civilization? Very possible. After all, many civilizations already have.

    polar bears will go extinc

    Mightn’t they? Can you say they won’t? The extinction rate today rivals that of the great extinctions in Earth’s past.

    and transitioning our economy will be painless

    Wow. A flat out lie.

    or even create immediate economic prosperity.

    Who is saying this? Cite your sources.

    Every time they find they’ve been oversold in one area, you run the risk of losing them, entirely.

    What is being oversold? If anything, the effects of climate change are being undersold. I’ve been called an alarmist more times than I can count, yet my views on Arctic Sea Ice and methane have been exceedingly accurate since 2006. After 2005 and the IPCC report, I stated unequivocally that the ice was melting faster than all but a tiny majority expected. I was right. Since then we have found that not only is Arctic Sea Ice melting, but so is Greenland and Antarctica. And the Arctic has set new records for extent (’07) and near-records for extent (’08, ’09) and set new record lows for total ice mass *every year.* This year is shaping up as a new record, and possibly much lower than the previous low. If we get a strong La Nina and the typical largely cloudless Arctic Ocean it typically brings, it’s a guarantee of new records for extent and mass, and a new record for mass, regardless of El Nino.

    I could explain this, but it would be pointless. I’m just overselling.

    I understand how the economy works. One thing I would note is that history has shown that seemingly intractable problems often become easier to solve the longer you wait [as technology improves].

    Then you don’t understand how the economy ultimately works. You are describing an economy pre-crest, pre-resource limits. From that point on, technology, a.k.a. greater complexity, typically leads to decreasing returns and ultimately helps usher in collapse.

    George W. Bush, who I did not vote for, probably saved more lives than anybody in the last fifty years by spending our tax dollars in Africa to combat AIDS.Comment by jim edwards — 2 June 2010 @ 7:53 PM

    Is that before or after counting the up to 1,000,000 who died in his wars? Also, if Bush wrote legislation to fund AIDS treatment, I’m a monkey’s uncle. Perhaps you mean he didn’t veto someone else’s good intentions?

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 4 Jun 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  518. Most people have never considered the evidence pro or con. They’ve just been told, “the debate is over.” The people who don’t agree with you are not deniers in the perjorative sense. They’re unconvinced.

    False logic. If they aren’t trying to understand, but make a choice anyway, they are deniers, not unconvinced.

    I apologize for being vague. I meant to say my views on AGW are immaterial but that I want the pro / anti / don’t-know sides to make their best cases to the electorate. Whether my ideas have merit shouldn’t depend on which “team” I belong to.

    How does it not matter if you’re on a lying team, for example?

    #4 is correct, but it really begs the question. Africa needs more energy infrastructure – but what kind ? The US could happily rely on Canadian tar sands for a very long time – so long as our dollar is still accepted.

    Not at all. Tar sands will likely never meet US demand unless US demand falls to less than 4 or 5 mb/d.

    #2 is a fear-mongering statement without evidence provided to back the claim. Most complex natural control systems involve negative feedbacks, not positive feedbacks with cascading tipping points.

    Comment by jim edwards — 3 June 2010 @ 5:00 PM

    Cite, please.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 4 Jun 2010 @ 12:51 AM

  519. “#2 is a fear-mongering statement without evidence provided to back the claim.”

    And “what the IPCC is trying to get us to do will RUIN OUR ECONOMY!!!” is not??

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:35 AM

  520. je 513: If you actually read anything I wrote, you’d see I’m trying to help you convince them.

    BPL: You won’t do it by minimizing the very real dangers, or saying that deniers of the science and defenders of the science are “equally” distorting the reality.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Jun 2010 @ 5:47 AM

  521. Frank Giger (various posts),
    At the risk of stating the obvious, being an activist or an alarmist does not make one a communist. Similarly, being a communist does not make one an alarmist or an activist.
    If you find that people are making preposterous claims on RC or elsewhere, I would not recommend blaming it on a hidden political agenda. Not only is there a simpler, saner explanation but I would expect people who have an actual hidden agenda (besides trolling) to put some effort into their writing so as to make it less laughable.
    I would instead recommend turning down your imagination a few notches, reading actual communist publications and comparing what’s said therein to what’s said by the people you believe to be crypto-communists.
    Is it the Cochabamba summit that got you worked up so?

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 4 Jun 2010 @ 6:35 AM

  522. jim edwards @514, actually, I have worked in manufacturing. I can assure you that in manufacturing, and in business in general, the purpose of reduce, reuse, recycle is to reduce costs, period — costs of raw materials and inputs, cost of waste handling and disposal, energy costs, costs of compliance with legal regulations, etc — not to protect the environment.

    Any environmental benefit is either collateral to the goal of reducing costs or is legally mandated. Any costs that can legally be externalized will be. Any legal regulation that can be gotten around will be.

    If you think not then you have not been paying attention: it hasn’t been just low wage labour and low cost transportation that has sucked manufacturing out of North America, and it has not just been the physical plants and jobs that were exported. The rapid growth in unregulated emissions in China and India are in large part our own previously regulated emissions.

    I stand by what I wrote: neither capitalism nor communism ever voluntarily did a single thing to protect the environment.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jun 2010 @ 9:52 AM

  523. > Jim Eager
    > neither capitalism nor communism

    That’s one reason people promote democracy as a third alternative.

    You wrote:
    “costs of compliance with legal regulations, etc — not to protect the environment.”
    Consider:
    “”costs of compliance with legal regulations to protect the environment.”

    How do you get legal regulations to protect the environment? Elect someone like Richard Nixon and push for legal regulations to protect hte environment. http://www.epa.gov/history/org/origins/reorg.htm

    There’s a famous observation from history that capitalist systems can be created starting from a democracy, but nobody has ever created a democracy starting from a capitalist system.

    China–going from soc ialism to capitalism without passing through democracy–is cautionary. They may have a chance to disprove history’s pattern if they can establish a democracy, and then environmental protections.

    Start a democracy and hang on to it if you want to protect the environment. It’s not a guarantee; it may be a precondition for success.
    Time will tell.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jun 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  524. #513 jim edwards

    Didn’t you say you were an attorney? Then you of all people should know that motive and bias establish premise, can of worms though that may be.

    I ask again, more specifically, what do you believe to be the cause of the change in radiative forcing?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    Do you believe Lomborg’s argument is sound?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  525. “That’s one reason people promote democracy as a third alternative.”

    Democracy is not a third option.

    It’s an orthogonal option.

    Capitalism/Communism is how you apportion the wealth and power.

    Democracy is about how you attain a government.

    Not to mention, nobody’s ever done a democracy (the Greeks got closest, as long as you were male, Greek, adult and not insane).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  526. Hank @523: “That’s one reason people promote democracy as a third alternative.”

    Which is my point, Hank, although I don’t think democracy is an alternative, it’s a different concept entirely. Capitalism is an economic system, not a system of government. Capitalism is only capable of acting economically, it can not address noneconomic matters. It requires a government to act in the interest of society as a whole on noneconomic matters. Theoretically that government doesn’t have to be a democracy, although it has so far proven to be the least bad system of those tried. Communism, as it was constituted in the 20C, attempted to be both an economic system and a system of government, with disastrous results for both people living under it and for the environment.

    I entirely endorse your advice to start a democracy and hang on to it if you want to protect the environment.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  527. jim edwards (496) — Here is my prediction for the 2010s:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  528. No economic system can protect the environment if environmental impacts aren’t counted as costs in the production of goods and services. Otherwise, the tragedy of the commons ensues.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 4 Jun 2010 @ 6:52 PM

  529. Speaking of climate change commitment . . .

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

    Will 2007 still be considered an anomaly by September?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:51 PM

  530. “Will 2007 still be considered an anomaly by September?”

    If the Arctic sea ice extent has shown us anything, it is that the trend is inexorable, but short range forecasting is hard.

    What does that remind me of?

    Comment by Didactylos — 5 Jun 2010 @ 7:32 AM

  531. I watched a film a while back about school debate teams in the US. What struck me in particular is that the winning strategy is basically the Gish Gallop. It is taught, expected, and routinely delivered. It encourages shallow thinking, and has no requirements for solid evidence.

    How many of these debate team members enter into politics? How many people are left with the impression that “winning” simply requires flooding your opponent with more arguments, true or not?

    Comment by Didactylos — 5 Jun 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  532. > seemingly intractable problems often become easier to solve
    > the longer you wait [as technology improves].

    Shifting baselines and forgetfulness ‘solved’ many such problems.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jun 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  533. “Speaking of climate change commitment . . .

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

    Will 2007 still be considered an anomaly by September?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 June 2010 @ 8:51 PM”

    Not much of one, particularly if a La Nina develops, and more so if a strong one, because – and I just learned this, and had been thinking the opposite – La Nina is associated with lower cloud cover in the Arctic.

    Seriously, though, did people not see this coming? We had the report last spring of the ocean voyage well into Arctic waters that revealed the ice to be more like Swiss Cheese than pack ice, even in areas the satellites were seeing as pack ice. Apparently they form of the ice, even if so weak and broken, was seen as the same as true pack ice.

    Then we had the shallow Siberian continental shelf out-gassing methane at a rate equal to the entire world ocean emissions. (As expected by those of us paying a bit of attention. I even had a conversation with a scientist, I think in Colorado, about two years ago who assured me this wouldn’t, couldn’t happen for a *very long time.* I told him to look at the reality, not the research. Al begins with observations, no?)

    Then we had the slow freeze in the Arctic. Warmer waters, anyone? And that fast, late growth of ice, but primarily in the area of Alaska, thus pretty much irrelevant.

    Then we get reports of the warmest 12 months, warmest Jan- April… etc.

    And how can we forget that greatest of all hits, “Did you know ice mass has been falling even more steadily than ice extent?” A.k.a, “The amount of total ice has fallen even in the years when extent was “rebounding.”"

    And now for something really scary:

    June 4, 2007: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20070604.jpg

    June 4, 2010: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Jun 2010 @ 1:23 PM

  534. It’s dangerous to make predictions about ice extent. All we can really say today is that we are missing one million square kilometers – exactly like this time in 2008. That led to an almost unprecedented summer low, but conditions didn’t favour the dramatic late loss we saw in 2007.

    This year, maybe it will, maybe it won’t. May certainly saw a record rate of decline. If that continues through June, then we may see conditions very similar to 2007.

    It’s not worth getting excited about, sadly. It will just be another baseline for the denier to hang their lies from. “The ice has recovered since 2010. See, there’s thousands of square kilometers more than in 2010!”

    The stupid will just keep coming.

    Comment by Didactylos — 5 Jun 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  535. #533, #534

    No way to tell since we really don’t have that level of understanding or resolution on natural variation just yet. I find it interesting that we are largely under the 2007 minimum though. Will be interesting to see what happens next and see if we improve predictability based on variation and conditions.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Jun 2010 @ 9:18 PM

  536. the aleutian low moved further than expected towards NA coast and doesn’t create the push on ice cross arctic, as a result ice movement has slowed everywhere but nares strait. all the seas around arctic basin are ahead of schedule. is this the beginning of the fast melt? already??

    Comment by jyyh — 5 Jun 2010 @ 10:23 PM

  537. 513 jim edwards: The climate is the one thing that has positive feedbacks. And they are large enough to really kill us. This is not a joke or a hype. The feedbacks we are already encountering are: Loss of Arctic ocean ice [albedo], melting Tundra peat bogs [CH4] and ocean bottom CH4 hydrate melting [CH4]. This is not fear mongering. I am afraid, and you should be too. Mother Nature has plenty of ways to make us humans extinct. There is no exception for humans. I have listed the kill mechanisms many times.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Jun 2010 @ 11:32 PM

  538. #274 Richard Steckis

    I sometimes rewrite a sentence as my thoughts evolve. Since this is a blog rather than an article, I tend to not proofread as much as some might like. Call it a character flaw if you wish but it is not because I am a yank :) (though I believe I caught your drift).

    I do hope you are not inferring the British would never make a mistake? There is a Gulf of understanding to refute that at the moment.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 6 Jun 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  539. #496 jim edwards

    My views are immaterial; at heart, I’m an educator. I think it’s best if everybody presents their views to the public in the most effective manner. Sunlight makes the best disinfectant, after all.

    Your analogy is weak. Try visiting a few of the places listed at this web page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationist_museum

    and try spreading some of your sunlight at those places. I spoke with one creationist who said he did not really believe that the earth was only 6,000 years old, he thought they were wrong. From his perspective, the earth is 60,000 years old.

    This has nothing to do with ‘disinfectant’, it has to do with common sense and reasoning pertaining to understanding the validity of the scientific method of discovery. If I read your argument correctly, you think just show both sides?

    You may be an educator, but I hope not on AGW. You don’t have sufficient context to do this well. In other words, if you are educating on this subject by showing both sides in even context, you are a bad educator.

    Without context your are not educating, you are confusing. To pit opinions against well established scientific understanding as if both have validity is not educating. It would be like saying some people say 2+2=4, but other people say 2+2 is not 4, it could be something else. And then introduce quantum mechanics to them. Your premise has not foundation in reason as you have made clear. i.e. you have not made your case.

    I maintain, and you should know better, what you think reveals confirmation bias just as what I think. if what I think is based on the well established science, and what you think is based on giving even play to opinion, as well as the science, then you do not understand the contexts involved and absolutely should not be educating on the subject.

    I ask again, more specifically, what do you believe to be the cause of the change in radiative forcing?
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels
    Do you believe Lomborg’s argument is sound?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-copenhagen-distraction

    #513 jim edwards

    Context is key.

    - The debate is over on the well established science (unless you have some dramatic new evidence that shows that 2+2 is not 4?). Your idea that all it needs is sunlight is interesting in this context that the sun is already shining on the evidence and the understanding. Some choose to stay in their rooms and avoid the sunlight, preferring instead to read stuff on the intertubes that support their notion. More sunlight wont help until they are willing to step out into the light.

    - as far as I can tell you are still being ambiguous on too many things.

    - as far as I can tell, there is no significant evidence that you understand the ‘economy’. Your saying you understand the economy is not evidence of understanding. I am not saying you have no understanding of economic functions is specific contexts.

    To be fair, I would not claim I ‘fully’ understand the economy either though. I admit to being a generalist. It’s just that from what I am reading in your posts, I sense that you do not have sufficient grasp to understand what AGW means in that context. Maybe you could be more specific?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 6 Jun 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  540. Have people seen this from Spencer?

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/06/warming-in-last-50-years-predicted-by-natural-climate-cycles/

    Thoughts?

    This follows a post in which he estimates climate sensitivity (CS) to be about +1.7 C– marginally higher than the lower bound of the range of CS given by IPCC.

    Intriguing, in the one post he determines CS to be within the range given by the IPCC, and in the post following that he claims that almost all of the N. Hemisphere warming in the 20th century can be explained using internal climate variability (that assertion also seems to contradict the findings of Swanson et al. (2009, PNAS)). That is, the warming in the N. Hemisphere can allegedly be attributed to variations in SOI, AMO and PDO.

    Why the focus on N. Hemi. temps?

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 7 Jun 2010 @ 10:37 AM

  541. #540 MapleLeaf

    Talk about grasping at straws! He seems to be picking at the periphery of understanding while ignoring the radiative forcing increase, and a multitude of other factors.

    For his idea to stand he will need to show that the dramatic increase in radiative forcing will not, should not, and in fact has not warmed the planet.

    I would love to see him get that through peer review and response!!!

    Oh, sorry, he’s not doing that? He’s just trying to support his notions (in opposition to the well established science) possibly/probably to boost his book sales.

    He did get one thing right though in context. “a minority of climate researchers” are arguing against the well established science.

    Spencer, Singer, Lindzen, Svensmark, Christy, Pielke. . .

    In that, one, or his minority, can state, based on a particularly myopic view, that natural variation ‘could’ explain the warming. Wonderfully ambiguous. “Could, “might”, “possibility”, “natural” (creative word crafting to the ambiguous). I don’t know if his cherry picking CRUTem3 and time periods is a factor, but based on the past, sometimes one can find a causal relationship in the current (I’m referring to his confirmation bias, not the data). I’m sure someone else can pick this apart better.

    Of course he brings up the canard of cloud cover (albedo).

    He ‘may’ be technically correct from an obtuse angle based on a limited view, but it seems reasonably obvious that he is contextually wrong. Cherry picking pieces to explain the whole is not good science. But is sure makes for a dandy red herring to wave around :)

    Context is key.

    As to why focus on NH temps? Hmmm. . . one ‘might’ wonder about that.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Jun 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  542. “Why the focus on N. Hemi. temps?”

    Because whilst the global average of climate reported by the IPCC is warmer than the gestalt peaks of the “MWP”, no such MWP exists to anything like the extent in the southern hemisphere.

    Therefore including the SH would mean that the MWP signal would be even LOWER.

    If denialists considered doing that, they would be creating the same Hockey Stick disappearance of the MWP as they accuse the IPCC of.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 7 Jun 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  543. About the melt: Didactylos is right, I’m afraid: 2010 will probably just be the new 1998.

    And he’s right about the variability and unpredictability. (Review the events of February-March in that regard!)

    A comparison: we’re currently (June 7) about three day’s melt ahead of 2006 (the previous low for this date.) That is, today’s extent is about the same as that of June 10, 2006. (Of course, 2006 did not see the then-record low minimum set in 2005 eclipsed–though 2006 did very effectively help set the table for the new record that arrived in 2007.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Jun 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  544. #543 Kevin McKinney

    Of course I don’t know, but the interesting behavior of the negative AO this year could be playing a role in the lower trend-line. Darn thing pushed back more negative again.

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/teleconnections/ao-5-pg.gif

    I don’t have enough understanding to know the inter-dynamics, but I do think this year will add some good indicators to increasing predictability.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Jun 2010 @ 6:43 PM

  545. Somebody with some expertise might enjoy(?) looking at this latest work of Scafetta.

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1005/1005.4639v1.pdf

    Apparently a significant amount of recent warming is down to bad vibes:

    The planets, in particular Jupiter and Saturn, with their movement around the Sun give origin to large gravitational and magnetic oscillations that cause the solar system to vibrate. These vibrations have the same frequencies of the planetary orbits. The vibrations of the solar system can be directly or indirectly felt by the climate system and can cause it to oscillate with those same frequencies.

    More specific physical mechanisms involved in the process include gravitational tidal forces, spin orbit transfer phenomena and magnetic perturbations (the jovian planets have large magnetic fields that interact with the solar plasma and with the magnetic field of the Earth). These gravitational and magnetic forces act as external forcings of the solar dynamo, of the solar wind and of the Earth-Moon system and may modulate both solar dynamics and, directly or indirectly, through the Sun, the climate of the Earth.

    Got that? The vibrations of the solar system can be directly or indirectly felt by the climate system and can cause it to oscillate with those same frequencies And guess what? This means all the models are wrong, wrong, wrong:

    In conclusion, data analysis indicates that current general circulation climate models are missing fundamental mechanisms that have their physical origin and ultimate justification in astronomical phenomena, and in interplanetary and solar-planetary interaction physics.

    For myself, a mile wide and an inch deep, my credulity meter drops to “zero” when I bump into Scafetta’s claim that the IPCC flatly attributes 100% of warming since 1970 to anthropogenic causes. For me, everything Scafetta writes after that rhetorical fling turns into a gray blur of bemusement. But there’s much, much more to wonder about.

    This leaky balloon is going to take a while to deflate and meanwhile it is buoying the hopes of magical thinkers around the planet.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Jun 2010 @ 12:05 AM

  546. The planets cause vibrations in WHAT??? The luminiferous aether??? What is vibrating?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jun 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  547. The aether was my call too. However the whole think is so silly (beyond Monty Python silly) that I couldn’t be arsed pointing out its stupidities.

    It’s like being given an all you can eat meal by dumper truck. It’s not even worth starting.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Jun 2010 @ 2:45 AM

  548. Barton Paul Levenson says: 8 June 2010 at 11:44 AM

    The planets cause vibrations in WHAT??? The luminiferous aether??? What is vibrating?

    Well, there are early signs Scafetta’s latest is setting the chumposphere all aquiver, and no wonder because the paper is chock-a-block with such exciting and compelling evidence as this:

    Interestingly, the traditional Chinese calendar, whose origins can be traced as far back as the 14th century BCE, is arranged in 2 major 60-year cycles [Aslaksen, 1999]. Each year is assigned a name consisting of two components. The first component is one of the 10 Heavenly Stems (Jia, Yi, Bing, etc.), while the second component is one of the 12 Earthly Branches that features the names of 12 animals (Zi, Chou, Yin, etc.). Every 60 years the stem-branch cycle repeats. Perhaps, this sexagenary cyclical calendar was inspired by climatic and astronomical observations.

    It’s obvious, once you think of it. The traditional Chinese calendar was arranged in 60 year cycles, therefore today’s climate models are fundamentally wrong. Perfectly straightforward.

    Seriously(?) the paper is heavily dependent on identifying a 60 year cycle in the climate (where have we heard that before?) and thus it early establishes some caveats to bolster the case in spite of the otherwise distressingly phantasmagoric nature of these cycles:

    Errors in the data, other superimposed patterns (for example, volcano effects and longer and shorter cycles) and some chaotic pattern in the dynamics of these signals may sometimes mask the 60-year cycle.

    In other words, just because you can’t see it does not mean it’s not there.

    One very large plate of spaghetti, sliding down the wall.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Jun 2010 @ 2:53 AM

  549. Doug Bostrom,

    Well, at least we know there’s employment for astrologers still in this day and age…all he needed to do was add some comments about “when Jupiter is in the House of Aries” or some such… BPL, I think Scafetta is vibrating, more than anything.

    Comment by Witgren — 9 Jun 2010 @ 9:26 AM

  550. Could somebody at RC take a look at this and comment: http://gewex.org/images/G.Stephens_Feb2010GNews.pdf

    I’m not sure I’ve read it right as the terminology is a little dense for my rudimentary understanding. It seems to be saying that GCMs overestimate albedo of clouds by some way? Did I read it right? Is this analysis valid and if so, what might such adjustments mean for model predictions?

    Comment by waspbloke — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  551. OK, can we all agree that Scafetta has finally and irrevocably lost it?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:51 AM

  552. Its fitting that the odd vibrations in question are being emitted by the Active Cavity Institute.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 9 Jun 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  553. Doug Boustrom, I will be thralled when Scafetta starts on integrating the Nostradamus foretellings… 2012 or 2212… the end is ni, so say the knights too.

    Comment by Sekerob — 9 Jun 2010 @ 11:00 AM

  554. My comment in the commitment thread got swallowed…
    I had one question:
    What are the supposed causes of the large ocean oscillations (AMO, ENSO, PDO…)?
    Scafetta is saying they might be caused by solar system oscillations. What are the other explanations? Some internal thermodynamical instabilities? Is there any paper about that?

    [Response: Scafetta is indulging in a inappropriate curve fitting procedure which is basically the same as a fourier decomposition using the complex patterns in the solar system as basis functions. It is completely without scientific merit. Oscillations in the ocean are mostly driven by dynamically complex forcing from the atmosphere combined with important resonances and dynamics in the ocean. - gavin]

    Comment by Naindj — 10 Jun 2010 @ 4:03 AM

  555. #550–Yep, I think you’re reading that correctly, waspbloke–though I’m not qualified to answer your question about the analysis and model predictions.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Jun 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  556. JPR, Didactylos, et al.,

    Yes, predictions are messy. That’s why God created “if,” so we can qualify what we say. Same for “unless,” etc. So…

    IF trends hold

    IF La Nina develops

    UNLESS weather takes an unusual turn

    GIVEN the Swiss cheese nature of the ice

    GIVEN the total ice mass has continued downward even as the winter extent has risen

    and

    GIVEN methane is bubbling up pretty much everywhere…

    I think $100 on new lows in mass and extent this September is a pretty good bet; pretty much a certainty for mass.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 16 Jun 2010 @ 6:35 AM

  557. What do you think of this:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/thompson-et-al-2009-high-tech-wiggle.html

    Comment by Ibrahim — 17 Jun 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  558. What I always think of denialism, it’s junk.

    Comment by ccpo — 20 Jun 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  559. The “Ocean Heat Content Update” thread is closed so I thought I’d try this one as the next best thing.

    James Annan recently found himself as coauthor w/Chip Knappenberger on a paper presented by Knappenberger at the infamous Chicago Circus aka Heartland Institute “Fourth International Conference on Climate Change.”

    Beyond reading the comments at Annan’s blog where a truly fascinating series of low-to-medium angle collisions occur involving Knappenberger, somebody called “Lucia” who apparently has some street-cred and Annan himself, I’m interested in Annan’s musings about why model projections are so tightly clustered close to the fringe of observations.

    Annan speculates the following possibilities:

    –Natural variability – the obs aren’t really that unlikely anyway, they are still within the model range

    –Incorrect forcing – eg some of the models don’t include solar effects, but some of them do (according to Gavin on that post – I haven’t actually looked this up). I don’t think the other major forcings can be wrong enough to matter, though missing mechanisms such as stratospheric water vapour certainly could be a factor, let alone “unknown unknowns”

    –Models (collectively) over-estimating the forced response

    –Models (collectively) under-estimating the natural variability

    –Problems with the obs

    I thought of popping this into the OHC Update thread because various hints from research I’ve read seem to point to the oceans as an inadequately measured sponge for heat, which I suppose would be in the bucket of Annan’s Problems with the obs. I’m a bit bent on the notion of the oceans being a technical question mark with an intuitively tempting answer so I’d love to have some degree of reality-check on this. Do any of the RC illuminati have an opinion on this?

    I’ll add, Annan’s collaboration no matter how tangential w/Knappenberger is certainly a nice example of the defective nature of the “black list” CT. Those folks fantasizing about conspiracies ought to read Annan’s comments about how the conjunction came about.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jun 2010 @ 1:24 PM

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